The freedom and fresh air are some of the things that we all love about fishing. You can’t get much freer than using a float tube.
You can become one with the water, letting it take you to where the fish are feeding. To get the most out of this experience you are going to need the best fishing float tube available in 2021.
In this article, we’ll offer up some fantastic options and point out some features that you really can’t do without.
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When you are fly fishing visibility is important. By being slightly raised above the water you can see more and catch more.
This float tube has the answer.
It features a higher than standard seat so you don’t miss a thing. Additional benefits include keeping you drier and therefore warmer.
And it doesn’t end there.
Once you are on the water you are there for the day, so it’s important that you are comfortable. This model features a high-backed stadium-style seat, with extra padding and support, keeping you upright and comfortable.
To keep everything to hand this float tube for flyfishing comes with high-capacity armrest pockets, capable of stowing your reels, boxes and accessories. There are even drinks holders!
Staying afloat and upright is Important. The hydrodynamic hull is shaped in such a way as to ensure buoyancy and stability.
Reward: The best mid-range fishing float tube
Great storage and quality finish.
The raised seat is really comfortable.
I love the little extras such as the incorporated fish ruler.
The higher seat may cause you to be less sheltered from the wind.
Overall a solid start. This float tube is comfortable, stable and capable of fulfilling all of your requirements.
Having a great time float tube fishing doesn’t always mean breaking the bank. For the money this is one of the best float tubes for fly fishing that we have seen. It offers great value.
Why? Read on…
You’ll find many features that are normally only included in premium offerings.
As with my previous suggestion, this tube for fishing is sturdy and very buoyant. The hull is shaped in such a way as to make it very easy to steer and the high-quality 600D Oxford fabric is supremely reliable. It’s the extras that make this a great choice.
I like the little touches, such as the seat-mounted fish net to store your catch and the included hand pump, perfect for getting set up on the bank.
A really cool feature is the adjustable shoulder straps meaning you can sling this float tube onto your back and make your way to your favorite spot. This is topped off with Velcro mounts to stow your fishing rods and a paddle if you so choose.
Reward: The best float tube for beginners
Excellent value at a low price point.
Pump and carry straps are included.
Plenty of storage.
Whilst the side mounted storage bags are great, you can feel a little ‘cramped’ if you are fully loaded.
If you are looking for great value then this float tube would be a great purchase. It probably won’t be your ‘forever’ tube, but would be great for those just getting into the sport.
If you like the look of our suggestions so far, but are really limited on budget then you are going to want something that is fairly cheap.
Let me show you this.
You’ll still get many great features but in the lowest priced float tube available. This float tube comes in an eye-catching disruptive pattern material, making you one with the water. It is super lightweight too!
This float tube is constructed of PVC and Polyester offering great buoyancy. It offers great safety features, such as the incorporated seat belt to keep you from slipping into the water.
You’ll be able to transport it easily with the two carry straps, and it weighs just over 12 lbs making it really portable and lightweight.
It has a storage box on either arm of the sizeable float tube to store bits, pieces and various items of tackle.
Reward: Best lightweight fishing float tube
Low price point.
I really like the camo pattern.
The side pouches are slanted away from you. This makes it easy to drop gear over the side if zips aren’t properly closed.
Ultimately you get what you pay for. If you are looking for an introductory means to get into fly fishing with a float tube, this could be a great choice.
This wallet-friendly option will get you out on the water and fishing.
I’m quite amazed by the capacity. As long as you and your gear weigh less than 350lbs you can happily float along all day.
Let me tell you about its features.
Twin booms joined make for an easy to navigate fishing tube. The 600D polyester material will keep you stable and secure throughout the day.
As with our other offerings this float tube comes supplied with a pump and also a repair kit so you can fish without worry of springing a leak.
Boston valves on both booms allow you to fill them with air really easily, and at the end of a long day’s fishing it is a breeze to remove the air ready for the walk back to base.
Reward: The cheapest fly fishing float tube on our list.
A very affordable float tube.
Numerous D rings to attach extra gear.
Cheaper materials can sometimes spring leaks, this isn’t ideal when float tubing.
I probably wouldn’t count on this for several seasons, but as a backup, it would be ideal. Due to the low price point, it might be good as a means to try float tube fishing before investing in something more substantial.
