Best Inflatable and Float Tube Fishing Rafts 2019

Fishing rafts are the most versatile option for anglers. The drift boat is capable of running many rivers in comfort and style, but the raft is the best option for bouncing along shallow bottom rivers, squeezing through skinny channels and running big whitewater. 

If you want to get into skinny waters or pack through the woods to hidden honey holes, you’re going to need something lighter than a boat or canoe.

The best fly fishing rafts are designed to be compact and ready to go at a moment’s notice since you never quite know where the best spot to put in is until you get to it.

When you want to ride your favorite creeks, rivers, lakes, and ponds in comfort and style, but you don’t want to worry about the hassle of loading and unloading a boat, a good fly fishing raft can make or break your day on the water.

At Tackle.org, we understand exactly what you need from your raft or float tube, and have taken it upon ourselves to sort the best of the best from the weak and waste of hard-earned cash.

Before you head out again, spend some time digging through the different rafts below to determine which one is right for the waters you’re fishing in and the gear you’re carrying.

What are the best fishing rafts in 2019?

6 Best Fishing Rafts For Rivers and Fly Fishing

To help save you time (and money), we’ve gathered the highest-rated fly fishing rafts available and laid them out in an easy-to-understand format. Each of the rafts below has received a 4-star rating, or higher, from other anglers just like you.

Best Inflatable Fishing Rafts

#1 – DAMA Inflatable Fly Fishing Raft w/ Canopy

One of the best, most well-rounded fly fishing rafts you’re going to find is the DAMA Inflatable Fly Fishing Raft w/ Removable Canopy. For a comfortable day on the water, this could be the only raft you need to look at.

dama fishing raft with canopySpecifications

  • Weight: 34 pounds
  • Max Weight: 380 pounds
  • Material: 500# PVC / 30 ounce
  • Air Chambers: 2 Pontoons
  • Warranty: 2 Years

It’s designed to carry a maximum weight of 380 pounds and features a built-in anchor trolley system with a detachable, fillable mesh bag. The included seat is comfortable enough for long trips and the backrest can easily be adjusted.

The hull is designed to cut through the water and the shorter length makes it easier to maneuver in moving water than longer boats. Each of the heavy-duty pontoons is manufactured with abrasion-resistant PVC bottoms and nylon tops to balance price with quality.

The canopy is large enough to block out the overhead sun while being small enough to allow you to cast your flies without constantly snagging it. Built-in cleats and rod holders keep your gear where you need it, when you need it, so you’re not constantly struggling in a small space.

 

#2 – Classic Accessories Inflatable Colorado Fly Fishing Raft

Classic Accessories is well-known for manufacturing some of the highest-quality fishing gear you’ll find. It’s why 3 of their float tubes and rafts have made it onto our list. We trust the products that Classic Accessories manufacturers enough to recommend them to readers like you.

Specificationsclassic accessories fishing raft

  • Weight: 71.5 pounds
  • Max Weight: 400 pounds
  • Material: 500# PVC / 30 ounce
  • Air Chambers: 2 Pontoons
  • Warranty: 2 Years

The Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat from Classic Accessories is a great example of how they’re moving the industry forward. It’s one of the few fly fishing rafts with a built-in motor mount so you get to sit back and save your arm strength for casting.

This is a larger pontoon boat, measuring 9 feet in length. The extra length does make it heavier than most others on our list, but that extra weight means you can take more gear. The pontoons will hold a maximum of 400 pounds, with you included in that calculation.

On top of the two-position motor mount (capable of holding a 3hp motor), you get a padded fold-down seat, a built-in anchor system, cleats and pulley controls on both sides of the boat, and a rear storage compartment to keep your gear within reach.

This raft is built with fly fishing in mind. Take one look at the features and you’ll see it, too.

 

Best Fishing Float Tubes

#4 – Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Fly Fishing Raft

The Classic Accessories Colorado XT is a beefed-up version of their Colorado line of fly fishing rafts. It’s built to hold more gear, keep you more comfortable, and be even more durable than previous Colorado models.

Specificationsclassic accessories fishing rafts

  • Weight: 77 pounds
  • Max Weight: 400 pounds
  • Material: 500# PVC / 35 ounce
  • Air Chambers: 2 Pontoons
  • Warranty: 2 Years

The slightly higher price tag gets you 20 pockets of storage space, multiple insulated drink holders, and an upgraded anchor trolley system with a fillable mesh bag. The cleats and pulley controls are within reach and easy to use.

The swivel seat coupled with built-in footrests makes getting comfortable a breeze. You can adjust your rod holder into six different positions, making trolling simple and straightforward.

The Colorado XT also features a built-in motor mount with 7-foot oars to help move the 9-foot pontoons around in the water. The pontoons are designed to make the raft maneuverable and stable, making this one of the best fly fishing rafts in its class.

With the Colorado XT, you’re also getting a transport wheel to make moving the boat easier, and a large rear storage compartment to keep the wheel handy while you’re on the water. This is, in our opinion, one of the best fly fishing rafts you’re going to find at this price range.

