Best Fishing Float Tubes
Are you struggling to figure out what it is you desire when you go out fishing? There are several different manners in which you can fish and several different platforms you can use. However, if you like angling, which is a particular method of fishing, then a float tube may be in your best interest.
They are a bit limited in what they offer but they can offer a truly relaxing experience. Yet, float tubes come in various shapes, sizes, and designs and that is why you are here today. This guide is aimed to take the guessing game out for you as we break down what truly matters in a float tube and provide you with several different options that could suit you well.
- Large back mesh platform
- Excellent outer shell
- Massive weight limit
- Creek ODC 420
- Adjustable backseat
10 Best Fishing Float Tubes
While the tube itself sports a hydrodynamic shape for excellent steering and tracking, it also functions as a full-featured hunting float tube complete with a decoy bag.
The seat on the Marshland sits you very high above the water and it can aid in a much drier and warmer fishing experience.
Featured on the Marshland are two cargo pockets that each has double zippers that are easy-to-open. Plus, it also is designed with two interior pockets, two drink holders, and a large mesh platform on the back.
A Realtree Max-5 waterfowl print and web loops have been added to this tube to create a simple and effective blind for hunting. As for fishing, it sports a quick-release stripping apron with a fish ruler for measurements.
Size and Capacity
When assembled, this bad-boy clocks in at 18 pounds which is fairly heavy. But, what is nice is there are removable shoulder straps to assist in an easier transport. Oh yeah, and this can hold anyone up to 350 pounds.
Even if you have no intentions of utilizing this as a hunting tube, it holds its own as a fishing tube. However, consumers who love both hunting and fishing will truly be marveling at what they see here.
- It can be used effectively as a hunting float tube
- Features a large back mesh platform
- Has removable straps for easier transporting
- It is quite large and may not be ideal for long backpacking trips
Much like with their Marshland, Classic Accessories has designed their Cumberland Float Tube with a hydrodynamic hull shape. In addition, the aforementioned abrasion-resistant PVC bottom adds much-needed reinforcement.
Even if you plan on spending hours on the water, the thickly padded seat and adjustable backrest of the Cumberland will keep you comfortable. On top of this, the seat sits you up high off the water.
If you can’t find a location for all your gear in this tube then you simply have too much gear, to begin with. There is an ample amount of storage space including two drink holders, two cargo pockets, a rear storage pocket, a mesh storage platform and D-rings for attaching your gear.
Directly in the front of the seat is an integrated ruler labeled into the mesh material. This can be used to measure your catches and goes up to 18 inches.
Size and Capacity
This is another float tube from Classic Accessories that is rated to handle up to 350 pounds in weight. But, the Cumberland is a bit lighter at only 14 pounds.
A simple search of the best fishing float tubes on the market should lead you to the Cumberland. It is one of the most infamous models available and users across the land continue to marvel at its design today.
- The outer shell is excellently designed
- Has a massive weight limit of 350 pounds
- Designed with spacious armrest storage
- The front bar is not attached to the tube
- One user reported the bladder caps broke easily
Creek Company ODC 420
As opposed to some of the other float tubes on this list, the ODC 420 is a pontoon-style tube. As was just mentioned, this enhances the speed you will experience and moves quicker than ever.
Coming with this float tube is a thick foam seat that will keep comfortable and dry as it elevates you above the water. In combination with the adjustable backrest, this provides enough comfort for all-day fishing.
There are enough storage compartments on the sides to account for your smaller items. Meanwhile, the rear storage area can hold bulkier items such as a cooler. Lastly, D-ring attachments are included.
To ensure you are ready to go immediately, both a high-volume ODC pump and lightweight fins are included with your purchase.
Size and Capacity
It is quite amazing how the Ultralight Combo ODC 420 is a mere eight pounds, which is half the weight of the regular ODC 420. Another bonus is a carrying bag comes included for easier transport. Lest ye forget, it also can hold up to 300 pounds.
