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FLOAT TUBE FISHING FORUM » Float Tubes, Pontoons and Related Equipment Discussions » Float Tube, Pontoon, and Equipment Related Discussions » What is your experience with force fins?

What is your experience with force fins?

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1 What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:24 am

MotoBoat


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I have recently purchased a fish cat "v" tube. Previous to that, I had a old school belly boat, and a u boat.

I had two sets of fins from the the belly and u boats. One is a caddis with two buckle straps, and the built in heel loop, with very short fin length. Maybe 8" beyond the foot when wearing them.

The other is perhaps the same brand, having the lace over the shoe style, and buckle strap heel adjustment. This fin is 12" in length beyond the boot toe when wearing.

I went out for the first time, a month back. I felt like I was getting nowhere fast when paddling. So, the next time out I brought a hand held gps. My speed was .4mph at cruising speed, in calm conditions. Full out was .6mph.

Found a pair of free diving fins at the second hand store. So, my next trip out was using those. Instead of trying the longer buckle heel (caddis) fins for speed. The free diving fins are around 20" longer than the boot when wearing. GPS speed at cruise shows .8. With a top speed of 1.2mph. With these, strokes or kicks are slow do to the drag. If kicking with the legs extended, fins near the surface. The knees get strained. But not if deep kicking, feels fine. With these fins there is a noticable "v" wake coming from the bow. The short caddis fins result in a barely noticable wake.

Does this speed sound about normal for belly boat fishing?

Would "force fins" be the next jump for better performance. Would they be any faster?

I am not looking for speed. The GPS was used to determine speed, only to determine efficiency of the fins. If the fins are slow in calm condition, how would they perform if kicking against a stiff breeze?

The fish cat has one rod, me (235lbs), small fly box, container of worms, waders, boots, and fins. Nothing else. Bladders filled with air until the thumb can press down 1/2" (deflection). For maximum floatation and less drag.

I am not willing to purchase expensive fins if there is not a large gain in performance. Some lakes I fish have 3 miles of shoreline or more.

2 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:08 am

.:LOLLY:.

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Float tubes are not for speed. With that said, I really like my forcefins. I can remember an incident where I took all my tackle and even the kitchen sink. No kidding though, my tube was pretty heavy. I was able to power through some rough current surprisingly well. I think so far my longest kick has been about 3 miles round trip and I am not disappointed with my fins at all.

3 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:53 am

MotoBoat


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Thanks for that experience. Have you used any other fin than the force fins? If so, could you compare that fin, to the force fins?

4 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 12:04 pm

.:LOLLY:.

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The first pair of fins I ever had were some cheap snorkeling fins from WalMart and I absolutely hated those without even comparing them to anything.

Next, I had the hotspot fins. I absolutely loved those fins and at a fraction of the cost of force fins. The only reason why I got the force fins is because I got a great deal on a used set. If it wasn't for the price I still would've been happy with the hotspots.

The forcefins are slightly better than the hotspots but not enough to justify the retail price tag. At least not to me... Personally, I don't think they beat the hot spots by much. One thing I did notice is since the force fins are under your feet as opposed to regular fins that are somewhat a continuation of your feet (if that makes sense LOL). Since the force fins are under your feet, it brakes the surface less often so you don't splash as much. At least that's what I noticed.

5 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:09 pm

Jerdon

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I used my Churchill duckfeet in my belly boat, then some scuba fins. I finally bought some Force Fins and the difference was night and day, they were more maneuverable and easier to speed up and slow down. The way the Force Fins come loose from the bottom of my feet seem more natural and less fatiguing. It seems they are made for the backward motion  the way duckfeeet are made for quick bursts and dive fins are made for long slow strokes.  Now I have a Cumberland and I haven't bothered to try something else.

http://jerdonking.tripod.com/

6 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:23 pm

bassmeister


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Yeah I have to second the Hotspots for the fact of pricing reasons. I also love that they float incase one falls off (Don't know about the Force fins floating). I haven't tried the Force fins yet and I'm sure they're great fins but to pricey.

7 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:01 pm

MotoBoat


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I am not sure why, but not having any luck finding Hotspot fins online. If searching online, is the brand name "Hotspot float fins" the ones your talking about?

8 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:50 pm

augie

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Bobber
Bobber
I also have had hotspots before and there great but I few years ago I went into a goodwill store in redondo beach and I couldn't believe my eyes there in the sporting goods section I saw them so I immediately went over and grabbed them and checked the price $5.99 I couldn't believe my eyes so I asked on of the guys that worked there if that was the price and he said yes , i scored big time but what lolly said I would have to agree with hotspots are less expensive and are a good pair of fins.

