fishing with a float tube

Top 6 Best Fishing Float Tubes Reviewed 2019 + Essential Buying Guide

For an experienced angler, there is simply not an option to compromise when it comes to fishing the best lakes and streams. But often, such locations are closed off to boats in order to cut down on pollution.

Interestingly, an ideal solution has been around for some time – fishing float tubes!

Before you go out and purchase the first model you see on the store shelf, you need to learn a bit about fishing float tubes.

Our helpful buying guide and FAQ will answer many of your burning questions about fishing float tubes as well as provide knowledgeable guidance about what you should look for in a reliable model.

Finally, our reviews for the best fishing float tubes of 2019 will provide you with immediate insight into which high-quality models are available for purchase.

With your newly acquired insight into fishing float tube specifications, you’ll be able to easily pick the model that is best suited to your individual fishing needs.

Top 6 Best Fishing Float Tubes Reviewed 2019

Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube

Review: Anglers in search of the best fishing float tube for backpacking need to look no further than the Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube.

This model has been specifically designed for fishermen and women who need to take a short trek through the woods in order to reach their favorite fishing spot.

With adjustable carrying straps on this model’s exterior, you’ll be able to lug it easily to your favorite hidden fishing hole.

In terms of storage, the Classic Accessories Cumberland provides a decent amount of space across its entire 47″ x 17.5″ x 56″ body. This includes two cargo pockets inside of the armrests as well as a moderate-sized mesh storage platform behind the thickly padded seat.

This model even features twin fishing rod holders, allowing you to cast out multiple lines at once.

The Classic Accessories Cumberland is fairly durable across both its ventral and dorsal sides. In particular, this model includes a unique abrasion-resistant PVC tarping across its entire bottom, allowing it to resist sharp and jagged water obstacles without ripping.

Taken together, this fishing float tub is able to hold up to a hefty 350 lbs. while still remaining fully buoyant and hydrodynamic.

First-time fishing float tub users can also get off the ground quickly with the Classic Accessories Cumberland as it provides optional packages that include either a set of flippers or a hand air pump.

Both add very little to this model’s already modest price tag, making it a strong choice for anglers looking to try out this innovative fishing method.

Pros

  • Easy-to-adjust carrying straps for easy backpacking.
  • Abrasion-resistant PVC bottom for added durability.
  • Plenty of storage across two cargo pockets, two cup holders, and two fishing rod holders.
  • Hydrodynamic hull shape for simplified tracking.

Cons

  • Weak back support for tall folks.
  • Air bladders prone to leak if overfilled.

Takeaway

Overall, the Classic Accessories Cumberland is one of the best and brightest fishing float tubes available on the market today.

Between its purpose-built durability and comfortable set up, fishermen and women up to 350 lbs. can happily use this inflatable craft to cast out into the middle of lakes generally inaccessible to boats.

Classic Accessories Bighorn Inflatable Fishing Float Tube

Review: The Bighorn is also another prime offering from Classic Accessories that maintains much of the brand’s durability while refocusing its construction on comfort and storage.

Though other leading fishing float tubes come close, few other models can match the Bighorn when it comes to providing the space and comfort needed to enjoy a full day out on the lake.

One of the main reasons fishermen and women across the country have begun to turn to the Classic Accessories Bighorn, in particular, is its unusually broad construction.

While this makes the inflatable craft bulkier in general, this bulk translates back into an incredibly comfortable seat orientation that can accommodate even the tallest and broadest anglers around.

If most other fishing float tubes are chairs, then the Classic Accessories Bighorn is certainly a sofa when it comes to comfort.

The Classic Accessories Bighorn also provides several innovative and versatile methods for storing gear while out on the lake. Much of this built-in storage is focused around the twin side-mounted armrests, which each contain five separate zippered pockets.

That’s in addition to the extra-large zippered pocket located on the headrest, which can even be filled with padding for a truly relaxing float fishing experience.

Storage on the Classic Accessories Bighorn doesn’t stop there, though. In fact, this model includes further organization options through its mesh outer pockets.

With the built-in D-rings, you’ll even be able to attach your creel bags to the main raft and decrease your need to return to shore when you reel in a hearty bass or bluegill.

Safety is always of the utmost importance and the Classic Accessories Bighorn takes that into account as you venture out onto the water.

