Want a pontoon and need advice.

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Wally Bear, Apr 25, 2011.

  1. Wally Bear

    Wally Bear New Member

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    I am wanting a pontoon boat for my birthday this year and I am hoping that those who have experience with them could give me some advice on what to look for in a pontoon boat and what is need or not needed.

    I plan on using it in lakes for trout and in some of the river around me in South Lewis County for trout and stealhead. I am right around 300# and plan on using oars and eventually may even put on an electric motor.

    This is my first boat. I used a pontoon last summer up on Olollie and really liked it and so now would like one for myself.
     
  2. Rod Wittner

    Rod Wittner Active Member

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    Take a look at the Dave Scadden/North Fork Outdoors line up. Like the Renegade or Rampage. You can use the search function on here as well.
     
  3. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    I agree, North Fork Outdoors. Very reliable, Light weight and a frameless model available. Wider than most too which is great for stability.
    Renegade is 9', Rampage is 10'6".
     
  4. Wally Bear

    Wally Bear New Member

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    thanks for the suggestions, but I am wanting to know what to look for as in features. What type of features or options do you think are needed or unneeded? I see open types and U types, I see framed and unframed how wide or narrow and stuff like that. What works best for what I am going to do? For those who are in the know and have experience, your suggestions would really help point me in a good direction.
     
  5. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    What I would look for, is material, weight, warranty. If you choose a frame, think Stainless Steel or Aluminum for durability. Aluminum for the weight. Outer cover of the pontoon. PVC coated bottom a must to me. The heavier duty the cover the better. Just like the Ball Park Frank, you don't want that cover splitting.
    Urethane bladders over Vinyl. Again, lighter and much more durable. OR, bladderless being first choice.

    I would look at at least a nine footer, and wider is better.

    Choices of manufacturers I would consider would be NFO, Bucks Bags, Outcast (USA MADE)

    Now as mentioned, the BLADDERLESS / FRAMELESS boats offered by NFO are the ultimate in my opinion and I have owned all of the above mentioned.
     
  6. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    The rowing stroke on a framed boat is more efficient than a frameless boat, based on my experience. I currently have a scadden assault, no frame, rockered design closed front boat and love it. Before that I had a watermaster, no rocker design, no frame, and loved that boat too. Before that I had a fishcat panther quad pontoon boat, 9' long, framed, low profile, wider than normal boats with the side by side twin tubes per side and that added stability. So many great choices. Invest the time to scour over all the features before you buy and then know that the one you buy is the one for you. Some come with standing platforms and lean bars if that is important for your lake fishing then that eliminates a lot of boats and will focus your search. 9' pontoons would be my minimum for rivers, but I know folks that use 8' boats in rivers. Multiple air chambers add a level of safety, just in case.

    What is your birthday budget?
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    MAN, 10" diameter toons, I bet you were sitting IN the water allot, or at least feet from what I read. I had a Cardiac Canyon with 12" diameter toons and whit waves, I got wet.
    The 10'6" models of NFO in Framed and Non-Framed models are all 60" wide like the Panther with the nine foot models 4" narrower. But WEIGHT...WOW, that Panther weighs 75 lbs!
     
  8. Alex MacDonald

    Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

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    I like Mumbles' Scadden, and might have gone with that one as well, had I seen it before I got my Watermaster. Lots of advantages, and if you get a boat that handles moving water, and has a decent carrying capacity, it opens up a whole lot more possibilities!
     
  9. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

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    WB based on your proposed usage lakes and rivers and your weight and rowing alot. Here is my recomendation.
    Please note that I have not used a frame-less Scadden boat but I have seen them and watched them being used. I dont think the oar size and the attachment on the infated tube is substantial enough for river use. I know that the u-tube videos show Scadden going through some class 2+ water but you watch the vid again and he is just using the oars to keep it going straight. The issue for me is this: often times when confronted with an obstacle in the river that you need to avoid it requires you to row HARD back up stream in an avoidance move. This puts a lot of strain on HD 6 or 7' oars on a framed boat. I know I have been ther plenty of times. I would not put my trust in a small oar and oarlock on a "squishy" infated tube in this situation.
    With your requirements I would buy a minimum 9' framed pontoon boat with 7' oars.
    What brand? There are three good ones in mass production. Scadden, Outcast and Bucks Bags.
    Where to buy? Go to your local fly shop deal with them they may have demo models and good deals for you AND if there is ever a problem you have a local guy to deal with not a voice on the phone or an internet message.
    my three cents.
    jesse
     
  10. Guy Gregory

    Guy Gregory Active Member

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    iagree, rather emphatically.
     
  11. Wally Bear

    Wally Bear New Member

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    thanks for the advice. I just got back from Longview and I stopped in Black Heran and picked up a few things and then went over to
    Bob's to see what they had. No grizzly hackle anywhere and a couple of framed pontoons to consider. I'll do some research on what you guys have suggested and look around for a while. I have a full month to figure things out anyhow.
     
