Sunday, December 20, 2009

Float Tube - The Maiden Voyage

As one would expect, not everything goes as planned on the maiden voyage. Hey, look at the Titanic. This one was not quite as bad. I got to the Camanche Trout Pond about 0900. Stopped for a few minutes and chatted with Rich and Mark. Then I went over to the parking lot to launch the float tube.

I had left it slightly flat due to elevation fluctuations and got out the 12v air compressor. Pumped it to the max and set it by the lake with rods and such, nearby. After putting on my waders and PFD vest, I decided to sit in the float tube and put on my flippers. I’ll know not to do that again. Spent several minutes trying to get my leg bent enough to put the fins and chasing myself around in a circle. Next time I’ll sit on the bank and do it there.

OK, got the flippers on, the stripping apron attached, and I was ready to go. Leaned into the back of the seat and nearly dumped the thing over. I thought I had it adjusted correctly, but apparently not. It was like sitting in a Barq-o-lounger. Of course, you drive this thing backwards and when you lean back too far, the back end comes out of the water. Minor seat back adjustment needed. Got that fixed and off I went.

Got out from the shore about 25 feet and started stripping line from the reel with a black Wooly bugger on the leader. Another seat back adjustment. Flippered myself out another 100 feet or so and another seat back adjustment. I knew I’d get that thing right sooner or later. Did a few strips and a few casts, and another seat back adjustment. This went on all the way across the pond. Got close enough to the other side and pulled up to the bank. Stood up and did another seat back adjustment. Sat back down and started back out across the pond when I realized I was only being propelled by one flipper. What the hell! Back to the shore and reattached the left flipper to my foot.

Changed from a black Wooly bugger to a Clouser Deep Minnow in Chartreuse/White. Did anyone tell you that guiding a float tube into the wind is easy? Took me half as long to get back to the other side of the pond, all the time stripping and casting. Made a U-turn and started back across. About then, I saw a fish rise to surface and whipped my Clouser just beyond. Two strips and the fish was on. Then the fish was off.

By then I’d been out for about 2 ½ hours. Thought I’d better call it a day. I tend to overdo sometimes and wanted to be sure I could walk tomorrow. The wind was picking up too. We’re expecting a storm tomorrow night. One thing I noticed too was that the float tube was getting a little mushy. I don’t think I had the valve tightened down enough. Re-work that for the next time.

Well, that’s it for the maiden voyage. I’m a little bit sore in the shoulders, but a couple of Tylenol will take care of that. Oh yeh, when I got home, I tightened down the seat back all the way. Should solve the problem. If not, I'm in trouble.

Till the next adventure.

Mark (Shoreman)


  1. Glad you didn't lose that second flipper! I'm sure you'll get it down quickly and be cruising that pond like a pro in no time. Good luck & happy holidays!

  2. Being an ol' time float tuber, I had to chuckle a little as you told the story of your maiden voyage. Sure brought back a lot of memories from a long time ago. Troutrageous1 is right, you will get it down and someday look back at the memory and chuckle just as I did. No motion sickness? I remember that, too!

  3. You will have a blast on the tube! as long as you stay warm and have the seat dialed in you will do fine. My maiden voyage was earlier this fall at amador, and I've done very well at the camanche trout pond. Enjoy! merry X-mas

  4. I have always wanted to fish out of a tube. Then again a little afraid of hooks and inflatable rubber. Great story for your first go, at least you did not flip. Now that would have been titanic.
    Tight lines

  5. Shoreman, I'm just now climbing up off the floor recovering from my laughing attack. LOL, that was a hysterical story, mostly because I remember it from my first float tube journey years ago. But it is my favorite kind of fishing. A tip - while still on shore, attach your flippers and step into the float tube on the ground. Then bend down and pick up the tube to your butt and walk backwards (don't try walking forwards in flippers), down the bank into the pond. When it gets up to where you are almost crotch deep in water, simply 'sit down' in the tube and glide backwards. Sounds complicated, but works like a charm!