Suggestions on pontoon boats needed

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Fly rod, Mar 3, 2002.

  1. Fly rod New Member

    Posts: 57
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    I have been thinking about getting a pontoon boat for one person. I would like to get some input on others experience and thoughts before making my final discision. I do plan to get into moving water like the Yakima, Grande ronde, and Klickatat.
    Thank you in advance
    Al the Fly Rod from N.J.

  2. Pontooner Member

    Posts: 134
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    I purchased a Bucks Bronco 3 years ago from Creekside flyshop. I really like it. It comes with an anchor system that is really handy and the arm rests are really nice, actually comfortable to rest arms on while you strip. It is built on a stainless frame which makes it a little heavier than most but I plan on using it for years so I liked the durability. I am a pretty big guy, 6'4 270ish and it works great for my big body on the Yak. I also fish Lenice quite a bit and it isnt too bad hauling in. Nothing bad to say about it, a little pricy I guess but so far I am very happy customer.
  3. Chris Scoones Administrator

    Posts: 3,590
    North Bend
    Ratings: +302 / 0
    Hi Al,

    Size: I use an Outcast 800 which has 8' pontoons rated as 350lbs. I'm pushing 240lbs (plus gear) and it's 8' pontoons I feel aren't enough in some situations. If your a 'bigger' guy consider a 9'.

    Manufacturer: Quality wise, Outcast has been good. No issues with anything that matters. They are steep on the price though but from what I read at the time the quality of their pontoons welded seems were a step above. A lot of companies now build these craft and I'm sure that some are getting it right as well. I'll give my nod to Outcast but take it only from someone that hasn't had experience with other manufactures craft.

    Fins: When steelheading, you'll likely use the boat as transportation to the next hole. In that case, your oars are all you need. For the Yak though you'll be fishing while moving and will want your hands free. That's where the fins come in. I've found though that I'm in and out of those fins all day long. My point here is don't just shop for the fins that best propel, as do the Force Fins, but consider the ease of getting them on and off. When in a hurry to get back to a rising fish by foot, and freezing your ass off so that your hands dexterity is challenged, fins that allow you to get in and out easy will be appreciated. I've used them both and although they don't hold up as well, I opted for the Stillwaters. Cabela's carries them.

    Safety with fins: I've seen a lot of folks get too comfortable using fins only in the rivers. 95% of the time they are fine. One such person though (my Uncle) who didn't even bring his oars couldn't kick out from around a 'huge' stump. His path around it was under it, about 8 feet under water. After seeing the stump the next month I can't tell you how lucky he was to only loose most of his gear. Keep those oars ready in the locks!

    Anchors: In some situations, such as parking in the middle of a wide river to go at a spot on foot, anchors are great. I'm not sure if it's my boat, my setup, my anchor or what but in moving water the 'pontoon' sized anchors don't do squat. Part of the problem is that the boat doesn't track well when being held in current and gets sideways which creates more drag then the anchor can handle. I decided to just do away with the anchor all together. The loss is made up for every time you have to haul your boat around an obstacle or getting to and from the river with it from the truck.

    Hope some of that helps. Regardless of what brand you end with you WILL have a great time with it. I have with mine. :THUMBSUP

  4. Chinook Electric New Member

    Posts: 24
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    I've had a Bucks Bag Bronco for about 4 years. It has been through more abuse than you'd believe. Last summer I floated the Smith River in Montanna during low water for 5 days. The pontoons were actually visibly worn from rubbing rocks. The seat is very comfortable. The anchor winch was mickey mouse but has been replaced. 7' oars are recomended.

    I met another fellow on a lake who owned the Bronco and his son owned the outcast. When they rowed side by side the Outcast tended not to rock. This creates a faster ride as there is no lost motion with the Outcast.
  5. guest Guest

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    I also have a pontoon boat. It is a Alpine made by Buck's Bags. But it's only rated for lakes. I have a serious question to ask all of you pontoon boaters. What kind of a PFD do all of you use. I didn't think that you needed one as I never used one,but I read somewhere that some one got a ticket for not having one. I guess a seat cushion is not good enough. I would like to know as it's getting close to going out again. Jim S. :BIGSMILE
  6. YAKIMA AKA: Gregory Mine

    Posts: 766
    Las Vegas
    Ratings: +24 / 0
  7. ChucknDuck New Member

    Posts: 23
    Menlo, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I've been very pleased with the performance, carrying capacity,portability, and features of my Watermaster. Can't say that there is anything nicer than being able to pack everything (boat, oars,pump, fins etc..) into one pack, hike into a river (up to class III) or lake, pump up the raft and go. Same be told for the take out procedure. Its not possible with a frame and pontoon boat. I use mine from the salt to the Alagnak in AK and everywhere in between. THe Watermaster will not take bigger, nastier water like some of the bigger pontoon models, but for fishability it can't be beat. Heavy-duty PVC takes some serious abuse and it wieghs about 26 lbs. with the gear in pack. It packs a good amount of gear also. I weigh 240 and can carry several rods, gear for two nights of camping and all the extra neccessities. Usually can pick up a demo model from the shop in Missoula for 500-600 buck and they guarantee the boat. Thier customer service is awesome. Been using mine for over 5 years no complaints. HAve five other buddies who opted to sell their pontoon boats after trying mine. They don't look as sexy as the pontoons, but in my opinion are far more versitle. My .02-cents.
  8. cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