This has the distinction of being labeled the best non-Classic Accessories fishing float tube in the world. It is amazing how it is able to combine comfort, practicality and portability all into one so efficiently.
- Designed with an adjustable backseat
- Only weighs eight pounds making it very lightweight
- It is a pontoon style float tube which enhances comfort and speed
- A 6-foot 3-inch user claimed they reclined the whole time
- The bladder valves are located in the bottom of the arm pockets
Outcast Super Fat Cat
Indeed, the durability and construction are the major aspects that jump out when discussing the Super Fat Cat. Even though it is built with lightweight materials, it is ideal for the hardcore user because of the 500-denier PVC fabric and welded seams.
A major bonus of this float tube is it comes with an inflatable seat and backrest. Not only do these provide comfort, they are also highly portable as they can be deflated. Additionally, the seat sits high.
There is seemingly a spot for all your gear and belongings in this tube. First off, there are two large gear pockets and two beverage holders. Then, there are D-ring attachments and a storage system behind your seat.
The Super Fat Cat has been designed with a Velcro rod holder and this allows you to sit back and relax while you wait for a fish to bite.
Size and Capacity
Again, the fact that both the seat and backrest are inflatable significantly aids in the portability of this float tube. But, it is 17 pounds and a little heavy when assembled. Also, this is capable of holding up to 300 pounds.
What separates the Super Fat Cat from some of the other fishing float tubes out there are its unbelievably durable construction and inflatable seat and backrest. It is not the cheapest model out there but it certainly is worth every penny.
- Features unbelievable build quality and durability
- Backed up by a five-year warranty
- Integrates an inflatable seat for comfort and portability
- There is no crossbar across the front
Caddis Premier Plus
Besides the double stitching at the critical seams and the heavy-duty ripstop fabric on the top and 500-denier tarpaulin bottom, the unique teardrop shape stands out as this offers a great balance between speed and stability.
Both the four-inch foam seat and the two-inch foam backrest are adjustable and you can tailor them to your liking.
While there are two large main equipment pockets, D-rings, and two auxiliary pockets, one user expressed their dislike with the small sizing of the pockets. They claim because of this, the storage options are a bit limited.
Besides the stabilizing bar, front rod holder straps, and stripping apron that were already alluded to, fluorescent safety accents, two removable dry fly patches, and a ruler across the font are also included.
Size and Capacity
One thing is for sure; this is built like a beast and can handle a maximum weight of 325 pounds. Now, at 19 pounds, it is a bit large and one user even noted it was awkward to carry.
Caddis designed quite an impressive float tube with their Premier Plus. Not only does it sport a unique teardrop shape, it also is one of the better-built models out there in terms of its durability.
- It is double-stitched at critical seams for enhanced strength
- Features a teardrop shape for a great balance of speed and stability
- Sports a maximum capacity of 325 pounds
- It is a bit awkward to carry due to its size
- The pockets are a bit small which limits the storage
Staying with the Classic Accessories theme, this is another hydrodynamic hull shape float tube and it has been designed for buoyancy and stability.
While there is certainly nothing wrong with the adjustable backrest and high-back stadium seat as they combine to provide a great deal of comfort, they are not inflatable and can be more difficult to transport.
Integrated into this float tube are pockets for your gear, a small mesh pocket, flat zippered pockets, reel pockets and storage in the armrest.
One key element that has been integrated into this tube is a fish ruler as this allows you to measure your catch to see how good your game truly is.
Size and Capacity
The 300-weight capacity of this float tube is right around the ballpark of various other models and so is the 15-pound weight when assembled.
As one reviewer pointed out, the only real issue with this design is the abnormally small air valve size. A bit of patience will be required on your end to inflate and deflate this but if you can handle that, you will have one the most well-rounded float tubes out there.
- Cuts through the water with great efficiency
- Sports tons of storage compartments
- Features a comfortable seat and adjustable backrest
- The air valve is about the size of a large drinking straw
- The cushions are not inflatable
Outcast Fishcat 4
This has been crafted with vinyl fabric and grey 500 PVC. Plus, with the open-front design, you can get on this tube with little to no hassle and sit higher off the water.
