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Pontoon questions/tips?

Post By: Assassin      Posted: 6/4/2020 8:17:31 PM     Points: 1069    
Hey guys I've been looking into getting a personal pontoon. Ive poked around some of the old threads but I would like to hear some tips from your experience with them. What should I look for/avoid If I buy used? Are they easy to get in/out of a truck bed (I'm young and healthy). Life expectancy of the tubes and have you ever had to replace them?

I know if I put I motor on it I will have to register it, im assuming it also has to be inspected at lakes that have inspections? Any other tips/advice? I dont plan on regularly hitting rivers with it but i would like the option.

Also, before I commit to one, if anyone has an extra one and is willing to let me go out with them for a couple hours some day and try it out that would be awesome.
 Reply by: Goosehunter82      Posted: Jun. 4, 8:41:37 PM     Points: 54395    
I had one. Key word had. I had a Skeeter. Great little toon as far as quality. I found it pretty tough to paddle it with the oars. I sat too high and my legs are too short to kick it. I ended up putting a motor on it which was great until the battery died on the windy lake. The problem I found was once you add the battery and motor it's no longer really manageable for one person to load and unload it. If you want to take it all on and on each time that would work but a pain in the butt. Personally i'de go with a kayak or canoe.
 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 5, 4:54:02 AM     Points: 1069    
Tough to paddle would be a problem, I think I could kick ok though I'm about 6'1. Id like to try one out, I havent abandoned the idea of a kayak but id like something stable and possibly able to float a river. The outriggers you have on your canoe look pretty fancy, do they work well?
 Reply by: Goosehunter82      Posted: Jun. 5, 5:42:17 AM     Points: 54395    
Two guys can stand and fish in the canoe. The wind never really affected it. We've landed 3 ft lake trout with no problem on there. I don't recall for sure but I believe the out rigger set up was about 100 bucks. It's very light and they slide out of the holders to make it very portable. I had some wheels that it sat on so I could roll it around pretty easy by my self.
 Reply by: nparker      Posted: Jun. 5, 6:20:51 AM     Points: 1802    
I have used a pontoon and a float tube, a lot. The tube is much easier to transport and move. They are slow but you would be surprised how much water you can cover. I find that I don't need to cover all that much once I get to know a lake.
 Reply by: Wreckstar      Posted: Jun. 5, 8:13:33 AM     Points: 1023    
I just went through this same decision making process. I had a float tube and considered a pontoon, but at the end of the day decided to get a fishing kayak. I feel pretty good with my decision though I have not even had it on the water yet.

I'm 6'4" and about 200 lbs. This kayak is super wide and from the videos I've seen I should have no problem standing up to fish. I also really like how high the seat sits. I'll let you know end of next week after I take it out if any of that changes. Paddle comes in today!
 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: Jun. 5, 8:15:37 AM     Points: 664    
I have had a toon for years and I LOVE it. I will never not have one. I do not use a motor on mine, just row and I have no problem with it. Creek Company is a Colorado company that makes them and has fantastic customer service. I ripped one of the canvas covers on my toon and they sent me a brand new replacement free of charge (this was a few years after purchase). To me the stability of the toon in the wind and the waves blows canoes / kayaks out of the water.

Trying one out first is a good plan, but I say go for it - you will love it.
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: Jun. 5, 8:19:48 AM     Points: 57539    
I might be able to meet you at say Pueblo sometime? I have another friend that is interested in the toons and I already promised him we could do something like get together and let him try it out.

Straight up, I will recommend going with a larger toon. My 10 ft toon is night and day better than my 8 ft toon. The longer toon is more stable and allowed me to make mods like add a 7" lift for the seat and put a bass seat on instead of that crappy little plastic thing. Mine even has a standing platform. While the longer toon (especially this one) is heavier, I can load it all by myself. I load the battery and motor separate. It takes maybe 5 minutes to attach them at the lake?