    Posts: 1,674
    Ratings: +331 / 0
    I've got a Buck's Southfork and I'm pleased with it. I've used it on lakes and easy/moderate rivers. It doesn't track well, but it works for bar hopping on the river. I'm a big guy and sometimes I think a bigger boat would track better and float higher. But for my needs the SF does ok. I've had it for about 4 years. I think now there are a lot of comperable boats for less money.
  9. Jim Jenkins New Member

    Posts: 114
    Bothell, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I've had my Buck's Southfork for 4-5 years now and absolutely love it. Only thing I'd change if I got another one would be to get the 10' pontoons vs the 8'ers I have. I'd have to agree with someone above that tracking could be better but I think they all have that to some extent. They also get blown around in the wind. They are much easier to fish from vs a float tube though, your up higher and can cast further. I made a very nice cart for mine so I could take it in place's like lenice and nunnally. It looks like a rick-shaw with 18" wire wheels. If anyone is really interested in making one I can send a plans (hand drawn) or pic. Later all.
    Jim J
  10. Jim Jenkins New Member

    Posts: 114
    Bothell, Wa.
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    Who ever it was that sent me an email for the plans/pics, I can't reply to the email address that was on it. It keeps getting bounced back. If you post something here I will try to get them to you somehow.
    Jim J.
  11. guest Guest

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    One day when I was surfing the web I came across a fly shop that made those wheely things for pontoon boats. I wish I could remember where it was as I think it is a good way to move it around. As you get on in years light things get heavier as you get older. Maybe I'll just do it again to see if I can find it. It didn't cost much under 40.00 I think. Jim S.
  12. closed_loop Guest

    Posts: 0
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    :SAD :ANGRY u should always use PFD, there are a lot of VERY comfortable PFD's out there. Remember, water is not forgiving. Check out your local kayaking store for a huge selection of VERY comfortable and non-restricting PFD's . let them know that u flyfish and need max movement, they will hook u up. I use a Lotus Designs and don't even know it's on me. By the way if you are less than 195 lbs. get the womens model, it's cut smaller too allow for more room but still gives a class 3 rating for floatation. Later man be safe! :BIGSMILE
  13. guest Guest

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    I'm going to get one,but I can't believe the prices for one. I know you have to be safe but. I could use the old fashioned live vest but it's to bulky. I like the Sospenders but on my budget I gotta watch what I spend. I guess the price of safety is not high. I'd rather be safe than sorry. Jim
  14. closed_loop Guest

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    I think Creekside in Issaquah has those wheel things you're looking for . might want to check there. Otherwise a bicycle wheel and some 3/4" aluminum tubing, and a drill will make you something like that. A buddy of mine made one. Looks REAL cheasy but it gets the job done.
  15. guest Guest

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    I went there today. I live in Marysville,so it's quite a drive. It's been a few years since I've been there. Boy has it ever changed. I almost got lost. I got turned around,but I finelly got going in the right direction. They don't handle them things any more. Jim S. :HMMM
  16. closed_loop Guest

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    hmmmm. got it dial'd
    wow, real sorry you drove all the way for nothing. I did'nt mean to send you on a goose chase. I agree Issaquah has changed I've lived in the Issaquah area for most my life, sometimes I get lost down town nowadays too. Well good luck w/ those wheel things, I hope you find one. If I see one, for real this time :WINK I'll write u again. Till then, fish hard.
  17. Piscator New Member

    Posts: 79
    Ellensburg, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Try this. Take the head set from a BMX bike(the part that holds the handle bars) and the front fork (the part underneath the head set that holds the tire) and remove the rest of the bike. Now clamp the head set a cross bar on your pontoon boat and then reattach the front fork. It make a big one wheeled wheel-barrel like thing but it works great. I did this one my southfork and love it. Getting to those places like Lenice is now so much easier.
    Just and idea.

    Fish on!
  18. guest Guest

    Posts: 0
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    It wasn't a trip for nothing. I needed to get out. Had cabin fever. So I loaded up the kids and went. Now if some one asks me where they are located. I can tell them some where in Issaquah. I've driven a lot farther to go fishing and not catch anything. It was only 60 miles one way. Jim S. :BIGSMILE

    One more thing,I read the post following yours on how to make that thing and I think I will try. But I wish I had a picture of it. :DUNNO
  19. circlespey Member

    Posts: 244
    Seattle, WA.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
  20. Jim Jenkins New Member

    Posts: 114
    Bothell, Wa.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    For those interested, I have taken some pictures of the one (cart) I made but haven't gotten them uploaded here yet. I talked to Chris and he said I could send them to him and he would post them for me. Sorry for the delay.
    Jim J.