Once again, the seat and backrest are not inflatable and instead are made up of foam. But, they provide a great deal of comfort while also keeping you high off the water.
Inside of the armrests, you can store a lot of your personal belongings and gear as the compartments are zippered.
Outside of the fact you can outfit this with an optional anchor system, it features an adjustable shipping apron. It is intended to be oversized so you can trim it to suit your style.
Size and Capacity
With a load capacity of 250 pounds, you do have to be wary of what you are bringing. Unless, of course, you are not even close to 250 pounds, to begin with. This is also only 14 pounds when inflated.
Other fishing float tubes out there may offer more versatile storage compartments than the Fishcat 4 but it certainly has its perks in its own right. The load capacity is not as high as some of the others, though; so be wary of that.
- Features an open-front design
- There are great storage compartments in the armrest
- Integrates an adjustable shipping apron
- Does not feature inflatable seats
- A few users have had durability issues
Again, the U-shape design of this tube allows it to seemingly glide across the water. In addition, the outer shell is designed with a new ripstop nylon upper and a Cordura bottom.
Besides offering a superior ride, the U-shape design also aids in comfortability. Per the experience of one reviewer, they noted how the seat was very comfortable.
There are six pockets in total with two of them being auxiliary pockets and the other four being designed for your main equipment. All in all, this should be enough space for most fishermen.
To add another layer of stability to the tube, there is a padded stabilizing bar. In addition to this, there is a stripping apron with a ruler for proper measurements.
Size and Capacity
It would have nice if a storage bag was included but alas, this is not the case. Plus, the weight limit is only 225 pounds which simply may not be enough for some users.
One of the factors that hold this back is its rather subpar weight limit. This is a bit ironic as one user called this tube virtually bombproof with its impressive construction. Still, it is a well-built model with plenty of storage compartments.
- It is built to withstand rigorous abuse
- Features a U-shape design for easier navigation
- The seat sits you up high and you do not slide down
- Can be cumbersome to get into
- The weight limit is a bit low at 225 pounds
Its Classic Accessories and what do you know, another one of their floating tubes is designed with a hydrodynamic hull shape for improved tracking and steering. Hey, if it is not broke do not fix it, right?
Overall, both the back support and the seat have received some criticism. One user noted the seat angle is a bit off while another commented on the weak back support.
There are several storage pockets in the armrests alone but when you add onto that several other pockets throughout the tube, it becomes clear that Classic Accessories wanted to ensure there would be a spot for everything on their Bighorn.
The quick-release stripping apron features an integrated ruler to keep track of how large the fish is that you are catching. Also, there is a safety flag pocket.
Size and Capacity
Its 11-pound weight when inflated makes this one of the lighter tubes out there but you would never know that as it has a maximum weight capacity of 300 pounds.
Looking past the slight issues with the seat and the backrest, this is another top-of-the-line model from Classic Accessories. It seems like at this point, they could design a fishing float tube blind and it would still be sufficient.
- There are loads and loads of storage compartments
- Features a hydrodynamic hull shape for improved steering
- Includes a stripping apron with a fish ruler
- The seat has received some criticism
- A few users have noted it takes too long to deflate
Thanks to the unique sculpted design, with a hydrodynamic hull shape and an uncluttered deck, both the steering and tracking of this tube are improved.
Again, the main design of the float tube also aids in comfort on top of tracking. But, it also helps that the backrest and seat are both comfortable.
While this does not feature as many storage compartments as the Bighorn, the Teton still has several present. Some include D-rings for attaching gear and multiple pockets in the armrests.
Just like with their various other models, the Teton sports a stripping apron with an integrated ruler for reasons you already know.
Size and Capacity
Both the Bighorn and the Teton weigh in at 11 pounds and just like the Bighorn, this means the Teton is one of the lighter models out there. Its 250-pound weight limit is a tad lower but is still solid.
