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Thread: Floattube vs. Mini-cataraft...

  1. #1

    Default Floattube vs. Mini-cataraft...

    I would like to spend more time checking out the fishing on the many lakes in the area, and I'm leaning towards a floattube or mini-cataraft (not sure if that's what they're called, the one-person catarafts) instead of a canoe.

    Having never used either, I'm looking for advice and/or experiences from others who have. I'm leaning towards the cataraft because of comfort and versatility, but the convenience of a floattube is appealing.

    Any and all advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Cheeser,

    I have used cat's for years and a float tube only once. Versatility of the cat is paromount. I have used my cats everywhere, creeks, rivers, lakes, ponds, etc. I probably will never buy a tube. Tubes don't fly on rivers -- unless your nutts or have an exceptionally slow, deep, water body. However, if you only intend on lake fishing, the tube would be probably be your best bet. They are relatively comfortable and less expensive. Best way to be sure is to test them out.

  3. #3
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default U-boat

    I have one of the original U-boats which works perfectly well for lakes, but is slow getting anywhere even with fins. I have seen a few of these cats on the lakes with electric trolling motors, rowing frames, etc... cruising by apparently effortlessly. Being a tuber myself I think you would be better off going with the cat for the versatility, even on the lakes. This is especially true if you plan on fishing big lakes. Another nice aspect of the cats is that you are not in the water up to your waist all the time (at least in some designs). You sit a little higher which makes the fly rodding easier too. I have thought about buying one of these boats but the wife put the kabosh on it for now (something about my 3 kids wouldn't be able to fit on it with me....)

    I'd go with the cat...
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    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    I've got a tube and it's a blast on lakes. Best thing about it is that your hands are free to fish, smoke a cigar, drink a beer, etc... It's nice to be able to kick and move while actively fishing - I imagine fumbling with oars to stay pointed in a wind, or to move a bit would require setting the rod in a holder, getting the oars going, etc...maybe it's not a hassle, but it seems like it might be.

    I would really like to get a tube that isn't a round boat though - my legs constantly hit the front of the roundboat and it's a pain to get in and out of while wearing flippers. Only nice thing about the doughnut shape is I throw a little strap around it and kick it on my back - it sits right over my backpack with waders and vest inside....makes for a breeze of a pack to a hike in spot.

    I think the little cats would be fine on a lake, but from my experience I wouldn't really take them on moving water. I'll admit I have only seen them in action three times, but every little cat I've seen (and I mean the little ones - waterskeeter or similar) have sucked on rivers (little su - and maybe willow?) - now granted the operators could have been to blame, but they were always getting into sweepers and two out of three I've seen used on a river ended up with a broken plastic seat because the driver was rowing like mad and put too much oomph into it.

    Cats do take the comfort cake though...and it's a lot easier to hop out and take a leak!

  5. #5

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    I have owned a couple of tubes but never have I used a cat. Also akjw7 brings up some excellent points in his first paragraph. I like the idea of a cat more than a tube though. I prefer to sit up high and see into the water. Thats not as easy to do with a tube since your so close to the water. Maybe its just my lack of skills talking but its tough to fly fish in a tube. Its tough to beat the tube when hiking into a lake.

  6. #6
    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    I've used my one man cat on the Kenai, Willow, Nancy Lakes and other bodies of water for 4 years now. NEVER had a problem. If you accessorize accordingly (the small anchor system is sweet on a lake but worthless in current) you'll find it has versatility unmatched by a tube (although a tube is easier if your packing it in somewhere). But also keep in mind you get what you pay for. The cheaper the package...well..the cheaper the package..if ya get my "drift".

  7. #7

    Default floattube vs. mini-cataraft

    Thanks for all of the advice/hints/recommendations so far. Just a few follow-up questions...

    It was my understanding I'd be kicking with fins or using oars on the cataraft. Are electric motors legal on lakes with signs stating no motors? On our lakes back home the DNR clarified it only applied to gas motors. Sure would be a nice, easy way to get around.

