Pontoon Boat - PRO's and CON's?

Discussion in 'Boating' started by Catfish_Commando, Feb 14, 2006.

  1. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    If a man was looking to get a pontoon boat, what would be some of the warnings you would tell him?

    What would you recommend for minimum length?

    What would you recommend for minimum HP?

    What would you recommend for Brand Name?

    I been eyeballing member pontoons, and each time I get on one, it just keeps slowly chipping away at me, "Buy Me", look at all this room, "Buy Me".

    For members who own, or have experience on these types of boats, any red flag warnings?

    Thanks,
    Paul
     
  2. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
    Expensive, but get that third pontoon and the biggest 4 stroke motor you can afford to put on it. And make sure the deck plan is set up like you'd want for how you intend to use it. I have no big bench seat across the back of mine. I made that a point when I went looking. They are very roomy and well setup for catfishing, especially at night. We even run jugs from mine with no problem. Wind can be a problem, but there are ways around that. That third pontoon will get you more speed and more stability. Mine is a 24 foot pontoon and I love that extra length. And as you saw last week, they are not a problem to trailer once you get the hang of it. Not even in wind or with limited room. Speed is the only thing you sacrifice with a pontoon. A deck boat is a good alternative but the ones I looked at were extremely expensive compared to a comparable sized pontoon.
     

  3. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    State:
    Tracy Calif
    I do know that the ones that have the 3rd pontoon get down the river in a hurry! It's quite a sight to see a pontoon almost up on plane!
     
  4. brandon

    brandon New Member

    Messages:
    58
    State:
    oklahoma
    The only down fall I have with mine is speed. This said if you have a newer motor the speed decrease is not as dramatic as one would think
    I say buy it I love cating out of mine.
     
  5. oldprowler

    oldprowler New Member

    Messages:
    321
    State:
    Mannford, Oklahoma
    I have a 20 ft G3 model PB20F. I bought this boat during the Tulsa Boat show two years ago. Mike and I looked at every pontoon boat on display and this was the only one that really showed the promise of becoming a great catfishing boat without the time (and expense) of removing a lot of the "blings". It is a real shame that pontoon boat manufacturers have not yet started the transition from cruising and boozing to some serious fishing boats. Yes, I do recommend that you look long and hard at the model I have. I have a 40 hp 2 stroke on it and the top speed is 17 mph (GPS measured) with two people and all the gear aboard. I have seriously considered going to a 60 hp or greater motor (it is rated for 100 HP) but here in Oklahoma the registration of the motor is a real hassle and the taxes increase quite a bit. I have decided that repowering the boat just ain't gonna happen. Also I considered the added weight of a 4 stroke vs a 2 stroke and the whole weight and balance issue.

    I do not and probably never will trotline out of the boat so I cannot comment on that. I do run jugs off the boat and love the room available. In my opinion it is much safer that running jugs from any other boat if for no other reason than the available room to work.

    Most people that buy a pontoon to set up for catfishing do so because of the available room. Each couch, table or chair that is permanently fixed to the boat takes up some of that room and will therefore in all probablility be removed at some point. Keep this in mind when looking at boats.

    Buying a tritoon is another option, the third log does increase speed and stability but it is at the cost of price and weight. Test ride both and consider carefully the water you will be using the boat in. Most of my time has been and will continue to be spent on lakes and the third log for me would be in my opinion overkill.

    Also look carefully at where you will park the boat. Overhead clearance of at least 10 ft. will be required.
     
  6. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Gents,

    How does your pontoons trailer on the freeway? Does it feel like the load is under control, or are you constantly feeling that low sinking feeling it may fly of the trailer?

    Paul
     
  7. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,168
    State:
    NC
    I fish from a pontoon on my home lake. I bought it new as a compromise with the wife. For every family trip we take, I fish it 11-12 times. LOL!! I fish it 1-2 times a week in the winter and 3+ times a week in the summer. I love it and when I fish with friends who have center consoles I long for the room. They cover water faster, but they also burn gas faster...LOL!!

    Bad Points:
    1) Generally slow across the water
    2) Pain to get out of the water compared to conventional hull
    3) Very susceptible to wind drift
    4) A double anchor is a MUST is you plan to anchor

    Good Points:
    1) More room than you can imagine
    2) Economical
    3) Easy to launch
    4) Very stable and safe
    5) Add on's are easily done yourself (trolling motor/depth finder)

    Here is my advice.

