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Boat opinions

6679 Views 54 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  capt.kirk
I have searched the site and cannot find much about boats that seem to be preferred for catfishing. Thus I am looking for some opinions. Since, I am in the market for another boat. I have had two boats in the past but I would not rate them as being that good and/or comfortable for catfishing and/or still/drift fishing with natural bait for any species of fish.

What has caught my eye, for a boat that might be conducive to good, comfortable, natural, live bait presentation are some of the stick steering boats. Some labeled as crappie pro or panfish boats etc. Made by Triton, Alumacraft and Tracker. They don't have deck pedestals. But, have pedestals located in/on the bottom of the boat, with bait wells etc.

Anyway, am wondering if any of you use a boat like the above?? And, if it will work, the way I am thinking it might work.

I will (primarily) be fishing a mountainous lake, with steep drop offs close to shore and excursions to the rivers that feed it.

Any opinions/recommendations will be appreciated.

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sentry if you could use it where you fish a pontoon is the way to go. or else a center console boat would be nice also. i like the pontoon thought cause it cant fill up with water during a storm.
I prefer a center console , preferably a flat or shallow deadrise of 6 degrees or less mainly for the purpose of river and sound fishing.
You can fish around a center console as opposed to fishing through other boats.
Pontoons are nice but not any fun to drag up and down the road.
If I had a place somewhere to keep one in the water I might go that route.

Another thing I would look for is weight. In this day and time I don't care to have to feed the thirst of a 150-225 horse engine.
The deeper the deadrise the higher the horsepower it takes to get it up on plane and keep it there.

There are some sizable boats out there built with a weight consciousness attitude.

I dont prefer aluminum boats either. most have a nasty hull slap on anchor or trolling.

Best thing to do is list your criteria for a boat based on what you expect out of a boat and where and what type of fishing you do.
there will be compromises you'll have to make along the way.
Thats the hardest part to me . Deciding where i'll budge an inch.
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I love my toon. Just ask my wife lol. The only thing I want for is a little more horse power the dang thing is rated for 70 and it only has a 35 on it.
sentry, the boat you described is what I have been looking at in a cat boat. There is plenty of room to walk around if need be and plenty of space for rod holders. The only draw back I have seen is the lack of a large "40 gallon +" livewell. I think one could be installed in place of the rear seat. I think this rig would be great for what you want. Most of them just need a few extras for catfishin. By the way, you aren't an ex MWD handler are you?
i have also been browsing for a boat. What i have done is find websites of boat manufactures and order the little catalogs to see what they have. The only downside is they dont have a price if you are looking at a specific price range. I have brochure from SeaArk, G3, and Alumnacraft. Im looking for a jon boat with console. SeaArk had a nice boat that they designed for catfishing.
I use to have a 21 foot pontoon boat with a 40 hp motor. When it was on the water it was really fantastic, lots of room to move about so you didn't feel cramped up sitting in a single spot for long periods of time. Since you sit high above water level, they can be hard to trailer in windy conditions. They are also difficult to launch depending on the launch ramp conditions. One of the things I would seriously think about if I bought another pontoon would be a double axle trailer as a single axle just wasn't adequate and I had to replace 2 axles because of it. The story goes like this; when it was on the water I loved it, and when it was on the trailer I cussed it. My next boat will be a 16 foot aluminum open bow walk thru with about a 35 hp onit with a live and bait well. Fiberglass boats are good but are much heavier than aluminum. The only reason I wouldn't go for a flat bottom is because they don't handle rough water very well and if you fish in varying conditions and types of water you may be in for a rough and wet ride. Bass pro shops has a good website for their Tracker boats along with options and prices. Hope this helps some.
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The modified v-hull most of these aluminum boats sport is very little difference then a flat bottom.

I know of one fellow that has taken a true flat bottomed 16 footer from Miami to the Bahamas round trip.
I also know of several flat bottomed designs that I would take almost anywhere including offshore because of their sea keeping abilities.
Mind you, you arent going to be breaking speed records with the flat bottoms i'm talking about but you can and will get there and back in some really bad seas if you have experience on the helm. ( links available to pictures if requested.)

The flatter the bottom of the boat the more stable a boat is requiring less horsepower. The trade off here is a boat with less draft and horsepower for a rougher slower ride.
The more deadrise you got the more it is going to rock while at rest and the more horsepower it takes. The trade off here is a smoother faster ride for an uncomfortable day of sometimes violent rocking while fishing.
Fishing on 23 degree deadrise is not comfortable to me. It's work.

If you dont want to get wet, focus on the high sweeping bows that so few of the boat manufacturers use. You definatelyy cant get it in aluminum.
When it gets rough on the water, they all ride like a 3 legged mule.
Slowing down is a must for any boat unless you want to spend a million or two in the pursuit of a cadillac ride and have 60 feet of garage space to keep it.

It's all in the compromise. You have to give up a little comfort to gain somewhere else.
Boats operate in a three dimensional enviroment where as car does not.