I also will not get rid of my tubes. They go on small bodies of water and they're great to launch when the lakes stop allowing boats to launch in the winter! Also, you can get straps and back pack them with you. That's a huge advantage over a shore angler.
 Reply by: Nice guy      Posted: Jun. 5, 10:37:21 AM     Points: 0    
I have 2 Buck's Bag boats- a float tube and a south fork Pontoon. They are so well build and last for several years. They are made in Idaho. Maybe hard to find but well worth it!!
 Reply by: bobcats92      Posted: Jun. 5, 10:49:13 AM     Points: 333    
I'm in the same spot myself. I'm leaning towards a pontoon. If you've got a Costco card, they have a 9ft fishing pontoon right now for 299 that is made by Classic Acccessories, who make a lot of different OTC models priced 1k+. I stood and stared at it for about 15minutes when I was at the Costco on Wadsworth the other day. I believe there are a couple reviews on here from years past. I'll post a write-up if I get it.

It's early enough in the summer to pull the trigger on one and not regret it. Just a matter of which one to get. Why wait until September?

edit: link- [log in for link]

 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 5, 4:01:15 PM     Points: 1069    
@goose and wreckstar - I'll have to put some more consideration into a kayak. I worry about being able to bring gear in a kayak too though. But that said I probably bring to much stuff anyway lol. Canoe wouldnt be a problem but I dont really want a canoe they are a little bigger and heavier than I am thinking about.

@nparker - float tubes are cool but I dont like the idea of being that much in the water, not bringing a cooler/tackle etc. I would like to be able to paddle/row it.

@ yarddog - thanks for the tip, there is a used creek company one for sale for 250 right now I might go check it out. It is 4 years old though so I wonder about the wear on it.

@ awb - that would be cool, ive never been to pueblo but its quite the journey for me I live in greeley.

@ bobcats92 - those Costco ones seem to have good reviews i did read a previous one on this site from back in 2013. Let us know how it goes if you buy it.
 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 5, 4:24:08 PM     Points: 1069    
I am looking to replace my previous boat i had a plastic dinghy 10ft. I loved it but it was 100 lbs with no gear in it and getting it in the truck alone was doable but a pain. It was wearing on the bottom too from dragging it for 5 years so I fixed the hull and sold it. We are looking into getting a fish/ski boat within the next year (if I can keep my wife convinced lol) so I am looking for something a little lighter yet stable and man powered. That's kinda where im at right now.
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: Jun. 5, 5:33:24 PM     Points: 523    
So I bought gonefishins old toon a few weeks back. Have only gotten out once, but so far the fins are a lot easier than the oars. Apparently my right hand is much stronger and more accurate than my left, because oaring I was just going in circles. Quite funny if anyone was watching. The stability compared to the kayak tho is ten fold. Easier to load and load. Also you can bring a lot more gear, and they are a little easier to customize to your situation. I was real happy to be in the toon when the surf/ ski boats cruised by within 100 feet. I love the boat tho and will definitely be trying to hit South Park with it soon. Just make sure you know the wind conditions on any given day and you will love it. Also an anchor system is key! Worst case you won’t drift any farther from shore than you already are if you have to wait out some high winds.
 Reply by: yard dogs      Posted: Jun. 5, 5:35:50 PM     Points: 664    
Assassin. I have had mine for 12 years. They last. Also, like AW said. Try to get a 9 or 10’er
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Jun. 5, 5:40:43 PM     Points: 1887    
Costco Pontoons are great because of capacity and durability. Decent for on deck storage. Like a small cooler, bigger net, rain gear or tech jacket and a #12 anchor.. Wind ... oars are better than flippers. Plus you can anchor it up, I also used both motor mounts one the back. Built a transom. Then I added a gas motor. 2.5 Suzuki so I could keep with Bill. Guess what I still don’t keep up with Bill. Lol. Adding electronics... more room to add them. Rod holders can be added on each side. I had this on that Costco pontoon... fished it 13 years..! In South Park wind. I’ve stepped up to the GIGBOB these days. But that is a good budget boat.
 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 5, 8:18:06 PM     Points: 1069    
I2 and yarddog good to know those are reliable. I dont have a Costco card but I can find someone who does. I hit up the guy about the used creek company one too.
 Reply by: RD_3      Posted: Jun. 6, 1:45:22 PM     Points: 6    
I had a belly boat, upgraded to a 9’ pontoon, which I still have and use for certain situations. I bought a 12’ boat, which I sold after almost capsizing it, and now have a real boat. I much prefer the pontoon over the belly boat. My wife has a 14’ sit-in kayak. Here are some things worth mentioning…

