Belly Fishing Boat

How To Use A Belly Fishing Boat?

A still-water angler’s best companion can be belly boats or float tubes. In essence, they are more sophisticated, adult versions of the float tubes that kids use in swimming pools.

Typically, belly boats are roughly U-shaped with a hammock for seating in the center. You have a fin on each foot and your legs dangle down into the water (don’t worry, you can still wear waders if it’s cold). Your legs do the maneuvering and paddling instead of a paddle, freeing up your hands for casting.

How Belly Boat Works

Inflated float tubes known as belly boats let you sit inside and move about using your feet and swim fins. Since they are manually propelled, they are not technically boats under the definition of a vessel that needs to be registered with the state and certified for safety. They are portable, lightweight, and most of them may be inflated on-site.

Typically, a fisherman floats on or in a nylon-covered tube while donning chest-high waders and a set of semi-rigid fins on each foot. Depending on the season and water temperature, different wader types and materials are used. Leg power is used to move and position the float tube, freeing up the angler’s hands for casting and enabling frequent positioning adjustments.

Belly Boat Fishing Tips

Use Shorter Swim Fins

Fins are difficult to walk in on land or on a muddy lake bottom, and they need you to move back almost constantly in order to move forward.

Listen To You Backcast

Fly fishing from belly boats is very valuable because you can get close to the fish and cover because they are quiet and discreet. Fly fishing from a belly boat takes a lot of roll casting, double-haul casting, and shorter length normal throws. When backcasting, you must be careful not to let the rod tip sink down.

You’ll Need An Apron

You should make an apron if your belly boat doesn’t already have one since it’s useful to have a safe spot to set down a pair of pliers, a fly box, or other lightweight items.

Wear A High-Chest Style Fly Fishing Vest

Most belly boats are covered in nylon pack cloth, which has multiple compartments for storing gear. However, you might want to wear a high-chest fly fishing vest (especially if it also serves as a PFD) for quick access to a fly box or small accessories.

Belly Fishing Boat

Be Prepared

You should plan your expeditions and consider where to start and stop based on the type of water and species you’re after because you can’t cover a lot of water.

Wear a high-chest style fly fishing vest

Concentrate On Key Places

You’ll do better in a belly boat if you focus on the important areas, give them plenty of attention, and work them fully.

Learn The Technique

You won’t notice many differences between fishing from a belly boat and ordinary fishing, so don’t worry. But there are a few things to remember.

The fact that you’re casting so nearly at the water’s surface is, in my opinion, the trickiest part. This implies that you might need to change your casting technique to manage the line if you’re trying to cast a lot of line out. You can avoid striking the water by lifting your arm higher while casting, and stripping in your line more than usual before beginning a fresh cast also helps.

It can also be difficult to adjust to the reality that you can only move backward. Therefore, if you cast forward, your fly will likely end up being pulled back slightly.

Get used to stopping when you drift or adding slack to your line to keep the fly stationary. As an alternative, you can successfully “troll” streams by kicking with enough force.

Managing extra line on a belly boat is another pain. A lot of line will accumulate on your lap as you strip your fly. A fly line will be drawn to the belly boat like a moth to a flame. Loops will tangle with a variety of boat components, so make sure your line is free before casting.


It’s not too difficult to maintain a belly boat. When finished, clean the boat well in freshwater, make sure all debris is removed, and allow it to completely dry. If you need to pack it up right away for a walk, you can do so even if it’s damp. Just be sure to take it out and let it dry completely before putting it away.

Alternately, a belly boat that has been inflated can dry out rather rapidly, so you might be able to get it dry before putting it away.

Before long-term storage, it’s advised to wash a belly boat with a light soap, but I frequently just use water to make sure all debris is removed.

You can store it non-inflated or partially inflated, but not fully inflated. Half-inflated is a good option if storage space isn’t an issue, and saves you time the next time you blow it up!

Pick The Best Belly Boat

Belly Boats For Wrap-Around Comfort

The seat of this tube can be adjusted for more comfort, and vital seams are double stitched for longevity.

Wrap-around float tubes are more stable and easier to enter and exit than conventional round tubes. For extended days on the lake, support from a backrest is crucial. Even the more affordable models include roomy pockets for storing items like tackle, drinks, and lunch.

Rugged And Backpackable Belly Boats

This all-encompassing tube features straps for hiking into far-off waters and can support up to 350 pounds.

Belly boats with a price tag a little more can carry up to 350 pounds. (Remember, in addition to your own weight, you must also account for everything you’ll be carrying in the weight rating.) Mid-priced models typically come with extra pockets and storage options, as well as more durable construction and materials.

Look for belly boats with integrated pack straps if you intend to pack into more distant lakes or ponds. Although you should always wear a PFD, models with backrests that have their own air bladders offer backup flotation in case your main tube becomes punctured.

Pontoon Styles Belly Boats

This pontoon-style tube boasts an innovative anchoring mechanism, a trolling motor mount, and a ton of storage.

Consider a pontoon-style boat for the best floating experience. Because they have minimal drag in the water, they are incredibly stable and simple to control. Many models come with adjustable seats and oar locks, as well as a mount for a trolling motor.

A sonar gadget can be attached to some pontoon types, in addition to greater storage space, so you can always know how much water is underneath you and find structures. If you locate an area where the fish are really biting, you won’t have to worry about drifting because models like this even feature an anchoring system.

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