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"Chasing Riseforms"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all. I have been considering getting a pontoon boat so I can reach those hard to get spots along the rivers. I am considering 9 feet in length. There are so many out there now, I am getting confused. Can anyone make a recommendation? I'm kinda a "cheap" fly fisherman and was looking at the $600 range. Also, is bigger diameter better, such as 18"? I think I saw one I was interested in from the Creek Company that seemed ok. Dave Scadden has confused me with some of their smaller diameter boats.
Or......should I spend $1200? Thanks.
 

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Now you did it, you just jumped off a very high cliff. I predict 55 responses with a few tangent agruments that may run this to 70.:beathead

From what I have read before, go with a good bladder, 10ft or better if your running rivers. Otherwise its all just fluf and stuff.:dunno
 

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Another Flyfisherman
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I will start this bad boy off - just short and sweet, my 2 pennies. I love my waterskeeters. Easy to put together and take down, no hassles, comfortable to fish out of all day. I dig Waterskeeter. I have looked a bunch - Price is a major consideration being a Servicemember and all, and I hate complicated garbadge. This guy fishes waterskeeter and so do all his die hard fishin buddies. Best of Luck
 

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Just an Old Man
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I used to know it all---but now that I'm older I seem to forget it all.

I see that you put yourself on a budget. Thats the way to go. I would go the creek co. way. I'm always looking for a way to save a few bucks.I now have a Buck's Bags Alpine that just sits out in my shed waiting for me to take it out. I think that I've relized that I'm not into lake fishing and now wish that I didn't buy it. Heck if I had waited one more year I could of got myself a pontoon boat and a float tube for what I paid for the Buck's Bags.

Jim :beathead :beathead
 

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You really didn't think I'd pass this up??? LOL

Actually, you shouldn't put yourself on a budget, but figure out what type of use you want out of your boat. Not all boats are alike. And with pontoon boats/catarafts, you get what you pay for. There is no such thing as a top notch boat for $500, you'll be lacking something somewhere. But, since most fisherman rarely EVER go over a class 2 river, you can get by with the low/mid end boats.

I won't go into anymore of a spiel. I only ask a couple questions. Do you plan to run whitewater? Do you want to fish from the boat (actually stand up and fish at anchor/freedrift) or use it for a shuttle from point A to B? Your answers to these questions will dictate my response (since you're on a budget).
 

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"Chasing Riseforms"
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You really didn't think I'd pass this up??? LOL

Well, thanks for the tips. I suppose I would brave some whitewater as my experience progresses, since I do like "Steelhead on the Fly". I think I saw the 10 footers at the last sport show in Puyallup and looked pretty nice. Standing up would be a good feature. I normally like to wade, but I am now 55 and getting lazier. Is 8 foot absolutely too small (I don't think I'm interested in that length), although 9 feet doesn't seem much larger. I haven't floated much, experience wise, but am quite adventureous. Most of my fishing will be for trout, but steelheading is in my heart. Just getting tired of no tresspassing signs and access problems. Anyone familiar with The Creek Company boat? It is 9' and solid platform on rear. Thanks. I like all the inputs.
 

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This may not be much help but:

I picked up a brand new Bucks Bags Southfork early last year for $300.00 with collapsible(sp) 8 foot oars, stripping apron, storage compartments and a webbed platform. I have ran it several times on the local river and absolutely love it. However I think the issue you will find with any boat is that it takes time to get it dialed in....what I mean is I have found that I want a nice easy place to put my rod when running white water, yet at the same time I want quick access to the rod, yet at the same time I want it protected in case my boat gets eaten on the water??? This is just one example of the issues I have found with pontoons. Overall its been fun and I hope to find more people with them this year so I can run more water and get more use out of it and learn more tricks to the trade?? It just takes time to dial them in. I have heard though that the 9 footers are of course more stable but not as quickly turned as the 8 footers?? :dunno :dunno :dunno

edit: I prefer my glass canoe on the bigger lakes though cause the pontoon is too slow to cover big water...so if your gonna use it alot on the lake that might be a consideration....or maybe im a putz and can not oar my rows that good ;)

~Patrick ><>
 

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If you plan to use the boat for the rivers, face it you will get into some whitewater, some scary rapids and sweepers at a minimum. Do yourself a favor buy for the worst case situation, this is insurance. Check out skookum product's steelheader. As far as I am concerned they don't come any better than that. Skookum has a website, check it out. They are alittle expensive, but what is your life worth? I saw a used in the classifieds the other day and it was a good price.

Enjoy!
 