    If all you want to do is fish, buy a used one and gut all the seats. If I was doing it over, and wanted one just to fish on, that is what I would do. Leaving the rails is fine, but remove all the metal siding. All this does is act as a sail in the least wind. You can find used ones REALLY cheap.

    If you want to go new, it is hard to beat the Sun Tracker boats. I have one and it is a lot of boat for the money. Their fishing models are geared more to a fisherman because of access to the front and rear fishing areas.

    Spend as much as you can on the biggest motor you can buy, and the biggest the boat will take. If you are getting a used one from a marina, they may be able to reinforce the transom to hold an engine bigger than the manufacturer originally allowed.

    We had trouble keeping up with one on a lake while were in a center console that was running a 90. The toon had a 175 on the back and was cruising at around 35-38mph.

    I have not operated or been on a triple toon, but I hear the third pontoon helps.

    Pulling one down the interstate with a full size V-8 is no where near as much fun as pulling one with a V-6!!! LOL!! I pulled mine home the first time with my V-6 and it used a lot of the engine and I could feel it on the hills. Needless to say I stayed in the right lane and did the speed limit with both hands on the wheel. My full size truck has a lot more power and thus you have a lot more control over the boat. As far as flying off the trailer, yes, I had that worry. The manufacturer and other owners assured me that was not a problem, but I added an extra ratchet strap just in case!!

    Drop me an e-mail or give me a call if you want to ask anything else. If you are ever in the Carolinas let me know and I will take you out on it.
     
  8. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
    I have towed mine to Chattanooga to a gathering. Towed it with the Trailblazer over the same road you took to get home Saturday. It handled really well and never felt like it was even close to having a problem. My pontoon weighs about 1800 lbs no motor or trailer and dry. So the whole thing probably weighs about 3500 or so loaded. Had no problems at all. I repack bearings whenever I'm gonna trailer long distance for peace of mind and then hit the road with it. ChuckB has towed it to the same place behind a Dodge 1/2 ton and may offer more, but my experience with it is good so far. BTW, this trailblazer is rated for towing far more than my pontoon weighs and it has more horsepower than my pickup. LOL Didn't even slow down a bit on that mountain pass near Chattanooga.
     
  9. beeheck

    beeheck New Member

    Messages:
    631
    State:
    Iowa / Missouri
    I pulled a 24' Party Barge with a 90HP merc from Lake of the Ozark to Sioux City, IA last spring (2005) and forgot it was behind me. Towed it with a Ford Explorer, V-8 only way I knew it was back there was that I had to stop at every exit with a gas station. Several of us, including myself posted on pontoons on a threat that was titled something like, "Best Catfish Boat" or something like that. I sold mine, didn't like it, wanted one bad, never own another one.
     
  10. oldprowler

    oldprowler New Member

    Messages:
    321
    State:
    Mannford, Oklahoma
    I tow mine with a 1/2 ton Silverado with 5.3, auto transmission. In my opinion it tows like a dream. I would not hesitate to do a 500-600 mile run with it. I have however learned a few tricks:
    1. I do use tie downs.
    2. I have the bimini top laid down as far as possible and held down with bunji cord. (this is primarily for fuel savings)
    3. Never ever tow with the bimini fully up. (expensive lesson there :) )


    They do have a lot more wind resistance than a bass boat but I have never experienced anything that I would classify as exciting when towing.
     
  11. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Gents,

    Lots of great info, cant beat first hand experience. I filmed, from the inside of my Ford Expedition, "Storm was pouring on" two members load their pontoon boats. It went fast and easy, even more fast and easy than members with traditional V-hull design boats.

    Thanks for the first hand experience!
     
  12. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
    Very good advice about that Bimini Top. I was told about that by the dealer where I bought mine. One more thing. Dual wheels are a must with even the smallest pontoon. It does take more gast for towing, but so did my Bumble Bee bait boat when I had one. In face not much difference between the two. As you said, they are very easy to trailer if you do it once or twice.
     
