The Best Fishing Float Tubes for Reaching Fish

Many anglers may balk at the idea of a fishing float tube. However, if you’ve ever been float fishin then you know it’s a peaceful yet thrilling way to be one with the water.

Top Fishing Floats:

One of the primary concerns is punctures. Don’t worry, these tubes are robust and are hard to sink.

best fishing float tube fishing
Float tubes have come a long way from the simple donut tube! Source: Virginia State Parks

In this article, I am going to cover some of the best fishing float tubes and how they may surprisingly fit just what you are looking for.

What Is a Fishing Float Tube?

A fishing float tube is a small inflatable fishing vessel that can easily be transported from one place to another.

When first produced, they were designed much like a tire innertube that we are used to seeing with a seat in the center “doughnut hole”

Also known as a belly boat or kick boat, these inflatable fishing vessels come in V shapes or may have pontoons on each side.

Made with a highly puncture resistant rubber, fishing float tubes can prove to be more durable than you may expect.

One thing that makes a fishing float tub desirable is their ease of transport. They can be carried in a fishing backpack and ready to use in just a few minutes.

This allows anglers to be able to get into areas they may not otherwise be able to access or come upon during a day of scouting new sites.

fly fishing float tube fishing
Yes, you can even fly fish from a float tube! Source: Heather

How to Use a Fishing Float Tube?

Most fishing float tubes work in basically the same way. Once inflated, you sit in the middle or “seat” and use swim fins or “flippers to paddle the float tube along the water.

If the water is shallow, some anglers will use hip waders to “walk” along the bottom.

Puncture Concerns

Obviously, fishing hooks are a concern because of the puncture factor. Since most of the better quality fishing float tubes are made of strong, thick rubber, they hold up fairly well to being snagged. This is provided it is not a deep puncture.

That being said, you would not want to use your fishing float tube in areas that had a lot of brush and debris.

Fishing float tubes have some advantages over say for example fishing kayaks. For one they are actually more stable and more tip resistant. This is because their center of gravity is much lower.

Some anglers may be turned off by a fishing float tube for reasons other than the fact that they are inflatable.

Be Careful of Predators

One of these is having parts of your body in the water. Depending on the area you live in, there is a real threat of snakes, alligators, and debris that may be in the water with you.

For this reason, it is a good idea to know the are you will be using your fishing float tube in to judge whether or not it is the best option to use.

Float fishing has been around for as long as people have been fishing. Many different types of floats have been used over the years. However, the problem has been in transporting them.

Float Tube Pumps

If you have big lungs then you won’t need a pump. For those who would rather get to the water and start fishing quickly, then it’s worth picking up a pump. If you have a bike pump, then you’re already set.

When camping or hiking with the tube, we recommend you grab a smaller handpump for your backpack.

Classic Accessories Inflatable Boat/Tube Hand Pump
  • Comfortable handles for easy strokes
  • Textured base for non slip support
  • Push in hose to pump connection to inflate or deflate

Float Tube Fins

Since you’re in the water and too low for a paddle, you’re going to need fins. Float tube fins are short but provide plenty of power for you to kick your way to different parts of the river or lake.

You don’t necessarily need fins, but if you want to get anywhere fast or through the wind, we think it’s worth it.

Wooden Fishing Float Downsides

Take for example, in some countries floating or paddle boats are constructed of hollowed out logs. This is known as wooden float fishing.

These vessels get the job done but can be quite heavy to transport across land and virtually impossible for one person to transport.

Plastic fishing kayaks became popular because of their lightweight but can still be fairly large in size.

Fishing float tubes can be easily packed away for transport and inflated fairly quickly and ready to use once you arrive at your location.

Methods for inflating fishing float tubes are primarily manual. This, however, can be time consuming and exhausting to hand, which works very well or small battery operated pumps.

Where to Find Fishing Float Tubes

You can find fishing float tubes at many outdoor sporting goods stores as well as online through different retailers.

Keep in mind, there is a difference between actual fishing float tubes and the float tubes kids use in a pool.

Those types of float tubes will not be as well constructed or suited for fishing due to their lower puncture resistance.

It is a good idea to check the reviews on the different brands and styles on the market to see which best suits your style of fishing.

Best Fishing Float Tubes Reviewed for 2021

Best Fishing Float Tube Overall

Classic Accessories Cumberland

Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube Green, Standard
  • Cumberland assembled size: 56"L x 44"W x 19"H, Weight:...
  • Hydrodynamic hull shape improves tracking and steering;...
  • One-year limited warranty

Considered the Mercedes of float tubes this one is a gem. It’s large enough to handle you plus a bunch of gear.

Just make sure you remember that most of your storage will get wet, so pack accordingly.

This one has a few rod holders which make managing different setups a breeze.

Just note since this is a large tube, it’s not advised to take this one on long hikes or backcountry camping trips. 

Best Lightweight Fishing Float

Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS

Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS
  • Inflated Size: 44" x 54"
  • Weight: 14 lbs.
  • Load Capacity: 250 lbs.

This float is a steal at the price. It’ll keep you up and out of the water even if you’re a little over 200 pounds.

It’s easy to carry from your car to the water. The seat should keep you high enough out of the water that your neoprene waders will keep you dry.

It’s easy to maneuver too!

Best Cheap Fishing Float Tube with Fins

Classic Accessories Teton

Classic Accessories Teton Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
  • Teton assembled size: 42.5"L x 40"W x 18.5"H, Weight: 8.5...
  • Hydrodynamic hull shape improves tracking and steering
  • One-year limited warranty

If you’re new to float fishing and not sure if it’s right for you, then go for the Teton. It’s low cost yet will last you if you decide you end up liking it.

You’ll be sitting a bit in the water so just be cognizant of that.

It has plenty of storage, lightweight, and with a pump will be inflated in no time.

Best Fishing Float Tube with Pump

Classic Accessories Bighorn

Classic Accessories Bighorn Inflatable Fishing Float Tube with Inflatable Boat/Tube Hand Pump
  • 300 pounds max capacity
  • Rear storage pocket and exterior mesh storage pocket
  • Comfortable handles for easy strokes

This is a newer float that should be purchased if you’ve had experience. There are some design issues that need some slight tweaking to make it better.

The way the seat is positioned will have you pushed forward a bit when fully inflated. Of course, this ultimately depends on your body type, so just we warned.

If you’re more on the slender end, this could be the float for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are fishing float tubes safe?

A: As with any vessel on the water, caution must be used. It is important to always wear a properly fitting life jacket and be aware of your surroundings. With that being said, fishing float tubes can be a safe way to enjoy a fishing trip.

Q: Do fishing float tubes cost a lot?

A: Although they vary in price depending on the quality, they are not very expensive to purchase.

Q: Can fishing float tubes be repaired if they get punctured?

A: There are repair kits on the market however, it would probably be the safest choice to replace it.

Q: How long do fishing float tubes last?

A: With proper care, they can last for many years.

Insider Advice

Float fishing can be quite a relaxing experience and should not be ruled out by anglers before you try it.

They are popular and there are areas where anglers have fishing competitions devoted to using them.

Examples of this are the American Sonoma County Belly Boat Bass Club. Also, the Bass Challenge in South Africa, which offers a tournament trail called the Kickboat Bass Challenge.

We hope this article has given you some insight into float fishing. We also hope you will give it a try if you haven’t already and let us know about it.

The Anglers Behind This Article:

Johnny Harvill

Johanes Godoy

Sushmita Lo

Jon Stenstrom

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