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kitchy

Pontoon as fishing boat

16 posts in this topic

Anybody out there use a pontoon as their primary (or only) fishing boat? I'm thinking about buying a boat. I am the fisherman of the family and would prefer a nice fishing boat. However, other family members are pressuring me for a pontoon (and no, I can't buy both). We have a cabin up north but also do a lot of fishing in the metro. So it is not practical to keep it permanently on a boat lift somewhere. I would be doing a lot of trailering. I guess I'm looking for words of wisdom on how practical a pontoon would be for fishing and a lot of trailering. The pontoons I've been on were pretty comfortable but the seating did not lend itself to fishing very well. Do people rig pontoon with trolling motors, sonars, etc? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

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I have old pontoon for fishing at the cabin, just a capt chair and the rest are platic lawn chairs smile Works great though, can put them wherever you want depending upon how many (usually kids) are with.

There are very nice fishing pontoons though, they have the mid section with plush benches and the usual pontoon stuff, table, etc. but the rear has fishign seats and front has fishing seats. There are really nice and versatile. Adn the front "door" is rigged for a bow mount to slide under it, so yep, you can have troll motor smile

Here are some pieces of info you might find useful:

- I have vinyl in my toon and one of our boats. I will NEVER have carpet ever again, unless it is snap-in carpet over vinyl. Easy to clean and very fishing friendly. Water doesn't get trapped in it, thus making the flooring last longer.

- Rocket launcher rod holders (those white or black plastic ones you can get for cheap) are about the best rod rack you can get for pontoon. I have three "3 rod" mounted on mine. For true "rod holders", I have attwood, but the Cabeles ones would be what I would get in future.

- If you go fishing style toon, make sure you get a 4 stroke (I would anyway for a toon) as there is not as much protection from sound as the "luxury" kind with the bench in back, going over the motor.

- If you plan to trailer, I would defintely get a bunk style trailer rather than scissors style. If you plan to leave in lake, then I would get scissors style, as it is more flexible, but man do I always get nervous with the toon on those narrow scissors styel, even for my short 3 mile trip twice a year wink

- If you are on decent sized lakes, defintiely a built in fuel tank. Most have it, but some still do not.

- Livewells - I think livewells are overrated. If you are keeping the fish, throw in cooler on ice. If not, why have livewell other than tourney?... I have main boat with two livewells, and we closed the big one up for dry storage.

Good luck, probably more info than you wanted. Just some thoughts though, from a guy with old pontoon but uses it weekly.

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Thanks for the input. My biggest concern is the trailering. We make the cabin run probably 8 times during open water. It's a 4 hour trip and we run up 70 mph. I just don't want it to turn into a 6 hour trip because we can't run that fast.

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Trailering it to a cabin is going to be a pain I would think. I've never pulled one but they are big and not very wind friendly. They are nice to have though but I'm not sure if I would want it as my "only" boat.

But if it's get a pontoon so everyone is happy or no boat at all, get the toon.

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I would have a lot of reservations about trailering a pontoon that far. As mentioned above the are not wind freindly and depending on their size can have some nasty blind spots when merging and turning.

Depending on the size of your clan (and your budget) you may want to consider a deck boat. I've seen some real neat ones all set up for fishing with depth finders, trolling motor and casting deck. Might be a worthy compromise to consider.

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I have pulled a friends pontoon 100miles a few times. I can pull my 17&1/2 ft with 115 motor in overdrive with no problem. With this 22.5 pontoon I needed to use the tow mold on the tranny and got 4 miles to gallon less than pulling my boat. While fishing its great for a larger group but if serious fishing you have limited boat control. A pontoon has its place put pulling it is not fun.

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You will regret every mile towing one that far. If you really want a toon, leave it at the cabin and hook up with another fisherman on this forum that has a decent fishing boat for fishing around town.

Another option: get a cheap used toon for the cabin and a decent used fishing rig for in town and on the road.

You can't effectively do at all with a pontoon, just to much to ask.

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Good advice. As you probably can tell, I certainly am concerned about that cabin trip. I think my plan will be to get a used toon for up there. I do have a 16' Lund that I use to kick around down here. That is probably the best of both worlds. I can always trailer my Lund up to th e cabin if I want to do some lake hopping.

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i have a 20 foot leisure island tooner and my grand pa always took it to devils lake with his motor home and i live in SW,mn it has a sisors trailer and it loads nice and is fishable to 30 mph winds..

