best pontoon boat for the money

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by smd, Oct 12, 2004.

  1. smd

    smd New Member

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    well ive looked at the bucks bag extreme 9,outcast pac 800,dave scadden madison,skookum osprey 2 a little out of my price range at 1500.00. im looking for a boat for fishing rivers and lakes. looking for a little input for experiences with these boats as i have never had a pontoon boat. thanks for any input.
     
  2. Oneweight

    Oneweight Member

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    Sorry to give you the pat reply....but do a search on pontoon and you will find a mass of info and opinions as this is a well discussed topic.

    Personally, I have an Outcast PAC 800 and have been extremely happy with it....rivers, lakes, salt...it performs and does everything I need at this point.

    good luck - 1WT
     
  3. kodiaksalmon

    kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

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    I agree with 1WT, except mine is a Buck's Bags Southfork, and I love it. I guess if I had to give advice other than to talk to the companies, and do your homework, it is to buy the best you can afford. If you buy right, you'll have a great boat you love to fish in, and will have for years. If not, it'll be a hassle that you leave in the garage until the day you sell it in a yard sale for $50. And shop around. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg. I called around and I got mine from a shop that had it sitting on their floor for over a year because the color isn't the greatest-kindof a pale maroon- and they couldn't sell it. The guy knocked off like $250 just to get it out of the shop. Good luck.

    Take care all,
    Jeff
     
  4. Peter Pancho

    Peter Pancho Active Member

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    http://www.oregonfishing.com/riverrunnerinfo2003.asp

    This is equivalent to the Pac 800 at more than 1/2 the price! The MOST IMPORTANT factor in my book when it comes to this pontoon is that the river runner has polyurathane latex bladders and an aluminum frame. These latex bladders are the most durable bladders on the market. The Pac 800 uses the same bladders.

    If money were no object, I would get Skookums Steelheader in a second! The Steelheader is whitewater rated and does not use any bladders at all and are double the strength than the PACs.

    Good luck!

    Peter <><
     
  5. Denny

    Denny Active Member

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    Water Skeeter

    If you plan to use the craft more in flat water than rivers, don't get the model of Water Skeeter suggested by Wind Cries Mary; the rocker is pretty extreme, and is more set up for running moving water. Water Skeeter makes some great boats, but really look this model over carefully.

    Bucks Southfork is a great all-around value. :thumb:
     
  6. TrevorH

    TrevorH Active Member

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    I'd be interested an any opinion someone might have as regards the quality of manufacturing over at Buck's Bags vs. WaterSkeeter. I have been planning to buy a Bucks Bag Southfork, but you definatly get more features at a given price point with the waterskeeter...
     
  7. Great white hunter

    Great white hunter New Member

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    My standard reply :)
    If you are in the market for a pontoon boat,You first need to decide on what your main use will be.Will you be fishing stillwaters,rivers,backcountry lakes,whitewater.The next thing you will need to know and I hate even putting this in here but it is very pertinent, How much are you willing to spend?

    I would put pontoon boats in 3 categories,kickboats,pontoon boats and catarafts.

    Kickboats will generally be a smaller boat with no floor deck for standing that require the use of fins to propel the boat.

    Pontoon boats can be classified as the boats that have standing platforms and oars to use for propulsion and generally meant for 1 person

    Catarafts are the larger boats that can accommodate multiple persons and are usually trailered to your destination.

    These boats in general have a large selection of styles and manufacturers and are available in any price range.When looking for a pontoon boat some things to look for are frame materials used,frame construction,weld quality,pontoon construction,weight,and fit for the person using the boat.The smaller boats,if used in a river should be used for transportation only and never anchored in current.There is not enough capacity in the pontoons on the smaller boats and if anchored in heavy current they run the risk of being swamped.

    PONTOONS: There are basically 3 types of materials used in pontoon manufacturing,PVC and Polyurethane and I think Nylon or Cordura(mostly on bladder boats).Most all manufacturers use the term "ounce" for the rating on how heavy the total weight of material including the core fabric and the coating they use. The term "denier rating" is basically the weight and thickness of the material that is sandwiched between the layers of PVC or Poly. I spoke with Seattle Textiles who import virtually most all the materials from Germany that are used in boat manufacturing, and they told me that most of the materials used are between 15 and 35 oz with up to 40 oz available with denier ratings of up to 1200,The builders that advertise ratings above this are probably layering the seams or wear pads and adding the totals.PVC is the best value and is used in bladder as well as non-bladder boats.It is not as strong and is more prone to UV damage than Poly.The Poly is what basically all the top quality boats are made with and what the military uses in its rafts.PVC is made with polymers that will "break down" with continued exposure to UV and over time will crack much as the same that PVC waterline becomes brittle over time if exposed to sunlight.There are several methods that are used to join the seams on both materials from high frequency welding to hot air welding and glueing.Welded seams are the strongest joints although I have never seen a glued seam come apart yet and the warranty on most of these boats are as good as the makers that do weld the seams.The most important factor in the lifespan of your boat is the storage and care taken when not in use.