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Just an Old Man
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You really didn't think I'd pass this up??? LOL

I used to know it all---but now that I'm older I seem to forget it all.

I don't know if this will help,but I was in Teds Sporting goods the other day and he has got a newer boat in there. It comes in 9' and 10' models. Not to sure about the name but I think it it Big Boy. Of all of the pontoon boats that I've seen out there,this is the best one I have ever seen. Pricy though.

Jim
 

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Ok, here's my reply. LOL

I'll go with what speyguy said, buy a Steelheader. And, I have looked into the brand sold at Ted's. This is not as good of boat as it appears. I wouldn't waste the money on it. The owner in question seems to be using his past dealings with Skookum (steelheader) as a platform to build his company. He's never "worked" for steelheader, he had been contracted out to build his platforms since he is a woodworker. The frames look like the one's shipped in from China. They are not as strong, and are far from being the best. I've put many hours in these style boat, and have worked with quite a few on retrofits. It's best to run your money into a Steelheader if you're going to go with a manufactured boat. If in doubt, go look at a Steelheader vs. the other boats. I mean really ingrain yourself. You'll notice alot of differences in frame and tubes. Which, in long run, will be what's keeping you alive especially in whitewater. And, though many have touted how easy it is to run whitewater in the low end boats. It's not. It's not easy in my true whitewater boats. I'll even make you this deal. I'll be at the sportsman show this weekend being a customer representative for Steelheader boats (no, I'm not a paid salesman, he likes to have real customers talk to potential customers). If anyone comes that wants to talk boats, I'll be in booth fri/sat/and sun. I will even try to walk around to other boat booths, and I'll even point out flaws straight up. As spey said, Is your life worth it? I know first hand that my Steelheader pulled me through a slot that has sunk numerous driftboats. I couldn't maneuver fast enough away from a guy who decided at last minute to drop anchor in head of rapid. I had to go around him, but put me in wrong slot. I made it through no sweat (and that was with my 9'). Check out my avatar. Actually, I'll try and post a pic of me in a slot with my 9' Steelheader. As I've said before, there's no such thing as a good cataraft cheap. Steelheader makes the strongest tubes in the business for manufactured boats. I'd check out his site. http://www.steelheader.com
 

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I also have a Buck's Bag Southfork and I like it. However, I wish that I had a pontoon with atleast a 9" pontoon. I am running about 230# and find that I sit a little close to the water, especially when you pack some gear for an all day float. I tend to over pack for safety. I have run the Skagit between Marbelmount and Rockport a number of times this last winter and had a ball. I felt real comfortable with the Southfork.

The Southfork work great for most smaller lakes. It is a big advantage over float tubes because you can row it to cover longer distances (especially in the wind) and use your fins when fishing. This keeps the hands free while still having control of the pontoon boat. The Southfork works great because I am sitting close to the water and not in it, plus it makes it easier to use the fins. A larger diameter pontoon would get you off the water further.

I have also taken the Southfork out on the salt water of Puget Sound. My Southfork is an older model with the powder coated frame. The newer SS frame would be a better choice if you are planning to use the pontoon boat in the salt. I give my pontoon boat a good wash after every trip to the salt.

I am still looking for a larger pontoon boat because my wife also likes to fish. However, I don't think that she would want to run a river. (I way be a fool for thinking that) Pehaps the WaterSkeeter Double take is the way to go. There are two pontoon boats that can be attached end to end allowing one person to row and the other to fish. Or two individual pontoon boats.

I hope that gives you a idea of thing to consider before buying. No mater what you get it probably will not be perfect for all situations. If you are like me you will try to improve what ever you buy. Good luck with what ever you purchase. :thumb
 

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Just an Old Man
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Ok, here's my reply. LOL

I used to know it all---but now that I'm older I seem to forget it all.

Thank's for the info on those boats. I wasn't going to buy one as my resources are not what one would say I was rich. Being retired has it's draw backs. And getting fishing equipment is limited. Don't get any overtime this way. But back to what's at hand. Going to the Sportsman show this Friday,will look you up. I was going to ask something else but the wife asked me a question and I forgot what it was. So much for getting older.

Jim
 

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jabs
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Ok, here's my reply. LOL

Steelheader69,

I do have to agree with the Steelheader. They are probably the best pontoons built. I don't own one but have seen them on the river and know the owner to some extent. I saw and chatted with him at the Fly Fishing show to let him know his product is one of the best out there.
I am drooling to purchase one soon as I have a South Fork and they are very good boats but I am about 230lbs and with gear in lake or river you are lower to the water and weighted down a bit. I will stop by to booth to check it out. I am really interested in the Guide model. What is the difference between the Guide model and the Steelheader?
 

