Fishing

Ditch the TV and try a different kind of tube — with a lake view

Picture yourself sitting in your favorite recliner — the pillow-soft, broken-in one that everyone fights over at grandma’s house.

Now imagine it’s 90 degrees outside, but no sweat. This particular recliner is waterproof. In fact, it’s made for the water.

Cool relaxation and a breeze on your face. Sounds pretty good, right? But what if I told you this recliner sat in the middle of your favorite lake, surrounded by fish? And that if you hooked a big one, it just might take you for a ride?

Welcome to the magical world of float-tube fishing. Toss a cold beverage in the cup holder, and you’ll have a hard time finding a more perfect scenario on a hot summer evening.

In addition to being a comfy place to beat the heat, float tubes offer a long list of advantages and conveniences. Here are a few of the highlights:

Access. On ponds and small lakes, float tubes offer great access to places bank anglers — and even some boaters — can’t reach. Your new-found mobility will be a game-changer, and you won’t be limited by boat ramp access or low water conditions.

Portability. A deflated float tube fits in tight spaces, making it ideal for anglers with limited storage or small vehicles. Tubes are light and easy to carry, so packing them into alpine lakes and other hard-to-reach destinations is relatively easy (and totally worth it.)

Cost effectiveness. Boats are great, but they are a significant investment. Float tubes start around $75, so you can get on the water for a fraction of the cost. Tubes come in many shapes and sizes — I recommend reading online reviews to determine which model will best suit your style of fishing.

Fun! Float-tube fishing is awesome. You get a bit of a leg workout (tubes are powered by scuba fins) while exploring new places, and bigger fish really will take you on a tugboat ride. It’s also a great way to get on the water while you save up to buy a boat.

In the spirit of full disclosure, tubing does have a few minor challenges. These include wind (the stronger the breeze, the more you have to kick), current (ditto) and the occasional flat tube (though most of the time, you just need to add air to compensate for natural deflation). Be warned that hooking your first fish might take a few tries — your leverage is different sitting so low in the water, so setting the hook takes a little practice.

As always, play it safe on the water. Fish with a friend, wear a life jacket, avoid tubing in inclement weather and bring a whistle in case you need to call for help. Some of the best nearby tubing lakes include Crane Falls Lake, Bruneau Dunes (the small lake), Halverson Lake, high-mountain lakes, Horseshoe Bend Mill Pond and Treasure Valley ponds.

Tight lines!

Jordan Rodriguez has been fishing Idaho waters since he was a teen. Share your fish stories, adventures, tips and tricks at outdoors@idahostatesman.com.

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