Looking for Pontoon recomendations

#1
I've finally decided to buy a Pontoon boat, but i have no idea where to start. Seraching the internet I've found literally hundreds of options from all different price points. So I figured the members of this board would have some valuable opinions and pointers.

That being said the boat would be used more then likley mostly for lakes (although I like to think I will use it often on rivers) realistically it will see a river a couple of times a year (yakima, snoqualmie, green etc... no huge water).

I like the idea of a standing platform but not sure how often it would be used?
I'm also a believer in the "buy once, cry once" saying. So rather then say whats the best boat I can get for under X dollars. I'm asking you guys how much should I expect to spend on a good quality boat with useable features, without paying a huge premium for un-needed accessories. And what brands/models do you guys recommend?
 

gbeeman

Active Member
#3
I've had a Buck's Bronco for years and really like it. I use it mostly on lakes but it handles Class III on rivers just fine. My two buds both have Outcast boats and they are great boats.

GBeeman
 

Blue

Active Member
#4
I've finally decided to buy a Pontoon boat, but i have no idea where to start. Seraching the internet I've found literally hundreds of options from all different price points. So I figured the members of this board would have some valuable opinions and pointers.

That being said the boat would be used more then likley mostly for lakes (although I like to think I will use it often on rivers) realistically it will see a river a couple of times a year (yakima, snoqualmie, green etc... no huge water).

I like the idea of a standing platform but not sure how often it would be used?
I'm also a believer in the "buy once, cry once" saying. So rather then say whats the best boat I can get for under X dollars. I'm asking you guys how much should I expect to spend on a good quality boat with useable features, without paying a huge premium for un-needed accessories. And what brands/models do you guys recommend?


My suggestion is the SKY
http://www.northforkoutdoors.com/2013showspecials/2013showspecials.html

Reason, USA made. Urethane or bladderless. Aluminum frame so very light weight. Largest standing platform.
Higher pay load, and longest warranty.
 

Blue

Active Member
#6
Is this the same company mentioned in a thread above this one (nightmare CS) buying something and not having it show up for months?

Depends on what friend of a friend you talk to :) I wanted two Predators right after the Idaho show. Came back and stopped at the NFO office. Dave said, there is two in the back room right now. I didn't have thee money at that time. Called him a week ago Monday and he said they were expecting a shipment first part of next week (this week). I get a call this morning telling me they just arrived, did I want them mailed? I was running around and stopped by to get them. ONE WEEK! Don't believe everything you hear, specially second hand.
Besides, CABELA'S carries several models. Anyone had to wait months for their boats? Not accessories, but boats.
 
#7
I'm one of the few that will throw Creek company into the mix. I've had my ODC 915 toon for 6 years now and it's great in all situations.
 
#8
Here is something to keep in mind. Some pontoon boats (PB) have a very substantial but complicated frame that unless you tie it on top takes considerable assembly time. I have a model that requires no set up time and slides into my Ford Ranger canopy complete and inflated. It doesn't row as efficiently as the more complicated models.
 
#10
I can heartily recommend a Bucks Bags pontoon boat. I've had the same one now since 1997. I've been waiting for something major to break on it because I'd like an updated, longer model. I've had to replace the velcro straps that hold the stripping apron tight, but that's all I've done, and their customer service has been quick and easy.

M
 

cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
#11
You can pry my Bucs Bronco from my cold dead hands (actually cold wouldn't be that surprising, given the weather lately). I've had mine about as long at Matthew and I love it. I use it equally in lakes and in rivers. It weighs 65lbs and I can load it onto the roof rack of my 4Runner by myself without problem. It is very stable and the construction is VERY solid. I like the fact that I can really hammer on the oars when necessary (like when rowing away from a sweeper that wants me and my boat on the Satsop...). You can spend half as much on a lake boat, but you won't have any reservations on using this boat.

Downsides, it doesn't have a platform for standing. I haven't found that to be that big a problem. I can usually fin myself easily into casting range and I prefer the mobility of fins to anchoring and casting.

Also, I have never used a frameless boat. So, I cannot talk about a comparison of the two styles.

Steve
 
#12
My suggestion is the SKY
http://www.northforkoutdoors.com/2013showspecials/2013showspecials.html

Reason, USA made. Urethane or bladderless. Aluminum frame so very light weight. Largest standing platform.
Higher pay load, and longest warranty.
I have a skyhomish and a bucks bag high adventure. Just had the seams break on both tubes on the bucks bag the third trip out, (purchased used but supposedly only used less than six times.) so I would certainly go with one of their more robust units with the urethane bladder if I chose the bucks bag option.

I prefer the sky to the buck bag for floating moving water, but it is heavier than the bucks bag. I find that the standing platform doesn't get used as much as I though that it would. I won't make that a decision point on my next purchase. Also, I don't care for the set up time for either one pontoon when I to transport them unassembled, which is most of the time. I would try one of the frameless units before I bought one (cheaper if you must purchase a trailer to go with your framed model).

The forum's gear program has a watermaster that you could test drive---if you are on the dryside of the state you are welcome to try either of the two that I have. If you have concerns about customer service from NFO, make your purchase through cabelas. They have always treated me well on the rare occasions that I had to return a product.

cal
 

Blue

Active Member
#13
You answered it all right there. Bucks is not the same as it use to be. Many models now have vinyl bladders, and I heard if one problem with frame.
Don't get me wrong, one of my first pontoons was a Bucks. But, again, not the same now.
This one for sale might be the same as old days being one of the top end model.
 
#14
I currently use an Outcast 800 and it is a well made boat that would meet most of your needs. I don’t stand up in this pontoon but otherwise it good for lakes and rivers. If I was going to replace the boat now I would most likely get a Catchercraft (although I have had zero problems with the Outcast).
Like any boat there are some give and takes regarding boat design and construction. More rocker promotes better maneuverability (e.g. river fishing) less rocker allows for better tracking and stability (e.g. standing up). Another thing to understand how a pontoon is impacted by the wind, and how this can impact lake fishing. Living the in Columbia Gorge area it is common for me to have some breeze on the lakes.
It is also important (at least for me) to be able to use fins on a lake boat. This allows you to row to the fishing location and then adjust your position and speed with fins while you fish. I am not opposed to using a rod holder but I prefer fishing with the rod in my hands.
The material that the boat is made from and how it is bonded together makes a huge difference in durability and how long the boat will last. The links below scratch the surface and give the basics, like everything else there are some trade offs.

http://www.jpwinc.com/pages/materials.html

http://gorgeflyshops.blogspot.com/2012/04/fly-fishing-pontoon-boats-buyers-guide.html
 

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