My Float Tube Go List
June 21, 2018
Here we are, the first day of summer. It seems only appropriate to run a post about float tubes on this auspicious day.
I really love them during the hot time of year.
I like other forms of being afloat, too, so don't think I'm discriminating, here.
But float tubes are special. They suit my style.
Whats up With Float Tubes?
The main reason they are ideal for summer is that your lower legs stay in the water, and are cooled by the water itself.
In my case, the underside of my thighs, and my butt, both get water sloshed, too... one of the benefits of being fat, I suppose, is you sit lower in the water.
A skinny guy might not get a wet ass like I do.
His loss for missing out on all those tacos.
Anyway, scuba fins are the source of propulsion in a float tube - and once you start paddling with them, cooled blood from your legs is pumped all around your body.
Only swimming in the water with a fishing pole would be better.
That would also be more exercise than paddling a tube - but not by much.
Net effect? Lowered body temperature.
Just the ticket for the heat of summer.
Then, there's the warm and fuzzy feeling of closeness with the water, a sort of connected-ness you'll get with no other fishing style except spearfishing.
It's a neat feeling to stand in the shallows, push back into the seat, and kick away from shore. You instantly become part of the water.
You squirm around a little, adjust your position, and get the seat back set just right.
Voila! You're a human bobber, after fish!
Voila! You're a human bobber, after fish!
Kinda hard to describe; try it, though, and you'll get it...
Recently, someone asked just what I take in my float tube when I go out in it. There I am in my inflatable easy chair, waving as I pass. But what's in there with me?
This prompted me to do a "List Post," where I describe what I actually bring along.
Everyone likes lists, after all, or so the saying goes. There's just something magical about having everything all sorted and itemized, a stub of pencil in hand with which to make check marks...it's all so satisfying.
Of course, there's no guarantee that's how it will work out. Some of us can have a list and still end up leaving something behind. But you probably stand the best chance of having what you need if you make a list and follow the darned thing.
Which is where it kinda fell apart for me.
There I am, planning to go on another fishing trip. I know I should load up the night before. I know it.
But I procrastinate, the family comes over for dinner, I have a few glasses of wine and ... well, I find myself scrambling at 6AM, hoping I didn't forget anything.
Which is when I began asking:
"If I had a checklist to follow, that would be great. But what should be on it?"
To answer that, I just inventoried what I was toting around at the end of several tubing sessions. My thinking was that after 3 or 4 outings, I'd have a pretty good idea of whats important to me. Not really rocket science, but I needed a plan and that was as good as any.
With everything compiled and examined, I next grouped the stuff into "At The Ready Items," Group 1-3, and the "Variables," Group 4.
So here we go... my Float Tubing Go List.
The Float Tubing Go List
Group 1 - 3: At The Ready Items
All are stowed in the pocket of the float tube
Fins, open heel
Air pump - I have a 12vdc pump, but I use a hand operated, dual action pump most of the time. During the season, my tube stays partially inflated- it only takes a few seconds to re-inflate it fully.
All group 2 items are stowed in a rolling carry bag.
Neck lanyard - tippet spools, nippers, forceps
1 multi tool
1 scissors tool
tungsten putty, mini shot
Camera, in waterproof bag
Cell phone, in waterproof bag
I wear these two, the lanyard and vest, whenever I go. They are on a hook together and I just grab them on the way out.
Group 4: The Variables
** Rod - fly, spinning, or telescoping fixed pole
** Reel - to match above
** Line - spare line, depending on the outfit
** leaders/tippet - most of the time, my usual fly tippet selection doubles as leader. But I carry a spool of slightly heavier 10-12 lb leader for spin fishing.
** flies, lures, bait, tackle - this can be almost anything, and is dependent mostly on the season.
If it won't fit so I can zip it closed, it doesn't come along.
The tube is itself is carried on my back with shoulder straps, like a back pack. Getting to the water is a pain in the soon-to-be-wet butt if everything isn't neatly and securely stowed on the tube.
When I walk to the water, I only have my fins in my hand.
I don't use a fish finder on my tube, either, and I only take two rods. I think of this as minimalist fishing, relying on my wits for success. With me, relying on wits is always a dicey proposition, but I like to keep things simple.
Could I add more gear? Sure; some guys outfit their tubes with more gear than a BASSmasters tourney boat.
But that 'aint my style.
Thanks and Tight Lines,
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David Hutton, Palmetto Fly N Fish©
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