Fishing Forum
Skip to Content


Fishing Forum > Float Tube Fishing : Float Tubing General >

My UL tube project...

fishing
(Page 4 of 4)
> >
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [pontoonman] My UL tube project... In reply to
Yup, sticking with zip ties. Screwing into carbon fiber or ABS wouldn't work well. Zip ties are easily field repaired and weigh next to nothing. No tools necessary other than a pair of scissors or a knife if you're careful. I'd recommend going to shore for repairs however, :)

The only elegant solution I can think of is a molded/bonded carbon fiber platform but that would be WAY too much work and would be silly expensive to be practical. It would be bad-ass though!

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
Big tube update:

Cliff's Notes version - The tube catches fish. Lots of fish. Lots of BIG fish!

Full version:

This last weekend was planned to be two full days in the Sierra Nevada hiking into remote fishing spots to test out the two most recent prototypes of the SUL tube. Fish the blue tube on Saturday for some giant brookies and Sunday for some smaller but plentiful cutts. 3 miles each way Saturday across open high plains, 2 miles through the trees Sunday.

Drive out on Friday night to a way-station in South Lake Tahoe, then up well before the crack of dawn and drive south an hour and a half to the trailhead.



At the trailhead, my pack included the tube, standard breathable waders, fins, lunch, 1.5 liters of water, 2 fly outfits, net, flybox and all other fishing gear, and extra layering clothing. Total weight was just north of 12 pounds. Hardly felt the weight, and it was compact as you can see in the photo. My friend packed in his ODC420 Lightweight (with inflatable seats) which isn't a half-bad option from the existing choices, but just the tube is 8+ pounds and it took up a huge chunk of his 80 liter pack. All my gear, BTW, fit in or on my 28 liter pack.

So three miles later we show up to the lake and have the place to ourselves. Nobody shows up until after 2:00 in the afternoon. Not a puff of breeze, clear skies, mild temperatures, birds singing, fish jumping. Nirvana!

Setting up:



...and then it was on like Donkey Kong!



It was pretty much bendo all day long. Sight fishing to cruising and holding fish until later in the morning when the wind came up, but even with the chop the catching never let up.







The blue boat floated and fished like a champ. I caught about 50% more fish than my partner, clearly due to the float tube design. :)

Has there ever been a better view that this?



Funny thing - I'm generally a 100% catch and release kind of guy, but it is actually encouraged to take the limit of two larger fish (minimum 16" - the biologists say that the super rich diet these fish enjoy not only make them mutant-looking footballs but it kills them once they reach a certain size due to heart failure!) and my friend has been bugging me let him cook up my catch. So, this trip I did harvest one 19"er and one 21"er for the grill. When it comes time to clean and bag the fish it was only then that I realized how much these things weigh! I must have put 5 pounds or more of cleaned brook trout into the pack, and at the end of the day my waders had to be strapped to the outside for the hike out! Heh...

On day two, we slept in a bit (up "late" at 5:00) and headed towards the trailhead at 8400'. Forty-five minutes later as we neared the destination, we were rudely met by a gate across the road. WHAT!? Dammit!!

Oh well, there is always somwhere else to go in the Sierra so off we trek to a lake that I had visited before but never fished.





Looks like the blue boat is better than the black as all I caught at this lake were these:



At any rate, the small mod I did to the seat of this one for development seemed to achieve the desired result so it goes on the latest rev.

Since this lake was a bust, we moved on to another drive-up lake and put in. It was windy, but we had an unlimited number of these guys to play with. The ones in the other lake would have been bigger than these, but the tug was better than nothing:



At this point I let my partner take a test drive with the tube and fins:



Looks like he likes it!

I did borrow his tube and fins (Outcast clipboard fins) and I found that the tube handles pretty much just like my Fish Cat IV Dx but the fins were way too rigid to kick effectively and they were pretty hard on the calves and ankles. Pretty light (both my fins weigh just over what one of these do, BTW), but I would not be happy using these full time even if they were as light as the ones I built.

So, it couldn't have been all good, right? Well, these shakedown tests are for highlighting improvements and weaknesses.

