February 2020 Update: We are in the process of redesigning the site!
Please enter your email address below to be notified when our new site is up.
Changes coming:
-New content
-Stocked fly boxes, including new types of flies
-Updated fly-fishing destination guides

Be sure to follow us on Instagram as well @TroutFlyFishin

Fly Fishing Basics: The Float Tube

Float tubes consist of an air bladder that is covered with a protective cover.

Some look like a doughnut and some are a U shape.

The fly fisher usually wears stocking foot waders to stay dry and maneuvers about using swim fins.

They are basically a floating chair and are designed for still water fishing.

Let's look at its advantages and disadvantages.

The Advantages:

  • They are very lightweight and portable. This allows a solo fly fisher to access areas in a lake or backcountry waters that a bank fisher just cannot get to.
  • They are very affordable, a lot less than most fly fishing boats.
  • They require less setup time than a pontoon boat (although not by much).
  • They work very well in small lakes and ponds.
  • A pontoon-style tube can be fairly easy to maneuver.
  • Most have storage compartments near each arm.

The Disadvantages:

  • It should not be used on a river, especially if the water is moving at all. This can be really dangerous.
  • On larger lakes, winds can blow you around, although if you stayed on the edges of the lake you may be OK. A pontoon boat would be a better choice on large lakes.
  • It is hard to cover a lot of water in one.
  • If you are thinking of packing one into the backcountry remember that the water may be cold. Your waders and fins will add extra weight. By the time you get there you may be too tired to fish.
  • A round tube can be harder to maneuver and has more drag.
  • They are subject to punctures. Wear a life jacket.
  • Kicking it about the lake is a workout (OK, maybe this should be up in the advantage section).

Features to Watch For When Buying a Float Tube

  • Available storage. Most have some storage but others have large pockets and room behind the seat.
  • A tough outer shell that is puncture-resistant and an inner shell that is urethane. The vinyl bladders are not as durable. Some tubes will have a urethane-coated vinyl, which is lighter but still not as durable.
  • Pay attention to the weight limits of the tube, and remember to add the weight of your gear.
  • Adjustable and inflatable seats. Both features can add to your comfort level.
  • High-quality valves that also allow you to change the air pressure while on the water.

Save 50% on Fly Assortment Boxes for Trout