First Pontoon boat

I'm going to buy my first pontoon boat and have some questions!
1) Bladder vs bladderless, I understand the weight difference any other issues between the two?
2) I like the framed models as they seem sturdier as far as the seat, oarlocks and foot pegs. Am I being too cautious? Blow n go definitely has advantages but maybe less durability?
3) Will use on small lakes and rivers. I'm from Michigan so no whitewater really. Renegade with 5' oars work ok on lakes? Others with 7' oars ok on small rivers?
4) How to transport setup either framed or frameless

I have a Ocean Kayak Trident Prowler 13 that I am trying to sell (so disappointed in kayak fishing... not for me!) and a guy proposed a trade for a Outcast PAC 900. Really wanted a frameless pontoon but this is a good one I think. Thanks for the help, this stuff is driving me crazy!


Active Member
I get about a dozen to 20 inquiries a week asking about pontoon boats. The first questions I ask are how and where they fish (motors, lakes, rivers, whitewater, transport, multiple people, fly fish, gear fish, or both, etc.), how they are going to store and transport it, and finally, how often do they plan on using it and what are the physical limitations (if any, i.e., does size and weight matter). Depending on those responses, I feel I can make a pretty good recommendation for a pontoon boat. If size, weight, storage, and transport are issues (meaning smaller and lighter are better) then they are better off going with a frameless pontoon. If they are using it for lakes (fins) or streamside transportation only and not intending to river fish out of it, then the smaller, lower profile or frameless pontoons will probably work but a framed pontoon might be a better option. If they plan on using it in fairly serious whitewater or planning on fishing (anchored) from it or are a larger or taller individual or want to do overnight trips, then a framed pontoon with a stand up platform, larger diameter pontoons is a better choice. Or if you plan on putting it on a trailer and keeping it assembled at all times so it is ready to go at a moment's notice.

Bladder vs. bladderless usually comes down to budget. All things being equal, a true whitewater, bladderless pontoon is generally better than a bladder pontoon. Hard to go wrong with Outcast/Aire if you want to go that route and a PAC 900 will probably be a great boat for you, based on what you state above. There is a great deal on a Bad Cat in the classifieds right now though you probably want to stick to something local unless you don't mind paying a few hundred bucks for shipping a larger boat.

Give me a call, PM me, or send me an email if you want to discuss your options in greater detail.


Active Member
I have two framed pontoons and a raft, a skyhomis sunrise, bucks bag adventurer 9' (recently put eurathane bladders in it) and a 13' Avon raft.

None of them the the use that I expected them to. The raft gets the least use of all. I believe that it is due to set up and transport hassels. Once I get on the water, each one does its job.

I will try a blow and go for my next attempt to get a "perfect" unit. I rarely float challenging water and despite my initial thoughts, I have never used one of the pontoons for an overnight trip, and I can count the number of times that I have actually used the casting platform on the sky on one hand...


John or "LC"
One thing I learned too late about boats and pontoons is to buy something that gives you the most utility for your most common trips, not something that will accommodate the 20% you might do sometime. It comes down to ease of use and money. I love the light pontoons because I can carry them some distance and mine (Scadden Predator) fits in the back of my Sequoia. Even when I had the Renegade which is just a little larger I found myself using the SFC more because it was easy. Now it gathers dust because my 'toon weights only a couple pounds more and is just that much smaller without giving up any utility.

I have gone from a 17' Whaler to a 12' skiff because the Montauk was too much boat for most of the waters I fish, and the 12' handles all but two applications which are infrequent. If I need something larger, I rent it or go out with a friend. I never forget the old adage, "If it flies, floats, or f**ks, rent it! Same theory with a pontoon. A frame is nice for those Class III trips, but if you don't do those much then get something smaller and more user friendly. My oh too.
Well this got easier as I sold my kayak today now I can buy what I want. I have to go with what works with my vehicle so I am about 90% sure it will be a Renegade. Will sleep on it do something tomorrow! Thanks for all of the advice!


John or "LC"
If weight and bulk are concerns, consider the Predator for about the same price, maybe $100 more. I really like mine. The Renegade was great, and I think a little better for moving water as it has skid pads, but for stillwater I totally prefer the 15 lbs. lighter Predator. Outcast products are great, but enough heavier they are not on my radar for my use. For heavier moving water above Class II they would be, however.
I like the looks of that Predator and especially like the smaller size and weight. I do intend to do rivers though and although Michigan rivers are basically class I & II (the ones I fish) in the spring with runoff I'd feel better with the larger pontoon. I also want to start using on our larger rivers the Manistee and Muskegon. No class three or overnight trips to deal with though. Thanks for the thoughts!


Active Member
The Renegade is such a wonderful all around boat. I have said it numerous times, If I could have but one boat, hands down the Renegade. It is plenty sturdy enough.
Advantage to bladderless is as you mention weight but also no zipper. No way debris can get in. No shifting of bladder. And I feel attention has been taken into the material BECAUSE it is bladderless.
It is a win, win. With the new glue on accessories, they are pretty easy to rig up with essentials. And an Adjustable seat!


Active Member
I use Scotty stuff, so they have the glue on mounts for rod holders, camera's even fish finder mounts. Hard to mount these things any other way to clear the oars. Anchor however, I would stick with a strap on.
I have pictures of the mounts I used if you need ideas.
I looked on Scotty's site, maybe too quickly as I didn't find anything... anyways... a picture is worth a thousand words! If you have time to u/l I would appreciate it!
I did order the strap on anchor lock. BTW, the Renegade is due to be delivered next Wednesday, can't wait!


Active Member
I buy my Scotty gear from Austin Kayak.
Here is the rear glue on rod holder

Here is front one which is nice to hold the rod while rowing

Mount another one on the other side for sonar. I made my own sonar mount out of straps and Ram.
If you want to run Sonar I recommend these guys
Thanks for the pics! Worth a thousand words for sure just to see where you placed the rod holders!
Just sold my yak and I spent a year figuring out where to put my flyrod holder, once you drill the hole (or glue the mount) it's permanent! Now I'll be starting all over! Wednesday is the big day! Looking forward to trying it out!