For one, on the Saturday, the lake was ringed by a wide edge of tules, so there was very limited shore access. Of course I managed to put a small hole in the seat and over the morning I started to sag a bit into the water. Wouldn't you know it I'm halfway down the lake from the launch, my buddy is starting to nail them in quick succession, and I have to kick upwind to shore so I can top off the seat! I was prepared as I had taken a roll of repair tape, and I did find the hole, but it took me out of the game when there was serious catching being done. GRR!! Yes, I will be making a top-off tube for this very situation. Also it's definitely a good idea to have tape with you any time you venture out with a tube made out of such lightweight material. You can always Aquaseal it when you get home.

In addition, on Sunday as my friend was kicking the tires, one main spar on one of the fins gave way as he was fighting the chop and wind. I'm pretty sure I understand the failure mechanism so there will be a design update to address this issue. Of course I had a spare set of spars in the pack so I was able to do a quick field repair and be back in business. Interesting thing was he could make similar if not better time into the wind with his one fin as I could on his ride with the two Outcast units.

One thing that I put to rest was that with the extra foam in the foot pocked these fins float pretty well:



Finally, overall the boats were stable and comfortable. The slightly wider and thinner seat on the black boat seemed to add a bit more stability at the cost of riding a bit lower in the water. I feel that this tradeoff was definitely worth it.

Overall a very gratifying weekend. Great fishing with a good friend and solid progress on the project. I'm pretty much satisfied with the design of the tube and making headway with the fins. I'd like a few more people to take a spin in the tube, especially heavier guys. Even with my utter lack of physical conditioning, eight hours of fishing and six miles of hiking did not leave me with an aching back or flipper-leg cramps though I would be lying if I said that I wouldn't welcome a nice backrest on the tube. Definitely not a deal breaker, but I'd consider packing the extra four or five ounces for a bit more comfort...

Getting closer every day...

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
Thank's for sharing your adventure & test ride.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
SHig:

Thanks for the report of your pack in and UL test!

Wonder if there is some way to lower time for set up/pack down for the boats for travel between each lake? The 420L can be carried with backstraps while inflated and has some places for hanging/strapping/zipping in at least minimal camping/fishing gear. 420 pack volume (but not weight) can be cut considerably by removing bladders. But matching up the 420 main pontoon bladders can be time consuming without practice and lineup marks...

Did you use your inflation bag or a hand pump for the boats?

You have a beautiful, well thought out system!

Pon
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [pontoonman] My UL tube project... In reply to
pontoonman wrote:
SHig:

Thanks for the report of your pack in and UL test!

Wonder if there is some way to lower time for set up/pack down for the boats for travel between each lake? The 420L can be carried with backstraps while inflated and has some places for hanging/strapping/zipping in at least minimal camping/fishing gear. 420 pack volume (but not weight) can be cut considerably by removing bladders. But matching up the 420 main pontoon bladders can be time consuming without practice and lineup marks...

Did you use your inflation bag or a hand pump for the boats?

You have a beautiful, well thought out system!

Pon

Thanks for the kind words!

I use an inflation bag. Here's a video of it in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFuzoI3JQCk

I've actually gotten quicker using a smaller, more controllable bag than the one in the video however. Unroll to fishing can be done in less than 3 minutes - possibly down to 2. Deflation is just as quick, but to get all the air out and get it back in the stuff sack will take a few minutes do do.

I should do a new video with unroll to inflated to roll - kinda like the old Shelby Cobra 0 - 100 - 0 brag runs. ;)

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
BTW, I realize that the tube as-is has limited (or non-existent) storage options. That said I used a lanyard to hang my tippet, floatant, whistle, nippers, hook file, and hemos. When on shore I used a small carabiner on the lanyard to hang my fins and net. On the tube, the gear bag/stuff sack was either over the shoulder and out of the way or the strap on it was around a leg and it was draped over one of the pontoons.

The leg/bag/hang worked well until you forgot it was there and stood up. Then the bag would go from a gear bag to a fabric bucket! :)

You can see in one photo where I taped on a pair of D-Rings to strap a spare rod to the boat. I think a simple strap of fabric and mating neodymium magnets would work pretty well for hanging a spare rod, however. I guess a slot to run a velcro strap through would be just as effective and less likely to pop open though conversely harder to strap a rod in or take it out.

