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Hello Tubers

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Hello Tubers
I've been reading your posts for a year now and since this is the "hard water" season thought it a good time to join in.

First, thanks for all your great ideas. I am a long time tuber, now on my 7th tube, I believe. Thanks to your discussion threads I am a happy owner of the Fish Cat 4 and it is the best tube yet.

Been tubing since the old doughnut tube days at least 35 years now.

I am mostly a fly fisherman who haunts small lakes in northern lower Michigan and the UP.
Love to fish for trout but Big Bluegill are my target species.

My tube is set up so I can fish 2 lines. I generally run one deep sinking line and one shallow or even a floating fly line. I am trolling most of the time using streamer flies.

Right now I am waiting for open water (April) and tying flies.
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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
Welcome to the playroom for "floataholics". Sounds like you have some serious background...and some similarities to my own. I was one of the early pioneers in float tubing...starting as a teen ager in southern California in the late 1950's.



I made all of my own tubes and covers for quite a few years but quickly jumped on some of the new commercially made models in the early 70's. Since then I have lost track of all the makes, models, colors and other options I have gone through.


The Fish Cat is a great tube. We have several of our members who use and love them. However, if you are of "larger stature"...like myself...the bigger Fat Cat is a more comfy ride. About two years ago, I graduated to the Scadden "Escape" and have it fully tricked out with motor, sonar and multiple rod racks. Note the attached pic.


I do not wave a fly rod as much these days, but will likely be doing more fly fishing this next year. I also have tied flies for several decades. I recently heard about the "Game Changers" (link) and plan to make some up to try on our Utah predators.


Sadly, we recently had some contracted computer geeks tweak our system, to recover more bandwidth on our servers. That resulted in losing a lot of stuff that had been posted more than about 10 years ago. But I still have my copies of most of the writeups and pictures if there is ever anything you would like more info on.


By the way, I used to know some folks in Escanaba and had a few trips up that way myself. Lots of good action for multiple species. You live in prime float tubing country.

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Re: [TubeDude] Hello Tubers In reply to
Wow that is a seriously tricked out tube you have. I am kind of a minimalist in my tube. I'll post a picture eventually.
Myself and a couple friends go to some hike in access only lakes so we like to keep things light enough to pack a mile.

You probably recall those old canvass covered tire inner tubes with the side kicking fins. My first exposure to tubing. I'm 67 so you had a head start on me looks like.
Glad to see you're still kicking.

My hometown is Escanaba by the way.

Thanks for the link to that articulated fly, great movement in the water. Looks simple enough for my fumble finger tying skills.
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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
If you go to your favorite browser and type in "Game Changer Flies" you will find a lot of good info on those new goodies. As expected, creative tiers have seized on it and have come up with many variations and the use of different materials. I plan to do a lot of experimenting...including trying some bead chain as the articulation rear part instead of the links. But because I also make spinners and other wired goodies I have lots of wire and know how to make efficient loops...so I can make my own links.


I put out a CD/book several years ago on "Tubin' and Toonin'"...covering my first 50 years of float tube fishing. I am attaching my introductory chapter which includes most of my personal history. Some pics from the past.



Also including a pic of the Fishmaster paddle pusher "fins". Of course I had to get a pair to try them out. They were designed to allow Oklahoma stock tank bass fishermen to walk in the shallows and then paddle across deeper spots. And they worked okay for minimal use. But if you ever wanted to get anywhere...fast or slow...you got a severe case of crotch cramps. I used them once, for about 5 minutes. I went back to good dive fins and have never changed.


I used to be a minimalist. And I used to have scruples. But then I got vaccinations for both.

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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
Welcome aboard/afloat and thanks for taking the time to register and share with us.

I am one of the FishCat4 users here as well as a few other models that I have in the tube/pontoon and pontube category.

I also started out with a basic donut that had 2 pockets and a seat in it. That one was given to me by TubeDude in the late 70's. I still have it, just don't fit into it anymore and it doesn't hold the gear that I need.

