Much Air to Pump up the Tube in psi?
3 to 3 1/2 psi air pressure for me with my tubes. Most experienced tubing pals seem
to have settled on this amount of pressure as preferable.
When I used to use a low pressure gauge I learned how much psi to use
and how it makes the
tube feel ...
(don't know what happened to the gauge, I lent it to a "friend" and
didn't see it again.)
2-3 psi was "bouncy" surface, would sag if put on the water, creases
going or just gone, but reappear if you rest weight on it, making a
3 psi was getting more supportive, all "creases" gone.
3-4 psi was "hard to the touch, no creases, but would make a slight
depression from leaning on it" and that is the feel I still fill up to
achieve now, and then stop filling.
4 psi was more hard to the touch, resisting pressure from a hand or
elbow, and stitching was becoming visible in seams if you looked hard.
The tube was feeling very strong at this pressure.
My tubes can take 4psi pressure no problem, 5-6 is the limit which
damages, but one time I put a
cut in my tube cover from a sharp edged broken reed while wading through
a reedbed to a pond. (The inner was unmarked due to being a different
material) This was a lesson that woven materials are easier to cut if
pulled over taut. I learned that a "little more give" would
reduce the chances of that happening again. (Try drawing a knife over
something stretched very tight - it cuts more easily than another item less taut.) So with this in mind I
now compromise with 3 1/2
lbs psi, which feels pretty taut, very firm, and getting hard to the touch, but
less than rock hard.
This has worked just fine for me for over 25 years.
When You Get a Take
If using non-stretch braid or similar or wire, just lift
the hook in.
Or if you are using monofilament kick back on the fins and
simultaneously lift with more authority, remembering to ease off
promptly once the hook is in, to prevent inducing a berserker fishy
Unhooking Big Fish eg Pike
There are several photos there showing how simple it is to hold a
"chinned" big pike at the tube side, and done this way, unhooking is a
calm and methodical affair.
You need a leather glove for the left hand, and a surgical forceps about
8"-10" long for your right hand.
BEGINNERS SHOULD BE AWARE that once you have put your hand inside
a pike's gill cover (avoiding the gill rakers which are sharp-ish) the
fish will lie there docile and still, WITH MOUTH OPEN while you unhook
The dangerous thing to avoid
while unhooking pike, is a jumping fish with hooks flailing
about, but "chinning" a pike, inserting your left hand under his chin,
feeling for the gill plate (the side away from the hooks is usually the
underneath side as he plays out and the line lifts his head slightly) he
may thrash as you feel for the right place but you are prepared for
this. Then you slide your gloved fingers in, lift his head up, and the
pike goes still AND OPENS HIS MOUTH BY HIMSELF. And you take a
forceps in your right hand, reach in, lock it onto the hook bend, turn
the hook upside down, and it pops free. Simple and safe.
Admire your unhooked fish, reach out to arms length from the tube. then
lower your hand to the water surface, sweep the fish into a little
forwards motion, and withdraw you hand from the gill cover allowing the
fish to continue onwards just under the surface, released.
It is easier and safer to bring big fish to the side, rather than the
front, due to a late dive (which shouldn't happen, but will occur
rarely) causing a tangle with the fin straps which are in that area of
Take a look at the photos to see what I
Based on my own personal experiments and thousands of pike the only
unhooking devices you need are two:- a long quality forceps (a
surgical one with a hinge that will not twist, and handles that will not
bend, thus releasing the lock), and one leather glove for the left hand
which will do the chinning, to protect fingers against scrapes from gill
Using only these two implements I have landed and released very many
double figure pike up into high twenties, never a problem.
times I have removed my own trace, and then removed another trace left
there by other less experienced anglers at some earlier stage
Children in Float Tubes?
Wait until they are older ...
Nothing I mean nothing can compare to float tube fishing.
My boat hasn't seen water in over a year. I think it is time to sell it.
A float tube is just so aesthetically "right". Young people enjoy
tubing too. But it is good to be aware of physical limitations that
affect enjoyment and safety during a day on the water.
However for younger kids I am definitely biased towards a boat ... it
keeps Dad nearby to sort out tangles, tie knots, bait up, etc.
My own kids really enjoyed boating when they were little.
Come age 10 - 12 and a tube begins to look more adventurous, just
"teenage" kicks in, and time with Dad might be otherwise seen as "un-cool" or
"boring". A float tube experience gets rid of all that, and the day is full of adventure
again. Start off with a round donut tube, and graduate up as confidence
builds, and you observe good safety based tubing, to a Vee tube with a
crotch strap. The "no strap" vee tubes are best left to adults.
I suppose it depends a lot on the personal ability/confidence of the
children themselves, and the confidence their parents have, and the
freedom that seems wise to allow, given the always present water based
dangers we deal with while we enjoy our leisure.
Common beginner mistakes - boot foot waders and big fins
buy their first float tube, and know what equipment to buy, but not
don't know the relative merits of the different alternatives available.
A common mistake beginners make is getting boot foot type waders (
planning to use them for both bankside wading and tubing ) and a pair of
fins with extra large feet that fit the boot. This appears to work ok. A
kicking gently all day wears red spots on your legs from jeans seams.
The loose foot of rubber waders causes chafing on your skin. The
beginner assumes this is normal but it isn't. It's self inflicted
discomfort. Later they get a pair of stocking foot waders, and slip on
tighter fitting glove fins. The rubbing and chafing disappears
completely and it's clear they had the wrong gear for a while.
After you develop an efficient kicking style over a few months you can
get some bigger fins and go farther and faster than ever. The mistake
here is to buy those advanced fins at the start. They will make you kick
harder, too hard, and you will get muscle cramps which are self
inflicted and very painful until they go away. You need to work up to
those stiff fins, not start off with them.
If you have been boating you know not to knock back a load of beer and
eat a big meal before going out. There is no loo out there, and if you
have a pal who is ignorant of this it can be a real drag having to leave
the fishing to come back to shore so he can take care of "urgent needs".
Well a boat is one thing, but in a tube you are out on the water,
wearing chest waders, with a jacket over, and maybe a considerable
"walking" distance from the lakeshore.
it is NOT a good idea to stay off liquids and food, that reduces your
body's energy and could cause dangerous dehydration. Eating too much
before exercise is also liable to cause muscle cramp, and that hurts.
The sensible middle way we learn after a few trips in the tube is to
bring a bottle of water and lunch. Eat and drink small amounts as
required, using a periodic top up approach. Think marathon runner rather
than sprinter when planning eats. Every so often take a swallow from the
water to stay fresh. Consider freezing the water bottle the night
before, (empty a little out to allow the contents to expand and replace
the cap after freezing) and drink the cold water as it melts. It tastes
better that way.