Fishing The Fly Forum, based in Aberdeenshire,  Scotland


Buying a float tube
« on: September 03, 2008, 21:05:02 PM »
Hi folks,

I know this has been covered to some degree already - I've read the various threads.

The Sparton (299) and Shakespeare (117 new on e-bay) one sound ideal but what are the main differences between the two?

Is the Sparton much better quality or is it because they are kind of custom made for you with extras etc?  I'm a firm believer that you get what you pay for (I know that's not always the case in fishing tackle) but I want a quality tube that will be safe and durable.

I'd like to be able to take it into the hills if that has any bearing on advice offered. :z2

Still trying to find the time to get out to Haddo for a wee shotty.................. :z10

Like the look of the Guide Drifter (180) too - anyone know anything about it?


Hamish Young

Re: Buying a float tube
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2008, 21:07:20 PM »
The shakey version of the Sparton is just the same thing but built to a price (IMHO) the Sparton is still the best on the market for quality.

My suggestion would be to try out a few different styles of tube before buying, seeing what you can fit htme into for walking up and down hills may be a deciding factor for you :?
Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience ;)

Mike Barrio

Re: Buying a float tube
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 22:29:40 PM »
Hi Chris :cool:

Yes, there is a difference ........... BUT, Hamish is spot on, don't buy one without trying it first :wink

I have the Spartons and a Shakey at Haddo, which you can try out if you like?

Best wishes
Mike   At the heart of your fishing ..... lies a great fly line!


Re: Buying a float tube
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2008, 00:15:55 AM »
Hi Chris,

The guys are correct "try before you buy" when at all possible (as with all fishing hardwear but I will not teach my grandmother how to sook eggs).

I too initially liked the 'look' of the Guideline Drifter but because I couldn't find a decent review on it I wondered if it might fit into the 'lesser' Tubes bracket - talking from a safety aspect. I still don't know anyone who has tried one or even the spec. so I apologise to Guideline if I talk ignorantly of their product.
This led me to discuss tubes with Mike B. and read Steve Partons' reports on his endeavours to produce top of the range tubes with safety as a top priority - something which will be in the forefront of your mind when on 'open water' for the first few times.
His designs (Sparton & Shakey Expedition) have Tip Top bladders and Valves.

As I didn't know if Float Tubing was going to be just a fleeting fad ( I was born on land) the price difference swayed me in the direction of the Shakey Exped. which I think is absolutely ace - wasn't sure on the blues and reds, being a more tactical type of bloke but they've grown on me.

I got mine earlier in the year for 90.00 (Lochside Tackle) but I see that they are selling them now at 99.99 - still cheaper than most places and worth every penny.

Weight wise I don't know the difference but the sparton looks slightly meatier and it's made from 1000 denier material (if I remember correctly) and the Shakey is - I think - 600. which may be an issue if you are backpacking any distance with the tube.

By the way I spoke to Steve Parton prior to purchasing the Shakey and he fully endorsed it - naturaly.

I'm sure an outing at Haddo will settle your issues.

Float on Dude!!


Re: Buying a float tube
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2008, 21:35:48 PM »
Thanks for the advice folks. :z4

Mike, I'm away to check the diary with my personal secretary and WILL be in touch soon to book a test drive  :z16



Andy Wren

Re: Buying a float tube
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2008, 08:59:48 AM »
If doing on a budget Sparton will sell the Shakey at the best price ,I got mine for much less than GAC are quoting !
You may need to haggle ,I am a big fan of Steve he has looked after me well for a long time !
Andy Wren

Peter McCallum

Re: Buying a float tube
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2008, 10:37:50 AM »
As far as I can see the main difference between the sparton & shakey is the material for the cover. If your going to drive up to a water and money is'nt a problem then the sparton is top of the heap. If your heading into the hills then the spartons extra weight could be a disadvantage.


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