Motorboat you won't find them online but you will find them at most turners stores.

9 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Thu Jun 19, 2014 7:26 am

.:LOLLY:.

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Not sure where you are located but HotSpot Fins can be found in Turner's Outdoorsman stores in Southern California.

This is what they look like and they retail for about $70
[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

10 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:05 am

Guest


Guest
I can say that Force fins without a doubt have made my tubing more enjoyable and easier kicking hands down and the best thing no more leg cramps from kicking all day  Thumbs Up I have the step in kind that are made more for a wading boot . I can say that if you have a small foot like myself only size 8.5 and you are using the wrong shoe the fins will roll on you and you will kick your foot out of the fin and these things do not float !

Right now I am looking at maybe a different style boot and heel strap (maybe the bungee) to help secure my feet from kicking out of the top and thus the fin getting stuck on my ankle . that is a pain let me tell you kicking both fins in a 15mph wind and trying to get them back on only to kick them off again. happened to me last month and before i knew it i was halfway across the lake and stuck  lol! 

Luckily a boater was coming by and heard my hollers and came over laughing saying man you got your arse in some serious trouble and took me back to the bank .  now just trying to figure out how to keep these thing from coming off in a wind .

WES

11 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Thu Jun 19, 2014 9:37 am

MotoBoat


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Newby
I was able to try the force fins that a friend was using during a fishing outing we were on. But, when I tried them was during the ride home. We picked a lake close the the freeway, for the purpose of a quick test run. He had the step in style (?), they had the neoprene cup with adjustable buckle strap for the top of the foot, then the adjustable heel strap.

The strap for the top of the foot was stiff. That stiffness gave him trouble adjusting correctly. Because of that he did not want me to adjust them to another pair of wading shoes. Luckily my foot fit in his shoes. So, that allowed me to try the fins for 5-10 minutes. Unfortunately, the wind had picked up significantly during our set up. White caps, and such! The first thing I noticed with the force fins, is was hard to tell they were on my feet. The other thing is they flopped loosely, and rolled to one side. That was a weird feeling. Plus, I felt like I might loose a fin!

I did have my gps with me, but with the wind, white caps, sloppy fitting fins that rolled to one side. I came in before I could potentially loose a fin. Top speed into the wind was 1.4mph. Headed back to shore I was cross wind (90degrees to the wind), the speed did not increase.

I have been looking at force fins online. They are sold locally in used condition for $40-$60. But there appears to be several different models, with specific design features. I don't want to buy the wrong type for the purpose of float tubing.

There is the type mentioned above. Having the adjustable top strap with buckle, and adjustable heel strap. It occurs to me that this is the one for float tubing. It is the most adjustable, and not shoe size specific.

Then one that has a solid, non adjustable top strap across the top of the foot, with adjustable heel strap.

The "pro model". Having the solid, molded top strap, adjustable heel strap.

I would think the solid molded type would be hard to custom fit to a specific shoe/wader shoe.

12 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:09 am

.:LOLLY:.

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You can use either one of the two (molded type or adjustable top). I have the one with the molded top and they come in different sizes. If you get the molded one just make sure they fit over whatever shoe you will be wearing while tubing.

You are correct. When I first used the forcefins I also felt like the fin rotates to one side. That's just because it is an entirely different feel when compared to regular fins. When I first started using them every kick felt awkward. Now I don't even notice them and it has become second nature. There just different so it feels awkward because you are feeling things that you don't feel with other fins.

Someone mentioned the topic about floating. These fins do not float! It is recommended to put a leash on them that secures them to your ankle in case if they ever happen to slip off.

13 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Thu Jun 19, 2014 6:49 pm

Guest


Guest
I have the ones you mentioned one size fits all , and they are rolling on me in a smaller shoe size . especially if the wind starts to blow and you get the white caps . they did infact kick off and my foot came out of the top and they went up my ankle .

Was a pain in the butt let me tell you , i think that may be fixed if i actually get a wading boot something with alittle more bulk

14 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:05 pm

MotoBoat


Newby
Newby
The sizing chart from Force fin gives many variations for sizing. Are you using stocking foot waders with wading shoe over that? What size is your wading shoe, and what size of force fin are you using?

Also, when fitting the shoe inside the force fin. Should the front part of the heel on the sole of the wading boot, come in contact with the very back of the force fin?

