Float Tubes and San Luis stripers (long)


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Posted by LeeH on 2013-12-30 12:22:20

After reading the thread below, about float tubes, prams, pontoon boats, at San Luis, I thought it would be good to add a few points.

The key to float tubing at San Luis is mobility and flexibility, in order to fish safely. By this I mean that having a tube light enough to pack, will give you the ability to access virtually all water along highway 152, the bays near Dino Pt., as well as the road system within the Basalt area. More importantly, if you have a packable tube, it gives you the ability to launch IN SUCH A WAY that IF the wind comes up, you can kick across/downwind to the launch point, or drift downwind to a flat area for takeout.
The disadvantage to a non-packable pontoon, is that you are limited to the areas you can fish, and still make a safe takeout, when the wind comes up.

The wind is really a bigger potential issue for boats that require a launch from Basalt (rough when it blows) or Dinosaur Pt. (usually requires running against the wind to reach the ramp).

When the wind is blowing, (i.e. 10-20 mph), there are still quite a few places to launch, and fish, in both the Forebay and the Lake! This is why the "Bay of Pigs" is such a great place to fish, when the water is up, in the spring. You can park near the back of the bay, launch in a protected area, kick across the wind/waves, as far as you feel comfortable, and return to the launch point. If you happen to venture out too far, and can't make it back to the launch point, you can drift back to the southeast side of the bay, and hike back, with the tube on your back.
No problem.
This is true for Willow Pt. as well; and even the 3 bays south of the Basalt ramp.

I still use a donut tube because I don't trust bladders. (that's another story!)
I use a truck tube. If it gets punctured they leak very slowly and give you plenty of time to take out. They are easy to patch and you can buy a good-used one for a few dollars, at a truck stop, nearby.
Yes, they are heavier, but I need the exercise anyway! Grin!!!

I recall an incredible afternoon, on the lake. Steve Santucci was in one boat, and Dave Sellers was in another boat. The wind was blowing about 12-15 mph, and the stripers (all teeners+) were concentrated on a submerged hump. We were all catching fish!
Both boats would motor out, and drift over the spot until they were out of the fish-repeat. However, I was able to kick against the wind/waves and remain on the fish the entire time! As the wind increased I thought that the boats should have headed across the lake, to the Dino ramp. It was getting scary out there! Thankfully, the boat motors did not fail, and they made it back safely. For me, it was a short, lateral kick to a beach, and then a pack back to the car. At no time did I feel unsafe! With so much of my body, (fat butt) under water, I felt very stable.

Many U boats, and pontoon boats feature the fisherman sitting above the water, which does 2 bad things in the wind: You are a bigger "sail" to kick against, and you are less stable with only you lower legs in the water.

(Note for Steve-below) Adding a small motor is not the answer to the wind, with a pontoon. I think you will find yourself far from the launch point, and if your motor fails... Unless you have been out on San Luis, you can't appreciate how big AND HOW CLOSE TOGETHER, the waves can be!!! In some ways, this chop is much more dangerous than the ocean, with twice the wave size!

Now, if you fish in the spring (March-May), the wind is typically not an issue, and a pram, pontoon boat, etc. can be very effective, especially with good access on the Basalt side of the lake!

If you have any additional questions, feel free to drop me a note.

Be safe out there and don't take any chances!

Have a great (and safe) 2014, everyone! Hope to see you on the water!

Cheers,
Lee

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