Steve Parton: Pushing the Envelope

Disgraceful though it may be to mention it a radical new technique has enabled owners of Woods River V-Boats to massively extend their offshore operations. I have to lay claim to this staggering technical advance in Float Tubing, personally! It came about as a direct result of a book review that I undertook a few months a go. The comment had been put in print by a dear American Lady that her husband had been greatly assisted in extending his personal envelope of offshore operations by the simple expedient of having an external catheter fitted to one of his appendages which enabled him to dispose of liquid waste matter without the necessity of a trip to the shoreline with its accompanying loss of time and potential fish catching opportunities.

Frankly I sought a better way. After some thought I made my next trip afloat equipped with an empty milk bottle ( alternatively referable to as the Sparton Mini Aquarium ) and a small plastic funnel . I thought to introduce the one deep into my neoprene waders and then to fill it in a tidy manner by use of the other.

It was a cold day and windy and I was suffering from a raging toothache. It may have been the excess of Paracetamol that I had ingested to combat the toothache that resulted in the unique discovery I then made. Whilst risking rupture or worse in attempting to introduce the Mini Aquarium and funnel into the lower regions of my waders which, due to an excess of food over requirements over the preceding few years, were rather snug fitting, I made the breakthrough. I noted with surprise that a certain portion of my anatomy was within three inches of the top of my waders which I had rolled down at the front to facilitate matters. 'Oh What the Hell' I thought 'Try it, why don't you?' So I went the extra couple of inches, aimed and fired. Complete success - with the added bonus that the resulting flow really warmed my fingers up on a nasty chilly day!

I have to add a word of caution here - as a technique for standard Round Float Tubes it is a sorry failure because potential practitioners are sitting far deeper in the water. You sit higher in a V-Boat - and the handy line tray even affords the operator with an effective - if slightly splashy modesty screen.

Since making this handwarming discovery I have lost few opportunities to get additional practise at the techniques involved and although these have stopped short of the ingestion of copious quantities of Lager whilst float  - I now drink large amounts of coffee before and during actual fishing - amounts about as large as I used to drink when boatfishing. And interestingly the waste products end up where they ended up previously.

Fellow Floatubers, envious of my new found freedom have gone so far as to have baggier Neoprene Waders purpose built to facilitate the rolling down of the front.

Already this year I have personally recorded one instance of being offshore for 10 1/2 hours continuously without need to touch the shoreline. There are problems - I have found that the wearing of Jeans and similar types of trousers which fold and ruck under Neoprene Waders to be a bad thing as they wear holes in the skin of the legs at the Rucking Point and this is Rucking Painful and a Rucking Nuisance for the next few days until they have Rucking well healed up! Corduroy, Thermal Long Johns, and even Track Suits are better.

So what are we to do with this newfound long range Float Tubing capacity?

Logically we get ready to take on something momentous like the very first Float Tube Channel Crossing. Now it would only happen in a Northerly blow if you were going to France or a dead Southerly if you were trying to get back - nobody can push a tube into a force 5 for any length of time at all. So what! - Is there anybody out there willing to sponsor a few of us to have a go at it!!

To prove the point, arrangements are already well in hand to do the Windermere 11 Mile Flipper from one end to the other. With luck I and Jim will have accomplished this interim trip well before the start of next season - it will, after all, give us something to do in the depths of Winter and we can always spin or troll for Char or Pike as we piddle - sorry, I really meant paddle!

Steve Parton

Steve Parton needs no introduction to the UK readers. Midlands reservoir angler, obsessional float tuber, author and "in the trade", Steve owns Sparton Fishing Tackle (drop by for a visit!) and is well known in the UK for his in-depth flyfishing knowledge.

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