Thursday

Hunting with Float Tubes | Outcast Fins

An underreported, widespread practice, hunting with Float Tubes, offers a modest method for accessing water areas.


A float tube is a type of inflatable, personal watercraft.
These were originally made from vehicle inner tubes and called “Belly Boats”. Newer Float Tubes have an open design, a “U” or “V” shape, which allows easer boarding, disembarking or escape. Newer Float Tubes also have multiple and separate air chambers, bladders, cells, cushions and rests, all capable of providing enough floatation for the operator to survive a puncture or other mishap. Seating and operation varies among different Float Tubes. Some are designed so that the operator sits partially submerged below the water line, and others have seating that allows the operator to sit above the water. Some Float Tubes have oarlocks, oars or paddles, while others are manoeuvrable by kicking.



Compared to other types of watercraft, Float Tubes are very affordable, economical, easy to maintain, transport and store.

Deflated, most Float Tubes fit into a small bag. These take up little room, fit neatly in a small car, apartment, closet, back pack, game cart, or, can be easily hidden in the field at water crossings.

Waterfowl hunting near natural water areas requires either a highly trained dog or a watercraft to safely retrieve shot birds. Watercraft will also allow a hunter to safely set decoys. This is due to the unpredictability of wading in natural water areas. Vast areas of shallow water can have a soft bottom, unexpected drop-offs or holes that someone wading might sink in.

Use a Float Tube to set and retrieve decoys and waterfowl. Float Tubes can also be used to hunt big game on large tracts of public land that are surrounded by private property and can only be accessed or entered upon by water.

If you are going to use a Float Tube for hunting, fishing or any other activity, you are going to need a pair of fins to manoeuvre the Float Tube. Avoid the common mistake of believing you can safely push or paddle a Float Tube without fins.





There are very few offerings for Float Tube Fins and even less that can be effectively used with boots. The best and most affordable of these fins comes from a company called Outcast Sporting Gear.

Outcast Sporting Gear’s product line features Pontoon Boats, Float Tubes and all related accessories. They have an adventurous and romantic catalogue that is technically neat and features breathtakingly beautiful outdoor settings and fishing. 


Outcast Fins are “step-in” fins that you step into or slip on over boots and secure with a single, cinch strap.

The Kicker Keeper
Outcast Fins are made from a very tough, flexible material. These fins also come with a lanyard or tether called the “Kicker Keeper” that straps around your leg to retain the fin if it ever comes loose from your foot. Kicker Keepers are also available separately, for use with other brands or types of fins.
Under the Outcast Fin:
  3 precision Strakes
& a structured tread

Outcast Fins are available from major retail outlets and specialty stores
for approximately $35-$40.
Kicker Keepers
can be purchased alone
for approximately $7-$9.


Visit the Outcast Sporting Gear website:
 

 
Tips for Hunting with Float Tubes
 
Always wear a lifejacket near water.

Inflate a Float Tube as soon as you reach a hunting position and place it in the water. This will allow the air temperature inside the Float Tube to equalize with the water temperature. If the air in the tube shrinks, you can then add more.

You can raise the submerged seat in a Float Tube with one or two boat/floatation cushions. These cushions usually qualify as a U.S. Coast Guard Type IV throwable life saving device.

During the waterfowl hunting season, decoys are usually set predawn in placid water and retrieved later in the day when it is often windy making the water choppy. Make sure you wear quality fins for kicking and thrusting through windy, choppy water. A small anchor and stowable paddle are also a good safety measure.

Dabbling/Puddle Ducks feed in shallow water and Diving Ducks feed in deeper water, however ducks spend time sleeping/roosting, playing/loafing in areas very different from where they are expected to feed, therefore most types of ducks frequent both deep and shallow water.

About:
I requested the opportunity to independently test, review & give opinion for Outcast Fins. I utilized donated products for this purpose. Currently, I am not otherwise affiliated or associated with Outcast Sporting Gear and have not received pecuniary compensation or incentive from Outcast Sporting Gear.


2 comments:

tugboatdude said...

I have been looking into buying a kayak for shallow water hunting,however I will need to check into the float tube idea.Another informative post!

The Reverend Fowl ™ said...

tugboatdude,
Thank You for taking the time to comment.
I have been setting and retrieving decoys and ducks with a Float Tube for 3 seasons now. I usually walk about 2 miles to a hunting position from the parking area with a game cart. I’m able to get through downed trees and brush with the cart. I will usually hunt other species on the way back to the car, even big game. My Float Tube has a “Max-4 Wetlands Camo Pattern.”