Belly boat:
• Easy to store and transport.
• Easy to deploy and pack away.
• Cannot move fast. Always have a plan to get to shore and walk back if the wind comes up.
• Cannot fish where you want. I would not go more than 100 yards from shore on our larger lakes.
• If you fish early or late in the season, they are cold. I bought special lightweight wader boots one size too big so I could put extra socks in them. There were a few times I still had to go to shore to warm up my feet.
• Because you sit lower in the water, you cannot see into the water as far out and you have a little less space for a backcast. You might also get some spray from waves crashing behind you.
• No anchor. Well, I guess you could carry one, but I would not. Too heavy and no place to put it.
• No fish finder. Could use a hand held to get depth, but I would not put a Fishing Buddy on a belly boat.

• Can handle white caps with ease. Never felt unsafe in white caps in South Park. It was not fun going up and down, but it was safer than most people realize.
• Having an anchor that hangs off the back and centered was critical to my fishing. Throw out the anchor and fish all day. If the wind picked up, I would use my flippers to keep me from pivoting on the anchor. If the anchor pulley is on the sides, the wind will turn you sideways. Being sideways in the wind means you will ride the waves sideways and your body will not be pointing downwind where you will be casting.
• Have a small fish finder on my pontoon. Again, critical for how I fish.
• Takes practice to oar it straight. I have a lot of practice with 2-oar boats and it still just takes a little distraction and I am off 45 degrees quickly. If you plan on oaring long distances, pontoons that are longer and less curved go straighter.
• A motor makes a huge difference on large lakes. My electric motor and battery added 70 pounds and I had to move the seat as far forward as possible. Not all pontoons have adjustable seat positions. I like the quietness and simplicity of the electric motor and would not change it for a 2-3 HP gas, but that is just me.
• Netting a fish is easier in a pontoon. Storing a net is easer as well.
• If the water is cold, you can put your feet on the leg rests and warm them up, if you are anchored or drifting.
• It would assemble my pontoon at home and let enough air out to close the tailgate. At the lake I would pull it out of the truck bed, inflate the pontoons, put on the light stuff, drag it to the shore, haul down the flippers, anchor, oars, motor, battery, and rods. Then put on my waders and head out. My rods were already rigged in the truck, otherwise add more time to rig them. It would probably take me 30-45 minutes from the time I stopped the truck to the being on the water. And a little less putting it all away at the end of the day. Losing 1 to 1.5 hours of my fishing day is the main reason I finally got a real boat. But I have seen some guys put them on trailers fully rigged and drop them right off the boat ramp.

Continued on next post...
 Reply by: RD_3      Posted: Jun. 6, 1:45:35 PM     Points: 6    
12 foot boat with 6HP motor:
• Sounds like you have experience with a small boat. But for others, do not do it. You can motor far away and take a buddy. But some day, the wind will come up unexpectedly and that narrow little boat will become dangerous, especially if you have two people in it. For small lakes or mornings only.

