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What's up with float tubes?

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  • What's up with float tubes?

    I was told by a highly respected Chattahoochee fisherman and guide that I needed to get a float tube. I have done some research and have some questions that I am hoping that the experts on this site can help me with (of course without divulging any secrets).

    First, whenever I look at float tubes online, they always show some guy fishing in a lake and they usually say for lake use only. Is that a CYA that they put out or are there special float tubes for rivers? I don't relish the thought of floating in deeper water a having a hole poked in the tube by a stick or a rock and suddenly be swimming (probably without my gear.)

    Second, do you really have enough control over the tubes to fish when you are not touching the bottom? It seems like even the slow water moves too fast to fish. Do you use them to go from shallow water to shallow water and just use them as a mode of transportation in between. Also, do people really use the fins they show with them. It looks like it would be very difficult to wade in those things. It is also a concern about controlling the take out point and missing it by a bit and having to navigate the backyards of several multi million dollar homes (with varying degrees of canine and other security measures) to get back to my car.

    Finally, I don't go to the Hooch a whole lot but I have really only seen float tubes a lot at Settles Bridge and in the DH section between Whitewater Creek and Paces. I hardly ever see them at Jones Bridge or Island Ford. Is there a reason for that other than possibly depth of water.

    I would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions.

  • #2
    I used to have a float tube and they are great for specific areas. It gets you to areas that you cannot bank fish. They are economical. Many folks use flippers to propel/controll them. I think a SOT yak would be more versatile. My 2 pesos.

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    • #3
      Well I too wondered about float tubes and got great advice here. I probably have a couple of dozen floats under my belt and all on the Hooch. Most have been the short span between the steps and boat ramp at Jones Bridge.
      I can tell you I only use it to get from one spot to another and NEVER use flippers in the river. A couple cheap dust pans theathered from each side of the tube are all I need to get from place to place and the take out. I bought a rod holder to make it easy to change flys and enjoy my lunch stream side without losing track of my rod.
      As I'm still a beginner I'll defer to the experts who advised me so aptly.
      I can tell you, you have to keep your wits about you but it's one of the most enjoyable fishing I've done. In spite of myself I'm even catching fish. While I do go alone to Jones Bridge it's more fun with a buddy and having that extra vehicle at the end!
      Good luck. There's usually always someone to join you, especially we retired guys who have a week full of Saturdays.

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      • #4
        Sit on top kayak is the way to go.......... and in my opinion get a better quality yak. But a cheaper starter kayak from craigslist with paddle and vest is ok to "get your feet wet" into kayaking.

        Kurt

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        • #5
          Tubes are great to fish from especially with a buddy on new water. I have never used fins though. Once you are a few hundred yards north of your exit point you have to slowly start working your way towards the shore. I normally use mine during the winter months, even in shallow water to ensure I don't go completely under water if I lose my footing. Jones is shallow that's why you don't see a lot of them there. Bass pro has a white river brand for under $100. It gets the job done.

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          • #6
            Float tubes are great for certain spots of water. Lots of folks use them. If you go to the dam, you will see a lot of guys at the top part of the dam fishing from them.

            I have one that I still use from time to time for floats even though I have my boat. They take a little getting used to from a casting perspective and they can be dangerous if you flip in them at the wrong time too. It is best to bring a friend. If you want to try one out one weekend, I can lend you mine and let you try it out around the dam. Just let me know.

            DD F
            Fly Fisherman - Part Entomologist, Part Meteorologist, Part Ichthyologist, Part Hydrologist, All Liar.

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            • #7
              I just had a lengthy reply typed up and for some reason....lost it.

              Wear a PFD whatever you decide.

              Anyhow....read these:

              http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/foru...eferrerid=7160

              http://www.americanwhitewater.org/co...ccidentid/934/

              http://www.americanwhitewater.org/co...ccidentid/608/
              The Drifter

              The contents of this message might be totally inaccurate, misguided or otherwise perverse. If you are stupid enough to follow any of the tips listed here and mess up yourself or your equipment, I am absolved of all responsibility. The information contained herein is based on my personal experience and by no means constitutes the correct way to do it. Your mileage may vary.

              Follow me on Instagram

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              • #8
                I have floated from the dam to Settles in my ODC 420 many times. The benefits are numerous. Comfort, stability, hands free control while fishing using flippers, all of your gear is at your finger tips. A tube is naturally more easily transported.

                A float tube allows you to fish perpendicular to the bank and take your time. A kayak stays in the current and fishes a lot faster and maneuverability requires that you pick up a paddle.

                Negatives on float tubes are few (IMO). Slow water is slow as where with a yak you can easily power through. If you want to go back and fish a section again it would be easier in a yak.

