Pontoon or small wooden boat?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by jonbackman, Mar 28, 2010.

  1. jonbackman Member

    Posts: 236
    Mt. Vernon
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    So I'm trying to come up with a one-man fishing vessel, and I've narrowed it to two choices. One is the obvious pontoon boat choice. I'm not looking for info on "WHICH TOON SHOULD I BUY?". The other option is a small wooden pram that I found plans for building online. Some of you may have seen it referred to as the portuguese-style dinghy. It requires only two pieces of marine plywood to build, and appears quite stable. Seems to me it would make a nice little fly fishing boat. The website is http://koti.kapsi.fi/hvartial/dinghy1/simboii.htm

    I'm mostly considering stillwater use, as I prefer to fish moving water from the bank. I wonder if the pontoon option would just be more realistic for transport and fishing use. Any opinions are appreciated.

    -I'm sure the easiest answer is "get one of each", but right now, that isn't an option.
  2. jcalderon Member

    Posts: 995
    A JUNGLE NEAR YOU
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    After owning big toons, small toons, and everything innbetween, I vote hard boat hands down. To me, you can do Everything in the hard boat that you can do in the inflatable. The only difference is that you are higher and dryer in the hard boat. It is also alot
    more fun to be able to stand and see the structure that you want to fish. Also, for me the ability to bring my dog along makes all the difference in the world. Cheers
  3. Glenn Kramer New Member

    Posts: 95
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Bottom line to me is: Do you want the capability to move the craft while your hands are on the rod. I have both, use both, but.......being able to manuever with your fins is a mighty nice feature. I also absolutely detest fishing with an indicator. My 2 cents!
  4. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,403
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,359 / 9
    In still water I've really loved the versitility of the toon but always wondered about sitting high and dry in a pram. The ability to use the toon, not to fish while floating, but to reach a number of banks to fish from on a river really sells me on the pontoon. You might hike into a handful of bank spots in a day. You can float to dozens, bank the boat and fish 'til you are ready to move. If you are fishing and happy, who cares what anyone thinks but you! Best of luck.
  5. shawn k Member

    Posts: 697
    buckets worldwide
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    For fishing still water a pram with an electric motor wins hands down.
  6. tomc Member

    Posts: 195
    Beyond Shelton, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I was on the lake today in my peeper and it didn't matter what you were in it was wet, but my peeper does track better than my 'toons do.
    Tom C.
  7. Jerry Daschofsky Moderator

    Posts: 7,722
    Graham, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +660 / 5
    I've owned most styles of boats out there. I am a toon guy, most of you know that. But guess what? I prefer a pram (and still have my old pram). I used mine on rivers too mind you as a one man boat pre "one man toons". But I prefer to row a pram then a toon on flat water anyday.
  8. yellowlab Active Member

    Posts: 2,605
    In a van... down by the river, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 8
    Im a pram guy... recently bought a toon, but haven't even rowed it yet, it might be going up for sale soon.
  9. Michael Nelson Old And In The Way

    Posts: 250
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I agree. I have a Spring Creek Hopper II with electric motor and oars and anchor setups front and rear. It is WAY easier to fish out of than my NFO Outlaw Rampage 'toon. The only reason I am selling the pram and keeping the 'toon is for ease of transport. I live up a flight of stairs in San Francisco and have had to devise a block & tackle setup to hoist the pram up and down the stairs, plus I car top the pram on top of my Honda Civic and it cuts my gas mileage in half. If I had a better place to keep the pram and a pickup to haul it in, the pram would be the CLEAR winner.
  10. TD Active Member

    Posts: 744
    North End
    Ratings: +114 / 0
    I have a boat and a pontoon. On lakes I always use my boat. I like to be able to stand, easily have a cup of coffee and snack while I fish, and even keep a bottle to answer nature's call. My boat is warmer and much more comfortable. I think they are both about equal when it comes to how much effort it takes to haul one and get it in the water and fishing. I can even take my boat out on the sound on calmer days. I use a small outboard to get around and get on the oars when I find an area I want to fish. I also like to share a boat with friends and family when we go together.
  11. Jim Wheeler Full time single dad and pram builder

    Posts: 111
    Tonasket, WA
    Ratings: +25 / 0
    I went and looked at the design from the link you supplied. Well, I'm just a dumb old boat builder but a boat that is 7'4" long and has a bottom width of 22" is not going to be stable. Our smallest pram at 7' 10" has a 39" bottom width. If you want a wood boat I would pick a hard chine pram design and if you want to go cheap find a set of Sabotina plans (now out of print) which is one of the most stable designs you will find. You could also look at Smith Brothers in Bow, WA. We build their pram in the winter when I can slow down glass prams for a bit.

