Float Tubes for Trout Fishing
by Ian Forsyth
Float tubes have been used with success by European and American still water anglers. Designed to provide anglers access to overgrown lake margins and out of reach weed beds, they are used more commonly on North Island waters than here on the Mainland.
Speaking to the blokes in some of Canterbury’s tackle stores, l asked if they were available and why they were not often seen on our high country lakes. I was told that they could be obtained within just a couple of days. I was also told by one retailer about an experience he had when fishing with a tube on Lake Sarah. It seems that he was ﬁshing the fringes when he felt something against his legs, looked down, and saw the first of a bunch of eels taking a very close look at his neither regions. So he quickly pushed off back to land!
Ross Millichamp at North Canterbury Fish & Game had not tried a ﬂoat tube yet but was surprised that there were not more of them used on our high country lakes. He said, “Float tubes can be used on lakes which allow the use of boats – motor-driven, or not, as they are classed as boats.”
Float tubes vary somewhat in design from nylon coated truck tubes with “mini” inner tubes as a backrest, to a sophisticated moulded seat chamber built in.
Inﬂation is easily achieved using a small air pump, which can be purchased for about twenty dollars and works from a car battery or car cigarette lighter.
The angler uses chest waders (especially in colder waters) and ﬂippers. Fishing gear is stored in zippered pockets around the large tube, or inside the inner space of the backrest. l personally keep my sandwich lunches in that area, and perhaps a cold can on a hot summer’s day.
To move towards the weed beds just point your back in the desired direction and kick your flipper-clad feet, trolling or casting as you go.
Turning to safety issues now, it is recommended that ﬂoat tubes only be used on smaller still waters and that a lifejacket is worn by the angler. Beware of weather changes, especially our nor-westers, which could make it hard to return to shore.
Certainly, do not use on rivers unless you have a death wish. Don’t over inﬂate, and check regulations with your licence guide or with the local branch of Fish & Game New Zealand to make sure you are permitted to use a ﬂoat tube on your target water.
I can think of nothing more satisfying than using a float tube on a still summer’s day, stalking the weed beds and reed margins for fish.