This model’s muted orange body and bright orange rear visibility panel should ensure that you always stand out to other passing craft. The main stripping apron on this model includes a quick release latch, though, just in case you do find your craft upturned.

Pros

  • Side-mounted D-rings for attaching creel bags.
  • Enhanced safety with safety flag pocket and bright orange rear panel.
  • Optimal storage across ten armrest zipper pockets.
  • Max capacity up to 300 lbs.

Cons

  • Does not include backpack straps.
  • Some slippage across the seat.

Takeaway

Overall, the Classic Accessories Bighorn is a great option for folks who are looking for both comfort and storage in their fishing float tub.

With a maximum weight capacity at around 300 lbs. most any angler will be able to enjoy this inflatable craft over the course of a fulfilling and fruitful day of fishing.

Classic Accessories Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube

Review: Classic Accessories offers fishing float tubes in nearly every size and shape you could ever want, even if you are searching for the best lightweight fishing float tube.

In order to meet this weight-based criterion, you should seriously consider the Classic Accessories Togiak Inflatable Fishing Float Tube based solely on its 14 lbs. overall heft.

But then again, you may be looking for more than a minimized weight in your fishing float tube, in which case you’ll surely appreciate the Classic Accessories Togiak’s high back stadium-style seek.

Current users agree that this style of seat, as it is implemented in this model, is the best fishing float tube option for tall anglers in need of extra back support.

As for storage, the Classic Accessories Togiak doesn’t sacrifice versatility in order to achieve its diminutive overall weight.

As with other models from Classic Accessories, this model comes with upwards of eight armrest-situated zipper pockets ideal for reels, gear, and other small tackle. These pocket zippers all lay flat as well, preventing them from creating discomfort or interfering with your casting.

Out of the various Classic Accessories models available, the Togiak definitely takes the prize for the most balanced construction.

Due to its modified rear air bladder, this model is more able to remain buoyant and stable when rough waves caused by wind or other craft pass around your fishing float tube.

Pros

  • High back stadium-style seat for extra support.
  • Balanced construction adds stability and buoyancy in rough waters.
  • Rear mesh storage platform for rods and tackle boxes.
  • Safety flag pocket for maximum visibility.

Cons

  • Seat is not very rigid.
  • Air valves tend to collapse easily.

Takeaway

Overall, the Classic Accessories Togiak is a great fishing float tube option for folks looking to add a little weight as possible to their fishing gear packs.

Moreover, this model provides just as much storage as many of its competitors while also providing enhances stability through its modified construction.

Sea Eagle PF7K PackFish Inflatable Boat

Review: The Sea Eagle PF7K PackFish Inflatable Boat is a prime example of what industry sources call a “pontoon” style fishing float tube, primarily due to its overall construction similarities to a real pontoon boat.

With raised, air-inflated sides all around, a Sea Eagle PF7K user will not have to worry about getting wet at all – that’s right, no need for waders here!

Because this model is fully enclosed, you might immediately wonder how you’re expected to move it around without the help of a gracious breeze.

Pontoon-style craft like the Sea Eagle PF7K actually require paddle or oar to navigate about. In fact, the Sea Eagle PF7K even comes with a paddle and side-mounted holster for storage (though the paddle itself is a bit flimsy, in truth).

Even so, you’ll be able to keep this necessary oar close at hand thanks to the built-in oar locks located on both sides of the Sea Eagle PF7K.

This will allow you to keep the oar close at hand while you reach for a hit on your reel or dry to dig a new lure out of the built-in storage.

Speaking of storage, the Sea Eagle PF7K provides a great deal of it over its 4’6″ x 13″ interior.

While this includes four zippered pockets over its two side compartments, this also includes all of the extra space in front of the operator’s seat.

As such, you can easily hold more gear in this fishing float tube than any other, so long as you don’t exceed the 300 lbs. weight limit.

Pros

  • 4’6″ x 13″ interior space with room for legs and extra gear.
  • Two 30 mil. Polykrylar internal air bladders for added internal durability.
  • Side-mounted oar ports for easy maneuvering without taking hands off your rod.
  • Doesn’t require waders if used properly.

Cons

  • Oar included is low quality, requiring replacement.

Takeaway

If you’re looking to truly maximize how much you carry while you are out fishing, the pontoon-style Sea Eagle PF7K is a solid choice.

