I'm looking to buy my first 'toon. I'm a Lake Fly fisher mainly. I'm looking at the Trout Unlimited Rogue 9' or the ODC-915??
The TU has the steel frame and weighs about 30lbs more, but it looks like many more features....Please help. Thanks a lot, Marshall
Was me, I'd ignore the differences in weight from model to model. Even at 30 pounds lighter, by the time you've added oars, your gear, rod holder, anchor, lunch and a cold case of beer, any pontoon is gonna be too frickin' heavy to haul very far, thus limiting you to drive-to lakes and even with a wheel.
Instead, I'd suggest focusing on which boats offer the best resale value. Believe me now and ask questions later: there will come a time when you're gonna sell whatever boat you buy. You'll take up bowling instead of flyfishing, get the hots for a bigger whitewater model, get a divorce or lose your job and need the dough, etc. It's gonna happen, the only question is when.
I'd do two things. First, I'd focus on models by domestic builders with a history of quality construction, like Buck's Bags or Outcast and ignore all the flashy new Chinese-made models from Costco, Joes or Sportco. As an example, the Bucks Bags Bronco has a stainless steel frame, making it a lot less susceptible to rust or corrosion, even in the salt. None of the cheapo Asian-made boats can come close to the Bronco's build quality.
Second, I'd look for a used boat instead of buying one new. A well-designed and built boat is pretty bulletproof so as along as it's been reasonably cared for meaning you're probably not gonna need a warranty. Any new boat you buy will automatically be worth half of what you spent on it when you walk out the store with it. So why not let the original owner take the depreciation hit instead of you?
Check out Craig's List with the keyword 'pontoon' for starters. Chances are you'll end up spending 40 or 50 cents on the dollar and the seller will probably throw in accessories like rod holders, anchor, dry bags or a pump that you're gonna have to pay extra for if you bought the same boat new.
Kent makes some good points. Never been around a Buck's, so I can't speak to them, but they've a good reputation. I've 2 Scadden Sky's and love them, thought about the TU for about 1/3 the cost, but research convinvced me to go with an aluminium or Stainless frame.
I don't care how well it's made, after about 2 years a steel frame will start to rust (at the welds first) and will give up on you when you least expect it. The old axiom, you get what you pay for holds true, especially when you're in a boat in 20 feet of 55 degree water 100 feet from shore and weighed down with waders, vest gear, etc. Pick the length you want and a few good brands; FishCat, Outcast, Scadden, Steelheader on up, check out the web. Dirk (?) on this sites' classifieds is selling one of the sweetest custom 'toons around for $1500 (+/-). It'll last you a lifetime. Check the weight ratings, you'd be surprised; You start adding trolling motor, batteries, tackle drinks, sonar/GPS etc. you'll easily add 100 or more lbs. Leave a comfort zone. Wear a PFD. Enjoy whatever you get!
I didn't want to look at boats costing this much at first, i was just planning on getting the Costco $299 XT boat they have.. until i read reviews of it. Everyone says spend the extra money and get a quality boat. the more i think about it, i'd rather have a boat i can rely on instead of worry about. and not have to repair/replace parts.
Some places i read, show the Fish Cat 9/10 are steel frames... Which I would think would eventually rust at some point down the road. the Panther is aluminum, the fishcat website does not list the panther, but lists the Cougar. (i think it's the same boat, cabela's just has a different name for it) I kind of like the idea of the quad pontoons if something should happen on the water and one punctures, but it looks like it would sit lower in the water. (some reviews say it sits higher cause of the 4 pontoons... which is it?)
It seems everyone likes the Fish Cat boats, but others say stay away from steel. (rust)
the Creek Company pontoons i like due to the Lifetime warranty, but how good are they in the water? everywhere i have seen anything written on the 1018, which isn't much, everyone says it sits real high out of the water due to the 18" pontoons. The creek company website has pics of the 1018 with a guy standing on the platform, with trolling motor and battery and the boat still looks like it sits higher out of the water than others. the few reviews i have seen, rate it very good but very little detail. and few reviews to boot. the Fish Cats have tons of reviews with mixed comments, generally high marks also overall.
