LEWISTON — A summer day spent on a trout or bass river in Maine would find most fly fishermen standing in waders, or casting from a canoe or boat. But from one of those horseshoe-shaped float tubes?

Kick-boating, or float-tube fishing, is less common in Maine than other forms of fishing transport. But last week a couple enthusiasts spent a day trying to convert one more to Maine’s small but faithful float-tube flotilla.

“He just took my 75-year-old mother out. She loved it. He will add you to the list of converts,” promised Mike Kolster, a Brunswick fisherman.

“He” is registered Maine Guide Macauley “Mac” Lord, who is something of a Maine fly-fishing legend. The recipient of the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Federation of Fly Fishers, Lord has taught casting at L.L. Bean for nearly 30 years and has taught casting instructors across the globe.

For Lord, the most important fishing-related work he does these days happens in these goofy little inflatable crafts.

Lord no longer takes people out fishing for money. Back surgery and a metal plate in his spine made a guide’s work of carrying heavy canoes challenging. Recently, Lord studied to became a chaplain and began volunteering in prisons.

He believes the experience of fishing from a float-tube is transformative.

In 1990, Lord product-tested a float tube for L.L. Bean and never looked back. Since then he’s gone float-tube fishing down most of the wild trout waters out west, as well as those in Argentina and Chile.

“It was miraculous. I took three kicks, and it was like an epiphany,” Lord said. “It’s not like going out wading. It’s different. You are more like a fish than a person. We don’t belong here. We are in the fish’s element. We’re not on the water, we’re in it.”

“I take people fishing who just need to go fishing. It’s a great way for someone to leave the hard stuff they’re going through behind.”

There are, of course, hazards.

All those kick-boating should wear life vests. And beginners should avoid fast-flowing rivers. Paddling against a strong current is no simple task.

But when approached with a measure of safety, float-tube fishing is eye-opening.

“You get another vision of the river,” Kolster said. “You can get into outlets and canals. That’s where the big fish are.”

Don Kleiner, executive director of the Maine Professional Guides Association and a fishing guide in the Midcoast, sees very few fishermen using float tubes.

“I do not see many in use, even on the small ponds. From a guide’s perspective, a canoe is better for small-water fishing because the clients are right there where you can help if needed or handle the fish,” Kleiner noted, but he added float tubes are worth trying.

“They are a very different perspective on the world from the water,” he said.

L.L. Bean sells several hundred float tubes each year, but many more kayaks and canoes, said outfitter spokesman Mac McKeever. But he said those who kickboat dig it.

“While (it’s) not a gigantic market, we understand the allure many have of fishing from a float tube, the ability to be more immersed in your surroundings, the stealth element and the fact that float tubes enable anglers to get into places many boats can’t,” McKeever said.

Kickboats run from $99 to $450.

The biggest advantage with float tubes is that with fins and human power serving as the motor, fishermen are free to fish away. And float tubes allow access to the shallowest spots. In essence, the fisherman becomes an amphibian.

Kolster and Lord have done pack trips with their float tubes down the Snake River in Idaho and the East Branch of the Penobscot River in Maine, carrying their gear behind the seat. Lord’s wife, Carol, carries their 80-pound dog, Millie, in the back of her float tube.

Just how many float-fishing fans has Lord converted? He smiles, casts his line, hooks into another smallie, and shrugs.

“Right now we’re introducing him to this,” the guide said as he looked at his latest catch.