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Buyer's Guide to Float Tubes, Accessories

A few good tubes: Here's what you need for a new fishing experience.

Buyer's Guide to Float Tubes, Accessories

Float tubes, belly boats, float boats—whatever you call them—will open up water you may not have been able to fish previously.

Are you ready to take the plunge into float-tube fishing? Or are you already a seasoned tuber?

Here's a look at new tubes and accessories that will improve your experience.

NEW FLOAT TUBES

Caddis Premier Plus II

GAF-Float-Tubes

Available from Bass Pro Shops and other sources, the Premier Plus II has an inflatable seat and backrest that can be adjusted for comfort. It has an integrated stabilizer bar, a lap apron with 20-inch ruler to corral stripped fly line and measure your catch, two large storage pockets, two auxiliary pockets and additional storage behind the seat. Heavy-duty PVC on the bottom, seat and front tips add durability. Capacity is 325 pounds—among the highest available.

$199.99 | caddissports.com


Classic Accessories Cumberland

GAF-Float-Tubes

This is a medium-sized float boat at 56 by 44 by 19 inches, but the weight is minimal at 14 pounds. It has a padded foam seat and backrest designed to position the angler higher than most, making it good for sight fishing. However, the foam seat won’t pack down as compactly as an inflatable seat does. A PVC spreader bar stabilizes the boat when you sit down in it, preventing the sides from squeezing together. Additional features include two large cargo pockets with drink holders, two rod holders and a stripping apron with ruler.

$298.95 | classicaccessories.com

Decathlon Caperlan FLTB-5

GAF-Float-Tubes

This is a particularly good choice for backpacking, as it weighs just over 13 pounds and has broad backpacking straps for easy carrying when inflated. It includes three tackle bags with quick-release fittings that can be positioned on the pontoons to suit your needs. Inflated dimensions are 57.1 by 45.3 inches, with a tube diameter of 13.8 inches. A carrying case and patch kit are included. It folds down into an included storage bag that stores easily in a hall closet.

$249 | decathlon.com


Outcast Super Fat Cat

GAF-Float-Tubes

One of the pricier float tubes, the Super Fat Cat has longer pontoons for added stability, ample storage and a comfortable inflatable seat. It includes a three-pocket pack behind the seat, as well as the usual tackle bags on the pontoons. The stripping apron has standoffs that fit into slots in the tube to hold it in place. Measurements are 64 by 45 inches, with a tube diameter of 13 inches. Despite the larger size and robust build, it weighs only 13 pounds and is readily packable. Outcast offers a 5-year warranty on build and materials.

$489 | outcastboats.com

Savage Gear High Rider V2

GAF-Float-Tubes

The High Rider V2 is a four-chamber float boat that actually seats the user above the waterline, unlike most tubes, reducing drag and increasing potential speed. It has bladderless construction of 0.9-millimeter armored PVC like full-size river rafts, promising greater durability and longer life than conventional float tubes. It includes three gear boxes, a rod rack and a stripping apron. It’s heavier than less-durable tubes at a little over 26 pounds, so not the best for packing, though it does come with backpacking straps. It’s also one of the highest-priced tubes on the market, but a foot pump and patch kit are included in the price, and you can expect many years of service from this one.

$600 | savage-gear.com




FLOAT TUBE ACCESSORIES

Extras for a Day on the Water

GAF-Float-Tubes
K-Pump K-100

PUMP: The K-Pump K-100 ($78.75; k-pump.com) is a tough, durable, fast-action pump that allows for stand-up pumping and stows compactly. A less expensive option is the Inflatable Watercraft Hand Pump from Classic Accessories ($28.95; classicaccessories.com).

GAF-Float-Tubes
Outcast Power Kick Fins

FINS: Unless your ride comes with oar locks, you’ll need swim fins to propel your tube—though you’ll probably want them even when using oars. Outcast’s Power Kick Fins are lightweight, designed to step into and pack more easily than standard swim fins ($109; outcastboats.com). The company offers cheaper options, too.

GAF-Float-Tubes
MIT 100 from Mustang

PFD: A personal flotation device is absolutely essential when using a float tube. Inflatable models like the MIT 100 from Mustang ($159.99; mustangsurvival.com) are best as they’re less intrusive than the bulky foam-filled numbers.

ROD LEASH: Don’t leave shore without a rod leash of some sort or you will lose a rod. A length of bungee cord can do the job, but the AFTCO Utility Lanyard ($6; aftco.com) is affordable and made for the task.

GAF-Float-Tubes
Frabill floating net

NET: You’ll want a landing net to control fish as you unhook them. Frabill’s new floating nets ($24.99 to $73.99; frabill.com) come in three different sizes.


WATERPROOF BAG: Always put your wallet, car keys and cell phone in a waterproof bag. A gallon-size zip-top bag will certainly work in a pinch, though companies like SealLine (seallinegear.com) offer a number of more reliable options.

ANCHOR: Not essential, but you might consider adding a 3-pound grapnel-style folding anchor to your kit.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

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