Belly boat fishing can be a great way to target fish in ponds or lakes. Here is what you need to know about this kind of fishing.
A belly boat – often also called float tube or fishing tube – can be an excellent choice when targeting fish like bass or pike in ponds or lakes. These floats allow for a quite approach and and easy handling of fish caught. They also offer great flexibility when fishing waters that are a little more remote. Inflatable belly boats can be packed into a car and even carried on the back to ponds or lakes a little off the beaten path.
Other than in a kayak or canoe, you don’t use a paddle but your feet instead with a fin on each foot. That gives you great flexibility in casting since you don’t have to row or cast but can do both at the same time. Since belly boats and float tubes become increasingly popular, more and more manufacturers start producing them. In this guide we want to give you an overview of what’s out there on the market and the pro and cons of the different styles and models.
Best Belly Boats on the Market in 2021
In this buyers’ guide we want to give you our opinion on a number of float tubes. We’ll offer our recommendations on all kinds of tubes for all kinds of budgets to make sure there is an option for all fly fishermen and women out there.
What to Think of
The great thing about fishing float tubes is that you can get going with little extra gear. Some float tubes in our test include additional equipment such as fins or a pump to inflate your belly boat. Additionally you might consider getting things like rod holders, anchors or dry bags depending on the gear you carry.
Most modern day bellyboats have good storage options in the form of multiple pockets. It might take some time for you to get used to your float tube but once you’re settled in, it’s a nice and relaxing way to fish. And it will get you places you would not have considered before.
It’s also a comfortable way to fish if you’re practising catch and release since you’re very close to the water’s surface and can hence release fish with ease.
Goplus Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
The Goplus Inflatable Fishing Float Tube is a great way to get into belly boat fishing. At only a little over $100 it offers many features of a quality fishing float tube.
The Goplus Inflatable Fishing Float Tube has nicely padded seat that ensures comfort all-day long and features a security strap. Behind the seat is a net to store gear or your catch. On each side it features big storage bags for your tackle and gear. The ruler just in front of the seat makes it easy to measure the fish you catch.
The Goplus Inflatable Fishing Float Tube can be easily carried on your back. It has 350 lbs load bearing capacity hence making it a good choice for bigger people as well. It comes with a pump so you are ready to fish within minutes.
Weight: 12.5 lbs. Comes with a pump and 2 x repair package.
The LAZZO Inflatable Fishing Float Tube is another great choice to get started with belly boat fishing. It comes with a pump which means you can get going within minutes.
The LAZZO Inflatable Fishing Float Tube even features an adjustable back rest, a feature that is usually reserved to mid-range and premium fishing floats. It’s bearing capacity of less than 300 lbs (286 lbs) means it’s not the ideal choice for big people.
The LAZZO Inflatable Fishing Float Tube also comes with adjustable shoulder straps that make it easy to carry this fishing float tube around. A seat buckle strap provides extra security when out on the water.
Weight: 15 lbs. Comes with a pump.
The Classic Accessories Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube is an excellent choice for the highly organized fisherman. It provides numerous (zippered) pockets on both sides of the fishing float.
At 300 lbs its bearing capacity is a little lower than the Goplus Inflatable Fishing Float Tube and it comes in at 15lbs. Just like its brother (we’ll talk about in a second) it features a high adjustable back rest. The padding on this one is not quite as comfy as on the Cumberland version (see below).
Of course the Classic Accessories Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube also features shoulder straps to carry the belly boat and a fish ruler on the front for measuring purposes.
Weight: 15 lbs.
The Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube is one of our favorites in the mid-range section. There are a number of features that are very thought through and make it a great fishing float tube choice.
The Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube features a high adjustable backrest which can be a great asset especially if you are planning to spend long days on the water. The float features two rod holders and adjustable shoulder straps for easy transport.
The Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube comes with one large double zipper cargo pockets on each side for ample storage. Two interior zip pockets provide even more room for valuables. The Classic Accessories Cumberland Float Tube also features a fish ruler in front of the seat for easy measuring of the fish you caught.
Weight: 14 lbs.
With the Outcast Fish Cat 4 LCS Belly Boot we are entering the section of premium fishing float tubes. You won’t realize all the features that make this kind of belly boat more expensive at first glance. The difference is in the details.
The Outcast Fish Cat 4 LCS Belly Boot‘s high seat position makes you sit comfortably above the water making casting easier from an elevated position. The PVC bottom is very sturdy and abrasion resistant.
With a load capacity of 250 lbs the Outcast Fish Cat 4 LCS Belly Boot is not the perfect choice for big people. It weighs in at 15 lbs making it a good choice to carry around to a remote lake or pond.
Conclusion on Belly Boats
Belly boat fishing can really open up new waters for you. It is easier than you might think and adds great flexibility to your fishing. However, before going on your first fishing float tube trip to a remote pond or lake, make sure you are able to carry all the gear.
The float tubes in our review all weigh in between 14 lbs – 20 lbs. That might not seem to much at first glance but remember that you need to carry fins, rods, reels, etc. as well. This can quickly add up to 25 lbs – 30 lbs. Usually it’s a good idea to limit your fishing gear to the essentials.
Give yourself some time to get used to fishing from a belly boat in the beginning. Like anything that’s new you will need some time to get used to the movement of the float. Casting from closer to the water’s surface needs some getting used to as well in the beginning. In the end it might even help you to perform clean casts.
Managing your line might take some time as well. Just like when fishing from a boat or skiff, make sure your line is free before letting it shoot. Don’t get frustrated – your line will get caught every once in while which is totally normal.
Storing your Fishing Float Tube
One last word on taking care of your float tube: always make sure your tube is dry before storing it. Also, don’t leave your belly boat in the trunk of your care for longer periods, especially not during summer. Just like waders, these fabrics are not made to be exposed to high temperatures over longer periods of time. Don’t store it fully inflated for longer periods of time.
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