 

#5 – Classic Accessories Cumberland Fly Fishing Float Tube

If a fly fishing raft or pontoon raft is too big for you, or more than you think you’re going to need for quick trips to your favorite honey hole, the Classic Accessories Cumberland Fly Fishing Float Tube may be a better option.

Specificationsfloat tube for fishing cumberland series

  • Weight: 14 pounds
  • Max Weight: 350 pounds
  • Material: 500# PVC / 30 ounce
  • Air Chambers: 2
  • Warranty: 1 Year

The Cumberland is built for quick trips. It can hold a maximum of 350 pounds, between you and your gear, and has a thick, padded seat to keep you comfortable. The reinforced hull is designed to track true and give you effortless steering in slower moving waters.

Abrasion-resistant PVC prevents minor abrasive damage in most cases but, as with any inflatable, you do want to avoid abrasions whenever possible. 

The Cumberland features a lap net to keep your most-used gear close, and a fish ruler to help you quickly identify keepers. You have quite a bit of storage space for such a small craft, too. 

Two large cargo pockets, two drink holders, dual rod holders, and the net storage shelf round out the float tube. If you’re looking for quick, grab, and go, the Cumberland may fit your needs.

 

#6 – Classic Accessories Bighorn Inflatable Fly Fishing Float Tube

At first glance, the Classic Accessories Bighorn is similar to the Cumberland. However, once you start digging in, you’ll see a few key differences that make the Bighorn a better choice for some anglers, while the Cumberland fits those anglers perfeclassic accessories bighorn tubectly.

Specifications

  • Weight: 11 pounds
  • Max Weight: 300 pounds
  • Material: 500# PVC / 30 ounce
  • Air Chambers: 3
  • Warranty: 1 Year

The biggest difference between the Bighorn and the Cumberland is the dual creel bags and rear storage pocket. The Bighorn also features a safety orange visibility panel for times when you’re in busier waters and want to make sure you’re seen by other boaters.

The Bighorn holds a maximum of 300 pounds and is designed to make entering and exiting the float tube as easy as possible to do. The armrests are actually storage compartments with multiple pockets on each side to keep your gear organized and within reach.

The hull on the Bighorn is designed for slower moving waters. While it is easy to maneuver in slow-moving or stillwater, you could find yourself having problems tracking true when the water starts to pick up its pace.

#7 – Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS Fly Fishing Float Tube

The Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS fly fishing float tube is one of the best-selling fly fishing rafts available today. It’s a lightweight, durable, high-quality raft that is also incredibly affordable. These traits have helped secure its spot at #7 on our list of recommendations.

Specificationsoutcast fishcast 4 lcs

  • Weight: 15 pounds
  • Max Weight: 250 pounds
  • Material: 500# PVC / 30 ounce
  • Air Chambers: 2
  • Warranty: 5 Years

Each Fishcat 4-LCS is constructed from 30 ounce, 500-weight PVC vinyl. The material has proven to be durable and helps keep the cost down. The bottom of each 4-LCS is covered with extra material to prevent abrasions and punctures when you’re moving over sharp or rough surfaces.

As far as features go, this is one of the more basic float tubes we’ve featured. For minimalist fishing, that’s a good thing. You don’t have to worry about a ton of extra weight slowing you down or making the tube awkward to move between your truck or car and the water.

Dual air chambers with a streamlined shape make maneuvering the float tube in faster moving waters easier to do than many other rafts. The seat is comfortable, the storage compartments are big enough to take a day’s worth of gear with you, and the tube is easy to get in and out of.

Preview Product Price
Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS Outcast Fishcat 4-LCS $229.00

Best Fly Fishing Raft – Buyer’s Guide

If you aren’t sure which raft is right for you, we’ve compiled a handy buyer’s guide to help point you to the areas you should be comparing. Each of the factors below will affect your final decision and were used to build our list above.

Your Intended Use

There are a few different types of rafts. You can choose from whitewater or fishing rafts, dual-purpose rafts, rafts with frames, rafts without frames, you name it.

How you intend to use the raft is where you should start limiting features you may not necessarily need (in order to save money) while making sure you’re creating a list of essentials that are non-negotiable.

To give you an example, take a raft with a frame, for instance. The frame of the raft makes it more stable, easier to control, and adds extra functionality — like gear rails and anchor trolleys.

If you want to use a frame on a raft that doesn’t come with one out of the box, you’ll need to ensure you have D-rings available to fasten the frame to. Or, if you do not want a frame, make sure that you’re getting a raft that was designed to be used without one.

Rafts that are constructed without having a frame attached are manufactured with sturdier materials. Rafts designed to have a frame reinforcing them do not need to be as thick.

Expected Performance

Knowing how you expect the raft to perform before you purchase it is another key factor to consider before you spend any money.

To give you another example, you can find rafts that are designed to work well in whitewater but not so well in calm waters. Calm water rafts aren’t going to perform as well in whitewater. There is a middle ground that can be found, but you’re still dealing with tradeoffs and drawbacks.