    FRAMES: Frames can be made from a variety of materials,The least expensive is the frames made from EMT (electrical metallic tubing) a conduit used in the electrical industry,this is available at almost any hardware store and is very inexpensive.It is a low grade of steel but is still sufficient for most applications in the boating industry and its coating makes it very weather resistant.Care must be taken when welding on EMT as the coating is a zinc base and causes toxic fumes when inhaled.Other materials that are used are aluminum,stainless steel,mild steel,and chrome moly tubing,Price and where they will be using the boat will dictate what most people will decide to use for the frames they purchase.

    I have tried to be as unbiased as I could when writing this and give as much information about pontoon boats in general. There is no 1 person that can tell you what YOU are looking for or the best deal except for yourself ,Most people can be biased on what they have purchased or the friends they know. Get out and compare the different boats and the quality in your price range and make the decision after you have seen what is available and what will work for what you want to use the boat for.These are not a small investment and my only other suggestion is to buy the best you can afford as from my experience it is usually cheaper in the long run.
     
  8. Jason

    Jason Trout Bum

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    For the price you can't go wrong with the ODC 915, or the Water Skeeter River Tamer.

    If you can wait until next year wait and see if Costco is going to be selling the Water Skeeter Snohomish again (WaterSkeeter made this package just to sell at Costco). I Paid $420 for it, its a 9' boat with a steel frame and weighs about 40lbs., it has 7' oars, and achor system minus the actual anchor, padded seat, motor mount, and a rear basket that came with a bag that straps down in to the baske wich has several compartments, including a small cooler for :beer1: .
     
  9. flylikeIdo

    flylikeIdo Member

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    ONE RULE IN LIFE TO LIVE BY, "YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR".

    You want a n inexpensive boat well guess what, you bought a cheap boat. I dont see how you can pay 500 bucks and get the same thing that you pay a grand.
     
  10. pwoens

    pwoens Active Member

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    you can get southforks for 350 on average....I have picked up two of them for under 350.00. Check around and look in your local papers also. Great boats that have been beatup on rivers and lakes and performs well. :thumb:
     
  11. riverdog

    riverdog Member

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    If you're not in too much of a hurry, you should consider hitting the outdoor show in Puyallup, which happens every February or so. Dave Scadden has been there the past three years, and he is one heck of a nice guy. (I have not seen him personally at the other local ourtdoor/fishing shows) You can see his boats, talk with him about the design, and he usually offers a show special that cannot be beat. If you check out his website, you will see how he has redesigned the entire line of boats based on input from customers.

    I bought a bargain pontoon boat a few years ago, and almost never use it because I did not consider the advice others have provided above. By the time I got to Dave's booth at the Puyallup show, I had spent my wad.

    Just something to think about...


    Riverdog
     
  12. troutman101

    troutman101 Member

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    Out of all of the folks who posted a reply, who has owned their pontoon boat the longest? I am wondering which one has been so reliable that the owner managed to keep using it rather than upgrading or breaking or puncturing? This would be useful info when determining which one to buy don't you think?
     
  13. Jason

    Jason Trout Bum

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    Well I have only been fly fishing for two years now and have owned my pontoon since March of this year.
     
  14. pwoens

    pwoens Active Member

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    had mine since I started fly fishing 4-5 years ago....punctured one bladder by own fault and sent it into bucks bags for FREE repair...plus FREE bladder protectors installed FREE!! Great customer service.
     
  15. lcconrad

    lcconrad New Member

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    You might want to concider product support, I have a Bucks Bronco and have been very impressed with Bucks Bags customer service. I have sent a pontoon back to them for repairs (leakly valve) and a second one for a hole, and they not only replaced the pontoon, but up graded my anchor system for free. I have had the pontoon for 5 years now and its gets a lot of use. For my money I will stay with Bucks and I like the size of the Bronco better than the southfork, it is worth the extra money. You do get what you pay for. iagree
     
  16. E'burg fisher

    E'burg fisher Member

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    I just picked up a 10 ft, one man, Xstream brand pontoon from Great White Hunter. It is bigger than the other pontoon boats I've seen, and much more sturdy. Front and back decks and huge pontoons. They are made near Seattle and I am very pleased with it.
     

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