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
Great to see your ultra ultralight in action! I love this project.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
SHig:

I have used velcro strips for the rod handle end on my 420L to store 2 short rods flat, with tips protruding slightly, at the point of the "V". Another way is by using 16 guage solid core insulated copper wire tiedowns as "twist ties" to the rods. Upright spinning rod holders for trolling made from 5/16" "U" bolts. You will need points of attachment on the tube though, I use the "D" rings.

I have been wanting to install an "on the fly" mouth inflation tube for my BOTTOM seat bladder only, but the valve is BEHIND the sitting position, not easily accessible. Side pontoon valves are easy access, but not as critical. I am thinking of cutting and reinforcing a hole for access forward and between my legs, at the end of my seat. Besides possible slow leaks, getting the pressure just right is critical for support and comfort, but hard to judge until you have been in the colder water for awhile. As it is now, I have to head for shore, walk around to the back, bleed air from a previously overinflated bladder (but not too much-else the pump up required), and see if I have the right pressure (sometimes takes a couple of tries). Anyway, seems like a better approach than using a mouth tube with check valve behind me.

Welcome any better ideas from anyone..

Pon

SHigSpeed wrote:
BTW, I realize that the tube as-is has limited (or non-existent) storage options. That said I used a lanyard to hang my tippet, floatant, whistle, nippers, hook file, and hemos. When on shore I used a small carabiner on the lanyard to hang my fins and net. On the tube, the gear bag/stuff sack was either over the shoulder and out of the way or the strap on it was around a leg and it was draped over one of the pontoons.

The leg/bag/hang worked well until you forgot it was there and stood up. Then the bag would go from a gear bag to a fabric bucket! :)

You can see in one photo where I taped on a pair of D-Rings to strap a spare rod to the boat. I think a simple strap of fabric and mating neodymium magnets would work pretty well for hanging a spare rod, however. I guess a slot to run a velcro strap through would be just as effective and less likely to pop open though conversely harder to strap a rod in or take it out.

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [pontoonman] My UL tube project... In reply to
A couple of videos of the tube being used in anger! :)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEevY3eiSF0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQI7dHu0IMI

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
Shig:

If you are still interested in being able to inflate your tube while in use on the water, below is a summary of what I did on my 420L:

IF you want the ability to fine tune the lower bladder on the fly, this is what I did. Probably works for any tube that has a lower inflatable bladder, though I used the ODC 420L.
-Partially inflate the lower bladder and shove into the lower cavity with the valve position facing UPwards. Mark the position with a permanent marker.
-Trace the smallest circle where the mark is that lets the valve exit thru- I used a dime for a stencil.
-Carefully cut out the traced circle from the fabric with sharp curved manicure scissors or equivalent.
- Squeeze Aquaseal into the fabric pores on both sides of the hole rim to reinforce the area and stop frays/runs of the fabric. Dry overnight.
The lower bladder will go in with the valve protruding from the hole:
-I used a 3.5" pliable plastic reinforcing washer (cut from old table placemat) on the inside of fabric cavity to lower any stress around the hole, but it can probably be omitted.
-Once the valve protrudes from the hole, I threaded a fender washer with a 1/2" hole all the way to the small in the valve neck as a retainer, to keep the valve from retracting back inside the fabric cavity while adjusting/inflating to full pressure.
-A tiny rachet tie is attached to the cap through a punched hole and used for punching the inner flap valve when lowering pressure.
-A standard tubular wedge adapter that does not touch the inner flap valve is mounted to a standard ribbed inflation tube for mouth inflation. This standard ribbed inflation tube is the one that comes with small high volume pumps. It is removed and stored in a tackle pocket when the best pressure reached.

On the ODC, this means that the 3 critical bladders are now in reach and can be inflated while on the fly by mouth tube. I've already tested the setup a coupled of times and am pleased with the result. The fabric hole is small enough so that the bottom bladder can be used in the original way if desired. The notches on the lower inflation bladder are facing forward with the setup and are not needed if the retaining straps are snug. A reinforcing cord between the retaining straps can be used if they will be operated under very loose tension.

