Beat the Heat (and Crowds) with a Float Tube
My favorite way to fish in the month of August is from a float tube or personal watercraft. Why? Well there are several reasons, really…
1. For starters, since August is the peak of vacation season in many states (it is in Colorado, where I live), the rivers and lakes can see more anglers on most days. If it’s solitude you seek, a float tube can be the key to finding it.
2. They’re stealthy. I think float tubes are a great way to sneak up on fish… and I use my float tube to target any number of species, from rainbow trout to smallmouth bass, even pike.
3. They’re easy to transport. For most float tubes, it’s simply a matter of deflating them, then blowing them up again (most come with a hand pump) to move from place to place.
4. They’re cool. Literally. There’s nothing like having your legs dangle in the lake as the sun beats down (of course if you don’t want to get wet, you can wear waders).
5. They’re fun exercise. Think of float tubes like bicycles for fishing… 100% leg powered and simple to operate. You wear clip-on flippers, turn your back to where you want to go, and start kicking.
6. They’re inexpensive. Float tubes can cost anywhere from around $100 to several hundred dollars, and personal watercraft range in price from a few hundred dollars to $1000 or more. But once you make the initial investment, there are no gas bills.
7. They’re a blast to fish from. Being lower to the waterline gives the caster a unique perspective, whether he/she is fly fishing, or using a spinning rod/casting rod. It’s also a fun challenge to land fish from a float tube.
Now there are some safety concerns worth pointing out. Anglers should wear PFDs when they fish from a float tube. Float tubes are not made to navigate rivers with rapids. And you want to be careful with the weather when fishing from a float tube… trust me, it’s a long, difficult, frightening kick when you’re trying to flipper your way across the lake in advance of a thunderstorm (go to the nearest shoreline and wait it out as soon as you see lightning). Because you are boating solo, tell people where you are going, and bring a whistle to signal other boaters in case of emergency.
With those safety tips in mind, do check out a float tube if you haven’t already. A float tube can literally open miles of fishing adventures for you, often right out your own back door.
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Kirk Deeter is an editor-at-large with Field & Stream, and he co-wrote The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing with the late Charlie Meyers.