When you are investing in any sort of product, it is best not to limit yourself to only cheap models. Everyone has a budget, but spending the extra money can oftentimes prove beneficial. However, the Teton Float Tube is the exception to the rule.
- Has a comfortable backrest
- Despite the low price, it features a very tough and durable construction
- There are D-rings present for attaching gear
- Does not include bungee straps for the apron
- The tube to inflate it is poorly located
Criteria Used For The Evaluation
The Main Design
There are a variety of different types of fishing float tubes available and their key distinguishing feature is their shape. Among the major types, you can get are round tubes, U-shaped tubes, pontoon-shaped tubes and teardrop-shaped tubes. All of these shapes work a little differently and it is up to you to decide which one you prefer. Most of the entries on this list do not sport a round-tubed design as this has become somewhat of an outdated design. Because round tubes are tougher to maneuver and create a ton of drag while you are riding in the water, they are not as popular.
Pontoon-shaped tubes will literally be designed with cylindrical pontoons on each side and offer performance advantages in maneuverability and they also tend to provide you with more room than other shapes. Meanwhile, U-shaped tubes are nice in the sense that the open front makes getting in and out of them easier. Lastly, a teardrop-shaped tube is actually a hybrid of the former two shapes. The main reason they are so popular is that of the pointed section of the raft. This allows it to cut through the water with ease.
As a bit of an extra note, keep an eye out for the durability and construction as these are two key components.
How Comfortable the Ride Is
It does not matter if you plan to go on two-hour or all-day excursions on your fishing float tube, you want the ride to be as comfortable as possible. When assessing the comfortability of a float tube, there are two primary areas you need to focus your sights on. The first, to no one’s surprise, would be the seat. First off, it needs to be padded enough to provide comfort for your rear. But, it is also nice when it sits you high off the water as this is naturally more comfortable (plus you do not have to worry about a wet seat).
Yet, the backrest is just as important as the seat and is the second primary area. While this needs to be padded as well, it really needs to be adjustable as every fisherman will have different preferences on how they want to sit. With a stable backrest, you can’t adjust it if you want to sit up or lay back a little. It is the simple things in life that matter, after all.
The Amount of Storage Options There Are
The number of storage options you need will probably depend on the level of fisherman that you are. If you have several different bobbers, lures, and other baits, along with other various gear that fisherman need then you probably will want a float tube that allows you to easily store all of these items. Plus, on all-day adventures, you are bound to get hungry and thirsty so having compartments for food and liquids can also be ideal. The kicker is some designs will be overloaded with storage compartments (such as several in the armrests, cargo pockets, rear storage pockets, cup holders, etc.) while others will only have a few pockets.
What you need to do is to figure out what you will typically be bringing with you when you take your float tube out for a spin. Remember, even if you do not use the extra storage space it is fine but if you need more storage options, you are screwed. In other words, shoot for more storage space than less if you are on the fence about it.
Some Noteworthy Integrated Features
The fishing float tubes that are presented today in this guide are tailored for fishermen, more specifically anglers. What this means is there are oftentimes integrated features that can come in use for the average fisherman. This could be something as simple as a stabilizing bar to increase the stabilization of the tube or even an integrated rod holder to allow you to sit back and relax while fishing. But, one of the primary features that fishing float tubes will have is a stripping apron.
This feature sets them apart from other tubes as a stripping apron will aid in fly line management and also to reduce line snags. But, they will also typically have an integrated ruler on them that will allow you to measure the fish that you catch. Not only is this nice as a personal preference but there are also specific regulations that fishermen must abide by in regards to the size of certain fish species.
The Size and Capacity
You have almost completed your buying journey. But, you can’t forget about two more critical features. One is the size and portability of the float tube and the other being the weight limit. Starting off with the former, fishing float tubes are going to vary in both size and weight and this could play a huge role in your final decision. Also, if the float tube is difficult to inflate and pack, it may start to become more of a nuisance than anything. Plus, if you plan on backpacking with a float tube, you may want one that is not as heavy and cumbersome.
