Pontoon Boat Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Pieter Salverda, Apr 7, 2005.

  1. Pieter Salverda Member

    Posts: 189
    Ballard, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Hi there,

    I am thinking of getting a single person pontoon boat good for lake fishing as well as handling moderate water on the Yakima. I feel like I have begun to overanalize the information and am getting confused on what is good, acceptable, comfortable, necessary, etc.

    Can anyone recommend a particular boat or manufacturer for an 8-9 foot model around or under $500? The winning recommendation will recieve a day of beer on the river on me!

    Thanks for the help. :beer1:
  2. Jason Trout Bum

    Posts: 666
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    In the $500 range you really can't go wrong with any of the pontoons on the market. Its when you go below that things get hairy. Best deal is to find one used and save up to a couple hundred bucks.

    Check your email!
  3. Chicotello Member

    Posts: 124
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I know the feeling...I stressed a bit before I finally bit the bullet and bought something.

    I just (about a week ago) purchased an Outcast Fishcat Cougar. I've had the boat on a smaller local lake twice and on one short river trip. So far so good...

    The boat's really stable and because it rides low on the water you can really dig in with your fins. it also uses a 4-pontoon setup which should provide some measure of safety if one pontoon were punctured...hopefully I won't be testing that hypothesis.

    The anchor system could use improvement but several other Cougar owners mentioned this to me before I bought the boat and a do-it-yourself upgrade is possible...a post by p.dieter in this forum details this...I'm not sure how this would affect the 5-year warranty.

    Overall I think it's a great boat for the money (500$) for moderate rivers and

    Also, Dave Scadden just started an online magazine about pontoon boat fishing and it's got some great info in it...here's the link;


  4. jabseattle jabs

    Posts: 1,122
    Desert Dweller
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    Two words:

    Bucks Bags :thumb:
  5. Johnnyb Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    two more words (in addition to "Buck's" and "Bags"): South Fork. Sportsman's Warehouse (Spokane, Silverdale?, Missoula) had them on sale for $459, which is about $150 below list.
  6. jabseattle jabs

    Posts: 1,122
    Desert Dweller
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    South Fork iagree
  7. dmoocher Member

    Posts: 262
    Olympia, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    If you are going to fish lakes...stay away from the boats with a strong rocker like the 8' southfork and bucks bag...I borrowed a buddy's bucks bag for a few trips to Leech lake and hated it...could not row in a straight line at all. I got an ODC 915 off ebay and saved over 100 bucks over the cost at Sportco including the shipping. A really good boat, not the best but it'll do...most importantly, it tracks fairly straight on lakes.

    FYI...two of my buddies just got Dave Scaddens...call him and you might just get the January Sports show price...they saved over 200 bucks.
  8. cmtundra New Member

    Posts: 514
    Tacoma, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    Dude, is that cheating? By saying they're all good, you're guaranteed to get a days-worth of beer! That's low, but wish I'd thought of it. :D JK of course
  9. Brassie Member

    Posts: 49
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Pretty happy with my Bucks BAg Southfork - It has increased my fishing options. It is great on the Yakima, and perfect for lakes. Be sure you get some good fins, Force fins are the best on lakes. I use them more than the oars.
  10. kodiaksalmon Jeff B.

    Posts: 946
    Muskie country!
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Ditto. iagree
  11. Tony Mull Member

    Posts: 832
    Lake Stevens, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    after my first south fork was stolen i got another off ebay, so don't overlook that source. made in idaho and are high quality. much lighter, stainless steel frame than some of the others out there. good anchor kit too. i have had trouble with tracking on lakes while rowing and found that just dragging one heel works miracles. acts like a rudder. its only when you are rowing fast that it matters. when you are trolling along you don't notice the tracking. it is true though that the more curved pontoons tend not to track well in lakes, but they are much safer and manuverable rivers. south fork again for my money. :cool:
  12. P.Dieter Just Another Bubba

    Posts: 696
    Ratings: +140 / 0
    At that price look at the Scadden box Canyon
  13. Curtis New Member

    Posts: 859
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Check out the water skeeter spey cast. $499. Water skeeters are great boats, very sturdy.
  14. Pieter Salverda Member

    Posts: 189
    Ballard, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thanks everyone! Your information has been very helpful. I will determine a winner in short order and arrange the appropriate refreshments.

