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01 August, 2013





 Float Tubing

Photos: John Scatchard

In 1991 I purchased a "Trout Traps" Float tube, and this was the best investment I have made in fishing equipment - "besides my Loomis of course".  The world of Float Tubing opened up a whole new area of accessible fishing areas to me that I once was unable to get too or experience if I had been 'tubeless'. For the uninitiated angler a float tube is either teardrop or circular in shape. Tubes are commonly constructed with a truck tube and a canvas outer. My model also comes with a smaller tube inserted into a back rest to give more comfort and support. A seat is sewn in the middle that the angler sits on and propels himself along with flippers.  As I do not own a boat, I often faced the universal problem all shore based Fly Fishermen experience at some time or another during most trout seasons, trying to reach that frustrating trout rising just a out of reach from the shore. Trout in lakes like Little Pine Lagoon and Arthurs Lake are renown for this demoralising and taunting behaviour. Also a problem faced by Tasmanian Fly  Fishermen of late, the rising levels of Great Lake. I spend nearly every evening fishing in Swan Bay or Dud Bay with a Dunny Brush when ever I am in the highlands. The new lake levels have made it almost impossible to negotiate the Kerosene bushes and the deep water from the shore. Without my Float Tube I would have missed the smutting trout and the excellent night fishing, which accounts for a large percentage of my catch rate throughout a season. Float tubes are the perfect vehicle for lakes such as Little Pine Lagoon, as it is very easy to launch and one can paddle around all day without any hassles of ever being to far from shore if 'Nature Calls'. Float Tubes are very environmentally friendly, no smoke or oils to worry about. Maybe with all the environment impact and planning studies being undertaken and submitted at present on Little Pine, boats with outboard motors could be banned in the future and tubers will have the lake to themselves ( Oh well we can all dream) The float tube is very manoeuvrable and surprisingly fast, which allows you to stalk feeding trout and cast a fly right on their noses. I have had trout rise nearly on top of me, giving me one hell of a fright. I guess from  down below all they can see is a doughnut shaped silhouette and flippers, and must mistake us for being an oversized duck. I have a number of friends who use Float Tubes, and prefer them to boats as they are more economical, and easier to carry around and launch. Most tubes are very light and come with backpack straps, enabling them to be carried into nearby or isolated lakes such as Lake Fergus. Float tubes are very comfortable, but it is advisable to wear neoprene waders when using them in Tasmania to prevent hypothermia, a real danger to 'tubers' with prolonged stays in the water. Which is easy to do I might add when the trout are rising around you. It is also a good idea to carry a little food in the side pockets so you can eat and fish at the same time. I prefer to take energy bars or fruit and a drink as fatigue can be a danger. I remember one day I had at Dee Lagoon with my best mate Dale Herbert. This was Dale's first attempt at tubing and I might add very nearly his last. We had a hard slog getting out and Dale's fitness was not what it should have been and he collapsed on the shore on his return. He scared the hell out of us, and we sure learnt a very important lesson.