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I am also looking at purchasing a pontoon. Does anyone know how much the skookum boats cost? Any info about the reliability of the Osprey or Guide? Although I have an itch to get out on the water and float, my approach is to wait and save the $$ to get the right boat. Comments I've read are excellant.

There are other threads on this site (under search) that comment on this topic, very helpful. Also check out the Black Bear Grizzly $1550, looks durable. I will get some hands-on research done at the show. Thats where I can look at the materials applied and basic engineering and craftmanship. I'll look you up Steelheader69. Not sure what day. I currently vote Skookum!

What do you use for life preserver. Brands, style, comfort, etc.

Thanks All
Steve
 

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"Chasing Riseforms"
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok, here's my reply. LOL

Thanks Steelheader and All. Interesting comments and views. I did check out the Steelheaders at the Bellvue Flyfishing Show and was impressed. Perhaps I may have to wade rivers again this year to save some coins (I'm retired, but still young 54)or sell some junk around the house, but, it does sound like the way to go, but I will still browse a bit. I tend to think that I would end up upgrading as others have said and probably through away $400-$600. Time to start the garage sale. Don't know if I'll see you at the show Friday, as I was thinking of going Thursday....but may see you. Thanks again.
 

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I have a little input since I love 'tooning so much:

First, no matter which model you buy, make sure to get the anchor bracket. Buy a bigger anchor though. 10 lbs is just about perfect for 8 and 9 foot pontoons. I went with a marine mushroom style and have never chased my boat down the river.

Second, Forget a hard case. Use dry bags to store everything. If you want to store beer, get a soft case cooler. I have done about 100 days on overnight trips and the drybags are much easier to haul around. They secure pretty easily with bunjees too.

Third, Always carry a life vest. I pull mine out when the going gets rough. Swimming in waders is really sceary so a vest WILL save your life. Skip the auto inflating kind. Get a real life vest.

Fourth, Get a Scotty rod holder and make sure to get a spare knob. I also use a tiny bunjee to secure the two pieces together. This ensures a long life and no accidental dropping into the water. They don't float. They are great when you need instant hands free.

Fifth, You can actually fish while you float. Most people use the boat only to get to the wading spots but I can tell you that when the hatch is on, hook the fish and THEN park the boat. It gets confusing but I hardly ever lose a fish because we are going the same speed. This is why drift boats have an advantage over wade fishermen.

Sixth, Be sure to deflate the boat a bunch if you are driving it inflated. I have already seen two boats rip in the seam because the bladders expanded after going over the passes.


You should have enough to get started with all of the other good advise.

Have fun!
 

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Thanks, look forward to meeting some of you

Plus, if we do meet again, you can see the before and after effect. LOL. I have gained alot of disibility weight, and am now starting to lose. So, if you see me now, you'll see the before. Now I can't wait to be back to my pre injury weight. WOOOOOHOOOOO.

But seriously. I won't go into too much of a spiel. But you get what you pay for. There are some who have copied the Steelheader (they have been mentioned on previous posts). If you look at the way the tubes are built, you'll see that the underside of the tubes are welded very shoddely. Also, unless they've changed, their boats only have one tube. So, if you spring a leak, you're SOL, your floating on one side only. The Steelheader models have 2 tubes, so if you lose one, you'll still have some floatation off one tube (most whitewater grade tubes run two chambers in tube). But, as I said, most of the other makers will be there as well. Go and check them out yourself. Mind you, Steelheader's are made here in WA. I mean, Bill at Skookum builds his own tubes. He makes them heavy duty, and ready to fish.

I have no idea differences between guide and osprey model. Sorry. I'm not a salesman, and not proficient on the entire line. I just love the Steelheader models, and give insight on them. Plus, the one nice thing about the Steelheader is fishing standing up while drifting. Most of the other boats you can fish while you go, but sitting down.

I look forward to talking with all of you. Feel free to talk my ear off (or I may just talk yours off). LOL
 

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Thanks, look forward to meeting some of you

That was on the Missouri River at Craig.

This was before I bought the anchor and drybags.

I made the anchor with bent conduit and a "U" bolt and pully. It works great but not really like a factory anchor. I would like to figure out how to thread the rope into the frame.

I agree that the Skookum is the best out there. Bomber frames!

I just wish I had the $$$ for one. Guess I will wait until mine gets too crappy to use.

Standing while drifting? Sceary!
 
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