    I should have mentioned my size, which is 6'5" and 250 pounds. Would I have a problem finding either option that can hold someone my size? Keep in mind I would immediately modify it as much as possible to accomodate me, as I have to do with everything it seems. (i.e. stronger chair, sturdier straps, etc...)

    Thanks again to everyone for the advice!!

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    Default Both

    Just buy both.. You can't go wrong...

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    Member AlaskaHippie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheeser
    Thanks for all of the advice/hints/recommendations so far. Just a few follow-up questions...

    It was my understanding I'd be kicking with fins or using oars on the cataraft. Are electric motors legal on lakes with signs stating no motors? On our lakes back home the DNR clarified it only applied to gas motors. Sure would be a nice, easy way to get around.

    I should have mentioned my size, which is 6'5" and 250 pounds. Would I have a problem finding either option that can hold someone my size? Keep in mind I would immediately modify it as much as possible to accomodate me, as I have to do with everything it seems. (i.e. stronger chair, sturdier straps, etc...)

    Thanks again to everyone for the advice!!
    Never tried fins on my cat, just oars. I know electric trolling motors are allowed in Nancy Lakes area. I'm 6' & 220 and have no probs with my cat plus gear. Have even "packed light" for overnighters when floating.

  10. #10
    Member akjw7's Avatar
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    I say buy the cat - as long as it's in your budget. No doubt you'll be happier and use it more.

    Anyone seen the little trolling motor add on for a float tube? A little small tube that holds the battery and motor and it just gets tied up next to the main tube. Handy I'm sure, but this is getting a bit ridiculous!!!

    Or how about this?

  11. #11
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default It would be plenty....

    I'm 6'4" and 250ish and my U-boat does just fine. The cataraft has bigger air chambers, so it couldn't possibly be inferior. As far as electric trolling motors go, you can use them ANYWHERE. There are no restrictions on electric motors up here, only combustion engines.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  12. #12

    Default thanks everyone...

    Thanks to everyone for the advice.

    I'm definitely leaning towards the personal cataraft. I think it'll be more comfortable and versatile. And, I must admit, having an electric motor would make things much, much easier.

    Thanks again!!!

  13. #13

    Default

    yeah, good choice with cat. like previously said, tubes are good if your are packing to a lake otherwise a cat is superior in everyway.

    a big downside to tubes is you are sitting waist deep in water all day too. gets cold after a while. kicking around wears out the crotch on your waders too.

    i just went down a class III river last weekend and there were 3 dudes running it on their small cats loaded for an overnighter. I was surprised how well they seemed to handle on such a big,technical river.

  14. #14

    Default Cats vs. Tubes

    I threw away my float tube last summer 'cause I really don't fish too many lakes anyway. Cats are vastly superior on the water.

    There is one thing to keep in mind going the cat route. If you want to hike in to a spot that's more than a little ways away (1/4 mile maybe?) carrying the cat on your shoulders is a major pain. For example, you'd never carry your cat up to Cresent Lake but you sure could a tube. Unless you are some kind of bad$%s.

    Fins give you great control in the cats. I've done that in lakes a bit. In fact, they are called kickboats by some for that very reason.

  15. #15
    Member akprideinvegas's Avatar
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    ive had a float tube for 3 or 4 years. i have not used it recently but when i was using it often i found a few things i liked and did not like. With the tube they are super light. they have a lot of pockets and i just tied all of my lure and flycases to a string so i would not lose them. The tube would blow around quite a bit so i assume the cat would be worse... In the cold water the cat would be more comfortable. The watter gets quite nipply in breathables so definately wear some neoprenes. I second the flippers being a pain to get on. Then they catch any little weeds and all that good stuff on your feet. The tube is definately a blast though because you are so close to the water. It takes a little practice casting a fly rod any distance since you are so low. good luck... vegas

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