The weekend got off to a good start with a morning’s fishing at Inanda Dam. Nick picked me up and, after a quick stop at McDonalds, we headed for the water where we met up with Gavin and a mate of his.
Things got off to a very interesting start when we spotted a spear fisherman in a full camo wetsuit. Strange? Or was it just us? Now slightly worried about our legs dangling in the water we pumped up our float tubes and made our way out into the water to start nailing those bass.
Nick had a great session and landed 4 largemouth bass on a home tied woolly bugger. I must’ve been doing something wrong since, despite fishing close to Nick, I landed not even one fish. I guess we all have off days?!
The water was incredibly warm (28 degrees to be precise) so when we got back to the car we spent half an hour or so testing out the tipping point of our float tubes. Having often heard nasty stories of just how easily they flip, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to form our own opinions and to assess the real danger.
With one of us at the ready to free the other we set about testing Nick’s Xplorer Journey and my Fishcat Deluxe.
We did manage to flip both tubes forwards, backwards and sideways, with forwards being by far the easiest of the directions. That said, it would be nearly impossible to do any of these by accident. In fact, tipping the tubes took a large amount of effort. The tubes also tipped incredibly slowly so there was plenty of time to notice what was happening and to correct it.
Since our initial tests were done without stripping aprons (for safety reasons), we manned up and repeated the tests with the aprons on. We were concerned that the bar on the Xplorer may trap the fishermen in the tube one flipped. This was far from the truth and we had absolutely no difficulty getting out of the tube once it had overturned.
Our next test was to see whether one was able to get back onto the tube in the middle of the dam. Both tubes were easy enough to climb back onto without touching the bottom. It did however take a little effort and older people may struggle a little with this. The Xplorer was slightly easier to climb onto which I think was due to the harder foam seat rather than the inflatable seat in the Fishcat.
It is worth stating that these tests were done with fins on but without waders. This could make a difference since waders may lower mobility slightly.
Feeling content with our results we packed away our kit and headed home.