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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Plan on buying a pontoon boat or small cataraft, to be used strictly as a taxi on solo small to mid size up river excursions, (keep a skiff down in tidewater) mostly class 1 and 2, occasional rough section. Plan on using the craft to access currently inaccessible wading sections I can swing a fly in. 60 years old, fairly beat-up from a series of sports injuries over the decades, so looking for the lightest, most comfortable/best back support, and easiest to row and manhandle craft.

Your suggestions will be appreciated!
 

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I have seen a lot of others floating in boats I've never had a chance to try. I do have a Fishcat Panther, 9' boat that has four full length tubes (two side by side on each side). The tubes are 10" diameter so the profile is low, but the boat is very wide and stable. On stillwater I can stand and cast from this boat on a little platform that I made. In the rivers that I have had it on (Hoh, Bogachiel, Satsop, Wynoochee) it has handled well and I have really enjoyed it. The four tube design makes it a bit heavier than my previous boat, also a fishcat but an 8' single tube design) but I can still car top the boat. Some boats I've seen have much larger diameter tubes, so you ride much higher (and higher = dryer). Riding higher might make them a bit more maneuverable also, but I've been able to turn my Panther on a dime and handle it well as a true novice on the oars. I'm sure you'll get a lot more feedback, but also search the watercraft sub-forum where there has been a lot of discussions on many fine boats. Good luck.
 

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Surfnfish

I am the same age and was a hockey and baseball player for eight years - so I have some interesting x-rays. I have used a McKenzie Drifter for the last three seasons in WA and MT. It can seat three - but I mostly use it with a two man setup and with everything I have set it up with it probably weighs about 95lbs. It is the perfect vehicle for solo fishing because you can stop and stand up in the shallows and fish standing on the bottom or swing your legs over the pontoon and wade. These pontoon boats are light and responsive and handle well in rough water. I would not be afraid to recommend them to you. You have to mess with the seats to get them to your liking - but other than that these boats are perfect for the kind of fishing you describe. I am going to be parting with this one as I just bought a Clack. I got the Clack because the grandkids are not allowed to go with Grandpa unless the boat has a bottom. Otherwise I would be staying with the pontoon class boat.


Hope this helps!

Tim Wudi
 

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Old And In The Way
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Consider an NFO / Dave Scadden Outlaw Renegade or Rampage. I am also 60 and just bought one. Check the youtube videos:



These are frameless & bladderless, very light (28# and 38# respectively) and are rated for class IV and V rapids. I find the Rampage to be very very comfortable and stable and very maneuverable.
 

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It's not a pontoon, but I use a watermaster kodiak. I'm 60+ and have found the WM to work very well for me. It's light, moves well, and easy to row. It has worked very well in getting me to all the places I want to go on different types of water. It's definately a solo craft, but I fish with a buddy who uses a pontoon, so that works well for us. An advantage of the WM is that it can be very easily assembled and then disassembled. My buddy with the pontoon spends a lot of time lifting it to the top of his jeep and then tying it down. I just deflate the WM, fold it, and place it in the dry bag. Done.
 

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Old And In The Way
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One cool thing about the Watermaster, the Waterstrider and the Scadden Outlaw frameless boats is that you can hop off the seat and the boat is self-tethered, won't get away. On the Outlaws this is accomplished by the foot bar, on the Watermaster and Waterstrider it is the full circumference of the boat that serves as the tether. I think it would be easier to step OUT (on purpose) of the Outlaw than the Water* boats though because you only need step over a 1" bar instead of stepping over the whole tube. Landing the fish should be easier in the Outlaw too because of the open rear.

But in any case I think it makes all three of these boats ideal for the OP's stated purpose of using the boat to fish otherwise unfishable stretches of water.
 
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