Why go float tubing?
How often have you fished from the shore and had the frustration of watching numerous fish topping just beyond you furthest casting range? If you have ever experienced this and remained fishless, then you have identified one of the major reasons for taking to a float tube and going after your prey. It doesn't mean that you will automatically catch the trout you see, but at least you can get amongst them and work out the best method from an advantageous position. As long as you don't splash about excessively you will not disturb the fish, so the rest is down to tactics and your skill.
Float tubes offer the angler wide opportunities for exploring wild waters in areas such as Scotland and Wales, and give opportunities to reach those hard to get to spots on many waters. Many reservoirs that allow boats restrict them to fixed anchoring buoys, whereas in a float tube you are usually unrestricted in your access to the water. Sometimes, just the opportunity of getting out to a quiet spot on the water and quietly enjoying the peace and solitude, while observing nature and wildlife around you is reason enough to take to the water. Although speaking of solitude, it is always advisable to fish with a float tubing buddy in case you get into difficulties. (The BFTA stipulate that only pairs of float tubers should take to the water - for safety reasons).
It is possible to buy lightweight float tubes which pack down small enough to be backpacked over hills to remote lochs in Scotland, (check for permission first). Catching wild brown trout from underneath steep inaccessible hillsides give tremendous satisfaction, as well as fast exciting fishing. Many of these tubes can be sufficiently inflated by mouth if you are 'sound of wind'. Lightweight plastic fins are also available if you search hard enough.
One often overlooked reason for taking to a float tube, is for a fisherman with back problems to continue to be able to participate in their favourite recreation. The support of the water will often overcome the strain points that cause the problems on compressed spines. The only caveat to this, is when the wind increases to an uncomfortable level, then the disabled angler may be best leaving the water.
If you are interested in bird watching as well as fishing, then a float tube is an ideal base for observing waterfowl, and particularly the smaller birds and waders which inhabit the shoreline. There is also no experience quite like having an Osprey dive into the water a few feet away and catch the trout you were hoping to hook, as happened to us on Eyebrook a few years back, and personally also in Scotland. Grebes and other diving birds will often surface within a few feet of you, and survey you with a supercillious indifference. Nesting birds on islands and remote shores will generally observe you quietly, rather than take fright as they would if you were approaching them on the bank. Gull Island at Stocks reservoir, when we fished it, had a particulary good range of birds on it at nesting season - I vividly remember finning past a sleeping fox that had swum across to this captive feast a few years ago!
Interestingly, many float tubers are frome the middle aged and older generation. There is no particularly good reason for this, other than perhaps these folks, mostly experienced and competent fishermen, are looking for new methods of pursuing their sport. Surprisingly few teenagers and youngsters take to the water in float tubes, and equally very few women join in. A couple of the best float tube anglers I have met have been ladies, and it is a great shame that there are so few of them around.
Members of the BFTA fish waters all over the UK each year. The aim is to get enough competitions and meetings in relatively easy range for all members to participate in at least four competitions per annum. Those with the four highest match positions and thus lowest points scores at the end the season, are in contention for the Championship trophy. Much banter and friendly competition ensues as the season advances. Great fun! Why don't you come and join us?