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Float Tube Fishing in Ireland

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

Tricking Out Your Tube : Rod Rests & Spare Rods

Fly Rod Rests and Spinning Rod Rest Designs for Tubes differ.

No matter how committed a float tuber you are, sooner or later you will want to carry more gear. If a well equipped boat angler can carry spare rods, so why shouldn't we do it too.

There are various ways of carrying spare rods onboard your float tube.

Most tubes have velcro strips on the upper surface of both sides of the tube and a rod can be carried clamped by the velcro material, in two parts in a horizontal fashion.

But while this basic storage idea works ok, it gets in the way if you are fishing with a second rod at the time. So we have come with improved rod rests for float tubes.

Here is a tube rod rack for when I'm out fly fishing.

If you are fly fishing, you need to keep the sky around you clear for rod movement, and aerialised flylines.

So your spare rods are best if stored in a rod rack which is basically horizontal.

It's not exactly horizontal however. There is a slight upwards ramp, so that as you go up and down over waves, the rod tips are not immersed into the water behind you each time your ship's bow dips down a bit!  Also it is important that the rod tips are raised a bit when you return in to the shore so they don't get caught up in the bank.

It is also a good idea to tilt it up in the sideways direction, as this means a side wave will not tilt your water craft, and dunk the rods. It's easier to reach the outer rod this way also.

So a little tilt up towards the rods out behind, and more tilt up away from the water surface to the side, is about right.

This fly fishing tube rod rest was made from carbon fibre 4mm diameter rods got in a model hobby shop or kite shop ( I used www.greenhobbymodel.com where I work) with balsa wood for lightness.

The balsa wood sheets were covered with carbon fibre cloth on top to look cool and to waterproof and protect it, and with fibreglass cloth underneath - fibreglass is half the cost of carbon fibre, and nobody sees the bottom! PVC tubing makes the rod holders. It could be made completely from PVC tube in less time, see TubeDude's photo below for an example of this.

Here it is with my standard trout and perch lake setup. One fly rod with floating line / intermediate very slow sinker. The second fly rod has a sinking line, either Wet Cel 1 or faster sinking Wet Cel 2.

The outfit is completed with a light spinning rod for spinning for fry feeders, drop shotting for deep fish visible on sonar that refuse to cooperate with the fly fishing presentation.

Rod Racks for Shorter Bait & Spinning Rods

The handiest bait fishing or spinning rod rack is slightly different.

If you are bait fishing or spinning with shorter rods, there is no requirement to set the rods horizontal in the rod rest.
This if done wrong can cause wet rods from waves lapping over them, a small but avoidable quibble. Or worse, a broken rod tip when returning to the shore and the horizontal rods get caught in a tree branch or similar.

When the lake is high, a bait fisherman will want to get closer to the flooded bushy areas and fish from there with short rods, whereas a fly angler will prefer to stand off a bit in open water, casting into those areas. Once again a bait and spinner prefers less paraphenalia sticking out from his tube so he can get closer to the brush.

This is achieved by a vertical baitfishing or spinning float tube rod rest like the one shown left.

How to Make a 4-Tube Vertical Rod Holder   by "TubeDude" from BFT fishing forum

I am always playing with my PVC and trying to come up with new rod holder designs. Here is a pictorial on my latest innovation.

I use 1" SCHEDULE 20 PVC for the rod holder part. Don't use the heavier schedule 40. The walls are thicker and they will not fit most rod handles. The schedule 20 has the same outside diameter, so it works with standard 1" PVC fittings. But, it is lighter and thinner.
I have used the 1 1/4" schedule 40 PVC in the past and the tubes are large enough for almost any rod, but that stuff is heavy. :

Here is a pic of the precut parts, with lengths of the tubes indicated. This was made to fit the Fat Cats, where the outside D rings are 13" on center.

That dictated that the spacer tubes were 4" long. You can make them longer or shorter, depending on how you want to mount them or how many rod tubes you want. You could also do a 2 or 3 tube.

After the rod holder tubes are cut, I use a Dremel drill 1/2" sanding drum to buzz out the depressions on either side of the top, for the reel handle to fit into.