Hope this is of interest.

Pon
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [pontoonman] My UL tube project... In reply to
Big day today!

"Production" tube #1 completed!

Final weight?



25.4 ounces!!

I've updated the spread strap design to be cleaner and more integrated, and I've added a couple of grab handles to carry the thing.





And to celebrate I built my own "Ferrari" of tubes:



Unfortunately it is actually 1.4 ounces HEAVIER that the blue one! Oh well, what price cool unmistakable one-of-a-kind uniqueness? :) Maybe I'll start drilling "lightening holes"?

I was going to try to maybe take it out on its maiden voyage tomorrow, but with the smoke from the fires blowing up the range, I think I'll stay home and work on finishing up the rest of the run I have going and maybe get some work done on some fins as well.

I'll probably try to get out again on Labor Day, perhaps...

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
Shig:

Congrats on tube #1, and thanks for the update!

One way I have used to test some aspects of tube models is with a "test" tank, since I don't have access to a swimming pool. This is just an 8' diameter child's play pool which you can fill several inches with a garden hose. They are very cheap at this time of year, which is the end of the season. You can test balance, mark floatation level above surface, some stability, etc.

Also, looking at your inflation bag method, I'm wondering if you could cut time for inflation by using a nipple tube that pushes in just slightly on the flap check valve. Seems like if you move quickly, you won't lose much air and can quickly remove to finish by mouth tube inflation. Similar idea seems to work with my ODC 420.

Pon

SHigSpeed wrote:
Big day today!

"Production" tube #1 completed!

Final weight?

[IMG]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/...cc46b5_b_d.jpg[/IMG]

25.4 ounces!!

I've updated the spread strap design to be cleaner and more integrated, and I've added a couple of grab handles to carry the thing.

[IMG]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/...5de653_b_d.jpg[/IMG]

[IMG]http://farm8.staticflickr.com/...2607e9_b_d.jpg[/IMG]

And to celebrate I built my own "Ferrari" of tubes:

[IMG]http://farm4.staticflickr.com/...da18b1_b_d.jpg[/IMG]

Unfortunately it is actually 1.4 ounces HEAVIER that the blue one! Oh well, what price cool unmistakable one-of-a-kind uniqueness? :) Maybe I'll start drilling "lightening holes"?

I was going to try to maybe take it out on its maiden voyage tomorrow, but with the smoke from the fires blowing up the range, I think I'll stay home and work on finishing up the rest of the run I have going and maybe get some work done on some fins as well.

I'll probably try to get out again on Labor Day, perhaps...

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [pontoonman] My UL tube project... In reply to
The kiddie pool is a good idea. Probably hard to find one deep enough to allow you to fully dangle your feet, but it is better than nothing. It'd be great for chasing leaks though.

My inflator bag's nozzles ones have the pusher on it already. It'd be difficult to use a flimsy plastic bag otherwise due to the pressure needed to move the flapper away. You're right - you don't lose much air because though the bulk of the inflation is complete, there is no pressure built up. I can fill both bladders easily in under 3 minutes with the bag. Probably pretty comparable to using a double action pump.

Are you somehow disengaging the flapper on a Boston valve with an inflator sack and nozzle system? Seems like the little holes would be too small to accept a pin enough to do much at all. Or are you talking about the oral inflator tube for the seats?

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
Comments in your message copy below:


SHigSpeed wrote:
The kiddie pool is a good idea. Probably hard to find one deep enough to allow you to fully dangle your feet, but it is better than nothing. It'd be great for chasing leaks though.

PON: The deep kiddie pools are too expensive for me, and I use a crossbar in front 90% of the time with my feet out of water, so 18" to 24" depth does it. Still, I can fine tune the different bladder position adjustments and inflation levels so that I sit perfectly level with my cargo and my most comfortable sitting position. The shorter the tube, the more critical this is, so it might be good in adjusting your short design bladder sizes by inflation or design if needed for different size occupants.

