Pontoons and drift fishing.

Discussion in 'Boat Tips' started by Mark J, May 6, 2007.

  1. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Deiter and some of you guys that drift fish with pontoon boats give me some insight.
    If you had a totally bare pontoon deck and were starting from scratch and you wanted to build the best drift fishing boat how would you rig it?
    What do you want that you dont have or what do you have that you wont do without.

    What I'm planning on doing to build in a drift fishing option on mine is first move all the railing forward doing away with that 2 foot or so deck in the front that wont be used and making around a 3 foot open deck in the rear. Primarily to land fish without hassling with railing and gates. Netting isnt an option with me. Skinned knuckles prove I was indeed catfishing.

    If money were not a contributing factor what type of trolling motor would you have? What would like your trolling motor be able to do?
    I'm in a designing phase of a trolling motor system but I am stalled at the moment in search of the right part that is critical to a part of its fluid in motion function.
     
  2. JAYNC

    JAYNC New Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    State:
    Newport N.C.
    I dont have a pontoon but if kylekutta can get his digital camera working he can show you pics of his rod holders, I think that system he has would be perfect for a toon. I am trying to make one like his for my boat, but I need to find a welder to use first. As for a trolling motor, my boat has a 55lb and its not nearly enough for any current, and considering the mass of a pontoon, you will probably want at least a 90lb trolling motor with remote control, they are expensive. I was looking at going to a 24v system on mine, but then I would have had to buy the 9-1200 dollar trolling motor, and another 130 dollar battery and then a new 3 bank on board charger instead of 2 bank. I decided not to do it until I make more money, it would be 1500 or so, just for me to change to a 24v system with good power.
     

  3. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    Mark,Having fished on a bazillion toons you are correct to minimize the railing.particularly forward.I know you hand land your fish so you dont want to mess with gates etc.IF IT WERE ME I would not mess with a trolling motor,rather I would invest in a small kicker motor.You will always have more thrust than a trolling motor and it will power you back should the primary go down.No batteries ,chargers etc.You can probably find a very good used one for a reasonable price.I would get two very large drift socks like the lady down in SC makes.Rod holders are a matter of choice but if you remaove all the front railing you wont have any place to mount them.In really rough water most of the guides at Santee turn the bow into the wind and hook the socks to the tubes.If you need to power up when its calm many of them mount the trolling motor on the front and reverse troll.With the kicker on the back you can do the same thing from the back.:smile2:
     
  4. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    Money no object? The slickest thing I ever saw for a 'toon was on TV a week or so ago. An electric drive, like the bottom part of a TM, but with power trim/tilt, mounted on the back of each pontoon. These were controlled with a joystick controller that could be unplugged and moved to 5 different spots on the 'toon. The guy was sitting on the front of the 'toon, controlling it from that spot, and setting & running limblines.
     
  5. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Exactly what I'm building
    Only its planned for one location and I'll forego the trim tilt option.
    There is several ways to accomplish what I'm after far cheaper then a 1800-3000 dollar electric drive. We've always altered trolling motors for one man boats and made small pocket drives out of them for others with a myriad of ways to control them from somewhere else in the boat. Our typical conversion consists of a cheap 30 pound thrust Minnkota installed so it can be steered by the feet and its speed controlled from any point in the boat you choose. Its an irreversable process. You cut the shaft way down and take the rheostat out of the head. I figure dual 50 pound thrusts would be enough for the days and nights I would bother drift fishing.

    Jim, I think you miss understood. I'm not doing away with any railing , atleast at this point. I'm just sliding the whole fence system forward doing away with the front deck or stoop. In the process I'll be creating a bigger rear deck then the front was and it would be without railing' bimini top' and anything else to hamper fishing.
    In fact, I've thought about putting the bimini on the front of the pontoon rather then the rear for that reason.
    And oh yea. Getting him to the boat is the easy part but its only half the fight. This is a two round fight.
     
  6. jim

    jim New Member

    Messages:
    2,579
    State:
    Jacksonville NC
    OK got it, I did misunderstand.You can buy sliding Bimini mounts so you can move it front and rear.:smile2:
     
  7. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC

    I did not know that. Thanks Jim.
    The real fun begins once I get a floor down. then you get to start installing and hooking up all the toys.:lol:
     
  8. loanwizard

    loanwizard Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,297
    State:
    Coshocton,
    I installed the big ol plastic rod holders on mine before I got rid of it, but I prefer the Drift Masters. They are small and strong. I leave mine in full time and no longer recommend that if they overhang the railing any. I am currently replacing 4 @ $15.99 ea. plus 1 base @ $4.99 :sad2:

    When I drifted the lake, I drifted sideways. I had rod holders on both sides so we could switch. The trolling motor will help you keep it straight.

