What Pontoons to Consider?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Dr Bob, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Dr Bob

    Dr Bob Member

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    I am considering buying a pontoon boat and can use some advise. I have not had a pontoon boat before so I have no experience with them. I am hoping that some of you pontoon owners can save me some time in looking at a boat that fits my needs. Here are my desires in a toon:
    1. Mainly used is stillwater.
    2. Ability to attach trolling motor with battery(I already have both).
    3. One that can be transported in or on an SUV. (Do they come with frames that can disassembled for transport?)
    4. Good quality and easy to use.

    So what do you recommend I consider? Thanks in advance for your help.

    Dr Bob
     
  2. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Having bought and sold a ton of gear, these days I see absolutely no need to pay full-bore retail. I suggest that you buy a lightly used boat at a fraction of the MSRP and let the original owner take the depreciation hit.

    As an example, didja see this post for a Buck's Bags Southfork in the Classifieds: http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/board/showthread.php/67062-FS-Bucks-Bags-Southfork Although he's including a hitch-receiver rack, at $550 it still seems a bit steep but I'll bet you could negotiate a lower price, especially since a nearly identical one just sold for $350 a week or two earlier(http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/board/showthread.php/66895-FS-Buck-s-Bronco-pontoon-8-ft).

    I like the Southfork as a beginner boat for a variety of reasons: it's USA-made; has a stainless steel frame; fully adjustable seat, footrests and oarlock position that allows it to be custom-fitted for your body; a reputation as being bulletproof; and made by a Boise-based company that stands behind their products instead of passing the buck to an offshore subcontractor if something goes wrong.

    If you're dead-set on using an electric trolling motor, be aware that the battery's weight will throw off the fore-and-aft balance or trim of any boat, most likely making it ride low in the stern where the battery will be. Compensate by adjusting the cam straps to move the frame a bit forward relative to the pontoon tubes.

    K
     
  3. Trout Master

    Trout Master Active Member

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    While the southfork is a good boat,I have had one since 1998 it does have it's down side also. You sit lower and your butt can get wet if your not weraing waders, the anchor system and a motor mount are options. The rear cargo deck is mesh webbing. I recently picked up a brand new outcast pac900fs on ebay for half the cost of retail. A much better boat in my opinion. The outcast has a great deck and and a battery can be mounted between the seat and deck to help centering the balance. My 2cents.
     
  4. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    I have a 9' Fishcat Panther. Quad tubes are 10" in diameter, sits low and wide on still water so it is less sail like. I've had a trolling motor and lawn mower battery on my rear deck. If you adjust the weight balance it is fine. I've also used it in a few of the local rivers and it rows quite well. In the rivers it gets a bit more wet since the lower seated positon due to the low profile tubes. Great craft worthy of consideration if new, even better if you can find one used. Lots of craft pass through the classifieds and many have great deals. Best of luck.
     
  5. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    "You sit lower and your butt can get wet if your not weraing waders, the anchor system and a motor mount are options."

    This is true on the older models. My friend has one about the same year as you mentioned and it sits a lot lower in the water than the newer ones.( Like the one I am trying to sell. And yes price is negotiable ) I fish lakes in the summer wearing shorts and have never had a problem getting a wet butt.
     
  6. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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  7. MERDOG95

    MERDOG95 New Member

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    Hi Dr. Bob, I have a fish cat 9 and I use it a lot. I have a mini van and I can keep the pontoons on and partically inflated and it takes just a min to fill the the pontoons up to press. I like the ability to add the motor or use the oars and you can put depth finders and rod holders and all sorts of neet gadgets on them. Just make sure you get one with a good padded seat that supports your back good, mine had a real bad seat and it was a real pain to use until I changed the seat. Let us know what you get, oh by the way make sure that your motor is not too big for your rig. If the shaft is too long on the motor it will really mess you up. get out and find out which one you like then look for a used on... best of luck... Rick
     
  8. Don Barton

    Don Barton Member

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    Bob I agree with Kent that a used boat in good condition will be a better value than a new boat.

    Think hard about your use of the boat. If you will only fish lakes a smaller pontoon boat with the features you seek will work fine. If you might use your boat on rivers you will want longer pontoons. All other things being equal, on rivers, the longer the pontoon the more you can handle rough water and rapids.

    I have an 8 foot Fish Cat Cougar with quad tubes similar to Mumbles' Fish Cat Panther. (these boat have two separately inflated tubes on each side. The have plenty of bouacy and still ride low in the water which lessens the impact of wind.) On a gentle river my 8 foot pontoons are OK but on rougher water I would prefer longer pontoons.

    I keep my boat deflated. I keep everything except the frame in a large bag. I can put the full frame in the back of my Explorer SUV or on top of it.
     
  9. Dr Bob

    Dr Bob Member

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    First, thanks everyone for the great advise on a pontoon boat. I appreciate the shortening of the learning curve. Let me summarize what I have learned so far:

    - Buy lightly used over new.
    - The trolling motor and battery needs to be balanced.
    - A solid storage deck is better then mesh storage.
    - A padded seat is a must.
    - 8 ft pontoons are OK for still lakes, 9 ft adds stability for river use.

    As far as models to consider:
    - Bucks Bag Southfork, newer design (no wet butt, mesh storage)
    - Outcast pac900fs
    - 9 ft Fishcraft Panther
    - Scadden Sky Sunrise
    - Fish Cat 9
    - Fish Cat Cougar (8 ft design)

    As far as the trolling motor, I have one I use on a inflatable raft which is nearing the end of its useful life so I just thought if I got a pontoon boat it should be set up for using it if I want.

    Keep it coming with the advise. I have learned more in 1 day than 1 week of researching online. This is the value of this forum.

    Thanks again!

    Dr Bob :thumb:
     
  10. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    You've had enough pointers for now Dr. Bob. Any more posts are likely to be along the lines of, "I bought such and such boat, so you should too."

    Pull the trigger on something sooner instead of later and enjoy learning how to use it. After a season or two, then you'll be the one giving advice!

    K
     
  11. scottflycst

    scottflycst Active Member

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    Outcast, Bucks Bags, and Scadden I would consider to be the big three mfgrs. and the most popular from what I see on the water and hear from other fishers. Outcast and Bucks are locally (Idaho) made with proven use and service reputations. I've owned both with never a complaint. I would strengthen Kent's advice on buying used, these boats are made to last a longtime and with reasonable care they do. Most any defect in a used boat will be visible so it's usually an easy buy. If you're unsure just ask someone to go with you to check out the used craft. There are frameless models presently designed to travel easier in smaller spaces. (Scadden) This is a good time to be in the market for a boat purchase. Good luck and let us know what you choose.
    See ya' on the water!
     
  12. PETI

    PETI Member

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    Good advise so far. Two more things to consider.
    Assembled weight and bladder material. The SouthFork can be considered a benchmark for both.
    Weighs 45#, light enough to carry further than you might think, and a polyurethane bladder (no vinyl).

    Peter
     
  13. Blue

    Blue Active Member

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    Except the smaller OUTCAST and BUCKS are made overseas now. Not sure that matters, but they have Vinyl bladders now, not Urethane. (except the SFC and the Prowler that is)
     

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