My inflator bag's nozzles ones have the pusher on it already. It'd be difficult to use a flimsy plastic bag otherwise due to the pressure needed to move the flapper away. You're right - you don't lose much air because though the bulk of the inflation is complete, there is no pressure built up. I can fill both bladders easily in under 3 minutes with the bag. Probably pretty comparable to using a double action pump.

PON: I used the clear 39 gal 0.95 mil lawn leaf bags which are pretty tough to pressure and punctures (bag=2oz, inflator tube=2oz approximate). They can fill one side pontoon on the first compression fast with the Boston valve stopper completely off. Whole tube can be done with 3 air captures to low pressure, so they are ready for top off my mouth tube.

Are you somehow disengaging the flapper on a Boston valve with an inflator sack and nozzle system?
Seems like the little holes would be too small to accept a pin enough to do much at all. Or are you talking about the oral inflator tube for the seats?

PON: No, the Boston stopper is removed when air goes in and I quickly jam my thumb shallow into the large hole until I can get the Boston cap back on. The bag does have the pressure capacity to push back the Boston flapper and inflate through the little holes, but at a slower rate. The seat bladders and pontoon bladders also use the same mouth inflator tube but with different nipple adapters. There are 2 seat bladder adapters, one for fast inflation with the bag which pushes the flapper in and a second one that does not touch the flapper for mouth inflation.

_SHig

Hope this helps.

Pon
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [pontoonman] My UL tube project... In reply to
Funny how things come full circle sometimes. Literally.

A few days ago someone posted a link to a search engine that allowed you to do a wide search of all classified sites including Craigslist and ebay.

Well, on a whim, I typed in "float tube" and guess what popped up!?



WHAT!? New with tags Del Canty Lunker Hunter - and for a RIDICULOUS price. After contacting the seller, and finding out they still had it, we worked out shipping and...



WOOOHOOOO!!! Full circle indeed, like the iconic donut float tube.



I still can't believe my luck. Sure, I may be specially appreciative of this particular boat, but to find one manufactured in 1986 that had never been in the water is simply unbelievable. No, it didn't come with his hand-stitched, polyvinyl hat (oh wait, that's for the Woody doll) - er, inflator bag, but still...



Though I was hoping for it to be an "old" one, this one turns out to be made only 43 after my original DCLH - and serialized on the same day, March 6 of 1986. Crazy...

So, I had to know...



A full 20 ounces heavier than the tubes in the first customer run of my tubes, but still damn light relative to anything else out there. Considering it uses a much heavier fabric and some pretty burly gluing and stitching in it's manufacture, it's not too bad really.

Here are some photos of the "manual" in case anyone wanted to know:




I'm sure I'll NEVER get this puppy wet, so though I feel a little silly buying it, I feel happy knowing that I own it. It's a piece of history, and a big inspiration to what I've managed to create myself.

Funny, I JUST finished my latest personal tube the other day and had it out on the lake on rainy Labor Day. Yes, it's that color as an homage to the original! :)



Now to find some clear wall real estate and some way to hang it...

_SHig
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
Amazing find and irony!!!

Congratulations on two projects well done.....the find and your own amazing creation.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [SHigSpeed] My UL tube project... In reply to
I wanted to bring up this post one more time. SHig Speed - Scott Higashi, finally lost his battle with Cancer and has moved on.
We will miss this Genius, and creative young man deeply.
Condolences to his Family and friends.



Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [flygoddess] My UL tube project... In reply to
Damn -- I hate cancer. The good die young. I hope someone carries on with his project.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [flygoddess] My UL tube project... In reply to
So sorry to hear that. My thoughts and prayers to family and friends.
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [flygoddess] My UL tube project... In reply to
RIP my friend

Albinotrout
Fishing and trains...what else is there? BASEBALL.......
Report Post | Register to Reply
Re: [flygoddess] My UL tube project... In reply to
What a tragic loss, his innovative contributions will be missed.

PM

flygoddess wrote:
I wanted to bring up this post one more time. SHig Speed - Scott Higashi, finally lost his battle with Cancer and has moved on.
We will miss this Genius, and creative young man deeply.
Condolences to his Family and friends.
> >