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Float Tube Fishing in Ireland

Having a really great time fishing from the world's best floating fishing platform

The Two Fly Rods Float Tube System
The best rod length for a tube fishing depends a lot on what line, what length of line and hook sizes you will be using. The lake you fish will dictate a lot of these points.

For tube fishing on the surface I use a ST 6 floater or intermediate shooting head (DT cut in half) with a no 2 floater level for shooting line.
The rod that does this best for me is a 10' 6" medium action.
It is soft enough that when netting a fish the rod is bent to the bottom section, (ideally only the top of  the butt section bends so there is reserve backbone strength available) and not the full length extends over me. A bit long but quite manageable. Moreover, it's long enough for dibbling droppers at short range to attract the fish up.
From the tube dibbling at long range is not necessary because the trout will rise consistently closer to the tube than they will for boating anglers.
There is a lot more on this subject and other fly fishing float tubing over here on this page :  Fly Fishing in Tubes.
The medium action rod I recommend is soft enough that, with reasonable care, small hooks will not be pulled out during playing big fish, due to excessive rod stiffness. but not unduly soft.
The typical medium price general purpose no 6 beginner 10' 6" rod has the action I describe at a low cost.

A pair of fly rods for floating and sinking work
Two rods - two lines for each - 4 combinations in all

I change over from floating to intermediate line pon one rod, or slow sink to fast sink on the other many times during a day with no appreciable delay longer than just changing a fly.

Float tube casting a fly for fish feeding along marginal reeds

Rods that are Suitable
For sub-surface fishing I suggest to use shooting heads ST wetcel 1, ST wetcel 11, and occasionally ST wetcel 111.
Line weight of the sinking STs is no 6 or 8.  (An ST no 7 might be more general purpose)
The sinking heads are backed by dacron type braided 20 lb line which sinks but is neutral, that is - it does not lift or pull down the sink rate of the selected ST in front of it.

The ST no 1S goes to 10 feet with two nymphs at normal retrieve speed.
The ST no 2S goes to 18-22 feet with the same, flies above or inline with the line. But can be adjusted by chosing a single weighted nymph to get the leader below the line.
The ST 3S is for 20 - 40 feet of water in clear conditions.
The rod that seems to suit these styles best is a 10' reservoir rod rated 7-8 or 7-9. A rod in 9' 6" would do just as well. This rod has to have backbone or you wont have crisp contact with the flies. But if it's a fast taper competition casting rod you will get tired maintaining casting velocity. So this action is maybe described as medium-fast.
I use an old Bruce & Walker Reservoir for this. Surprisingly I have not seen many new rods that would substitute easily. It is a tad heavy for smaller trout, but the sinking presentation is not for small trout.

Anyone who held an old glass RW Farnborough knows the action that is exactly right, but in a lighter carbon fibre rod. A modern medium-heavy reservoir comes close if graded tip-middle action.
The overall stiff strength makes a rod hard work over a full day, but the ability to bend in the middle mitigates this significantly. If you find it tough at first - use an elastic wrist strap around the rod handle below the reel to move the workload onto your forearm which won't get tired.

How to Change Shooting Heads Quickly While Afloat

You were fishing the bottom in 4-6 feet of water, but now you moved out to 9 - 10 feet depth. If you count down the slow sink Wet Cel 1 you will waste much of the fishing time, so a Wet Cel 2 is more appropriate.
An alternative is hanging a motionless weighted buzzer under a floater line + strike indicator and wait for the fish to find you. But you stop moving and searching if you choose that option.
Using a faster sinking line allows you to retrieve, and search water while still staying within visibility and taking distance from the bottom at the new depth. So you can see how there is a need to change shooting heads frequently during the day, and back again, so as to search and fish the water column effectively at each level.

Perch on a dropper Corixa
The "spare spool system" advocated unthinkingly by many is flawed because it necessitates rethreading the rod rings to change. Spare spools is only appropriate with full length DT lines for salmon and river fishing trout, but never with ST lines. There is a much better way to change short fly lines. If you change the line while it's all outside the rod tip ring, no re-threading is required.
For this reason all my tubing fly lines have a 4"- 5" loop at their back end, and all backings have the same on their front end. To change line it is a simple matter to cast out and retrieve the line to the point where I can swing the back end of the ST to hand. Take the ST loop. Now pull on it until I also have the front too with a 15' loop (30' head doubled) laying downwind in the water in a big loop. A slow finning speed keeps it trailing all away and tangle free.
Take the leader, attach with rubber band, tape or clip and wind it fly-end first onto an old line spool, rubber band or tape the rear end, and pass the entire spool through the large backing loop to release it.
Take alternative ST on it's spool, pass spool through the backing loop to make two loops knot, roll off into the water (or just strip in the line at the reel in the conventional way to extend the new ST).  Ready!
Time taken to switch from slow sink, to fast sink maybe 60 -90 seconds. And with this system two rods does everything.

Fly Pike from Float Tube

No taking the reel off to change line, and one day accidentally dropping it overboard.
No problem threading rod rings awkwardly with a new line while out in the tube, dunking your reel, and maybe one day breaking the tip section from holding the rod via it's tip.
No rod for each fly line, just two: one softer longer rod for top water and one shorter stronger rod for mid water - bottom.

The reason for selecting the ST no 6 (over lighter lines) when floating line fishing for trout is that it can penetrate wind on back-cast better. This reduces tangles while fishing a three fly leader. A no 5 is ok in calmer conditions, and I have the 5 rod too but don't choose it so often. I would end up fishing shorter leaders or fewer flies.

As long as you are casting short lines on lake or lough, you have no requirement to mend line to overcome (river) current induced line drag, so there is no logical reason NOT to use shooting head lines.
Get light STs not heavy long distance casting ones. Maybe make your own, like I do by cutting standard DT lines in half.
Now you can avail of this fast line change system, and you no longer need to buy and block up your tackle bag with spare spools for your fly reels, each with only one line.
One rod, one reel, one neutral density backing and 4 ST lines each on a quick load spool is all you need. I personally use two rods from the tube to halve the changes during a day, and enable an instant cast with a different fly/flyline to a rising fish when required. This is a very useful option to have.

Rainbow Trout blind in one eye (shown) had no problem nailing this California Leech