  13. bearcat

    bearcat Member

    Messages:
    925
    State:
    Nokomis, Illinois
    Hey Paul
    Advantages of a toon for catfishing
    room for friends and gear. Ability to stand up and walk around without triping over other people or tip the boat over.
    mine is 25 ft and love it. It has a 4 ft casting deck in the front. I really like that for castneting bait . I wouldnt get a smaller one when and if I get a different one.

    If I get a different one it will be a tri toon.

    HP get the most HP you can afford and make it f 4 stroke.

    My toon has a 115 hp johnson will run 23 WOT according to GPS. A good 4 stroke will push it faster.

    Trailering. No problem, I use my 250 ford with powerstroke diesel. It never has felt like it would fly off the trailer. even on a windy day.

    disadvantage. Speed down the lake and windy days on the water.
     
  14. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    I think I have spent more time on a pontoon than anything in the last 10years particularly on Santee.EXCELLENT Advice on getting one without all the frilly seats that you can fish out of the back of.Most companys make a fishing version.Removing the metal between the railings is 6 of one .1/2 dozen of the other.Reduces wind push but also lets that cold wind push on you if you take it off.If you fish Santee wind is what you want for drift fishing.Most of the guides use a 28 or 30 ft version of the Tritoon with 200hp motors,some 2 stroke some 4 stroke.They move very well.28ft may seem big but it would allow you to mount a good livewell setup that would double as a baitwell,Enclose the back part while adding a heater and porta potti.The big ones will also allow you to fish 5-6 people comfortably without running into each other.How they trailer depends on YOU having the proper tow vehicle with the correct axle ratio.I have towed my friends 24 ft behind my Chevy Silverado with the tow package,3/73 rear axle 5.3 V8 with no problem whatsoever.You can bury the nose of a pontoon and scare the hell out of yourself in rough water but all in all as a fishing boat for a family or if comfort is your prime consideration Toons are hard to beat.Particularly on a warm summer night on Santee with the grill going,beer chilling,good friends and an occasional 50lber to provide entertainment.There is a Pontoon boat magazine available at Books-a-Million that does reviews for all the manufacturers and provides lots of info.Call me when you are ready for the first cruise I'll provide the christening Champagne.:) :cool: ;)
     
  15. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    Paul I had a 24 with a 40 on it and loved it except it was too nice, too slow, and we didn't use it enough. I never had a problem towing it they stay straight behind the vehicle. Since then I have had a 16 foot jon with a 40 jet. Love it for the river just not enough room. I bought a 21ft Bass boat with a 225 Johnson (98 hydrasport first $9500 takes it). I am currently looking for a 24 footer stripped with a 2 million hp motor. Seriously I would like a real old boat with a newer 75-115 engine on it.
    I would like to lay a 12" false floor on it for storage put up a changing room and a place to enclose the center. I don't need benches and all that, I like my fold up chairs and an air mattress. I like the idea of taking the grill along and a propane heater. Bottom line it is great for the lake or a medium to large river, not much account on a small river with shallows. I won't spend the money for a tritoon, I want to be able to get it dirty and just spray it off.

    Bottom bottom line is that no matter what you pick it will be too short and too slow, but that's what dreams are made up of.
     
  16. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    I'm curious, could you replace the carpet/wood floor on a pontoon with the expanded metal that looks like diamond grates? Make a "trap door" in the middle and fish out of both the sides and the middle??
     
  17. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    Tony Tony Tony, You are the guy who way before GPS cut a hole in the middle of your boat to mark the good spot aren't you? Whoever heard of cutting a hole in the middle of your boat? Here's your sign! LMAO, Sorry Tony, I couldn't resist.

    Cutting a hole to fish out of probably isn't a good idea. Do you think a big ol Cat is gonna stay directly under the boat? besides that the kids probably wouldn't stay away either. Heck, even Netman would want to use it as a public facility! Nope, no holes in the middle of my boat.
     
  18. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    I was thinkin for bait fishin, drop some lights down at night, catch bream

    Maybe even catch some crappie
     
  19. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,084
    State:
    TN
    Tony, if I happen to bring my pontoon boat to Keystone this year, please don't go anywhere near it with a saw. I like it the way it is. LOL Just kiddin Tony. LOL
     
  20. TDawgNOk

    TDawgNOk Gathering Monitor (Instigator)

    Messages:
    3,365
    State:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    Sure Bryan, anything for a Brother!!!