  12. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Just a thought WB, but deep-cycle batteries for an electric motor are pretty heavy - mine weighs well over 40 pounds. With you at 300, plus motor, battery and gear, the load on your pontoon could easily exceed 400 pounds, for just a day trip. If you're thinking about a multi-night trip with camping gear and food, you might want to think hard about what kind of boat you buy and what it's carrying capacity is.

    Outcast rates their 8- and 9-foot boats at 400 pounds and their 10 foot models at 500. Scadden's web site doesn't indicate the rated weight capacity for each of his boats. One of his 2-man boat claims to hold 1,000 pounds, but I find that suspicious since the tubes are just a bit longer than those in the 1-man version.

    Most here will be quick to tell you that the boat they bought is the best choice available. But it's worth considering that they may well be carrying a bit lighter load than you and thus riding lower and putting less strain on their boat's frame, especially on moving water. For me, that's a powerful argument for doing your homework and looking hard for a boat with a sturdy frame, a stellar reputation and a great warranty. Avoid the temptation to buy the cheapest boat you can find, because that's exactly what you'll get - a cheap boat.

    K
     
  13. Wally Bear

    Wally Bear New Member

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    great points to consider, thank you.
     
  14. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Wally Bear,

    Winlock is down in Cowliz country right?

    We have a couple of models for big dudes that we'd let you try out. If you want to fish in lakes then that narrows down the field since you'll want something that sits low to the water so as to use fins. That makes the design more simple and less expensive but eliminates the possibility of standing platforms. There will be options/features that you need to have and want to have. My advice is to make a list of the things you gotta have and then shop around with all the dealers and ask questions and compare prices, features, warranty, and get a feel for their customer service.

    You might want to check out this new but experienced company called Catchercraft Boats. I hear they are pretty nice boats and great guys to deal with. :thumb: :rofl:
     
  15. jumbo215

    jumbo215 Jasper hickman

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    Ive got the ODC 10 footer and it works great for us full grown humans, ive packed 5 days worth of gear and 80 beers and also ran some serious white water. Its held up great for the last couple of years
     
  16. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    You gotta be able to pack a few supplies!

    [​IMG]
     
  17. sportsman

    sportsman Active Member

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    Kent, Scadden shows all of the info a person needs to compare his rafts: http://www.northforkoutdoors.com/2011catalog/specs.html This link shows every raft in an easy to read format, but it's all here. I think WB would be fine buying a frameless Renegade[800lbs] capacity or frameless Rampage[1,300 lbs.]capacity...WB: IMHO this would be the smallest of the Scadden frameless rafts for you to buy! I only have 8 years experience runing rivers: OP, SKY,Skagit and Yakima. I have an Abel[Waterstrider] and a couple friends have Kodiaks....all frameless rafts. Yes, they are not as responsive as a framed raft, but in the time frame given and with these frameless rafts, nobody has come even close to getting into a potentially dangerous situation. You need to pay attention, but for us, it has always been an easy going experience. You have plenty of time to react to every situation, as long as a reasonable amount of common sense and attention is adhered to. A couple of good strong strokes at a 45 degree angle away from "danger" and your long past it! Now some guys are going to jump all over this [and me] and I don't really care. I am not reckless, but common sense goes a lot farther than DVD's or classes or whatever! 90% or more of the time these rafts will just go into the best section of water all on there own...let's leave the OP out on this one, but it's true for the Sky and the Yakima. If you guys doubt this the next time your on the Yak, look ahead for the dark 'V' section of water coming up...and don't do a thing... your Watermaster will take you right through it! Now if there is a big boulder in your way, you might have to make a couple pulls[45 degrees away from trouble] on your oars and your fine. WB, that frameless Rampage will handle [quite easily] juast about anything you will ever need it to do. The one assumption I do make here is that anyone purchasing one of these rafts has an adequate degree of common sense, It's not rocket science but it is a hell of alot of fun, especially doing donuts down fast, shallow shutes [once your ready for it]!! I'll let someone else add 'PFD" 20-30 times on his post!
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  18. sportsman

    sportsman Active Member

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    Blue, gotta love the way you pack for a trip...Damn nice raft!!!
     
  19. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    I couldn't resist. This was the pre to the now Renegade. This was the Navigator II and 9' long also. Cool boat! Zipper in that back half for a motor.
     
  20. mojo

    mojo Member

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    Mumbles, the weird thing about rowing my Renegade (I'm putting your Assault in the same category) is I thought when rowing the sucker, I wasn't going anywhere. I was fishing Strawberry and rowing like a madman and it felt like I was barely moving. I then looked over at the shore line and saw it passing quite fast. I came to the conclusion that being frameless and lightweight, it was effortless when rowing which made it seem like I wasn't getting anywhere. I have the composite oars on my X5 and I can feel those guys digging in when rowing. But then again I usually have a 55 lb. motor on and my back deck loaded down.
     

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