A while back my family and I tried something new, for us anyway. We wanted to float the river in tubes, but we also wanted to do a little fishing. Due to time constraints, I suggested we do them both simultaneously. While I really was not sure how it would work out, we were willing to give it a shot.

So, we loaded up the tubes and fishing rods and headed out for the river. The low water level made for a slow current, which made it nice for trying our luck at fishing out of our tubes. As long as we did not bury a hook into our tubes, we should be good, I figured.

As we lazily floated down the river, we would make intermittent casts when we approached areas that looked as if they held promise of hiding a spunky smallmouth. At times, we would even hop out of our tubes and wade for a bit if the area looked like it deserved more attention. We had the best of both worlds really. We got to enjoy the relaxation of floating the river and enjoying nature, while also getting in some fishing to boot. And we did not have the hassle of wrestling a boat around or have to deal with loading and unloading it either. That being said, there are a few drawbacks when attempting to fish from inflatable tubes.

First, do not hook the tube! No explanation needed here. We got lucky and avoided this, although I easily could see it happening to me sooner or later. Another slight disadvantage is that you do not have quite the vantage point from a tube as you would in a boat. Sitting in a boat gets you higher off of the water’s surface, allowing you a better angle to see into the water for likely structure, such as submerged rocks that can hold fish. There were times when we did not see them until we were right on top of them. 

Another disadvantage is that it just is not easy to maneuver in a tube. Things like taking a fish off the hook, making a retrieve after your cast, etc., can be just a little more challenging but not all that bad. If you try this method of fishing, don’t plan on hauling a bunch of gear and tackle around either. Tying a floating cooler onto your tube works great for drinks and such, but as for tackle boxes and the like, that is a whole different story. Oh yeah, one more thing; if you decide to tie multiple tubes together so you can stay together, I’m not sure I would mess with it. You do not want to be so close that anyone is in danger from another person casting, and if your rope is too long, one of you might end up on one side of a bridge piling while the other ends up on the other side! Not that I would know, of course, I can just see such a thing happening. Just sayin’.

Now, they do make tubes that are specifically designed for fishing, which would be way better than the typical type of tubes you simply float in. They are designed with seats in them, allowing you to sit vertically, which makes things a whole lot easier for the fishing side of things. You can even wear fins to allow yourself to maneuver easier. But if just lazily floating the river and enjoying the day is your thing, these tubes aren’t for you. And unfortunately, there really is no “in-between” tube.

All in all, we had a blast. We had a leisurely trip, and we caught fish. What more could we have asked for? True, the two together might not be the perfect combination, but they worked. If you plan on fishing seriously or simply floating and relaxing, this might not be the way to go. It really kind of is combining the worst of both worlds! But for just wanting to spend the day on the river with no intentions of anything in particular, you might want to give it a try!