                Drag chains can be utilized with either one to control the speed of your drift.
                Fishing Vicariously Through Others

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                • #9
                  Thanks

                  Thank all of you for the valuable inf. you may see me in the river in one soon (hopefully not spinning around in a circle)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Drifters links were sobering but

                    I assume this would be less likely to happen in a U shaped tube provided you kept your wits about you and were wearing a PFD. We used to (idiotically) float the Little River above Townsend Tennessee (the sinks) and the Tellico River in round tubes when I was in college. We would most always go back to campus battered and bruised and usually singing soprano

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                    • #11
                      float tube

                      they are quite is to get comfortable using.been using 1 for 20 years on Hooch,toccoa and hiwassee.fins are not needed,wading boats are big enough and it does not take much to change direction.also when floating,you will stop and fish a section or run.spend the bucks for a good like a Bucks Bag.store it indoors out of heat and direct sunlite.if you do not use it for an extended period of time(me,2 years,got a boat)and decide to use again,get a new innertube.floattubes started get used around the Hooch because of access and river bottom.now with the green snot on the rocks the seems to bloom most of the year(thank you over devolpement and excessive lawncare)they come in very handy.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Float tubes can be awesome for short floats. I have never been a fan of flippers. Ping pong paddles are more sturdy than the plastic dust pan idea. Tie them on to the D-rings on the side of the tube. As for using a float tube in moving water you are taking your chances if the current pins you against something. Years ago on the upper Toccoa River there was a log jam completely blocking the river up against the concrete bridge. I floated up against the log jam and was trying to get to the bank to get out. The current was funneling under the log jam on the side closest to the bank. I pulled myself along the log until I got to the fast water. The current sucked me upside down tube and all under the log. I flipped back right side up when I got on the other side and eddied out in some calmer water. I somehow held on to my fly rod and all the pockets on my vest were closed, so I didn't lose anything. The river was much higher than normal that day and we should not have even bothered to try and float it in tubes. Yes float tubes can be dangerous, but for short floats in mostly shallow and calmer non whitewater they are great. For the upper Hooch around the dam down to the hatchery is a great place to use a float tube. I always use mine to walk up from the hatchery to the dam and float back down. They make suspenders which hook to the D-rings on the tube. Buy some. They are great to keep you attached to the tube especially when you stand up in shallower water. The tube won't be down around your feet and knees when you are trying to walk. On longer floats more than two or three miles float tubes suck because you have no way of really propelling yourself any faster than the speed of the current. We floated one time on Amicalola River from the canoe put in down to Steel Bridge. The trip took 12 hours. Of course we stopped and fished and there was a lot of walking because of shallow water. The fishing sucked that day also, which made for a very long day. As you can see certain places are ideal for float tubes and certain sections of river are just too long of a float to use them effectively. Always use a PFD of some sort because they can be dangerous, but they can be more effective than a kayak or pontoon. They allow you to slow down and fish without having to worry about a paddle to steer clear of things. Hope this helps.
                        There's trout in here that aint never been caught!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dcounce View Post
                          I was told by a highly respected Chattahoochee fisherman and guide that I needed to get a float tube. I have done some research and have some questions that I am hoping that the experts on this site can help me with (of course without divulging any secrets).

                          First, whenever I look at float tubes online, they always show some guy fishing in a lake and they usually say for lake use only. Is that a CYA that they put out or are there special float tubes for rivers? I don't relish the thought of floating in deeper water a having a hole poked in the tube by a stick or a rock and suddenly be swimming (probably without my gear.)

                          Second, do you really have enough control over the tubes to fish when you are not touching the bottom? It seems like even the slow water moves too fast to fish. Do you use them to go from shallow water to shallow water and just use them as a mode of transportation in between. Also, do people really use the fins they show with them. It looks like it would be very difficult to wade in those things. It is also a concern about controlling the take out point and missing it by a bit and having to navigate the backyards of several multi million dollar homes (with varying degrees of canine and other security measures) to get back to my car.

                          Finally, I don't go to the Hooch a whole lot but I have really only seen float tubes a lot at Settles Bridge and in the DH section between Whitewater Creek and Paces. I hardly ever see them at Jones Bridge or Island Ford. Is there a reason for that other than possibly depth of water.

                          I would greatly appreciate any comments or suggestions.
                          To add to all of the other good advice you have been given; I am new to owing a float tube (4 trips) all at Jones Bridge on the Fulton side. Floated down from the walk in at the parking lot to the boat ramp mile marker 389.
                          About one hour but can go more. I wear a PDF always, use a wading pole for stability, have suspenders for keeping my tube above my feet. Tube is a Bass Pro Lost Lake model, 89.95 with lots of storage space, fly patch etc. I started with dust pans for locomotion but switched to paddles for now. I wear full waders when drifting and wading boots; you can sicissor kick your legs for some movement but never wear fins in the river. I plan to use the tube on some warm water before cold weather and maybe fins would work better them.

                          One last item I got was an inexpensive 12V air pump from Bass Pro which makes inflation very easy.

                          Good Luck.

                          Kelly

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Pontoons, float tubes and kayaks all have there place when it comes to fishing, but I also just like to paddle my kayak without fishing. I do that often and just look at all the nature that surrounds us. I don't think you can quite do that in a float tube or pontoon.

                            Kurt

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