As far as the weight limit is concerned, this is important if you have a ton of gear and are a bit heavier than other people. We are not here to call you out for being overweight but you certainly do not want a float tube that is not rated to hold you; that is simply not smart.
Q: Can You Attach a Trolling Motor to the Back?
Spending a leisure day on the water with your float tube allowing the water to guide you can be great at times. However, there may be instances where you want to move fast and this is where a trolling motor comes in handy. But, before you get your hopes up, it is not recommended to install a trolling motor on a float tube. For starters, you will probably not find a spot that is rigid enough to mount the motor on in the first place. Then, you would have to take into consideration the excess weight that will be caused by the motor.
Not only would the motor weigh you down by itself, you would probably be submerged in water after you began moving with it attached. You may be able to pull this off on an inflatable pontoon boat but for a float tube, it is best to stay away from trolling motors.
Q: Are There Any Tips to Take Before Using a Float Tube?
One of the worst scenarios that can happen is you inflate your tube only to find out that it is not holding air. This is even worse when you find this out while you are in the water as you will need to get out as soon as you can. A simple way to avoid this is to inflate your float tube beforehand and to allow it to sit for a couple of hours. Come back and see if any significant air has been released and if it has, you will need to check to see where it is leaking air. If the leak is small enough, a simple patch job should fix the issue.
Also, make sure you have both an air pump and a patch kit in your tube as if you do find out you have a leak while you are in the water, this will allow you to find dry land and perform a quick patch. Then, you can manually re-inflate your tube to working order.
Q: How Much Air do Float Tubes Need?
If you know anything about air pressure, then you understand that too much can actually be a detriment. Take, for example, a sports ball. If you fill it up with too much air, it will begin to stretch out the ball and eventually a hole will burst and you will be left with a ball that no longer holds air. The same idea applies to a float tube as if you over inflate it, the pressure of the air can begin to stretch the stitching and this can lead to blown seams.
But, there still needs to be enough air for you to stay afloat. As soon as you notice the wrinkles on your tube disappear, that is a good stopping point. Remember, it does not need to be as hard as a rock just firm.
Q: How Do You Fish with a Float Tube?
What if you have never fished or even been in a float tube? You may be a bit apprehensive about entering the water for the first time on your float tube. If you follow some of these basic pointers, you may have a better frame of mind before you tackle it for yourself. To begin, it is always wise for you to make note of specific landmarks that are around the area where you enter. For example, if you notice a specific building, tree, or any other landmark make note of it. Next up, pay attention to the current of the water and if you can’t notice it because it is too subtle, simply stay still and see which way the water takes you.
As far as catching fish, you would be surprised at how close you can get to them without scaring them off. Keep your eyes down and when you see an area with several fishes, cast in that area.
Q: How Do You Store a Float Boat?
There are two types of storage that you need to address. The first is when you are transporting it in-between trips. During these scenarios, all you really need to do is keep the tube partially deflated and ensure it is not in contact with direct sunlight. However, if you are talking about storing it away for the winter season then you should deflate the entire float boat and leave it in a well-ventilated area.
Clearly, all the materials in a float boat are waterproof and generally resistant to mildew but it still does not change the fact that it is better to store them in well-ventilated areas.
Q: Where Do You Keep the Fish that You Catch?
Some people go fishing for the mere enjoyment of getting out in the water and relaxing. However, there are other fishermen that are looking to get a nice meal out of the deal. If you are planning on keeping some of the fish that you catch, then this question pertains to you. For the most part, there is not going to be a specific compartment that you can keep the fish in on your float tube. Yet, you can do some preparing to ensure you have a place for them.
There are a few options you could choose such as bringing a wire mesh floating basket, a small cooler or even a stringer that you can clip onto the built-in loops.
There is no questioning that fishing float tubes are a bit limited in what you can do. Yet, there is also no debating how useful they can be for angling and how much entertainment they can provide. At the end of the day, is there anything better than relaxing out on the water with a fishing pole in your hand?