Merry Christmas to me too. Pontoon boat.

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Tracy Lauricella, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. Some of my relatives gave me money instead of gifts this year for Christmas, so I decided to put it towards the cost of a pontoon boat.

    I picked up a Skykomish Sunrise pontoon boat from a guy on Craigslist yesterday for $450. The seller had dropped the price since it had a 6" long slit/tear in one pontoon cover (this is the model with zippered covers over bladders) but he included some swaths of the original pontoon materials. Using some aquaseal, I sealed up the tear and put one patch on from the inside and another from the outside. 3 layers of material is probably overkill, but what the heck. The air bladders themselves are fine, and appear to be holding air with no problems. Other than that one issue, the boat appears to be in great shape.

    I wasn't particularly in the market for a pontoon boat, other than the usual drooling over them when I see them in stores, but since I had just gotten some money as gifts and since the price seemed like a good deal, I went for it.

    I've seen a few posts about modifications to these boats or to solo pontoons in general, and I'd love to hear more: what have you done to improve your pontoon, and what are must-have modifications/additions/accessories to this one?

    Here's what I have in mind right now:

    Rod holders:
    I have a scotty rod holder that's meant to strap onto a float tube that I will probably use on this boat for now, but a rail mounted one might be better, if I can figure out exactly the best place to mount it. (anyone have this model that can make a recommendation?)

    Heat shrink on the sliding deck tabs:
    Saw this on another site, sounds like a good idea to let the sliding standing deck move smoothly and without scratching up the powdercoat

    Grip tape on the standing deck:
    The diamond plate flooring is already pretty good, but a few strips of this on the standing deck will probably help with wet felt-sole wading boots.

    2x4 motor mount:
    The almuminum cargo deck already has a rear lip that looks like it's made for a 2x4 to fit in. That'll provide a solid mount for my trolling motor.

    Stuff I'm not sure about:
    I've seen lots of recommendations for raising the seat via a pedastal mount. I might see if Sportco has anything that'll work well. I already have a swivel seat that I can replace the existing seat with, but raising it up may make standing up more comfortable. I'm just worried about whether that'll make rowing or leg position awkward.

    Stripping basket:
    I've seen mixed reviews on NFO's stripping baskets; not sure if that's due to differing opinions or differing baskets from year to year. Mine doesn't have one now, but it seems like a good feature. zip-tying a small tub with drain holes to the crossbar might be just as effective, though it might get in the way.

    NFO wants $90 for their set. I'm thinking some kind of clamp-on attachment to the lean bar when it's in the low position might be cheaper and work better.

    The oars that are included seem a bit lightweight and with small blades. NFO wants $450-$500 for upgraded composite oars. I'm thinking that a pair of catact mini-magnums will be a good upgrade at less than half the price. Maybe even less if I can find something comparable used.

    Any thoughts or suggestions? Using the search feature I've seen several posts from folks here about this particular boat, and I think this ended up being a very good deal. My primary use will be lake fly fishing, and drifting rivers when I don't bring my drift boat.

  2. Congratulations on a good deal, you'll like that rig. I have a 30# trolling motor and a Hummingbird 120 that I find useful to define botton contour on new waters. Just don't expect much out of the fish finder. I also would suggest oarkeepers, they keep oars from getting in the way when anchored. Suggest you reinforce the leanbar at the bottom, where it's drilled to accept pin to attach to the sliding deck: Shove a piece of PVC (can't remember size, 3/4"?) as far in as you can, saw the end off flush with the lean bar end and drill out the holes using the appropriate bit. This'll reinforce the hole in the end of the lean bar that tends to get "wallowed" out.
  3. April 2012 112.JPG
    Attached picture to show the PVC net holder. Seen people use several smaller ones to use as rod holders. As stated in previous post, I use the bags for rod holders. For the net holder I used a 2" "T" and put a countersunk stainless steel screw thru the PVC, Aluminium deck lip and 2 x 4 with locknut on 2 x side.
  4. I have the bladderless Sky and a twelve foot Northwest Express set up for two. Never had a problem with either boat, they mostly get used for moving water. I sometimes use them on lakes, I have a six horse Evinrude that I have used on the Twelve footer.
  5. Nice setup Robert, I love how you used two frames to add the extra seating platform.

    I figured I'd use the bags/velcro for rod storage, but I was thinking more of someplace to hold an active rod while rowing, such as you have on the right front of the boat there. Is that the caddis holder you mentioned? What is it attached to?

    The net holder looks like a good simple to construct and a very useful addition. I will likely copy it. :)

    I have that same Fishin' Buddy fishfinder, and was trying to decide on mounting locations. Does it work well next to the seat where you have it?

    Thanks for all the tips, lots of ideas now...
  7. Do you have problems putting up the lean bar now that you have the seat up on the 7" pedestal? I put a 7" one on my boat, and when sitting in the seat, I can't clear the lean bar over my head now. I like the higher seating position, but I'll go back to the lower height if it means I have to do some weird contortions to get the lean bar in the forward position.
  8. Interesting. I wonder if there is a difference in the lean bar length from year to year. On mine, with the seat on the 7" riser, the bar only clears the seat pan by 22" at the top of its arc. If I'm sitting in the seat, that puts the bar at the upper middle of my back (just over the top of the seat back), and it's very difficult to lean down far enough for it to swing forward.

    With the bar in the full forward position, there is 33" between the bottom of the bar and the top of the standing deck. With me wearing normal shoes, that puts the bar pad right at the tops of my thighs. (I have a 32" inseam)

    I have switched back to the stock seat height for now, though I am using a swivel mount.
  9. I took it out on a lake last week and gave it a try.

    Overall impressions: *awesome* I love this boat. Really light and maneuverable, yet big enough that it feels nice and stable.

    I used the standing platform quite a bit. When the wind was blowing it made for a nice slow drift along the shoreline, and when it wasn't I was able to turn my trolling motor on the lowest setting to fish while standing. It tracked pretty straight, but I could easily reach down and grab an oar for a few seconds to straighten out or turn when needed.

    I don't think I'll be using fins with it much, at least not the smooth plastic fins I have now. I had to take them off to stand up, as they were just too slick. As it was, I was able to use the oars, wind, and motor in various combinations to move around pretty well. On moving water I wouldn't be using fins anyway.

    The anchor rollers suck. I was using a small 15# pyramid anchor and really had to work to retreive it. I'm not positive it was the rollers that were the problem, but that and the rope are the first things I'll look at changing.

    The standing bar could definitely be taller. I bet I could build some short extensions to raise the horizontal bar up farther. This would let me return to the 7" seat riser as well as be more comfortable when leaning on it. A stripping basket of some sort is definitely in order as well. I was often catching my line on the foot bars. A homemade one is on my DIY "to do" list.

    I'll want to switch to a smaller battery. I'm currently using a full size Die Hard deep cycle marine battery. This made a great counterbalance when I sat in the back of my canoe and stuck it up in the bow, but on the pontoon boat it's a lot bigger than I need.
  10. I have the same frame on my X5. Here are the things I did with Scotty and RAM mounts:

    Rear rod holders on the deck
    I bought the magnum deck for more room. Motor mount
    Mounted the sonar with RAM on the front foot peg and transducer off the deck
    I also put a glue on Scotty mount on the front like on my Renegade

    As far as battery I do use the full size #27 Deep Cycle battery and always have. I also have a Work Wheelchair battery which is smaller and lighter. It works fine for day trips, but I don't use the motor that much. On windy days I prefer the bigger battery.

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