  15. Steelheader Only 3 more years until I can think like a fish.

    Posts: 274
    Ratings: +0 / 0

    You must have had the pontoons setup wrong or offset I have fished out of many pontoons on leech and have not had any problems with Bucks bags. I have a high adventure, and it is just like the South fork but the frame is powder coated black frame and have floated the Yak in it as well. Bucks Bags makes awesome boats. You can get the High Adventure for around 350. new.
  16. sashjo Member

    Posts: 531
    Lakewood, WA.
    Ratings: +4 / 0
    Water Skeeter's River Tamer. River rated and great on lakes. I got mine off E-Bay for under $500 NIB.
  17. Dan Soltau New Member

    Posts: 1,272
    Bozeland, MT - Raleigh, NC
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    get a watermaster, dont even bother with a toon. They cost a little more, but they are three times as function, half or less of the weight of a toon, pack into a backpack, handle bigger water than a toon, and they are made in missoula. Chris Scoones has some demos i am sure hell let you try.
  18. dmoocher Member

    Posts: 262
    Olympia, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You are probably right...should I get my lard-ass a little forward, a little aft or directy centered?
  19. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,680
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +664 / 5
    One thing you guys have to remember is that these boats are based off whitewater boats (not completely though, they lost some of their qualities when they were shrunk incorrectly). They are NOT meant to be rowed as a normal boat. They are meant to be corrected in path while the current pushes it downstream. So most, if not ALL, inflatables with no hard V hull under it won't track well. I've yet to row one, and I've rowed ALOT of inflatables (rafts, catarafts, and a TON of custom tubes). I think I know what someone meant by the tracking. When you row, it takes you 2-3 times the push to go half the distance a traditional row boat will go. They just are not made for it. All the corrections on the frame won't do a lot. I'd rather use a pram for stillwaters/lakes then a pontoon. Much easier to row.

    Dan, now if you're talking the cheaper "rocker hulled" pontoons, I'll give you the watermaster will take more. A whitewater grade pontoon of similar size, hands down the pontoons will outrow it and take more (with GREATER weight on it). I've run them both on class V's (well, a float n tote), and you'll eat a run faster, harder, and safer with a quality pontoon over any raft. Rafts have a "bucket effect", even the watermasters. Plus with your feet dangling in the water, adds for a bad scenerio if you run hard water with them. Feet in the water running any "classed" rivers is bad. Pontoons/catarafts are not called the sportscars of the whitewater world for nothing. They just simply outperform rafts (and I've spent more time in rafts then most, not just catarafts). For an all around boat where weight is an issue, I'll throw my hat in on the watermasters as well. For all around functional where weight isn't an issue, I'll go whitewater grade cataraft anyday. Even in the smaller 9' length (and I ran "classed" class V's in proper waterflows in a true whitewater grade 9' boat which some bigger rafts were bucketing on let alone a smaller raft). The one bennie of a raft is the ease of stowing gear in it. But that's easily remedied on pontoons. Just takes more effort.

    Key point is what you want out of a boat. None serve every purpose. Especially when it comes to stillwaters vs rivers vs saltwater etc. They'll excell in one, but falter in the others. Why I, at one time, had at least one of each. LOL. Motor boats, driftboats, catarafts, prams, etc all at the same time. Each had their plusses and minuses. When you're talking the $500 range, most will get you by. They will get you downriver or toodle around in stillwaters (fins and oars are much better then being in a floattube with just fins). Just they'll have limitations (standup feature, level or water you can take, load out, etc). For most part though, most guys don't run their boats like I do. I beat the crap out of mine (in the level of water I'll take them in, not actually try to damage the boats). Watermaster won't suite what I want a boat to do. Great for those traveling light. But simply won't perform to my expectations.
  20. Guy Ostermeyer topwater

    Posts: 2
    Yacolt, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Buck's Bag. No complaints.