If an L shape notch is cut, with a little 90 degree turn, the reel mounting part will rotate slightly and lock into the turn and the rod is even more secure.

The next step is the gluing. Since you do not need to worry about holding under pressure, you do not have to use primer or a fancy gluing job. Just be sure to get the pieces straight as fast as possible, when gluing, because the cement sets up fast. Use clear cement for a neater job.


TubeDude on Lake Pleasant, AZ, with an angled horizontal rack. It worked fine, but is not recommended for fishing in cover or near shore. The vertical design is far more convenient in these places.
It suits fly fishers where vertical rods would interfere with the back cast.

Here is the assembled 4-tube holder, with the 2 nylon loops that will be used to attach to the D rings, and an illustration of how the bottom stabilizing bungee fits into the grooves cut into the lower tubes.
You don't have to paint the rod holder. Here is a green painted one...using an old can of green Rustoleum paint. Any good exterior paint will do.
Here are the two nylon rope loops fastened to the D rings on the outside of the tube, waiting for the rod holder.
Here is the rod holder with the first and third rod tube inserted down into the nylon rope loops.

's wife (TubeBabe) trolling and fishing jigs.
The PVC tube rodrack on the far side of the tube stores
her extra rods accessible, but neat and out of the way.

This shows the final step in installing the rod holder, before inserting the rods. You bring up the thin bungee cord from the bottom and hook it into the grooves cut in the two middle tubes. This pulls the bottom down and stabilizes the rod holder.
Now you can install the rods.
This shows how the rods are spaced, using the 4" spacer tubes. You can make the spacing greater or lesser by using different sized spacers.
This was the first test of the new rod holder. Got a few nice cats.
Another test run produced some wipers.
 Reproduced here with kind permission from the author Pat Scouten (TubeDude)
A rising angled fly rod holder with new Breech Lock Style Drop Slot Secure Reel Mounts
which avoids rod tip-to-bank-vegetation contact when near shore. B
y the late "Zonker" from BFT fishing forum 

I've been doing a little work on my float tube. I often fish trout and bass from it using fly rods, so I decided to go all out and make something with that in mind. Here are some photos. Most of the mods are inspired by the ideas of others - especially those on the Big Fish Tackle Float Tube Forum.
In the pic, the yellow pool noodle is attached to top of floating fish wire basket. I use this when I fish our in-town lake for stocker trout. Yum!

Also seen in the pic immediately below are the blue/red inflatable PFD, the Fishin' Buddy fish finder, and the green Wood River fly fishing bag. Not seen in picture are the net, anchor bag, and fins.

All PVC is 1 inch schedule 20.

The rod tubes are drop slotted for holding fly rods, and a breech-lock-style notch is at the side of the slot bottoms.

Net slides in "T" attachment on far right. Slots are cut to keep net from turning. Gravity holds it in and it is offset so it doesn't tangle with rods.

Here's the frame unattached. It is held on the tube with clips and bungie cords. It can be disassembled into three parts by removing two bolts. Dark gray padding is foam pipe insulation held on with zip ties.

Here is a shot of the shaped tubes, cut with a Dremel tool. Note that neat slot shape! The cross bar in back that gives frame rigidity. Fishin' Buddy finder attached. Fishfinder holder is 3 inch black pipe held on by three hose clamps. Frame is bungied to bottom d-rings on tube.
  Reproduced here from Zonker's  various posts in the BFT forum. Unfortunately Dave (Zonker) passed away after illness spring 2009.
Simple single fly rod rest for 2 fly rod system   by the late "Zonker"  

You don't need more than two rods if you are going out fly fishing for trout. One with a floating line and the other with a sinker, or intermediate as conditions dictate. One rod stays in hand, or across the apron while retying flies or unhooking fish, the other goes in the rod rest. This means that if we want to travel light, we only need storage for one unused fly rod at a time.

I have used velcro straps off the two side mounted D-rings, with a safety lanyard clip (for prevention of possible wet fingered fumbles while placing and removing the rod) for my version of this.