• Controlling a belly boat or pontoon with your feet while your hands are free is a huge bonus for me. I won’t fish in my wife’s kayak because of that loss of control.
• It is surprising how easy a 14 foot kayak is to paddle. You can easily stop paddling and coast 50 ft. You can cover some serious distance.
• I found it frustrating to fish while paddling, especially in the wind. Drifting and jigging worked well. Trolling worked well except in higher winds because you have to paddle to have control and paddling in the wind would sometimes troll too fast, too inconsistent, or would turn you sideways when you wanted to troll straight. Casting/retrieving or bobber/indicator fishing was not enjoyable.
• Anchoring is not ideal. Some may say anchoring off the side of a kayak is dangerous. A coworker capsized in Antero in November partially due to a side-mounted anchor. Pretty scary. Unless you can anchor off the far rear, you will be crooked in the wind.
• If a fish goes under your kayak, you cannot extend your pole around the ends. You have to fight the fish back under the kayak.
• If the water is cold and you get a sit-on-top, you probably will need waders too. Even with a sit-kayak, your hands will get yet and sometimes cold.

If I were buying today, I would buy an Outcast Panther. It is tough, it is ideal for lakes, big enough for an electric motor and battery, has a center mounted anchor pulley, and the seat is adjustable. I wish it was 10 foot instead of 9, but that is my only complaint. Well, other than the price. I would only pay that much because I know I would keep it.

Since it sounds like you have bigger plans, I think the Costco pontoons are hard to beat unless it is 8 foot. It sounds like you may add a motor and 8 foot is too small for that. Don’t forget to add in the cost of waders, wading boots, and flippers. The prices on them vary wildly.
 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 6, 4:00:03 PM     Points: 1069    
@trailerman - lol that would be funny to watch hopefully I can get the hang of it. The storage is a big plus for me plus the anchor. Do you really find it is easier to load and unload?

@rd3 wow man thats a great pros and cons list thanks! I was looking at a few videos to try to get some pros and cons but you laid it out very nice. I do want to stay as dry as possible and I recall after someone reminded me about water gettin in the kayak (or on me) from the paddles too. I'm sure that would get better with practice but fishing in the fall would not be fun wet. Kayaks do go pretty fast but idk if I would need to cover that much water. I think another plus for me for both, and not a small boat, is the ability to launch at somewhere besides the ramp if I intend to row it. Using my trolling motor to get across a lake is a pain and can be dangerous like you said. Not applicable everywhere but handy. Interesting about the loading and unloading I guess I will have to see how much of a pain it is. My little boat was easy to get on the water but sure was a pain to get out.

I already have a lot of what I need but that is also a great point all the additional stuff. I have waders, a trolling motor and battery if i go that route, a fish finder, anchor, life jacket and whistle. The one I'm eyeing the guy is throwing in some fins but if not I think that's all I might need. I think I'm definitely leaning toward the pontoon. The only reason I might get a kayak is if I got one for my wife too but it would likely gather dust.
 Reply by: Anteroman      Posted: Jun. 6, 6:09:33 PM     Points: 5167    
Just my $.02.
I’ve used an NRS pontoon since 2010, my original boat has over 1200 trips on it and is still functioning fine, they are a bit pricey for a reason, they’re worth it.
As i2 noted I too use a 2.5 Suzuki on mine, the toon is 4’x 8’ and will support over 1,000 pounds, there is no frame. The primary reason for the motor is being able to go anywhere I want to on all the Southpark Lakes and not having to worry about getting home. At 40, 50, or 60 I might have stayed with oars, I’m old and don’t want to take any chances, gas motor works for me.
Lots of variables but if you want something that will last a long time think quality and how often your going to use it.