I am one of few saltwater tubers on this forum but also enjoy the freshwater since it does not turn into hard water in my area.

I also swing a fly swatter in the fresh and salt as well as spey cast. I make my own salt flies since they are heavier and larger streamers.


Bass are toys. Gills and Trout are food.
There is a fine line between fishing and standing on the shore looking like an Idiot
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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
I recall reading about bladder leaks (no not that kind, we'll all get there soon enough)
The kind where your tube slowly seeps air. The fish cat 4 was flawless until last year when I had to replace one bladder. Never found the leaks which seems like it should be obvious once you put it under water and/or soap it up.
I suspect pinholes from bluegill fins on my stringer where the cause. But why they would not show bubbles is a mystery to me. The coated bottom of the fish cat helps a lot, but still looking for a way to prevent those big gills from causing small holes.
I guess it could have been a valve issue but no bubbles there either.

Also wanted to share my "Snapper Dick" tale.
The small lakes where I hunt bluegills often are lorded over by snapping turtles. I have had the interesting but unnerving experience of being charged 3 times now by those bad boys/girls.

I will be calmly trolling in a nice gill looking cove when out of the depths rises a big old snapper, surfacing usually about a rods length in front of me. They invariably stare at me for a minute and then begin to swim toward me aggressively.
I have yet to find the nerve to stand my ground. I have bigger fins so I can easily out swim them and they will give up quickly.

They have become my nemesis and obsession. I am resolved in my mind to not run away next encounter. My plan is to raise my fins up in front of me to block their advance and see what happens.
Worst case scenario is they dive under and snap on to my leg. Ouch!
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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
I have suffered a few panfish pinhole leaks on my craft over the years too. Seems like when you try to lift a spiny one aboard it always drops off the hook and lands spines down on an exposed spot on your tube...kinda like buttered bread always falls on the buttered side.


When I was still kicking around in a round tube I used to fashion "aprons" from Naugahyde strips and drape them over the vulnerable front part of the tube. Had a lot of spiny drops that were unable to cause damage with those simple fixes.


Two things for you to do to find the leak. First is to take your air bladder out of the tube, air it to the max and then use a spray bottle of soapy water all over the bladder until you find bubbles. Believe me, even the tiniest pinhole will show up.


The other potential is that you might have a bit of dirt or sand in your valve that is keeping it from making a tight seal after you air it up. Try the soapy bubbles on your valve before you strip down your tube. If a valve is leaking you can take it apart and clean it thoroughly and remedy the situation. If that doesn't work, get a replacement valve.


Snapping turtles are not your friends...but they do seem to want to get "friendly". Over the years I have had some encounters with fresh water turtles. But also a couple of big green sea turtles. They do not bite or get aggressive but they are inquisitive. And at the "right time" of year they may be looking for love. I just tell them I have a headache.


When float tubing in the Sea of Cortez I have had a couple of times when young seals came out from the rocks near where I was fishing. They are very playful and would swim circles around me, trying to get me to join in. But I kept a watch out for the big males. They are territorial and aggressive. They don't come out to play...but to munch.

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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
You might consider a floating keeper basket, so as to get the stringer off the tube.
Theyíre fairly simple to make, or modify from a manufactured basket.
Since you arenít going anywhere fast in a finned tube, anyway, drag is less of an issue.
Also, a fish bag like those kayakers use could work behind the tube seat.

Turtle
Iíve never had turtles get aggressive, only curious. Once, I swear one wanted to take a bite from my fin.


"All achievements come to nothing without good plumbing."

David
Delmar, SC

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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
dayhut had a good suggestion...using a fish basket instead of a stringer.



Here are a couple of writeups that might help.

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Re: [TubeDude] Hello Tubers In reply to
Thanks for the good suggestions.

I will get one of those wire baskets and rig it up.

I was a bit timid about fully inflating the bladder out of the tube to test for leaks maybe that's why I did not get bubbles.