Here is Dave's (Zonker's) design for a holder for a single second fly rod while tubing. As you can see, Zonker made a more thorough job of it, modifying an easily purchased boat deck mounting rod rest unit. The photo is self explanatory. Deck mount fixed to two straps which go around the tube, velcro to stop slippage.

The advantage of raising the rod tip a bit (for when you come back in near bankside vegetation) has already been discussed. So bear this in mind when setting your rod rest up. A higher point of attachment for one end is ideal.

  So this is a quick, simple answer for the carrying of a second fly outfit while afloat without a boat. It's interesting to look at this design, then read up on TubeDude's quickfit design below, which emerged later. The wood pocket inserts devised for that are a very handy way to mount this rod holder

 Reproduced here from Zonkers Blog here: http://zonkersfishingblog.blogspot.com/ . Unfortunately Dave (Zonker) passed away after illness spring 2009.
A  tube-rod rack design which is
 both horizontal and vertical

 by "IcemanXXXV" from BFT fishing forum

 Here is Icemanxxxv's design for a holder for a fly rod which has two settings to suit whatever kind of rods you carry while out tubing. This is an excellent design, and very compact. Notice that supporting T-tube, which  will be  useful in most of the other rod rack designs as an improvement to their stability and an "adjustable angle" upgrade.

 Icemanxxxv : I wanted to design a rod rack for my Togiak float tube. After looking at vertical racks people have designed I thought with my errant casting skills I figured vertical wasn't for me. Vertical rod racks would be nice for launching, beaching, and in tight spots. Fixed horizontal racks while better suited for my casting skills would not be the best choice for other situations.

Here is what I came up with a rack that adjusts from near vertical to near horizontal. The best of both worlds. I just drilled a hole in the tube joint at the Vertical and one at the horizontal position. Disassembled the joint cut the slot in the tube and installed the screw in the hole through the slot and secured with nut washer and locked the threads with super glue. Because once the other tubes are glued up there is no getting at the nut to re-tighten.

The two in the back move together. The rod holders are held in the vertical position by the tension between the "T" fitting and the tube. The nut on the inside is backed up with a star washer and a plain washer then it was tightened to provide the correct tension. Than a drop of super glue on the bolt threads and nut, since I can't rely on torque to keep it tight. When the tubes are in the horizontal position they rest on the stop created by the end of the slot in the tube.

I would like to thank all who have posted your rod racks for others to see with out these posts I could have never came up with this one!

 Reproduced here with kind permission from the author IcemanXXXV from his posts in the BFT forum.

Strapless Quick Fit Multi Rod Holder   by "TubeDude" from BFT fishing forum 

I have been codgertatin' for some time on how to add all of my PVC "essentials" without having to use the bungee straps and clips. That stuff works but it is a pain to set up and take down.  The end result is that it should be exactly what I am looking for...simple, easy to install and remove, little (if any) added weight...and rock solid. No problems with instability of rods, waving in the waves or breeze, etc.

The key to this installation is using a pair of 2" x 2" wood blocks inside the pockets...fore and aft...to create a stable frame for attaching external goodies. Then, I connect the front and back blocks with a thin strip of wood along the inside of the outside edge of the pockets. That makes it possible to anchor the "anchor" pieces of PVC to which I attach the modular rod rack and utility rack.

The wood blocks are secured by running in 2 to 3 screws into the ends...through the fabric of the pocket. I position and secure them with the tube partially deflated, to get a good flat mount. Then, when the tube is fully inflated it applies pressure to make them even more steady and stable. That framework stays in place and the modular racks just pop in place when you are ready to rumble. The wood strip is about a half inch wide...painted particle board, but any wood will work. You can either screw or bolt the outside anchor PVC to that board.

Contrary to what might be expected, the wood framework takes up little space. Nor does it add appreciable weight. But, it does make it possible to mount other things on the outside without having to strap them down or use bungee cords.

Here are a few pics (right) and the finished job (below)


 Reproduced here with kind permission from the author Pat Scouten (TubeDude)