Fly Fishing Things

Float tubes, Kickboats, Rafts   Back to Categories

Fly-fishing Watercraft.  Choosing the right craft is not a decision to be taken lightly.

flyfishingthings.com/float tube flyfishingthings.com/U-boat flyfishingthings.com/Kick boat or pontoon boat. flyfishingthings.com/rubber raft
Float tube U-Boat Kick-boat Rafts

Although float tubes, U-boats, kick-boats and rafts can be used on rivers, they are primarily used in lake fishing.  As soon as you begin to fly-fish you will come to realize that lakes are easier to fish than streams (the first time you spend standing and wading  the whole day on a stream, you’ll know what I mean.).  Because of that reason, to really get the most out of lake fishing you'll need a watercraft of some sort. 

Now you’re faced with the decision-- “What kind of watercraft do I buy?”  All have their advantages and disadvantages and all are very safe and stable. There are four basic types to consider.

 flyfishingthings.com/float tubeThe float tube or “belly boat”; basically a big floating donut. The advantages for buying a float tube is that it’s inexpensive, very light to carry, and doesn’t require a lot of space to haul around.  The disadvantages are:  you can't kick float tubes very fast,  they're very hard to hold a position in a high wind, somewhat difficult getting into and out of, and you sit low in the water which makes casting more difficult. However, because of it’s lightweight, a “Belly boat” is the preferred choice if you plan to hike into a high mountain lake and fish.

 flyfishingthings.com/U-boat "float tube"The U-boat was the next step up in the evolution of float tubes.  Basically what someone did was shape a donut into a U.  The main advantages over the “belly boat” is that it is very easy to get into and out of and you sit higher which makes for easier casting.  You just slip it under your butt like a chair and sit down.  The U-boats is a little faster than the float tube because you don't have the tube pressing you knees down.  The wind still plays havoc with it however and they're a little more expensive than a float tube and take slightly more space--and it’s heavier but having said all that, they're a great first choice. 

 flyfishingthings.com/Kick boatThe kick-boat or pontoon boat: (Yours truly actually invented the kick boat back in 1991; and I can prove it.  The design was stolen from me but that’s another story. The advantages are that kick boats are very easy to get into; you sit up high and out of the water; you can row it and/or put a motor on it; and it’s the fastest of all the watercraft.  You can cover a lot of water with a kick boat. Most kick boats have storage for a dry bag. The disadvantages are: it’s way more expensive that the “belly boat” or the U-boat but less expensive than a water-master raft;  kick boats take lots of space;  have to be assembled and disassembled; perform poorly in wind, and are very heavy to carry. 

Rafts are fantastic.  I love fishing out of a raft.  Rafts have been around for years.  It wasn’t until somebody decided to cut a hole in the bottom of one that they become a viable product for fly-fishing.  They are very comfortable to fish out of, however they are expensive.  You sit high and dry when casting.  Because of its shape the wind just blows over it and because of that, you’ll be fishing while everyone else has gotten off the lake because of high winds. They’re easy to propel with your flippers.  You can row it and or also mount a motor and go anywhere you want. With a raft you can cover a lot of water.  There’s also plenty of room for extra gear and a dry bag. The disadvantages are that they are expensive, (well over a thousand dollars) relatively heavy (but lighter that a kick boat) and are not the easiest thing to carry especially if the wind is blowing. 
They do have to be inflated and deflated for storage. However, when deflated, it doesn't take a whole lot of space.  If you have the budget, this is the way to go. Here's like for rafts.

Accessories for rafts and kick-boats (pontoon boats). 

flyfishingthings.com/motor mount for raft flyfishingthings.com/battery flyfishingthings.com/rod holder flyfishingthings.com/swim fins flyfishingthings.com/wading booties
Motor mount Battery Rod holder Flippers Neoprene booties

Check out my “Fly fishing Lakes” page to learn the basics of Stillwater fishing and fishing out of float tubes.