How Do You Use A Belly Boat?

Anglers use belly boats for fishing in still water, such as lakes. They are also sometimes called kick boats or float tubes. These boats are in the shape of a “V,” “U,” or a circle with a seat and backrest that fits one person. Belly boats are affordable options for anglers who do not have money to invest in a motorboat.

How do you use a belly boat? First, learn the proper way to inflate the boat to ensure a smooth fishing experience. The belly boat should only be used in certain types of bodies of water. It also needs thorough aftercare which includes proper cleaning and appropriate storage.

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You will be more knowledgeable about how belly boats work after reading this article. It will help you to understand their basic features and how to use them. The necessary accessories for belly boating and some safety reminders will be discussed here as well.

Basic Features Of A Belly Boat

Before you can begin belly boating, you should probably know some of the basic features first. It will allow you to understand the belly boat better by identifying exactly what each feature is for.

These are the basic features present in almost all belly boats available on the market.

Pontoons/Inflated Bladder

All belly boats have pontoons that form a U or V shape and look like large hot dogs. These pontoons on each side of the belly boat are also known as inflated bladders. 

Storage Space

Many boats have storage space for all your fishing accessories and essentials. They have different small compartments and pockets hidden in the tube. Straps are also attached to belly boats so you can hang accessories outside of them.

Using A Belly Boat

Belly boats come with specific instructions for proper care and usage. It is essential to know these so that you can fish smoothly without any interruptions.

Here are some of the steps you have to go through before, during, and after using your belly boat.


The first step, and the most crucial step, is to inflate the belly boat properly. Its air chambers should be filled with air equally. They should not be inflated unevenly as this can cause problems once you are in the water already. 

Another thing to take into account is air pressure. Having a high air pressure in the air chambers may lead to accidents. The boat could burst in the middle of a fishing session if it is exposed to direct sunlight.

Fishing Location

Next, you need to choose a location for your fishing trip. The most ideal places are still water, such as lakes and ponds. These are the safest bodies of water you can fish in with a belly boat.

While it is possible to use a float tube in rivers and large waters, it is not encouraged. These bodies have fast currents, rocks, and other elements that could cause accidents.

Since your legs are the only leverage you have, you might be whisked away by strong currents or winds.

Fishing Technique

Belly boat fishing is very similar to regular fishing. The only significant difference is that you are a lot closer to the surface of the water. Try to raise your arms higher when casting a net or your fishing line.

It may feel awkward at first, but you will get the hang of it pretty quickly.


It is an essential but often forgotten step. If you have used your boat in saltwater, clean it with freshwater and soap as soon as possible. Get all of the dirt, soil, and other debris off its surface. Allow the boat to dry completely before putting it back in storage.

Storage Instructions

It is best to leave air in your belly boat and keep it halfway inflated when you put it away. The most ideal storage place is an area with an ample amount of space and circulation.

Cramped spaces with poor insulation can change the quality of your belly boat. These boats are very sensitive to changes in temperature and air pressure.

You must do two things if you do not have a choice but to store it in a small space. First, make sure that it is completely deflated, and all of the air has gone out. Second, let the boat dry thoroughly to avoid any mold from growing.

Safety Reminders When Using A Belly Boat

Fishing on a belly boat can come with many risks, especially if you go night fishing. These are some tips and general rules that you should follow to ensure you have a safe belly boating experience.

Bring Some Fishing Companions

It is not a very good idea to go fishing alone as accidents could happen in the water. Anything could go wrong at any moment, no matter how prepared you are.

You should always have a fishing buddy or companion with you at all times. In case you run into trouble, at least you will have someone who can help or call emergency services.

Equip Yourself With A Life Vest

Even if you are an expert swimmer, always wear a life jacket when you go out fishing. Still, water is not as dangerous, but it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Bring A Cellular Phone

Have a cellphone on hand in case you need to call for help at any point during your fishing trip. Store it in a waterproof pouch that you can bring with you into the water.

A budget alternative to a waterproof bag would be a plastic Ziploc bag. However, this does not guarantee your phone will be safe from water damage.

Use A Folding Anchor

Just like large ships have anchors on board, you should have one too. There are small folding anchors available that are lightweight and portable. Having one will put your mind at ease and may save you during an emergency.

Bring A Light Source

It is crucial, especially if you are out fishing at night or dawn. Even if you are fishing during the day, try to have a light source with you. Your trip might take longer than expected, and sundown could catch up with you.

Some options would be flashlights, light sticks, headlamps, or waterproof torches.

Check The Weather

You must always check the weather before you head out. It is good to be aware of any possible turbulent winds and currents. For your safety, do not ever go fishing when there is a thunderstorm.


When it comes to belly boating, all you need to is remember a few key points. It must be properly inflated and there should not be too much or too little air in the air chambers.

Belly boats should also not be used in large or moving bodies of water. It is too much of a risk, so only use your belly boat in small lakes and ponds.

Aside from these, safety always comes first. Before you take your belly out to the lake, go over the safety reminders we have provided. These reminders should act as a guide to ensure that you are protected if anything goes wrong.