Thoughts on Outcast Fish Cat 9

I have recently seen this pontoon listed a few places for ~$350. My question is; is this 9' pontoon of high enough quality to safely float stretches on most of the Western Washington steelhead rivers? It would mostly be used on the Skagit, Noocksack, and Stilly as well as some moderate rivers in Oregon. I would also use it on car accessible lakes but isn't the main purpose of the purchase since I already have a tube and don't mind sucking it up in cold water conditions. I have already searched through the archives but haven't found much info on this particular craft. No need to try and persuade me to buy a much more expensive craft, I am neither interested nor can afford to buy a $1000 pontoon or I would. Essentially i am intersted in buying a boat around $400, or sticking to my current walk and wade approach if these boats wouldn't suffice. Thanks in advance,

I bought an 8 foot long, 4 foot wide Jetpac from Cabelas because it fits in the back of a suburu or in the back of a Toyota Previa. It works fine on the Sky or the Stilly and weighs only 40 pounds which is easy on my back. Have taken it down the Queets but felt too nervous to want to do it again. Saw a couple guys take JetPacs down the Quinault above the Lake and don't think I'd do that either. Your 9 foot long, 5 foot wide Fishcat is probably a better approach.

You'll need to buy a rodholder along with the raft unless you plan on carrying your rod in your teeth. Most of the pontoon makers sell them as accessories. REI sells some as well.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
For what you described, you'd be set with the fishcat 9. I had one of the original fishcats (were simply called the fishcat by outcast then, would be a fishcat 8 now). Fished most of the rivers on the OP with it. But I have alot of experience on the sticks too. But what you described I'd say go for it.
in the cabelas catolog the fishcat 9 is $350 and the fishcat panther also 9' is $500, other than $150 and the color, could someone tell me the main differences, i'm also looking for a pontoon boat ... thanx

Kent Lufkin

Remember when you could remember everything?
I bought one from GI Joes four years ago for about $100 more than the current price and without a built-in rod holder. On the whole, I'm happy with the boat. It's sturdy (ie. heavy) and well-made but with some mildly annoying design quirks that seem primitive compared with newer designs.

The anchor system on mine is a 'Y'-shaped bracket that attaches to the back of the main frame tubes. The pulley-lock mechnism is simple enough but nearly impossible to get to without stowing your rod, unfastening the stripping apron and half-standing and turning around in the seat to get to the rope. I pitched it after a while and installed nylon cleats on the outer frame rails and simply loop my anchor rope around them instead. Perhaps the newer ones have the under-the-seat anchor system I've seen on other boats?

The foot rests and the oarlock sockets are not adjustable. While that may fit some people's body proportions, it doesn't fit mine very well. Even with the seat all the way back, the foot rests are too close and the oar handles too close to my chest for comfort. If you're tall or thick around the middle, the rowing position might be awkward.

The bladder valves are poorly placed in the middle of each pontoon and are either obscured or completely covered by the strap-on pockets. If you deflate your boat to fint into a vehicle (I don't), this could turn into a major annoyance before too long.

Finally, like most pontoons, it doesn't track very well under power on still water, so it's easy to spin off course by not constantly correcting the oars.

If I was going to buy another pontoon (which I'm not) I'd look at the 10 foot Water Skeeter on sale at Outdoor Emporium for $525. The same boat is in the Cabela's catalog for about $575 as I recall. It's wider with a substantial cargo deck, has a much better anchor system, the footrests, seat and oar positions are all adjustable, plus with an optional platform, you can stand up on it to cast.
Just a quick note to you: I have a friend who knows boats and materials very well. He was an instructor at the Wooden Boat School . He attended a dealers show in Denver and looked at all of the pontooon boats at the same time. His opinion is that the Fishcat is the best constructed of all the toons and by far.
I went down the Bogachiel in low water in my Fishcat 8' and I nearly lost my teeth at every rapid. The boat was slammed and banged unmercifully during the float. No damge could be found except to the operator who was scaired witless. Don't every worry about this boat coming apart.
Bob, the If I could have another inch of water in the river, I'd really appreciate it.x(
I was talking to the guy that builds pontoons down in Tukwilla I think it's called Xstream anyway the guy told me he has been building boats for 20+ years and that in no way should I buy one that was less than 10' I think he is right. Last thing you want is trouble on the water and running borderline on fast water all it takes is one brain fart and your finished.
My wife got me the FishCat 9 last year for Fathers day. I've used it up at Rattlesnake, on the Yakima and on the Stillwater River in Mt. The Stillwater was the most challenging, I was able to make it through some rather big (relative to what I was thinking of) water with ease. I thought it tracked well on Rattlesnake and it was very stable. I agree that the rod holder leaves much to be desired and am currently looking for a new holder. I haven't yet tried the anchor system. I like the fact that both the seat and foot rests are adjustable. This is a great little boat that you can pack up very quickly or put on top of your car.

I'm looking for a pump that is small enough that I can take it with me down the river - any thoughts?

I would reccomend this boat to anyone. Good luck!
I've had it almost a year now and I like it a lot. I've used it mostly on the Skagit and Sky, with a couple of trips on the NF Stilly. I plan to take it down the Sauk soon. It's very stable. Sos makes a larger frame that isn't much more money. Sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off with more room, but I'm happy with what I have.

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