Good boat for lake fishing

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Matt Hutch, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Matt Hutch

    Matt Hutch Member

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    For the past couple of months I have been saving up my money with the plan to buy a pontoon boat in the spring for lake fishing. I just moved to Spokane and I realized that there are a ton of lakes around the area but not that many rivers, so if I want to fish a lot it would be nice to have a boat. But now I'm beginning to rethink my plan to buy a pontoon boat because I'm thinking I might want something that will seat 2 or 3 people as opposed to just one. What would you guys suggest for a boat that would be good for fly fishing and still seat 2 or 3 people? I need something that isn't very expensive and is easy to transport, something that I could also use by myself if I wanted to. I was thinking maybe a 10' or 12' jon boat maybe. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  2. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Matt, would you fish rivers if you could? I got a used but in very good condition Outcast PAC 1200. I think this would work well on lakes (took my wife and two little girls out with me a few times) and rivers (me rowing and another dude fishing up front). If you are patient you might find a used 2 or 3 person cataraft that won't break the bank. If you are not going to fish rivers at all then maybe the cataraft/pontoon is not such a great idea. There are a bunch of folks on here who will read your post and have great suggestions. If you are not in a hurry, they'll guide you in a direction that will work for your needs. Ed
     
  3. Bank Bum

    Bank Bum Member

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    This reminds me of ME 5 or so years ago,so now I have a 14FT lund in the garage that never gets used & 3 Pontoon boats in the basement that ALWAYS get used..
    Buy a pontoon boat,just in case you want to get out on the rivers,easy to load & unload by yourself.If you buy a boat,you will be stuck on the lakes & might be a pain to load & unload by yourself unless you also buy a trailer.Most pontoon boats you can add a electric motor,which might be good on the lakes for you. I wouldnt go any smaller than a 10 ft pontoon boat and make sure it has a rear storage deck on it for carrying extra gear & supplies. There are a few in the classified here for sale and a bunch on craigslist as well,Good luck in whatever you decide.:)
     
  4. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    I mentioned this on another thread, but the 2 man Scadden pontoon is a great boat. It works well in both a two man and one man configuration. With the sliding platforms, it is easy and secure to stand up in it. I have mine set up for double anchors front and back for lake fishing and it works well with an electric motor for lakes. On rivers it is capable of Cl 4 whitewater and I often fish from the rowers seat with fins and have another angler in the front fishing as well. You can't do that in a raft or boat! It also comes apart to a pretty small package. I use it more than my drift boat, raft or smaller poontoons! rick
     
  5. Matt Hutch

    Matt Hutch Member

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    Ya its beginning to look like a pontoon boat would be a much better option for me. They're much easier to store, much easier to transport, and some of the 2-person pontoons I'm seeing have the option of being configured for either 1 or 2 people. I looked at Outcast and Scadden, and both have some great boats but they're still a bit out of my price range unless I find a really good deal on a used one. Should I just wait and keep my eyes open on craigslist and ebay or are there any other 2-person pontoons that are cheaper?

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  6. Matt Hutch

    Matt Hutch Member

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    Well I went to my local fly shop this morning and talked to the fellow there, who has a lot of knowledge not only on fly fishing boats but on the area and places that I will fish. He told me that, although a 2-person pontoon boat is the best idea if I want a boat that can accommodate 2 people, a 2-person pontoon will be considerably bigger and heavier than a 1-person pontoon boat and most people who have bigger pontoon boats trailer them. After looking at some of the specs on 2-person boats I decided that they are too big and heavy for what I want. So I've decided that I'm going to stick to my original plan and get a 1-person pontoon boat. My local fly shop carries Buck's Bags pontoon boats and I really like them. So, I've narrowed it down to either the Buck's Bags Alpine Pontoon Package or the Southfork Pontoon Package. It seems like the Alpine is a little more suited for still-water and the Southfork is more suited for rivers, but that's just my assumption and I'm not completely sure. The only difference I can see is the shape of the pontoons. Most of my fishing with the boat will probably be on lakes but I will also use the boat on rivers sometimes so I need something that can do both. And on the rivers I will be fishing, I probably won't put the boat through anything more than a class I or II rapid, definitely not a class III because I'm just not that comfortable with a boat and in the water. Between those 2 boats, which one would you guys recommend?
     
