Up The Creek: Pontoon Boats for Fisherman
After 7 years of fishing from my float tube and having suffered a serious back injury, I had to look at other options, as fishing from my tube was an impossible task. A friend of mine suggested I come out and try his pontoon boat, after 20 minutes I realized this was something I had to have.
After 2 months of looking around at all types and styles of pontoon boats I finally bought one. There are generally four different types of pontoon boats available and each pontoon boat has its advantages and disadvantages, before running out to your favorite fishing store and getting the first pontoon boat you see you will need to give some thought to exactly what type of fly fishing you will be doing and what type of water you will be using it on. Another good thing to consider is how far from your vehicle you have to haul your pontoon boat before you can set it into the water, as some of them can be quite heavy. Most pontoon boats today are available in a powder coated steel or aluminum frame, with the aluminum frame being the most popular due to its weight.
One Person Pontoon Boat - The options that are available on this style of boat are almost endless and they have a weight capacity of between 250 and 400 pounds (including your body weight and all your gear), I would tend to stay away from the lower weight capacity boats as you become limited to the amount you can carry. The optional motor mount is a must have and I would also recommend the aluminum frame (6 to 10 pounds lighter than the steel frame models), if the lakes and rivers you fish require you to carry the boat over a long distance. The higher end boats also have an option for a standing platform for easier casting and are available in steel or aluminum frames. Setting up this style of boat is a simple task and can be done in less than 15 minutes. The biggest advantage is this boats ability to float in less than 5 inches of water.
2 Person Pontoon Boat Ė Designed to carry 2 fishermen, this type of pontoon boat can be a real chore to assemble, also due to the size and weight you donít want to haul this boat very far from your vehicle in order to set it on the water. The options on a 2-man boat are numerous; dual casting platforms, aluminum frame, motor mount (front and back), and the different array of storage compartments is almost unbelievable. The biggest disadvantage to this style of boat is the size, weight and amount of space required to haul it.
The Packable Pontoon Boat - This style of pontoon boat is an excellent choice if you like to get away from the crowds and walk into a more secluded lake, setting one of these boats up is about as easy as it can get. This style of boat because of its lightweight feature is not available with as many options as the standard single person boat. The single biggest advantage to this boat is its weight and the ability to pack it into your favorite spot. The biggest disadvantage is the lack of available options.
Kick Boat - A kick boat although not much of an upgrade from a float tube, will keep you warmer as only your legs are in the water, making it more pleasant to fish late into the fall season. The advantages of a kick boat are that they are lightweight, packable and will fit into the trunk of smaller vehicles. The disadvantage is that they can be extremely physically tiring to fin around the lake for a full day of fishing.
I have recently upgraded from my float tube into a Trout Unlimited pontoon boat, and after fishing from a pontoon boat I am sure I will never go back to a float tube again. As you sit above the water, fishing late into the season is not a problem due to cold water, casting is also much easier and moving around the lake is less tiring. My boat also has the optional motor mount and battery tray (picked up an electric motor for it on Saturday). I am looking forward to trying this out as soon as the ice is off the water.
Good luck and tight lines.
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Andy Klynstra works for Oil-Net.Com providing professionals in the global oil and gas industry with the information, products, and services they need. oilfield industry