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Pontoons suck in the wind! If you fish a decent sized lake that can get a good wind build up plan on using 4 anchors and by the time they hold your way off mark. Forget about precision trooling. If your wife and kinds want a pontoon, and not a fishing boat, consider a fish/ski boat. There nice for crusing on, and alot better to fish from then a toon.

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Good advice. As you probably can tell, I certainly am concerned about that cabin trip. I think my plan will be to get a used toon for up there. I do have a 16' Lund that I use to kick around down here. That is probably the best of both worlds. I can always trailer my Lund up to th e cabin if I want to do some lake hopping.

IMO that is your best bet and you won't regret it at all.

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I have a fishing model pontoon with 2 live wells, trolling motor, color depth finder/GPS, built in gas tank and a big sun top for the sunny days. It also has a 50hp 4-stroke the I can troll all day long and use hardly any gas. I only fish Otter Tail lake which is about 13,500 acres. The wind blow 2/3 the time and I would rather be on my toon than most boats. Plus if it's really windy I go to calmer side of the lake or do something else. That being said I wouldn't want to trailer it all the time. The trailers that have the pontoons ride on the bunks are very nice to tow but once in awhile is all I would care to. I do caught a lot a fish on it but that might be because of the lake I fish rather than if it's a pontoon. Good luck

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My trailer is a bunk type. I've pulled it all over with my pickup. No problem what so ever. Only thing I would have changed is I would have gotten a tandem axle trailer instead of a single axle. I too would rather have a fishing boat. Pontoon needs a little deeper water to launch in, is a handful to put in and out in a wind and is a little harder to pull.

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I do have one of those tandem axle trailer and it does tow nicely. But you are right about needing deeper water at the launch. Ever year in the fall the water is low but because people power load their boats I've never had a problem. But I'll also add that I've had 2 boats in the past and only used one 99% of the time. And if we didn't have it on the lift at the lake and needed to trailer a boat all the time there is no way we would have a pontoon.

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My wife and I have a 22 foot Crest pontoon with a 115 hp 4 stroke that is set up with 4 fishing seats, plus bench seating for 7 plus a double wide helm seat. We love it! We can easily fish 6 people off of it. It has a live well, rod storage holders for 12 rods, privacy room, sink with water, 24 volt bow mount, etc.

Boat control is more difficult but it is just a matter of practice. Anchoring has never been a problem. I use 2 18 pound Richtor anchors. Just make sure you use a chain rode.

As for trailering a bunk style trailer is a must have as far as I'm concerned. I have a tandem axle set up. I trailer the boat from the St. Louis, MO. area to Lake Vermilion (Cook end) at least twice a year, and the trip takes about 14 hours. Granted I get about 2.5 mpg less than when I towed my 18 foot Smokercraft up. But in my opinion it is worth it for the comfort of the pontoon. I tow with a 15 passenger Ford van (think church van) and I get 10.5 mpg towing the pontoon. My total over all rig length is about 55 feet. The trailer is stable in the wind and runs down the road with no wiggle. I run 70 mph through most of my trip. Proper set up of the trailer is a must! Tongue weight must be correct!

As for the deeper water at the launch, it does take a little more water than a v-bottom boat, but to date I have not had any problems launching even with the lower water levels in the fall of 2006 (really low) on Vermilion.

kitchy, send me an e-mail at the e-mail address in my signature, and I can send you pics of the boat and the address to a couple of pontton forums you can visit. Lots of avid pontooners there!

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OK, I decided a toon is not for me right now. Sooooo, now I need to do some research on fishing boats. I'm not too much into brand names. I just want something that works for me and is a good value. First things first.....aluminum or glass? I'm assuming the glass is more expensive for a comparibly sized/equipped boat. If that's the case then I believe I have my decision. I'm thinking I need something at least 16' but might be better off with 18'. My typical lake will be like Waconia, Buffalo, Clearwater (fishing about twice a week) with maybe 4 trips/year to Mille Lacs, Winnie, Vermillion, etc. Anybody have suggestions on what brand/series I should be looking at? Over the years I have looked at Lund, Crestliner, Alumacraft, SmokerCraft, StarCraft but have not really done a side-by-side comparison (or price comparison). My gut feel is that I am looking for something with a motor between 115-150 HP. Suggestions?

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