    Jim Wheeler
    Spring Creek Prams
  12. yellowlab Active Member

    Posts: 2,605
    In a van... down by the river, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 8
    I am picking up two Smith boats this week. I had Fred and Ron refinish a 10' boat that I recently purchased with the thought that I'd keep it but ended up falling in love with an 8' boat that my buddy had them build. Smith boats are beautiful, Spring creeks aren't too bad either.. I own them both!
  13. Trout Master Active Member

    Admiral Yellow lab has a fleet.
  14. yellowlab Active Member

    Posts: 2,605
    In a van... down by the river, WA
    Ratings: +89 / 8
  15. Phil Fravel Friendly

    Posts: 648
    Bonney Lake
    Ratings: +96 / 0
    A pram definitely offers more in comfort and space. For me I prefer to have fins in the water on a pontoon. It is easier to hunt for feeding trout without having to droop a anchor every time I want to move a short distance. Along with when trolling or searching for fish it allows you to keep your fly rod in your hand, instead of a rod holder.
  16. Plecoptera Active Member

    Posts: 622
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +28 / 0
    I own both and can say that the wood boat gets used about 95% of the time. As mentioned the only real benefit I see from a pontoon boat is the ability to move around while keeping your hands on the rod. However if you position your boat correctly in the wind, it is possible to cast and retrieve from a pram while your pushed along. If there is no wind you may need a few oar strokes here and there between casts to keep covering water.

    For me, the benefits I get from the wood boat far outweigh the mobility of the pontoon.
  17. nomlasder Active Member

    Posts: 1,321
    Burien.
    Ratings: +111 / 0
    I have built a few prams for people and help some build their own prams. But I am a big guy, and like my space. A 6 or 8 foot pram is just too small for me. I think a 10 or 12 footer would be my preference, but now you are bordering on a weight issue for easy launching and truck loading. I think the big advantage is not having to put your waders on, and having plenty of room for your dog, grand kids, boxes/bags, lunch, cooler, and general stuff. Small boats are hard on my knees, but I would rather see a wood pram than a toon anyday.
  18. Mark Conner A fish out of water

    Posts: 33
    Kirkland, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    As a carnivore, just wondering, is your dog made out of meat?
  19. Denny Active Member

    Posts: 4,047
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +46 / 0
    I own both a pontoon (PAC800) and an 8' wooden pram. Both are great, and while they both overlap in function, they both have their advantages over the other.

    I think it was Mike who noted earlier he preferred his pram IF he had somewhere to store it and IF he had a rig to haul it. Right there are two reasons to prefer a pontoon over a pram; it's easier to store, and it's easier to haul around, depending on what vehicle you have. Also, although Jerry says he fishes his in moving water, generally most pontoons are going to be better river vehicles than the 8' stillwater pram most folks are talking about here. I know that I wouldn't even think about taking my pram in moving water that I would fish the PAC800. Plus, the anchoring system in the PAC800 is a nice feature in a river when fishing to rising fish . . .

    An item that no one has noted; loading and unloading a pram. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee,and it's not the easiest to get it on and off rig. My pontoon, if I decide to haul it on the top of the Jeep, is much easier to slide on and off. And when it's windy (gee, when does that happen in Central or Eastern WA) it's a pain to load the pram on and off the rig by myself. Pontoon, obviously the wind doesn't blow it around.

    Now, I do love the convenience of the pram. I was always jealous of my pram fishing buddies who go in to the water 20 minutes before I could get in to the water with my pontoon boat (I hauled my pontoon with frame assembled, but that was it, so the rest of the boat had to be assembled and gear loaded at the destination).

    To me the pram (most short prams, and I'm talking 8' or so) are specialty stillwater craft. If you fish stillwaters most often, and have the storage and hauling capabilities to accommodate a pram, I'd get the pram. If you're looking for a boat that you will use in both stillwaters and moving waters, I'd get the pontoon.

    In reality, though, you 'need' both. :)
  20. Dr Bob Member

    Posts: 188
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    Thanks Denny, that is great comparison of a small boat versus a pontoon. I just went through the thought process and because I do not float rivers myself (fish from shore, wade or get a guide) and have not fished small lakes much due to being trapped on shore, I ordered a small pram.

    Dr Bob