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Float tube alternatives - looking for recommendations

I've been using the same float tube (Bagmaker, Boise ID) for 35+ years, and it's been a real workhorse. However, I'm getting tired of having to suit up with waders, flippers, etc. and I'm looking for an alternative to the float tube. I fish still water, bass and trout.

I considered a kayak, but decided I wanted something more stable. A small inflatable pontoon craft seems like it would fit the bill. I'd like to keep the cost under $800. Any recommendations?


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I've seen quite a few folks in small inflatable zodiac style boats on lakes in the Mt Hood area. I thought about getting one for my daughter and myself. When I was researching them, the reviews for the less expensive ones seemed to be more negative then positive. If I ever do purchase one, I would tend towards the rigid hull ones which would require trailing I think, but that is probably more then $800.

I grew up fishing salt water. When I moved here and started lake fishing from the shore, I have lost so many lures it's discouraging. I don't like the waste and I don't like adding to the underwater litter. I've been thinking about a small boat, but that is a dark hole to go down: "maybe a few extra feet and a bigger motor then I can get on the Willamette..."

Hi Jim,
Sounds like we’re neighbors. I live in Newberg, OR.
I belong to Oregon Fishing Club. The still water lakes & ponds the club offers are better suited to smaller boats or float tubes.

One problem with the good old fashioned float tubes is how low you are in the water. After a full day of fly fishing, your shoulder will be complaining. It’s also difficult to get an accurate presentation with a baitcast rig when bass fishing. That’s why I’m looking for something fairly portable that will float higher in the water.

Saw a nice pontoon rig yesterday while fishing my local pond. It was a Costco product. I’m going to check on that.

- Mark