15 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:29 pm

MotoBoat


Newby
Newby
Okay, borrowed some force fins. The same ones I tried out for 5 - 10 minutes. I mentioned the force fins felt like they were flopping and twisting to one side. I placed a much larger wading shoe into the force fins, buckled the top, and slid the heel strap into place. My foot was not in the boot. The fin straps were sized for a smaller (10.5), and narrower, canvas sided wading shoe.

Much to my surprise, the adjustment were much to loose for a size 12, wide width wading shoe. Let alone a 10.5, narrow shoe. I had 6" of extra strap by the time I downsized the top of the foot buckle strap. There is so much extra strap, that stepping on them is a problem. The floppiness is gone, and hopefully the twisting will be less noticeable.

Even though there is very little chance of paddling out of the fins now. These are borrowed fins. So, I made fin savers, using 40lb mono filament line, and a couple of plastic snap clips.

I looped one end of the line onto each fin. The other is tied directly to the snap clip. The snap will attach to a "d" ring that is located at the tip of each bladder, on my fish cat.

I need to know what size shoe people are using for the force fin with the molded foot box.

16 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:43 am

MotoBoat


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carbon copy



Last edited by MotoBoat on Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:57 am; edited 1 time in total

17 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 9:46 am

MotoBoat


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Newby
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:You can use either one of the two (molded type or adjustable top). I have the one with the molded top and they come in different sizes. If you get the molded one just make sure they fit over whatever shoe you will be wearing while tubing.

You are correct. When I first used the forcefins I also felt like the fin rotates to one side. That's just because it is an entirely different feel when compared to regular fins. When I first started using them every kick felt awkward. Now I don't even notice them and it has become second nature. There just different so it feels awkward because you are feeling things that you don't feel with other fins.

Someone mentioned the topic about floating. These fins do not float! It is recommended to put a leash on them that secures them to your ankle in case if they ever happen to slip off.

What is the size of your wading shoe, and what size force fin do you use?

I am a size 10.5 or 11, wondering if a size L, molded type force fin would be to small?

18 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:46 am

Jerdon

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Moderator
Motoboat,

I wear size 10.5 shoe and I wear the size ML in the Original Force Fins style. A 3mm bootie makes it too tight, but is a great fit barefoot or with lycra socks. I have been using these  Force Fins for 18 years or so.
Their size chart is pretty close to what you need.

http://jerdonking.tripod.com/

19 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:03 am

MotoBoat


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[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Motoboat,

I wear size 10.5 shoe and I wear the size ML in the Original Force Fins style. A 3mm bootie makes it too tight, but is a great fit barefoot or with lycra socks. I have been using these  Force Fins for 18 years or so.
Their size chart is pretty close to what you need.

Not real familiar. What is the original force fin style?

20 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:25 am

Jerdon

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Like these

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

Have you logged on to the Force Fin site and looked at their choices and size chart?

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

http://jerdonking.tripod.com/

21 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:55 am

MotoBoat


Newby
Newby
Yes I have looked at the online force fin chart. I suppose that chart applies to the "original force fin style"?

I recently discovered a force fin with an adjustable top. I found this type to be much more forgiving in shoe size, and not shoe size specific. In fact, that type of force fin does not have a size on it, must be one size fits all. There is nothing on the tag, other than "force fin" to indicate a model name or number.

With that in mind, I wonder if the adjustable force fin is a float tube specific design? There are many force fin models to choose from. I have found nothing online to clarify what each force fin model is designed for.

As mentioned before, the only time I used these borrowed fins. They were a sloppy fit, and twisted during kicking strokes. With this in mind, I am leery that I will find a 'original force fin" type fin to fit correctly enough with wading shoes on, to eliminate a sloppy feel or the feeling of twisting on the foot.

Not being familiar with force fins. I am unaware of which model is the adjustable one, what it is called or what search criteria to type.

22 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:37 pm

Jerdon

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Is this the model  you got to test?

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

this one  comes in only one size because of all the adjustable features. It fits over boots or thick stocking foot waders. I believe Wes aka Misfitdog has this model. Maybe he can shed more light on the twisting. I have not experienced twisting with the old style. I hope this helps.

http://jerdonking.tripod.com/

23 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 3:51 pm

Guest


Guest
@Jerdon wrote:Is this the model  you got to test?



this one  comes in only one size because of all the adjustable features. It fits over boots or thick stocking foot waders. I believe Wes aka Misfitdog has this model. Maybe he can shed more light on the twisting. I have not experienced twisting with the old style. I hope this helps.