The Last pic is i2 in his older toon prior to his Gig-Bob.
 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 6, 7:24:19 PM     Points: 1069    
Anteroman that is a nice craft. Who knows, if I really like it maybe I will get there one day. If its what you love to do its definitely worth the money to buy something good.
 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 6, 7:25:44 PM     Points: 1069    
Here is the one I am hopefully going to check out monday.
 Reply by: KevinB      Posted: Jun. 6, 8:47:24 PM     Points: 40    
A little differing opinion from RD_3... I have a belly boat (Caddis Premier Plus) and a 9 foot pontoon (Colorado XT) as well. I actually use the belly boat more often as it is MUCH easier to control in the wind. Also, I have used a fish finder on a belly boat for years. It used to be a fishin' buddy years ago, but I just went from a Lowrance Hook 3x to a Lowrance Hook2 5 tripleshot. I just did a modification for the belly boat today that will make it much easier to mount the transducer and batteries for it. Don't get me wrong, on a calm day to maybe 10 mph wind I prefer the pontoon...but if it gets windy I just get exhausted trying to control the thing. And it gets windy here quite often. I use the oars very little since I fly fish and need both hands. I am extremely reluctant to put an electric motor on the toon just for the fact that it needs to be registered if I do that. I think it's a load of crap to register it for a small electric motor, but that may just be me.
 Reply by: cookster      Posted: Jun. 6, 11:27:57 PM     Points: 63781    
I’m no toon fisherman but iv seen AWB fish in some big water in big wake with his set up when a lot of big boats loaded up.
 Reply by: Assassin      Posted: Jun. 7, 5:35:56 AM     Points: 1069    
Kevin B interesting view. I dont think a float tube is up my alley I would like to be more out of the water and carry more gear. I'm picturing fall being brutal for a float tube. I agree about the registration it is annoying.

I spin fish and just started getting into fly fishing so I would like options and be able to dream about doing a river float one day. As for the wind, I really don't like being out in it either way whether its from shore or boat. I think they would both be less than pleasant if a good wind kicks up.
 Reply by: anglerwannabe      Posted: Jun. 7, 6:51:47 AM     Points: 57539    
hey assassin... that looks like an 8' toon. I strongly stand by my recommendation of a longer toon.

Also talking about float tubes... while not quite as high as a toon... spend the money, get a tube that you sit out of the water like the two I got.

Fishing South Park after they kick the boats off can be insane fun

Again, I invite you to meet me so you can actually see what I'm talking about. We could meet at Monument during the week after 4 PM.

On my 10 ft toon I can weather some pretty rough water. Great thing about the toon, it does not take on water like a canoe or small boat. Also if it flips, it does not sink. I speak from experience from my 8 ft toon.
 Reply by: i2fly      Posted: Jun. 7, 7:25:55 AM     Points: 1887    
As far as a pontoon in the wind goes... I drop a anchor and keep fishing. There’s no way a float tube is superior in wind. I’ve done both many many times. To have to constantly kick if any wind is present. Way too much work! Then if you get sudden big wind I’ve had waves go over my back. Sitting higher is definitely better, warmer plus visibility and casting are easier as well. The only plus for the tube is portability. Our GIGBOB‘s are just a portable with no frame Just more set up time.if brought deflated. MOTORS: electric trolling motors are great for being quite and have instant start up and reverse. However the weight at 70+ pounds is prohibitive to me. The little gas motors we use weigh in at 29.5 pounds. 40 extra pounds is significant. Registration at $60 is no big deal... and no I’m not wealthy. That’s for sure! Plus I don’t worry about battery life. Going all the way to the back of buffalo bay then up along the bluffs and on to the inlet and back to the parking lot is no problem and no worries about getting back. Ok now I’m up to 0.4 cents... lol. I2
 Reply by: Trailerman      Posted: Jun. 7, 3:46:11 PM     Points: 523    
Ok so... got caught in a huge windstorm at green mtn this morning and my two friends in kayaks had much less trouble with it than I did. I broke a strap on one fin (which I knew was coming) pretty early on and I dropped anchor to try to keep from blowing across the lake. Wind was so strong the anchor was just dragging across the muddy bottom on the northeast side. I ended up just letting it push me to the bank, hopped off had a beer, then fished from shore for about 30 mins till the wind died down and then headed back across. Definitely thinking about a motor now and maybe a heavier anchor. As far as loading the pontoon, I have a GMC Sierra 1500 with the shorter bed. Toon went in the bottom and then gear and then 2 kayaks over the top of the rest and zero issues. The pontoon is so much easier for one or two people to drag down to the lake. I never felt unstable in the big white caps but I couldn’t row faster than I was Being blown across the lake. Being farther out of the water is great for comfort but the larger profile means wind really moves you in a hurry. Still love the boat I just need to get better at oaring and a new pair of fins.

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