Probally some of the best compromise boats that would be suitable for catfishing are those found running around the sounds of NC laying nets, shrimpimg, or oystering. Most of those have the high bouyant bows on them, near flat to flat bottoms that are perfect for rivers, and dont require the big expensive outboards.
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I used to run a 16' Lowes on Watauga lake powered by a 25 hp Evinrude longshaft with a jack plate and a small side console I made for it. That boat would fly on the water and not use much gas.

You'd need more power though if you were going to put much of a load in it.
buzz crackstock said:
By the way, you aren't an ex MWD handler are you?

Thanks for the input and sounds like we are having the same train of thought, concerning boats for catfishing.

And, yes I am a former MWD handler. Only in my day, (during Vietnam, and as an Air Force handler we only had Sentry Dog handlers and Patrol Dog handlers. In fact, there were just Sentry Dogs when I went through dog school. Patrol dogs came on the scene a year or so later (I think it was)
Ihave to agree with flatheadhunterx about a plontoon boat i always had v bottoms orflats but 13 years ago i got my toon it does every thing i need its very comfertable wide stable even when two people are in the corner trying to net the big one she does not move. Iuse mind on one of the biggest bays in the states i love it its also great for the grand kids and cookouts :)
I think Xpress boats have put together 2 nice packages for catfisherman.They have a side console & a really nice center console.
you may not be able to run down the rd at 70 to 80 mph, or across the lake at 50 to 60 mph in a toon like some other boats but how many jon boats or v bottom fibergalss boats can you stretch out in a lounge chair and relax will a buger or steak cooks on the grill without taking up any valueable fishing space.? i have a hard top i put on my in the winter i can close off the sides carry a generator and a eletric heater and fish all night during the winter or on cold rainy days cant do that in a jon boat either.9 out of 10 catfish guides on santee fish from pontoons. dont get me wrong i have nothing against jon boats cause i have a 16 ft 8 ft wide flat bottom alum. boat with a five hp nissan on it. i like it also but just for shallow rivers or small ponds it is near as comfortable as a pontoon. just follow your heart and get what you think best fits your situation.
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I have accumulated 8 boats,from 8 to 16ft in lenght,and from 27 inches to 6 feet in with.Each has been great,for the type of fishing that I bought it 40hp.motors,includeing a "Go Devil",to go with them.I still want more,as I sit here,crippled and dying.I am laughing about it right now.I think that "there ain't no perfect boat,and you will allways want more."In 55 years of boats,I learned"safety first,then try to get what you want and like,as you are the one who has to live with it."If you love to fish,you will allways want one more,rod,boat,or something.Not only is life wonderful,so are we. peewee
I just bought a 17' Triton duck boat, its a side console which I prefer for where i fish, and in that size the center console doesnt leave much room to walk around it. I almost bought their 20' duck boat but couldnt afford it. Its really nice, has a front and rear deck with storage in the front like a bass boat. Has swivel seats, has a side storage area for guns or rods, has the lock track system pn the gunwales for rodholders or whatever you want to put on it. Have a depth finder, livewell for at least 30 gills, non skid deck, and a 75hp four stroke Merc with a 20 degree pitch stainless prop, boy does that thing move out in a hurry, so far it has been a great boat for where I fish, like the neuse and the cape fear rivers in NC. Hope this helps.
I have a friend who has a place at Lake Fork in E.Texas. I went fishing with him about 8 weekends this spring. He has a Skeeter bass boat and a pontoon. We fished much more from the pontoon. I really enjoyed all the room and comforts of the pontoon, but it was slow and he couldn't get it into the stumps where we wanted to go because every stump hit will make a dent in the soft tube.

I decided that I would get a boat, and decided that a deck boat rigged out for fishing was the way to go. I settled on an older style ('96) 20' Playcraft with a Yamaha 175 hp VPro. The tandem trailer pulls like a dream, but might be a little heavy in the mountains. Tons of room, a swivel chair at each corner and 4 other two-person wide seats. A Minkota 70# thrust trolling motor for the shad work, two big livewells, and a non-skid vinyl floor.

I had to fix 3 soft places in the deck. I installed a 50 gallon Grayline bait tank and an external bilge pump to fill and drain it (also makes for handy hand washing), a Lowrance LCM-332C gps/sonar, a bunch of rod holders on the rails, and wah lah! A great fishing boat! It amazed me how quick the boat is. It has a miniscule bow rise before planing out in a flash. It is really a Pontoon, 20' X 8' with a performance tri-hull.

I'm sorry to rave on, but I'm fairly new to the BOC and I'm just proud of all the hard work I've put into this boat.

I guess I needed an outlet............

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c2catfish. Post a picture of your rig. I also have considered a deck boat.
I have a Tracker Grizzly 1654 sc. It is a flat bpttom, comes with trailer and a Merc. 25. That little 25 will go for about 6 hrs at full throttle on a tank of gas. It also has a grove that runs almost 100% around the boat. I have made rod holders that are real easy to move to where you want them. The draw back is that it is a little rough riding on a windy day. I think you can als get it in a center console.
I went out on my buddies Lowe 1750 Sunday night. Really made me appreciate my toon even more.
One of my fishing buds has a toon, I really enjoy fishing from that boat.
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