You are correct that i have this particular model and it appears even if you have a bigger foot then mine which is only 8.5 ,  they do in fact twist and roll off your feet especially in wind if you are using the wrong shoe , even with a bigger/wider boot on i still get some rolling and a loose feel to the fin when it is totally synced down as low as it can go.. on calm days these fins are no worries .. 10mph wind becomes trouble  lol!  . I personally would not trust these fins in current at all at least on my feet

Edit : one thing to note , I am concerned about adding a wading boot as it will make your feet heavier , any other ideas on what I can use ?? .. I am using the wading shoe from redhead right now with the zipper on the side and it has almost fixed my issue 100% and it is still lighter then a boot
WES

24 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:15 pm

MotoBoat


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Newby
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Is this the model  you got to test?

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

this one  comes in only one size because of all the adjustable features. It fits over boots or thick stocking foot waders. I believe Wes aka Misfitdog has this model. Maybe he can shed more light on the twisting. I have not experienced twisting with the old style. I hope this helps.


Yes, that is it!! What is this model called? Does this force fin supersede the old fixed style with molded top? Or are both current models?

I am giving these a full days work out tomorrow.

25 Re: What is your experience with force fins? on Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:47 pm

MotoBoat


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[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:Is this the model  you got to test?

[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]

this one  comes in only one size because of all the adjustable features. It fits over boots or thick stocking foot waders. I believe Wes aka Misfitdog has this model. Maybe he can shed more light on the twisting. I have not experienced twisting with the old style. I hope this helps.

You are correct that i have this particular model and it appears even if you have a bigger foot then mine which is only 8.5 ,  they do in fact twist and roll off your feet especially in wind if you are using the wrong shoe , even with a bigger/wider boot on i still get some rolling and a loose feel to the fin when it is totally synced down as low as it can go.. on calm days these fins are no worries .. 10mph wind becomes trouble  lol!  . I personally would not trust these fins in current at all at least on my feet

Edit : one thing to note , I am concerned about adding a wading boot as it will make your feet heavier , any other ideas on what I can use ?? .. I am using the wading shoe from redhead right now with the zipper on the side and it has almost fixed my issue 100% and it is still lighter then a boot
WES

Are you sure you have them cinched down snuggly? I could not believe how stiff the adjustable strap is, and the rubber the straps are attached to.

There is definitely a technique to adjusting the strap, then buckling it. If the straps are brought together without first pulling, the rubber is not snugged up against the side of the foot. And the sloppy feel comes from that gap. I suspect the twisting also. One way to tell how tight or sloppy the strap is. Once the strap is buckled, try and pry under the strap buckle with your fingers. When I thought the strap was tight, it was far from it. I kept adjusting the strap shorter, until the buckle could no longer be pried under with even one finger. And, friction can be felt when moving the buckle back and forth (down toward the toes, and back up to the ankle) on the neoprene foot cover.

When I was done adjusting, the strap could be adjusted smaller, but not by much. The strap could be felt on top of the foot, due to the strap snugness. When this adjustment is correct, your boot heel will not pass beyond the back, bottom lip of the fins. Even with the heel strap snugged down. I can say, with certainty these fins, adjusted in this fashion won't come off!!. The other thing I would do as the strap was adjusted smaller, was to kick the tip of the "v" of the fin against the post on my deck railing. If the foot slit forward in the fin, the heel strap would loosen, when it was adjusted tight before kicking the post. If your foot move's forward or backward when you think it is tight, the strap is not tight enough! Clearly the cupped neoprene foot cover is there to spread the load of that strap when in contact with the top of the foot. Like when strapped down snugly, or during the kicking stroke in water.

To test fit, I also take the left foot with fin on it, and step on the right fin while on that foot. In an attempt to move the shoe inside the fin. Neither shoe will budge forward, backward left or right.

Something has to allow for foot movement for the fin to come off. When saying these fins are not trusted in wind, probably is not fair. What likely is happening is, so much force is placed in each fin kick, that any slop in the adjustment causes the fin to move on the foot.

I also found that the buckle thing that hold the dangling part of the strap to itself, needs to be close to the buckle. Or adjustment becomes very limited.

I am actually concerned the strap is adjusted too tight. The sensation is much like when your shoe laces are tied to tight, and there is that constricted feeling on top of the foot.

When I used the fins the first time. They were so sloppy, I can not believe they did not come off!!.

I will report back after tomorrow.

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