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The kindness of fellow fisherman.
Hey, JR and Clownman, I live by a lot of old expressions. Two that come into play here are 1. Hindsight is always 20-20 and 2. If you wait 'til all the lights are on green, you ain't never goin' to leave the house.

I agree with your looking back comments. Man, if I had known 40 years ago what I know a lot of areas...well, I would probably still make most of the same bonehead mistakes. But, with the float tube thing, my education was a combination of trying what was available and a lot of trial and error experimentation. Heck, that's the fun part, even if it does get expensive when you put a price tag on it.
Up until about the early 90's, there were no good float tubes that featured the 22" tube size, rather than the standard 20". But, I bought two of the first models from Bucks Bags and the other from Browning. I'm 6' 3" and two hundred and plenty pounds, so I appreciated every extra bit of space and flotation. In spite of an assortment of kick boats and pontoons over the years, I have kept those super donuts for launching through the surf, because they handle it better than the modern marvels...especially on the return through slop.

You're also on target when you stress quality. Look for sturdy zippers, lots of good D-rings and heavy denier nylon covers. I can't believe some of the cheap stuff they have dumped on the market over the years. Like many things available through our local tackletoriums, they are better at catching gullible fishermen than catching fish.

But, without a crystal ball, it is hard to anticipate that the new model craft you just bought will be outclassed by one that comes out a month after you have spent your "allowance". Spouses just have no understanding or appreciation of what the word NEED means to float tube fishermen. "What do you mean, you NEED a new float tube? That one still floats doesn't it?" They don't apply the same logic as they do to a new pair of shoes for the new dress they just bought...when they have one in the closet that still fits.

It is wise to look around and to compare quality, features AND price. Once you have completed your "due diligence", and you have settled on the make and model craft you will be trusting your life and fishing career to for the next two or more years, then you can start the price shopping. If you are not rushed, you can find some deals in the paper, and especially on Ebay. I know a guy who just scored big time on an almost unused pontoon craft. You usually won't have a lot of competitive bidders. Not many computer savvy flotation nuts.

And, unlike buying a car or a home, don't buy your craft just for its resale value. Use it up and hope for the best. Even better, donate it to a kid who couldn't afford it otherwise. Over the years I have downloaded a whole buncha donuts on kids that reminded me of my own youth...sincere fishermen but too broke to even dream of owning a float tube. The appreciation from them was worth far more than any money I would have received from selling it. Anyway, I would have probably just have spent it on more foolishness for fishing.

The really good news is that our sport is benefitting from the technology developed in other fields. All of the materials and components of a modern flotation system owe their existence to research and discoveries in totally unrelated fields. That's okay by me. I'm properly grateful. But, as JR pointed out, it can mean seeing better craft being sold for less than what you paid for a lesser model, as technology advances. But heck, I still remember paying two hundred dollars for a bulky hand held calculator in the 70's that couldn't do a tenth of what that little wafer thin thing I carry now can do...and the new one was less than $20. Hail progress.

Great question, Dave...and a good contribution by JR too. Gee, ain't this fun? But, I'd druther be dredgin' from my donut.

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Re: [JapanRon] The kindness of fellow fisherman. - by TubeDude - 01-07-2003, 11:47 AM

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