If you are fishing in areas that are pretty remote, it is often a good idea to make yourself as visible as possible.
You won’t be missed with this.
This float tube offers most of the same great features as our other previous suggestion from the same company, with one exception.
This is a bright yellow float tube, making you stand out on the water. This is advantageous in busier areas too, the last thing you want is to come into contact with speedboats.
Reward: The best high visibility fishing float tube
All of the great features found in the Cumberland float tube above plus…
Lightweight and portable when deflated.
The pockets and storage bags are exactly where your elbows would rest, possibly leading to arm fatigue.
Another solid choice from Classic Accessories. The standout difference is that you will be really visible. If you are going to be fishing in areas with heavy boat traffic, this represents a really sensible choice.
This float tube won’t win any awards for innovation, but if you are a casual user or are an entrant to the world of float tube fishing then you don’t want to be overloaded with features and complexity.
What does this offer?
You’ll get several features that will make your day easier. I really like the front-mounted rod holder on this tube. You can free your hands and multitask with ease.
The backrest is an air bladder. This ensures two things. Comfort and buoyancy. Provided you don’t require too much in the way of adjustment, it should keep you relatively comfortable. Another advantage to this type of seat is that there are less straps to snag either your tackle or underwater obstructions.
And there’s more.
An adjustable and durable mesh front tray provides a great surface to work on, whether that be unhooking your catch or checking out your fly box.
It’s pretty durable too. The entire float tube is constructed from heavy-duty ripstop material, perfect for fishing near obstructions.
Reward: The best budget all-round float fishing tube
Sturdy and durable, made of double stitched rip stop fabric.
Easy to get in and out of.
The large entry hole may cause you to slide forward in the seat whilst fishing.
For a few seasons use this could be an ideal choice. It isn’t feature-heavy, but at the end of the day it is possible to go overboard with technology. For a simple solution to fly fishing, this really works.
Ok, this is a slightly different solution to the same problem.
But it works.
You may not be comfortable with your backside in the water or alternatively be limited in your ability to use your legs to paddle a tube. If that’s the case then take a look at this.
You’ll have plenty of room to maneuver as you are suspended above the water by, not one, but two inflatable booms. A lightweight aluminum frame supports this spacious seat above the water, offering excellent visibility and freedom of movement.
Speaking of movement, you can maneuver this craft in one of two ways, either by paddling your feet, or by using the provided and easily stowable oars.
There is plenty of room for gear too. Two sizeable side pockets and a mesh seat back will allow you to fit all of your tackle. Numerous stainless steel ‘D’ rings also give ample scope to accessorize.
Reward: The best twin pontoon float tube for fishing
Superb visibility and storage capacity.
Versatile in movement, use your feet or you’re the included oars to propel yourself to where the fish are feeding.
Due to the frame, this float tube is heavier than any of my other suggestions.
Provided you don’t have a long way to walk this tube fishing system could be ideal, especially if you want to sit above the water. For people with a lot of tackle, this would be a great purchase.
When something is called bighorn you can take a guess as to what you can expect…
This thing is huge.
I like it. Let me tell you why.
If storage and flotation is what you are after, look no further, this is the answer. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to pockets. Essentially you can’t put your hand down without finding one. They are located in the front, back and sides. A durable YKK zip on each keeps your possessions safe and sound.
More features? Yes, please…
I love the color of this float tube. The dusky rust is low profile, but still bright enough to ensure that I am seen when I need to be visible. Oh, and did I mention it is really comfortable?
It is like sitting in your favorite armchair, except you are in the water.
Reward: The best extra-large fishing float tube.
Supremely roomy with lots of great features.
As much storage as you are going to get in a fishing float tube.
Due to its size it may be more prone to being blown off course by the wind.
For the money one of the best fly fishing float tubes on the market. The combination of storage and space truly makes you feel free and at one with your surroundings. Fly fishing in a float tube, exactly how it should be.
If you are a serious fisherman, and you have a serious budget then you are going to want the best. This fishing tube is like a tank, and is what is known as a ‘hybrid’. If you want to go for an extended fishing session then this is for you.
The single inflatable pontoon of this craft is virtually indestructible and is quarter of an inch thick. When combined with 1000D polyester you have the ultimate in flotation. It is capable of carrying up to 450lbs of gear. More than you would ever need.
