One way to get some extra propulsion is
to pack a couple of ping-pong paddles or kiddies'
hand-fins in the back pouch with your lunch. Make
sure they have wrist straps to avoid loss. Obviously
these are useless while fishing, but they will be
appreciated if you have to get ashore in an
opposing wind (isn't it always blowing from the
direction you want to go?).
If you wear fins over the neoprene feet of
your waders, or over neoprene socks, carry a pair
of oversize, inexpensive, boat-shoes along. Often
it's far easier to walk to the car along the shore
than to kick your way back, especially if a nasty
wind springs up.
Particularly when fishing deep chironomids,
one needs to anchor the float tube. I have used
old lead sash weights with integral eyes but a
better solution is the type of lightweight folding
anchor sold primarily for kayaking.
Use your anchor rope as a depth guage by tying
a knot every 5 -6'(1.5-1.8m).
Check float tube bladders at least once a year
for signs of deterioration, watch for any rubbing
of the external surfaces when transporting, and
remember that widely fluctuating temperatures
affect inflation pressure.
...consider wearing a floatation vest of some
sort (some jurisdictions require them). Stearns
makes a very comfortable, although not inexpensive,
auto or manual inflatable.
To change lines without danger of losing your
rod, break it down in the middle. Put the tip section
in the rod holder and string the butt section. Exchange,
string the tip, and rejoin.
Don't use rods shorter than nine feet. Being
so close to the surface makes long backcasts very
difficult with shorter rods.
Never clip anything on the outside of a
float tube unless it has a safety cord. Flipper
keepers are another good idea.
When fishing a long leader in a float tube,
don't hesitate to reel the leader into the guides
when trying to land a trout. Don't worry about
hang-ups, just make sure there is a smooth
connection between line and leader and drop
the tip if a big fish runs.
Ensure any potential purchase has a large
stripping apron - there are few things as annoying
as having a sinking line continually falling off
the apron and tangling in your feet.
While neoprene waders help keep one warm
when spending hours with various anatomical
parts underwater, my choice is Goretex
fortified with a couple of Polartec layers
when necessary. This combo helps prevent
dehydration due to excess perspiration.
Most problems occur during entry/exit
operations. Back into and out of the water
and don't sit or stand until at knee depth.
If you start to fall throw your rod into
the water to avoid breakage. ~ PCM
More next time.
Credits: Excerpt from Stillwater Fly Fishing,
Tools & Tactics By Paul C. Marriner, published
by Gale's End Press. We appreciate use