Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Float Tube Repair and Maintenance

Well I am starting to feel a little better after the surgery. Having started a rehabilitation program also sparks me up a bit. I’ll be finished the exercise and education part just about the time May Flies are starting to show in our local lakes. This got me to thinking about float tubing and how much fun it is. Man, I just can’t wait.

Preparing for your first float of the year:

Lay the tube out and remove everything from the various pockets. Do an inventory. These are some things you should always carry with you:

A fire source
Some duct tape
20 feet of soft rope
A mesh bag
A noise maker or whistle
A small hand or foot powered air pump

Some rope is handy for many things such as tying off to a bush or by putting a few rocks in the mesh bag you have an anchor should you need one.

Work all of the zippers a few times and clean them with a lint free cloth and a little Armor-All. Silicon fly-line cleaner works great for this too.

Repair any loose threads or rips in the nylon shell. I use a big darning needle and leader material for this. When finished, a quick touch of the loose ends with a lighter or match will lock all of the knots in place.

Check for leaks:
Remove the air bladder and partially inflate it. Make a solution from dish soap and water then paint the whole inflated inner bladder with it. Any leaks will show as bubbles form from the escaping air. Make a circle around the leak with a Sharpie or other water resistant marker. Pay special attention to seams and air valves.

With luck there will be no leaks but if there is, here is what works for me.

Repairing pin holes in vinyl or PVC:

Deflate the tube and locate the marked leak.
Clip a bit of the excess bladder material from the side seams where it overlaps.
Using a bit of fine sand paper, lightly rough up a one inch circle around the leak. Put a light coat of contact cement on this area. Rough up the patch material and coat it with contact cement as well. Let the cement set for ten minutes or so on each piece and then firmly press the patch over the leak. To hold the patch in place while the glue sets
A bit of waxed paper laid over the patch will let you put a weight on it such as a book or two with out the weight getting stuck to the patch.
Let the patch set up over night.

For a tear:
You can try the same method as above but most replacement air bladders will only cost in the area of $40.00 or so and is probably the best way to go.

A leaking seam:
Here is a spot to start looking for a replacement tube air bladder:

For a good old-fashioned rubber tire inner tube just use a bicycle tire repair kit to repair any leaks. In my experience the rubber tubes are almost indestructible under normal fishing. The PVC and Vinyl bladders are a bit more delicate but lighter and easier to inflate and deflate.

A few more things:
Be sure to shake all of the dirt and debris out of the tube shell to avoid future punctures or abrasions.

When you put the bladder back in the shell, be very meticulous about making sure the inflation valves line up perfectly with the openings for them in the tube shell.

Remember not to over inflate your tube when setting out, or under-inflate it for that matter. Check your owner’s manual to see what is optimal.

Drop me a line or leave a comment if you have any questions about tubing. It is a fun way to enjoy warm weather fly rodding. If you have never tried it, you are in for some excitement when you do.

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Blogger mizlan said...

thank for the i know how to repair float tube..nice work

21 February 2009 at 07:17  
Blogger dsflyfishing said...

I guess my next step is to get a float tube. Great tip though. Given the state of the economy, everything I own is going to be held together by duct tape until even that wont work before I drop the coin to replace it.

21 February 2009 at 12:09  
Blogger Steve Dobson said...

Hi Mizlan,

You are more brave than I if you float tube those Snakehead waters.
I get a bit agitated if I connect with a chain pickerel while tubing.


21 February 2009 at 20:18  
Blogger Steve Dobson said...

Hello Dsflyfishing,

You will never regret getting a tube. It is a ball.

But, it is not just fun - it is a deadly way to fish too.

Thanks for stopping by. Give a shout if I can help you make your decision or if you have any questions about what tube to buy or how to use it.

By the way- my first tube was bought second hand. A great way to go and something to consider.


21 February 2009 at 20:24  
Blogger mister anchovy said...

I haven't been exploring fly fishing blogs over the winter, and only now see you are recovery from surgery. I want to wish you all the best with your recovery and hope you're back on the water soon!

26 February 2009 at 06:37  
Blogger Steve Dobson said...

Thanks Mister Anchovy,

I'm feeling better every day. I went back to work this week so it looks real good for spring fishing.


26 February 2009 at 21:36  
Blogger daves said...

Hi! This post is likable and your blog is very interesting, congratulations!
add your

3 May 2010 at 10:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the best weight of fly line to sew with?

11 March 2014 at 08:45  

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