I went to the Cabela's in post falls today, the Fly Fish shop had no clue about the CC boats at all, even the fly fishing 2008 catalog did not list them. the Kiosk 15ft away did however...
they did have the FishCat 9/10/panther in stock, and another Creek Company sport XL (I think thats the model) setup and on the floor, i wasn't real impressed with the sport model build. but for under $300.. i wasn't expecting much. And are not made from same material as the 915/1018 are.
I'd buy used if i could find a good deal, but if i go with the Creek Company, I'd probably go New just cause of the lifetime warranty is for original buyer only.
the 1018 is on sale for $599, which is why i'm looking at it as well. i'd say my top price is around the $600 range.. I'd look at the NFO, Bucks, others. but the price is just out of reach right now.
Anyone that has a Creek Company 915/1018 i'd love to read your honest thoughts on the boats.
I wouldn't worry too much about the Fish Cat frame rusting. While they eventually might, that's not something that's gonna happen anytime soon unless you plan on taking them in the salt (which seems unlikely given your location!)
Here's something to think about: Aire is one of the world's foremost manufacturers of whitewater catarafts, frame, tubes and rafts. Their boats are bulletproof, expensive and worth every penny. Rolling in cash, Aire went on a shopping trip a couple years back, looking for a company to invest in that could bring a deep line of lower priced but yet high quality boats to the corporate party.
While they could have bought just about anybody, they ended up buying Outcast, the makers of the Fish Cat models you listed above. Was me, I'd take a longer look at the Fish Cats.
the fishcat panther is a great boat. i have one that i use for freshwater lakes and rivers. easy assembly. my buddy has one too and he can break the frame down and fit it in the trunk of his honda. set up time is maybe 20 minutes with it completely broken down. i keep the frame assemebled save for the foot rests. with the tubes completely deflated, i can get it ready to go in the water in about 10 minutes. it will float in some pretty skinny water and the lower profile toons help out on lakes when it is windy. can't go wrong in my opinion.
I have a fishcat 9 that was made by outcast for sporstsman's warehouse. Steel frame covered with enamel. Sure it is heavy, but stable, holds my fat ass and all my gear and add ons very well. This is a great fishing platform with a trolling motor mount option and I added a standing deck behind the seat. I don't fly fish from there all the time, but when I really want a precise presentation (if a hacker like me can ever claim anything remotely related to precise presentation) I'll stand on the back deck.
Hey guys hope yall don't mind a bama boy sliding in here!
I been also looking for my first toon and was also looking hard at the
Trout Unlimited Rogue 9' it seems like a good boat from the reviews ( what little I have found)
But I also found this boat http://www.ventureoutdoors.net/pontoon_boats.htm
it is the Colorado Dura Pro 10' they have a video that seems good about this
Now what do some of you think on this boat that know more about toons then I do?
They say its rated for class V I know where to get this for around 436.00 and seems like a good price,
I really wanted a cat 10 but at 700 bucks the wife has other opinions!
I vote American made, either Buck's or Outcast. Search Craig'slist or your local forum's classified,ect and you'll find one of them. I was considering one of the imports and was gently reminded we get what we pay for and who are we today.
I.M.N.T.B.H.O.: If we don't support our own who will?? Not Wal-Mart,K-mart,Target or ?. It's up to you and me. The most powerful weapon we have for our economy is our spending dollar(s). Okay I'm off my soapbox. Good Luck and wear your vest. Marshall
This thread convinced me, I just bought the CC ODC 1018... tried it out this weekend. So far I really like it. Easy to assemble, large cargo deck, high flotation, very stable, rows and maneuvers very well and it's well built for the money. Hard to imagine a better "bang for your buck." The platform doesn't fit together very tightly but one wrap of electrical tape on each male section fixed that. The oars are a little big, maybe even combersome, for the size of the craft.... but now I have backups for my driftboat. The storage bags are a little weak, no compartments just one big waterproof pouch, but they are plenty big enough to put several smaller kit bags in.