With two 30 mil. Polykrylar internal air bladders, you can also count on this craft to remain durable throughout many consecutive fishing seasons.

Caddis Sports Premier Plus Float Tube

Review: Teardrop-shaped fishing float tubes have become more popular lately, lead primarily by the enhanced balance and durability of the Caddis Sports Premier Plus Float Tube.

This bright yellow craft is both easy to spot and easy to operate, starting from the moment you pump it up through its molded Boston-style valves.

These valves are also very durable, which can be said also of other key components of the Caddis Sports Premier.

One prime example is this model’s 500-denier tarpaulin bottom, which not only resists damage caused by water obstacles, but also cuts down on water friction for a smoother ride overall.

This durability continues down to the tiny level, with each and every seam on this model containing double stitch. With twice as much holding power, the Caddis Sports Premier is far less likely to wear and tear apart, so long as you keep to its 325 lbs. weight capacity.

Finally, the Caddis Sports Premier includes a good deal of storage, including a front rod holder and separate front cup holder.

Even the two main pockets, two auxiliary pockets, and rear cargo area are roomy enough for a full load of necessary tackle and gear.

Pros

  • 500-denier tarpaulin bottom cuts down on water friction.
  • Molded Boston-style valves are durable and easy to operate.
  • 325 lbs. weight capacity.
  • Double stitch across all critical seams for enhanced durability.

Cons

  • Difficult to carry into water.

Takeaway

Caddis has really pulled out all of the stops with Sports Premier Plus Float Tube when it comes to durability.

Between its resilient tarp bottom and its double-stitched seems, you can definitely count on this model to be the strongest fishing float tube overall.

Outcast Fish Cat 5 Max Fishing Float Tube

Review: Some fishermen and women looking for no-frills options across the board, from rods to reels. For such practically-minded anglers, the Outcast Fish Cat 5 Max is a great option that provides just what you need and little more.

This can immediately be seen in comfortable, but not oversized seat and backrest.

Internally, the Outcast Fish Cat 5 is fairly resilient, thanks in large part to its air bladder construction. Made from an extra durable vinyl compound, you’ll be able to count on this model to hold its air many years after you first use it.

If the Outcast Fish Cat 5 stands out for anyone detail, it would be its increased visibility.

The rear of this fishing float tube is much lower to the water than most other models, allowing the operator to see clearly what is behind them at all times.

This, in turn, makes the Outcast Fish Cat 5 the best fly fishing float tube of 2019 given its decreased likelihood of snagging a rear thrown cast.

Pros

  • Adjustable backrest and comfortable seat.
  • The durable vinyl air bladder.
  • Low back for improved fly fishing and visibility.
  • Easy to enter and exit.

Cons

  • Webbing table cannot be released quickly in case of emergencies.
  • Minimal storage.

Takeaway

Overall, the Outcast Fish Cat 5 is a solid choice for folks who are looking to use their fishing float tube on occasionally but still want durability and comfort when they do so.

Because it is so easy to enter and exit, it is also a great choice for fishermen and women with mobility difficulties.

fishing with a float tube

Buying Guide

Though many anglers have seen friends and family members using a fishing float tube in the past, most have never bought one for themselves.

Like any piece of fishing gear, there are a fair number of comparable models available on the market day, requiring you to dig deep in order to find the best option for your needs and budget.

This buying guide is designed to streamline your research step substantially, allowing you to cut through the sales-y language and focus directly on the specifications and features that will affect your water craft’s performance.

The following are several key factors to keep in mind while you shop for your new fishing float tube:

Shape

Fishing float tubes of yesteryear were nearly identical to reinforced innertubes, with a donut-shaped construction and a built-in backrest.

However, modern fishing float tubes tend to come in three primary styles: U-shaped, teardrop, and pontoon.

Each of these styles maximizes operator comfort by better spreading out their weight and increases the operator’s ability to reel in a fish by proving specialized storage compartments.

