Tenkara Fishing in an Inflatable Craft
By Daniele Beaulieu
I am a river fly fisher, that means 95% of the time my feet are in a creek, stream, or river, but this Summer 2016 was awful as the temperature and humidity made the water super hot and very low. It was so bad that the rivers that I fished in were almost empty and the fish were not at the rendezvous, so I decided to take my float tube and my inflatable pontoon out and explore ponds in the Northeastern NY, more precisely, the Adirondacks, that big giant playground where you can have access to many ponds.
The thing about an inflatable craft is that there are a lot of pockets where you can put things, like your water, raincoat, something to eat and much, much more. They are also easy to transport; you don’t need to have a big truck or a carrier on top of your car.
I learned to love fishing that way.
Tips to Fish in an Inflatable Craft:
You can fish the standard way, that means you cast where you want the line to go. Or, you can fish just by letting the line out in the water and paddle away allowing the line to troll behind you. (Don’t forget to put your rod at an angle if you are fishing for big fish, see article in Tenkara Angler Summer 2016).
Since you will have your oar in your hands in an inflatable pontoon you can fish by placing your rod end underneath one of your legs and the rod tip on the top of one of the inflatable keels.
Don’t forget to always keep tension in the line, that means if the fish is coming to you, step back by paddling away from the fish. Don’t let the fish go behind the float tube or pontoon!
Security Measures to Take While Fishing in an Inflatable Craft:
- Remember that tenkara rods are an electrical hazard, so be careful if you are in the middle of the pond. If you don’t have time, just throw away your rod in the water, they float.
- Always wear a life jacket!
- Have a rope in case somebody has to tow you
- Have a patch kit in case you develop a hole and you are far from home
- Do not over inflate in warm weather because hot air expands. Check out your air pressure from time to time
The Float Tube:
- They are small and lightweight so if you hike trails to reach a pond like many of them in the Adirondacks, it is the perfect choice
- They are slower in bigger ponds; they should go in ponds about 20 acres maximum
- You’re seated in the water, so beware of leeches if you are fishing in shorts
The Inflatable Pontoon:
- They are faster than the float tube
- You can go in bigger ponds
- You sit outside of the water so if you are going through a bunch of lily pads it will be easier
- You can paddle in both directions so it will cause less fatigue
- You can take them in rivers
- They are heavy, bigger, and take longer to assemble.
This article was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.