It is mid-February here in Indiana, light fluffy snow-flakes are flying…but all I can think about is the next few months when the weather starts to cooperate and once again I am ‘back in the saddle’ atop my Creek Company ODC 420 float tube. For some the idea of a float tube is foreign. For others they may think back to a questionable time they had while trying to fish from an inner-tube tied around their waste. If you are one of these folks then let me urge you to catch up to the era of float tubing and the incredible technology we have available to us in the 21st century!
Let me quickly add that I don’t have a deal with The Creek Company, I don’t get any perks for recommending their products…I just have to say that I have never been in another brand and my many, many hours in the ODC 420 has convinced me that a better tube is something that I won’t go searching for; I am stuck with this model and choose to be!
As you can see from the included photos…today’s float tubes are not only highly functional, but are very comfortable as well. On some days I will spend upwards of 8 hours on the water (with a break about halfway) and except for a couple of old athletic injuries I am very comfortable during that time.
I have tried explaining this to others…if you haven’t yet tried fly fishing from a float tube then you just don’t know how completely functional these lightweight little boats really are. I will try and explain; a right-handed person can put the bank or edge of the lake on their left side and by kicking backwards, be casting, non-stop at all times. To try this with a kayak or canoe just simply isn’t going to happen because at one point you will have to move and either drag your fly line or put it back on the reel…then once to your next chosen spot-have to reverse the process. All of this is very time-consuming and even less functional.
By choosing the correct fly-line…you can then choose how quickly to move along. The real beauty is that with any type of sink-tip or full-sinking line, you can adjust how deep you allow your fly to reach by how quickly you move backwards. Slow down your speed or movement backwards…and you will also be allowing your fly to sink to a deeper depth. There are times each year when I find feeding panfish I tie on a weighted bitch-creek nymph and simply hover in place allowing my fly to slowly sink through various levels of water and hungry fish. Once the ‘tug’ is felt a quick strip set will have you hooked up with a side-winding, hard pulling blue-gill, crappie, or even a catfish!
One more viable point; when I hook into a big fish (still water) I can quickly turn my kick-fins sideways lean away from the fish and tow it away from trouble. My hands are still completely free, no paddling or anything to do except fight and land the fish. Give that a try in one of the aforementioned modes of fishing. In fact, in moving water to fish alone in a kayak is quite difficult in the sense that once you have hooked into a fish you really don’t have any way to move or get out of upcoming trouble…however with kick fins you can maneuver and give yourself time to navigate and land the fish.
So, as you start to plan your spring and summer…take a minute and ask yourself if you are ‘ready to get your float tube on’!