  • U-shaped fishing float tubes, as their name suggest, feature a U-shaped main body that faces outward towards the operator’s seat. Getting in and out of these crafts is far easier than their dated round counterparts given the open face and water-level seat. Depending on the specific model chosen, U-shaped fishing float tubes will feature either a built-in seat back or simply the raised U-section as backrest.
  • Pontoon-shaped fishing float tubes are a macroscopic approach to fishing from the middle of a lake or stream with their broad, mini-boat style construction. These models almost always include a built-in seat surrounded by two cylindrical, inflatable pontoons on each side. These models are usually favored for their extra space, though they are less able to maneuver about on the operator’s power.
  • Teardrop-shaped fishing float tubes are an interesting hybrid between U-shaped and pontoon-style models. While these models employ the U-shaped construction generally, the back of these models are usually a separate piece from the main chair pontoons. As such, these models can be operated much more quickly and efficiently, especially when accompanied by flipper-operated leg power.

fisherman holding gray and beige fish

Durability & Weight Capacity

As with any lightweight inflatable watercraft, durability is an absolutely essential quality that can make or (quite literally) break your float tube fishing experience.

Generally speaking, most leading models today are made from abrasion-resistant PVC cloths or flexible vinyl, in order to provide water-resistance and stability all at once.

While exterior component durability is a necessity, interior durability is also important.

If listed, be sure to compare what internal air chambers and inflation ports are made from to ensure long-lasting quality.

Durability can also play an import role in determining a given model’s weight capacity.

Conversely, adhering to the weight capacity can maximize your craft’s durability in the long run. Most modern fishing float tubes carry a weight limit of between 250 and 300 lbs., with some even clocking in higher. As such, most models can be used by teenagers and adults without concerns of excessive wear.

Storage

One of the noteworthy advantages of using modern fishing float tubes is its ability to store your extra tackle and gear on board, reducing your need to paddle back to shore frequently.

Most models accomplish this through systems of built-in pockets, some of which use zippers or seals to prevent the contents from getting wet.

Some models also maximize the space behind the main seat in order to keep extra fishing poles and nets all within arm’s reach.

These are not the only factors you should consider when shopping around for a fishing float tube.

Check out this YouTube video to learn more about what you should look for in a fishing float tube, as well as best practices for operating such an inflatable float craft.

FAQ

How do you use a fishing float tube?

Generally speaking, most modern V-shaped fishing float tubes are operated like a chair in so far as the operator sits in the central chamber, surrounded by attached pontoon components, and casts outward.

Depending on the precise water conditions, an operator may also need to move about by kicking their legs (with or without fins).

Some fishing float tubes can be used to supplement the fishing process as well, including through the use of specialized storage compartments and rod holders.

What should I wear while using my fishing float tube?

In most cases, you are able to wear your regular fishing attire while in a fishing float tube. As such, you should wear clothing appropriate to the season, especially when it comes to protecting your skin from long-term sun exposure.

Also, fishing float tube users should always wear a personal floatation device in order to assist them should their craft flip over or deflate suddenly.

Depending on your movement and comfort preferences, you may also choose to wear flipper fins and waders.

However, neither are necessary unless you want to move about often or remain entirely dry, respectively.

Are fishing float tubes safe?

As with any type of inflatable watercraft, your degree safety relies a great deal on how you use the craft, what it is made from, and what attire you wear while operating it.

As with innertubes of similar construction, they are prone to puncturing if contacted by a sharp rock or branch. Also, fishing float tubes are prone to flip over if the operator moves too erratically while seated inside of it.

In either case, maximum safety can be achieved by wearing a personal floatation device (PFD) and practicing proper on-water safety procedures, such as remaining alert for obstacles and remaining calm (even when you have a fish on the line).

Do you need waders in order to properly use a fishing float tube?

As far as proper operation is concerned, you do not explicitly need waders while operating a fishing float tube.

However, many anglers choose to use them as a matter of comfort because the waders keep them entirely dry over many hours of fishing. Some fishermen and women may also choose to wear such waders if they wish to keep the smell of lake or stream water off of their skin.

Summary

At the end of the day, there are a great number of fishing float tubes available for purchase today, many of which are equipped with industry-leading features and specifications.

In all, there’s a great fishing float tube to meet nearly every need and budget. Finding the best fishing float tube can be challenging on its face, but this guide’s information will surely see you through to success.

If you haven’t tried out fishing float tubing yet, you’re really missing out on a great method for catching the heftiest fish.

If you’ve tried it before, be sure to comment below and tell your fellow anglers all the fun you’ve had out in your own fishing float tube.