pontoon boat, what size ?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by speyforsteel, Jan 21, 2006.

  1. speyforsteel

    speyforsteel Degenerate Caster

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    I have been waiting to see if my boat is coming home after the great christmas heist but it is not looking good so I must start shopping. I have decided on a few brands but would like input on size.I had a 9 footer before but I am thinking on a 9,10 or 11 footer. Pro's and con's any one?
     
  2. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, depends on how much dragging you plan to do with it. Personally (and this is my experiences from running 16-18 catarafts all these years), a 10-12' is the ideal for a one man (hell, a 14' was a one man playboat whitewatering). Depends on the maker though. Only thing I don't like about every maker out there is the frames are so damned narrow. Especially the outcast/bucks, all they do is toss two small frames on the big boat. Making them very narrow. Where the custom frames are nice.

    Sorry, off topic a tad. LOL. Personally, 10' is an awesome boat size. If you really sit in one and look, they really aren't that big (try sitting in a one man setup on a 12' boat, still pretty small). Depends on how much you want to spend, you want the ultimate boat, get a Sotar Coho (probably be my next boat). 11', and tough as nails. I'm hoping to get my Steelheader Guide back (10'), still waiting to hear on that one (I put a custom frame on it, which widened it alot).

    So I say 10'. All the years I've used them, 10' is ideal for a one man (which for me, even the big boats are no big deal, since I've portaged big cats by myself, not fully loaded though mind you).
     
  3. SomeDude

    SomeDude New Member

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    Definately bigger than 8 if you want it for rivers. I had a hell of a ride in my 7 on the Blue this summer.
     
  4. Nick A.

    Nick A. New Member

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    If you want to kick it around on lakes I recommend 9', my opinion
     
  5. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

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    The pros and cons are what you would expect. Bigger size means more stability, more capacity, better handling, but also means more weight, takes more room to store it, and more $ to purchase. You need to decide what's important for you in the boat. You want it light enough to carry down trails? Big enough to haul gear? Beefy enough to run nasty water?
    I've had an 8' and a 10'. The 10' weighed twice as much as the 8'. They were not anywhere near the same class in stability, ride, and handling.
     
  6. WT

    WT Member

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  7. Guy Gregory

    Guy Gregory Active Member

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    c'mon. I took my southfork down the spokane at 2000 cfs from barker to plantes ferry for research...whatever happened to team rugged?

    500 bucks, but go for the longer oars. Tough boat.
     
  8. gt

    gt Active Member

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    no one boat is going to do everything for you. a 9' pontoon is a nice size for still water fishing. i would immediately replace the crap oars and get some minimags. if you are doing to be doing moving water, understand that the pontoon frame design lowers your body so you can use fins. in class II and up that means the water is going to be in your lap, your face and everywhere else. if you are ok with that and row really well, this pontoon will work for you.

    if on the other hand, you want a white water cataraft, then explore some other options. these frames sit you up at tube top. you will still take some water but not nearly as much as on a pontoon. for a single person, 10' x 19-20" tubes would be a great choice. i have two frames for my 12' x 20" so i can go solo or with another person.

    before you buy go to jpwinc.com and read the faq's regarding tube construction. there are a lot of import tubes on the market which aren't worth very much in the long run. there are only 3 domestic mfg's of tubes, all of them quality and but slightly different in construction. bladder on one of them, straight tubes on the other two with one coating the tubes to make them bullet proof, 3x as heavy and 3x more expensive.

    the commercially available cats are way to wide, IMHO, for fishing our narrow rivers. they are made for white water running over the course of multiple days where you need BIG tubes to carry your gear. these don't work very well for day'trippin and fishing. i ended up having my frames custom made at a reasonable price by a long time frame maker. my whole set up, 2 frames, aluminum dry box, 2 tractor seats.... weights in at about 130#. shop around.
     
  9. Turtle soup

    Turtle soup New Member

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    I went from a 8' to a 12' a few years back and found several key differences:

    1. Weight - I had to hit the gym just to be able to get the blasted thing off the trailor.
    2. Transportability - I keep my boat inflated on the trailer because primarily I'm lazy and of course wanting more fish time. Smaller boats mean less set up time.
    3. Tracking improved with length
    4. Stability - I can now completely stand a single pontoon with confidence that I'm not going to flip it.
    5. load capcaities - I've done a few 3/4 day trips. The larger boat sure makes it easier to carry all my gear!!!
    6. Cost - Good grief! I didnt realize I would have to mortgage my house!!

    Hope this helps
    Cheers...
    Turtle
     
  10. Desmond Wiles

    Desmond Wiles Sir Castaline

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    If you have the money and the ability to store & transport your boat easily, go with the bigger boat.
     
  11. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmmmm, which makers are they talking about? There are more then 3. Unless JPW isn't including himself. Which, I assume he's saying he doesn't make a quality boat (unless he went bladderless). Aire makes the best bladder boat on the market. Sotar, Wing, Maravia, and Aire are all made in the US. Do believe Buck's was still making their tubes as well in the US (and assume that he lumps Outcast in with Aire, since Aire makes their high end boats). So that's a good 5 (minus JPW). Also, just because it's an "import" doesn't make them not good in the long run (know guys who swear by the overseas made Toyotas, still on the road). It's not always where they're made, but how they're made. Some of these overseas makers were sat down with American no how and were taught to make a quality product (not all, but some, there are a couple overseas makers of tubes). Know one US made tube that's on the low end of the market. I also know a Mexico made pontoon that's quite nice (and have friends who are outfitters that swear by them). Onto weight, most "whitewater grade" tubes will be heavy. Even with lighter materials, you still have weight with these boats. With these higher grade boats, you're not looking for light, you're looking for durability and weight capacity. Even Sotars (about best boat out on the market hands down) have weight to them on comparible sizes to the "high end" fishing catarafts (Skookum, Bad cat, Xstreme, etc).

    One thing to consider. I've run these boats longer then most, and I've bought more then my share of brands (in the whitewater arena, where the true quality of these boats lies). You WILL NOT find a CHEAP price on these boats. Especially new. The top brands hold their value quite well. You can find deals on used. But even then, you'll be paying high prices (unless you buy older Aires).

    Do a search on this site. You'll find plenty of pontoon posts. I know I have said a few times what type of boat to use for what type of fishing you plan to do. Not all boats are made for what you want. I know people think I only push Skookum. But I've actually sold people on more of the other boats then I have Skookum. Skookum type boats are only for those serious about what they want to do with them. If you're an occasional fisherman who's not running anything hard (nor need weight capacity or steadiness to stand up and fish from the boat), then most lower end boats will do. Can go on more, but tired after a very stressful long day, and about ready to go to bed. :D
     
  12. gt

    gt Active Member

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    not hawking any product or brand, only pointing to a compact discussion of construction techniques. never heard of wing but forgot all about sotar.

    if you have seen the pontoons running the colorado through the grand canyon, you probably have seen some of jacks boats in action.

    i stick with a domestic mfg simply because i can send the tubes back for repairs should i really rip the snop out of them.

    have fun shopping and learning.
     

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