  7. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

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    Here is my take on why you want a boat for lakes. I lived in Spokane for a couple years. It is a stillwater mecca for sure. If you are a "lake guy" and have a place to store it, get a hard boat. I was always envious of the guys at Amber, Medical, West Medical, Sprague, Williams, Badger, Fish, etc. that were staying warm and dry while anchored up on a good early season chironomid bite. I wasn't in a position to go that route when I was there but always wanted one. A 12-15' mod-V jon boat or Alaskan-style deep-V set up with bow/stern pocket puller anchors and couple of pedestal seats would work well. The motor issue is tricky as several fine lakes out there don’t allow internal combustion. Cost-wise, if you shop Craigslist you should be able to get a complete lake boat setup with trailer for about the price of a new one-man pontoon.

    The thing that really makes a boat worth having around Spokane is the chironomid fishing. Spokane trout lakes are midge factories. Having an anchored casting platform to fish from will make your days so much nicer. I learned a lot about chironomids while I lived there and quickly realized my kickboat was not the best way to do it.

    What the pontoon boat will get you is onto the Spokane River and other fine floats in ID and MT that are doable as a day trip.
     
  8. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Buck's Bags makes a hell of a boat - a couple of my friends have them. But so too does the other Boise 'toonbuilder, Outcast. It'd be hard to go wrong with a boat from either.

    My best recommendation though would be to watch Craigslist or the Classifieds here and buy a used boat. On average, you'll save about 50% off the new price. Right now is the best time of year to buy used gear.

    K
     
  9. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Matt, Kent speaks good magic about watching Craigslist and the Classifieds here. Good things come to those who wait. About trailering pontoon boats, most may, I don't know. I don't. My 9' Fishcat Panther fits atop my truck in a rack that I built (this is a four tube pontoon with two tubes side by side on each side, so it is a bit wider than your average one person boat). My 12' Outcast PAC 1200 fist atop my truck in the same rack (it actually is a few inches narrower than the solo boat). I can load and unload them myself, simply lean the top along the back of the SUV and hand over hand it up top. I'm not saying that a trailer may not be easier, just saying what one guy does. I'm also not saying that a john boat, pram or drift boat might not be a better craft for different applications. These work for me. Best of luck and enjoy.
     
  10. Rick Todd

    Rick Todd Active Member

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    If you are getting a one man pontoon and will fish lakes primarily, be sure to get one with a slide out floor like the Scadden. It is way easier to cast from a standing position, it is WAY easier to relieve yourself from a standing position:thumb: and also see if you can use an electric motor on it-that also makes a big difference on a lake if the wind comes up and you have to row upwind to your launch area!
     
  11. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I'm no expert on standing platforms but a couple of my friends have had Scadden boats with platforms for several years. After finding a used Skykomish Sunrise (for about 35¢ on the dollar!) I was keen to try out the standing platform. Yes, you can cast farther and yes, it's easier to take a leak. But it's worth a caution that neither benefit comes without a cost.

    Dealing with slack line while you're stripping from a standing position means you either have to attach a stripping basket to the lean bar or your waist or risk the line getting tangled around your feet, pontoons and frame as you strip back every cast.

    Landing a caught fish is also problematic. You'll either have to buy a long-handled net (and no, they're not cheap either!) or sit back down to use a regular net or freehand release it.

    Finally, taking a leak from a standing platform is easier than sitting down and more convenient that rowing to shore. But unless you've got a good aim and the wind isn't blowing, you risk pissing on your boat, bags and gear.

    Relatively few used 'toons will have a standing platform. I wouldn't put off getting a used 'toon, any 'toon, to hold out for finding one with a standing platform.

    K
     
  12. Gatorator

    Gatorator Member

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    One problem with 'toons on a lake is the gear. You have to wear waders if it is not warm and you will have your feet in the water at times. In a boat you stay warm and dry. You also have difficulty accessing the back deck where in a boat you have easy access and can haul more stuff. Including kids and dogs.

    If I was you I would look for a small cartopper and use that. They can be had for $200 and up if you look.
     