If you are worried about paddling this beast, don’t. It comes ready fitted with a motor bracket, custom made for a lightweight electric motor.
It’s not all about size, however…
You also want storage. Well, this is customizable and really adaptable. The Clipline system of webbing and Velcro will allow you to attach loose gear or even side bags, ideal for an ultra-long day out on the water.
Reward: The best heavy-duty premium float tube for fishing
Massive carrying capability, both in weight and storage room.
The most durable float tube on our list.
It isn’t the most portable, park near the bank if you are going to be using it.
When you want something that is built to last for a long time you may have to invest a little more. If budget isn’t a concern and you are serious about float tube fishing, this is a premium product that will always perform.
Fishing Float Tubes – A Quick Buying Guide
Whilst not brand new, float tubes are quite novel for some. If you are just getting into them or seeking to buy it pays to know what you are looking for.
Here’s a quick rundown of things you ideally want.
The last thing you want is a puncture. When buying a float tube ensure that whatever you pick is constructed of thick enough material to deal with the everyday stresses and strains that it will be subjected to.
Some of our options are super lightweight. If you are looking for the best fishing float tubes for backpacking then this is a prime consideration.
If you know that you aren’t going to be on foot for a while, or have a lot of gear, you can consider going heavier.
Chances are you are going to be out for the day, so you’ll want to have the ability to carry everything you need on your tube. Obviously, the size of the tube is the limiting factor, but clever use of space, such as arm-mounted pockets and rear nets are really useful.
Chances are, if you are fly fishing you will be wearing a vest to store things that are really essential.
Pointy at the front. This shape will allow you to cut through the water easier and also ensure that your direction stays true if you are fishing on a drift. There’s nothing worse than seeing fish rising ahead of you, only to have them behind you because your tube has veered in the wrong direction!
As I have said you are sat down for the day. If you are going to be in one position, you want that position to be comfortable. Look for features such as raised seats and adjustable back supports. If these aren’t available, as a bare minimum you want an inflatable cushion behind you.
Whilst float tubes are pretty safe, it pays not to take chances. You should only occupy one position when float tube fishing… That is with your behind firmly in the seat, and nowhere else. Things that ensure this are belt straps and a suitably sized seat.
How do you fish in a float tube?
Now, I could go into detail writing a guide… But the best way to learn things is visually.
Here is a neat little video showing you what it is all about. It will take you less than ten minutes and you’ll be good to go.
What to wear when float tube fishing?
Let’s make one thing clear.
You are going to be sat in water. Regardless of how warm you think it is you are going to need a key piece of clothing… Waders. A good pair will keep your legs and backside dry all day.
If you don’t yet have a pair then don’t worry. My fishing waders guide here will tell you everything that you need to know. I find a comfortable pair of sweatpants beneath my waders acts as the best insulation. Avoid jeans… sitting on studs all day is a real test of endurance.
Aside from the above you’ll find that being on the water all day can get cold, even on sunny days. You will want to wear layers and also make sure that your top half stays as dry as your bottom half. The best way to do this is by wearing a really great fishing jacket.
Are float tubes safe?
Of course, they are. However, they are safe in the same way that boats are safe. You still need to treat the water with respect. I never go float tube fishing without a life jacket. It’s just common sense.
Provided you have picked a good quality option you needn’t worry. Things tend to happen very slowly when fishing with a float tube. If you are nervous it might be an idea to perfect your art on smaller water, where the bank is always just a few strokes away.
Want some really great tips on float tube fishing? There’s a superb video just here.
For the money, I really love the Classic Accessories Bighorn float tube. Due to its size you get a fair bit of flexibility to fish however you want, and the best bit is that you’ve got plenty of room to maneuver.
How do you store float tubes?
No, I’m being serious. A rupture or weakness bursting at the wrong moment could spell trouble. The best way to store a float tube is partially deflated, dried, and at ambient temperature.
Extremes of hot or cold can cause degradation of the rubber. Likewise, by fully deflating your float tube you may find that over the winter creases become cracks. If you simply haven’t got the space, this video will show you how to roll and pack your float tube.
So, you’ve seen some of the best fishing tubes in 2021. What’s stopping you?
By being able to float naturally with the current you’ll increase your chances of success. And I’ll be honest, even if you don’t catch it is seriously fun.
What’s the biggest fish you have ever caught whilst float tube fishing?