If you’re searching for a lightweight, easy-to-store alternative to drift boats and pontoons, float tubes are your answer.
Float tubes, also known as kick boats or belly boats, are individual-use fishing crafts that come with inflatable bladders, tackle storage pockets, and reserve air compartments. They’re typically used for fly fishing and lure fishing.
Anchoring a float tube is different from anchoring a full-body boat. This article discusses how to anchor a float tube in the easiest and most effective way possible.
How to Anchor a Float Tube in 5 Easy Steps
To effectively anchor a float tube, follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a Good Spot
Before throwing the anchor overboard, choose your anchoring spot wisely.
Select an area that’s sheltered and protected from waves to prevent the likelihood of dragging the anchor. Throw the anchor in an area devoid of boat traffic, rocks, shoals, and other nearby objects.
If the fish you’re trying to catch lives in an area with tons of traffic, it’s best to fish someplace else.
Likewise, make sure the anchor works well on the area’s water structure or seafloor. For instance, lightweight mushroom anchors work well for sandy or muddy structures, while Bruce or claw boat anchors are ideal for rocky, grassy, or hard-clay bottoms.
Step 2: Position Your Boat
Before releasing the anchor, make sure your float tube is facing the direction of the wind or current.
This way, your float tube won’t sway back and forth every time a slight breeze hits it.
Step 3: Prepare the Anchor
If you haven’t already, attach the anchor line to the anchor. You can use rope, cable, galvanized chain, or a combination of the three.
If you’re using a shackle pin to connect the line to the anchor, make sure the pin is firmly locked in place to prevent the line from escaping the anchor. The anchor line must be strong enough to anchor your float tube.
Author Note: The length of the anchor line should be at least five to seven times the depth of the body of water you’re planning to set the anchor in. For instance, if the lake you’re fishing in has a depth of 20 feet, the anchor line should be at least 100 feet long.
When you’re ready to set the anchor, your float tube must be motionless or at least drifting astern. If the float tube is moving forwards, the anchor will knock against the watercraft.
Step 4: Drop the Anchor
Gradually lower the anchor in the water. This will prevent the rope or chain from piling up in a tangled heap. Don’t throw the anchor overboard as it might get stuck somewhere. It might also damage the anchor line, forcing you to pull it up and fix it.
As you lower the anchor, you’ll notice your float tube drifting backward with the current or wind. If your float tube remains stationary even after the anchor reaches the bottom, manually move the watercraft backward as you pay out the anchor rode. This not only stretches the rope but also ensures the anchor is facing the right direction on the bottom of the seabed.
Once the anchor settles at the bottom, turn your watercraft just slightly to keep the anchor in place.
Author Note: If possible, attach a type of float on the line before lowering the anchor in the water. If the anchor somehow disconnects from the float tube, you’ll be able to find the anchor straight away without diving in the water.
During tough weather, it’s a good idea to use two anchors. This prevents the boat from rocking and moving when a particularly strong fish gets caught on your rod or if the weather gets bad.
Step 5: Retrieve the Anchor
Slowly move your float tube towards the anchor by pulling on the anchor line. When you’re directly above the anchor, retrieve the anchor the old-fashioned way by manually pulling the rode up.
If the anchor is too heavy, consider getting a motorized anchor retrieving device. Although pricey, they’re extremely convenient. You can also connect a bolt or ring-style anchor puller so the anchor can easily be retrieved.
If the anchor gets stuck, cleat the anchor line and gently idle forward into the wind. If done right, this will pull the anchor in the direction opposite from where you set it. The boat’s forward movement should break the anchor free from the area it’s stuck in.
In the event that it’s completely stuck, you may have to cut the line and abandon the anchor altogether to free yourself.
Choosing the Right Anchor for Your Float Tube
There are dozens of anchor types out there. Some are designed for permanent moorings, while others are ideal for rocks, weeds, sand, or mud. There are several factors to consider when choosing an anchor for your watercraft, including:
- Weight of your vessel
- Diameter of the anchor line
- Location’s average wind and/or current strength
- Location’s bottom characteristics
- Location’s average water depth
With that said, here are some of the best anchors for float tubes and other inflatable watercraft:
For most float tubes, folding grapnel fishing anchors are the best type of anchor. At approximately 3.5 to 5.5 pounds, these anchors are neither too heavy nor too light.
With these anchors, you won’t have to worry about the extra weight on your float tube before they release nor will you be limited to fishing small-sized creatures.
They also contain flukes for easy storage. Moreover, they hold quite well in steady currents and strong winds of up to 15 mph.
As the name suggests, folding anchors can be folded into a compact size, so they won’t occupy much space on your float tubes.
These anchors are typically made of stainless or painted galvanized steel and come with a hollow polythene anchor line. This line is attached to a steel snap hook and marker buoy.
Some of these setups come with an anchor chain to increase the weight.
As the name suggests, sand anchors are anchors filled with sand. Most sand anchors hold approximately 50 pounds of sand and are equipped with braided floating ropes with buoy and steel clips.
Once you’ve retrieved the anchor, you can dump the sand into the water so you don’t have to carry the extra weight when rowing back to the shore.
Claw anchors come in a variety of sizes, from 5 pounds to up to 200 pounds. For a float tube, a claw anchor weighing 10 to 20 pounds is more than sufficient.
Claw anchors are best used in rock, weed, and coral conditions. They don’t do well in mud or soft sand.
Since they’re typically made of high-grade steel, claw anchors are extremely durable. They also set easily and quickly. They’re fairly small, too, so they can easily be stowed away in the back of your float tube.
Mushroom anchors are typically made of PVC coated steel and come in sizes of 8 pounds, 10 pounds, and 15 pounds. These anchors are ideal for muddy areas as they’re designed with holes in the bottom, which allows mud and sand to fill the anchor and suction themselves on the seabed.
Keep in mind that these anchors don’t permanently hold an inflatable watercraft in one location, so they shouldn’t be used for critical situations.
Must the anchor touch the bottom of the seabed?
Yes. This is why your line should be at least five to seven times the depth of the body of water you’re fishing in. The longer the rope, the better.
Anchors settle to the ground and grab onto nearby rocks and other debris under the water. If the anchor doesn’t reach the bottom, it won’t keep your watercraft steady.
How do I measure water depth when fishing?
The easiest way to measure the depth of the water when fishing is by using a fish finder.
Fishfinders determine the depth of the water by processing the incoming and outcoming sound waves through their high-frequency sonar. It also shows you the area’s submerged structure and the location of fish. For this reason, fish finders are a must-have for every fisherman.
Author Note: If you don’t have a fish finder, you’ll have to manually measure the water’s depth with a long rope. Measure and mark the rope at regular intervals with electrical tape or knots, then tie the rope to a weight and drop it in the water.
As you can see, anchoring a float tube is fairly simple and straightforward. All you need is the right anchor and the right technique.
The best type of anchors for float tubes are grapnel, sand, claw, and mushroom anchors. They’re light enough to carry around and heavy enough to keep your float tube in place while fishing.
We hope this article has shed some light on how to anchor a float tube.