  13. Bank Bum

    Bank Bum Member

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    Bucks Bags boats are nice boats,BUT...the ones that you are interested in are too small,the Alpine is only 7ft long? & comes with 6ft oars which are to small,you will have no power with them while rowing,espically on rivers.You sit to low, due to the small size of the tubes so your always getting wet & so is your gear.Rear storage is to small to handle much gear & price is around $650.00 give or take $50.00 bucks.
    The South Fork (my best friend owns one) and he hates it. Its only an 8 footer,Cheap,cheesey oar locks,oars to small,rear cargo deck is a mesh deck on it,not sure on all of these boats,but his is.When loaded with his fishing gear,small cooler on back,very small cooler,his 12 lb anchor & his 200 lb arse,the boat sits half way up the pontoons in the water,making it Very hard to maneuver.Price is around $750.00 for this boat.
    Trust me on this,Dont buy anything smaller than a 10 Pontoon boat,i`ve been there & done it.Buy a pontoon with a Least 16" diameter x 10 ft tubes or you will be sorry.But,if your very set on 1 of these boats you mentioned,I think he is selling his for around $300.00 bucks,if he already hasnt sold it,because he just bought a used 10ft pontoon boat.If you interested in his boat,let me know & i`ll see if he still has it.Good Luck...
    Pontoon decisions are :beathead:
     
  14. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    There are pros and cons to all fishing platforms. I have all three main lake fishing platforms; float tube, pontoon, and a 12' aluminum with both electric and gas motors. The one that gets the most use is the pontoon. It is easier to handle than the hard boat and is more comfortable than the tube. I use the 12' hard boat when I want to take someone with me and the tube when a hike is required. A pontoon is much more maneuverable using fins than the hard boat for fishing in close to shore as an example. Not being able to stand to cast should not be an issue if you can cast decent and the extra maneuverability should allow you to get close enough to not have to launch a 70 foot cast anyway.

    I would vote for the Southfork. It will give you a very good lake fishing platform and if you do have the opportunity to fish a river it can handle it with no problem.
     
  15. Matt Hutch

    Matt Hutch Member

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    Well, first off I'm not at all concerned with sitting too low in the water. I used to fish out of a kayak and that sits much lower in the water, and it never really bothered me much. And I think a casting platform would make things a little complicated--landing fish is a pain, it adds weight and bulk that I don't want, and I feel like it would get in the way a lot.

    Now, as far as size, I figured I would get either an 8' or 9' boat. I just checked and I guess the Alpine is only a 7' boat, I thought it was 8'. So I'm thinking the Southfork is what I want. And an 8' boat is plenty big for me, I only weight about 145 lbs. and I won't be carrying more than 10-20 lbs. of equipment. The guy at my fly shop told me that for a bigger guy, a 10' boat might be better but for a guy my size an 8' is plenty.

    Thanks,
    Matt
     
  16. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    A friend recently bought a well-used but solid Southfork on the Seattle Craigs List for $250. Even though he's 6'3" and 240, the waterline doesn't come close to being halfway up the tubes. It came with standard bronze oarlocks and 1-1/2" diameter oars with OarRites.

    K
     
  17. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I've had both but at different times. If I was in the market for another one it would be the Southfork. The Alpine is for lakes and slow moving water. It's too small for fast water with it's 7' pontoons.

    Jim
     
  18. Bank Bum

    Bank Bum Member

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    Matt,after talking with my bud,I guess I mislead you about his boat.He said he bought it at the fairgrounds in Puyallup and it was a older demo model in which it did not have the original size pontoons or oars with it,the tubes where only 14 1/4 inch in height,not the 16 " standard ones & the oars where 6 ft,not the 7 footers that come on the New Southfork boats,so sorry for giving you the wrong info about this boat.Thats why he only paid $300.00 and no tax for it all.That being said,with 16"pontoons on the southfork would set you up alot more & would hold the weight alot better.Are you looking to buy a brand new one or a used one?Again,sorry for giving you the wrong info on this boat.:beer2:
     
  19. scottflycst

    scottflycst Active Member

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    Matt,
    One of my earlier pontoons was a Southfork and I used it hard for six years before I sold it. It is still going strong with its new owner. That was a great boat and an excellent value. I did replace the oarlocks with the Outcast variety (brass oarlocks), not hard to do. One can make small inexpensive changes to personalize it, most of us do that with our boats no matter what brand they are. That boat got folded up and tripped to eastern WA so many times I thought it might get creased pontoons but it never did. Seemed to have an uncanny way of finding fish. Several times I wished the Southfork was still taking up space in my garage. You won't be sorry if you end up owning one, Buck's will take care of you too if that be your fate.
     
  20. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

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    I have had my southfork for 11 years and it has seen some hard use has seen the pavement at 60 + mph twice. The tubes are getting worn on top from sun rot(my fault) but still floats well. I added a uhmw platform on back instead of the cargo net. I have 3 rod holders on it and a hummingbird depth sounder on it. :thumb::thumb::thumb:
     

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