Some of you probably fish in gator waters and just laughed about my Snapping Turtle fears. What happens when a gator shows up in your fishing vicinity?
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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
Gators? I don't worry about them as much as water moccasins. Most gators are smaller than we are so they keep their distance...especially if they are in an area where they are hunted. But if there is a big ol' bull gator...over 10 feet or so...they become territorial and they can get aggressive. But all the stuff you see in the movies is usually overly dramatic. Now if you are talking about big crocodiles...in Africa or the south Pacific...that's another story. They eat people.


As with all things in life, it pays to use good sense, be cautious and don't take unnecessary chances. I wouldn't go tubing in gator infested waters just to test any theories. But if they are merely a part of the local ecosystem...and are generally not a problem in that area...go ahead and go fishing. Just watch for them to show up on the surface. They will watch you from a distance. If they come toward you, head for the bank and get out. Or at least tell them you have a headache.


When I lived in Arizona it was not uncommon in the spring...on some lakes...to have rattlesnakes swimming across the water...especially when lake levels were rising and pushing them out of their dens. And it has happened that if they see you they will sometimes swim toward you...seeing you as an island for them to crawl out on and warm up. Also, they sometimes crawl up into flooded trees and when you approach one of those trees they "sing" to you. At least they warn you. Mocassins don't.

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Re: [TubeDude] Hello Tubers In reply to
Crap I hadn't thought of snakes! That would be unnerving
I guess I will be thankful my worst problem is Snapper Dick. Lucky where I live does not support many things poisonous. Probably because we get buried in snow a third of the year. Still waiting for ANY kind of thaw here. Better go tie more flies.
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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
I'm on my third Fish Cat and the leaks I've had were either right in the front where they attach with Velcro to the shell or in the gasket on the valves. I solved the gasket problem by using an O-ring instead of a gasket. I found the gaskets would get hair line cracks from age and then start leaking.

Tube Dudes method with the spray bottle and dish soap is the best way to find those pinholes if you have any.
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Re: [Tommer_Tuber] Hello Tubers In reply to
Tommer_Tuber wrote:
I recall reading about bladder leaks (no not that kind, we'll all get there soon enough)
The kind where your tube slowly seeps air. The fish cat 4 was flawless until last year when I had to replace one bladder. Never found the leaks which seems like it should be obvious once you put it under water and/or soap it up.
I suspect pinholes from bluegill fins on my stringer where the cause. But why they would not show bubbles is a mystery to me. The coated bottom of the fish cat helps a lot, but still looking for a way to prevent those big gills from causing small holes.
I guess it could have been a valve issue but no bubbles there either.

Also wanted to share my "Snapper Dick" tale.
The small lakes where I hunt bluegills often are lorded over by snapping turtles. I have had the interesting but unnerving experience of being charged 3 times now by those bad boys/girls.

I will be calmly trolling in a nice gill looking cove when out of the depths rises a big old snapper, surfacing usually about a rods length in front of me. They invariably stare at me for a minute and then begin to swim toward me aggressively.
I have yet to find the nerve to stand my ground. I have bigger fins so I can easily out swim them and they will give up quickly.

They have become my nemesis and obsession. I am resolved in my mind to not run away next encounter. My plan is to raise my fins up in front of me to block their advance and see what happens.
Worst case scenario is they dive under and snap on to my leg. Ouch!

For slow leaks, I inflate the bladder with enough air so that it stands up lengthwise and hardly bends at the point resting on the floor. I keep the bladder upright by resting it at the corner of something like a shower stall. Then I use tube dude's method spraying with soapy water, starting at the top, and let the soapy water liquid slowly ooze downward to run over the suspected areas. Usually Tiny Bubbles appear at the slow leak as the liquid runs down, and are not confused with those bubbles coming out of the spray bottle initially.
For the snapping turtles, Maybe you can you use a stick to whack them. I carry a homemade floating lightweight Gaff / lure retriever made from an old super lightweight carbon fiber golf club shaft, which might be used for that.