Rafts that are designed to function well and be easier to control in whitewater are designed to turn on a dime. Calm water rafts are harder to control and could leave you in dangerous situations if you intend to use them in faster-moving waters.

Larger rafts will take more effort to move around and steer than smaller rafts will. Knowing this ahead of time will help you buy only the raft you need, without going too small or too large. 

You will know that it is designed for the type of water you’re going to use it in and won’t get caught off guard if the raft doesn’t perform the way you thought it should.

Number Of Riders

If you spend most of your time fly fishing alone, you may not actually need a raft. 

Unless you’re planning on carrying extra gear, like camping equipment, a raft could be more craft than what you actually need to purchase. Instead, a float tube may be a better fit for you.

However, if you intend to carry large amounts of gear or plan on having more than one person fishing with you, a raft is going to be better suited to what you need. This is when the time comes to determine -exactly- how much raft you actually require.

For two people with minimal gear, you can use a raft in the 10ft to 12ft range. For two to three people, with gear, a raft in the 12ft to 14ft range may be a better fit. Once you start thinking about buying a raft over 14ft in length, you may want to start thinking about a boat, instead.

Again, think about the performance of your raft. What works well for three people in calm water is almost always going to create dangerous situations in faster-moving water. 

On the same token, the maneuverability of a fast-water raft with multiple people in it moving around in calmer waters could leave one of your occupants swimming during a heavyweight shift. That means you need to consider the number of riders and their weight before you buy.

Safety Concerns

Before you ever leave the shore, safety should be one of your biggest priorities. Safety is more important than price when you are going to be spending hour after hour on your raft and could find yourself in potentially harmful situations.

It’s never worth saving a few bucks when you’re thinking about the safety of the raft that you’re wanting to purchase. Unfortunately, price is one of the first things people consider when they’re thinking about their gear but should be avoided at all costs when it comes to safety concerns.

To give you an example, the price difference between a raft that costs $300 and one that costs $500 could be the materials that the raft is constructed from. We’ll get more into how to determine which materials are better than others in a second, but this is focused on safety, for now.

If you’re trying to save money, you could end up with a raft that is easy to puncture. Or, you could end up with a raft that quickly deflates because the seams aren’t properly adhered to using the latest and strictest safety standards.

Construction Materials

The materials used to manufacture the rafts you’re considering is one of the biggest factors impacting the final price of the product.

Many manufacturers are able to sell their rafts for cheaper prices because they’re using cheaper materials. While this may seem like it benefits you, the consumer, it’s actually more expensive to buy these cheaper rafts.

Have you ever heard the phrase “buy cheap, buy twice” before? In short, it means that when you buy cheap and try to skimp and save on your first purchase, you end up purchasing a second time when the first product fails in the worst possible way.

When you’re thinking about a raft that needs to be trusted to keep you (and possibly your fishing partners, kids, or other family members) afloat, figuring out that the money you saved is leaving you high and dry in the middle of a lake or miles away from your vehicle is a bad situation to find yourself in.

Most rafts are going to be constructed from PVC plastic. This type of material isn’t bad when it’s thick and the seams are secure. However, if you want to make sure your raft isn’t going to leave you high and dry, depending on your life vest, consider other materials.

You can find rafts manufactured from everything like polyurethane to Pennel Orca, or Hypalon and will get more than your fair use out of the raft. These materials are significantly more durable than PVC is.

What you’ll find out is that “splurging” on these “more expensive” materials the first time will always cost less than purchasing a cheap PVC raft (not all are cheap, by the way) while making a second purchase down the road after your first raft fails.

The key here is to avoid saving as much money as you can because the price tag on a good raft really is the ultimate determining factor in whether or not you’re getting a quality product.

Transportation Method

How you intend to transport the raft is another factor that will help you decide which raft you’re going to buy. Some rafts are easier to transport than others, and most rafts end up getting damaged during transporting them.

If you’re going to inflate the raft before you start moving it, you’ll want to make sure you’re taking extra precautions to prevent it from getting damaged during transport. This may cost a little more money upfront, but it’s always better than purchasing repair kits or buying a new raft.

This is especially true if you’re planning on moving the raft by yourself, without help. A boat trolley can be used to help keep the raft off the ground and make it more mobile. Or, you can keep the raft deflated in your vehicle until you reach the water and then use an external pump to inflate it before hitting the water.

The key is to make sure you have something in place to keep the raft from hitting sharp rocks, tree limbs, or getting abrasion damage from dragging it over sand too often. 

Safely transporting the raft will dramatically increase the amount of use you get out of it, so plan ahead and budget it into what you’re able to spend!

What’s The Best Fly Fishing Raft In 2019?

Depending on how you intend to use the raft and your personal budget, we believe that the DAMA Inflatable Fly Fishing Raft w/ Canopy is one of the best rafts available today.If you want to use motorized power, the Classic Accessories Colorado is a great raft for the money. If you’re looking for something a bit smaller, the Colorado Accessories Cumberland is one of the best float tubes you can find.