How To Fish Stillwaters

January 19th, 2004

Stillwaters, lakes, ponds and reservoirs are the most underutilized fisheries in the North America. Why? Because the average fly fisher doesn't know how to fish them, or where to start. Stay tuned, you too can master stillwaters! ~ LadyFisher

Basic Equipment for Float Tubing

By Patricia C. Pothier

Your most important piece of equipment is the tube that you use to get where you want to fish. There are now three basic types of tubes for you to consider: round, U-shaped and power.

First, the traditional round tube ($150-200) comes with back rest (which is usually an encased smaller, folded up inflated inner tube), mesh seat, quick release buckle, pockets, O-rings and velcro for attaching and securing equipment, a full front mesh stripping apron that stores retrieved fly line and lets water pass through. The float tube should be big enough to fit your body comfortably and yet give support to your back and legs while providing a fairly high ride on the water's surface. Another version of the round tube is a bladder tube which is a light weight water proof ring ($150-200) without inner tubes. It can be inflated by mouth and is ideal for back packing and fishing small lakes or ponds.

The newer, more expensive U-shaped rube ($275) has all the features as described above. However it has an open front-end construction which allows more maneuverability and is easier to get in and out of. This tube is particularly useful for the physically challenged fisherman.

The motor assisted tube (POW-R Tube $550) has the essential features of the round tube. In addition, it has an electrical connection to a smaller tube which is zipped into the basic tube. This tube holds a 12 volt 10 amp marine battery and a small trolling motor which extends below the water line. The smaller tube is easily zipped into the covering of the larger tube. It has a hand operated forward/reverse and speed control mounted on the left/front side of the main tube. Although the motor assisted tube is more expansive than the other types, it is much less expensive than a boat and more easily carried. The motor assisted tube allows the fly fisher to cover more water with less fatigue, fish more effectively in the wind and come back to the launching site safely and easily even against strong winds...

Usually tubes are not inflated at the time of purchase, so before taking off for a lake you need to make sure that your tubes (large and auxiliary in back rest) are inflated sufficiently to support your weight, but not enough to overstretch the seams of the fabric cover. Most gasoline service stations have compressed air and will offer this service to you. It is also a good idea to carry a portable pump and deflating tool in your car to increase or decrease the amount of air pressure due to changes in temperature or altitude. Never leave a fully inflated tube in a hot vehicle because it could explode with increased air pressure. If you need to leave it in your vehicle, release some air to prevent damage to your tube. Foot pumps are available for around $24 and air pumps that work from your automobile cigarette lighter range from $30-50.


Hard rubber or plastic fins are used by float tubers to propel themselves through the water. There are many types of fins ($30-100) used for float tube fishing. The properties to look for are those that provide you with comfort and effectiveness. You need a fin that fits comfortably over your wader boot, sock or bootie and large enough that it does not cramp your feet and is of a weight suitable to your own size and strength. Secondly, you need a fin that will be large and shaped in such a way as to give you maximum propulsion for each stroke. A popular fin made by Force Fin ($70-100) has a curved flexible "V" shape that is extremely efficient, adjustable for foot and boot size and lightweight. Its upturned tips allows you to walk forward which is quite an advantage. Whatever type of fins you use, even if they are billed as floating, you will also need a pair of fin tethers ($7). These are usually nylon or rubber straps that fasten around your ankle and connect to the fins to prevent loss. It is very difficult to return to shore or even continue fishing if you lose one fin! ~ PCP

Continued next time.

Credits: Excerpt from Float Tube Magic By Patricia C. Potheir, published by Frank Amato Publications. We appreciate use permission.

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