    I also considered putting all my lockable storage (rods, tackle, anchors, etc...) in a built in right down the middle or under the normal front seats.
     
  9. thunderchicken

    thunderchicken New Member

    Messages:
    769
    State:
    Yuma Az
    I had a 21 foot toon years ago so I have a little experience with them. I like to drift fish also but I didn't have a trolling motor. I think a kicker motor would definitely be a plus. Im not sure an electric motor will have sufficient power or if it does will drain your batteries quickly. I think a couple of drift socks would really help out a lot. A toon has a lot of drag and if your dealing with current as well as wind factors they could really swing you around a lot making difficult drift patterns. I really like the stand up rod holder systems that some off-shore boats use, it keeps the deck clutter free and you can assess your equipment at a glance. As it is a good distance from the deck to the water, I used a shark gaff ( I like to think positively ) to land big flatheads. I didn't think a net was a good match to a toon. A gaff can easily stand next to your rods for quick and easy access. Hope this helps. Good luck with your project.
    P.S. When a toon is on the water I think they are the finest fishing machine there is. They are roomy, comfortable, and very safe and stable. You will love it.
    Tight lines.

    :cool2:
     
  10. KansasKatter

    KansasKatter New Member

    Messages:
    807
    State:
    Wichita Kansas

    Mark,

    We may but heads like no other in HI on politics.....but Brother......I love your style!!:cool2:
     
  11. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Its a personal preference. I didnt grow up with a net in the boat and when I was actively fishing BASS events there was a no net rule in effect.
    Like NASCAR wants to put more driver into the sport with the COT. my preference and a no net rule does the same for me.
    I realize many people are gun shy about handling a big fish for fear that it could hurt and I've been hooked a bunch of times and real bad with a treble hook once on a rebel PopR that happened to also be attached to a flopping fish.
    Something about that big hook in a fish's mouth and my hand attempting to occupy the same mouth makes it fishing for me. Round two can go either way. Man or beast. When man wins the catch and accomplishment give greater reward. When beast wins its more acceptable because you didnt fail taking the easy way out. You fought and lost fair and square.

    I'm not totally nuts though. You wont catch my hand occupying a blue fish's mouth. I do know when to quit.:big_smile:
     
  12. KansasKatter

    KansasKatter New Member

    Messages:
    807
    State:
    Wichita Kansas
    I have used a net, but only when I was alone. For me there is NOTHING like grabbing a flathead by the bottom jaw, and feeling that power of the head shake, and the hide coming off of your hands.

    Then there is the bragging the next day at work when everyone asks about all the scabs on your knuckles, that is just an invitation to tell your fish stories! :big_smile:

    The one thing you WON'T catch me doing is noodling though. I will put my hand almost anywhere as long as I can see where it is going, not to crazy about putting it somewhere it don't belong in the first place!:crazy:
     
  13. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,170
    State:
    NC
    You should have PM'd me; I just found this post. :smile2:

    First, I would get rid of all the aluminum sails....uh I mean panels! :lol: Rails are fine, but the solid panels act like a sail.

    Put a decent size trolling motor on there. I have a 55 and it works fine, but more will not hurt. Run a seperate battery for it from the motor, of course you probably know that.

    Tops are nice for some shade and a break from the rain. Make sure you can fold it down without loosing floor space and make sure it is out of the way of rod holders.

    If it was a cat boat specifically, I would use some kind of flooring you can wash down with a hose and a brush. Carpet is nice on bare feet, but hell to clean slime off of.

    Put as big a motor as the transom will hold and you can afford!! I have seen some Duke Energy work pontoons with 250hp motors and they were going as fast as you need to go when fishing! Probably running close to 30mph.

    A couple of flip flop cooler seats would be a great way to provide some seats and some storage without taking up rail room.
     
  14. ThaBear

    ThaBear New Member

    Messages:
    52
    State:
    North Carolina
    I would go with the new Minn-Kota co-pilot with the wireless control.
    I have one on my boat and is great in not having to reach the control box or foot pedal, you have control of the motor anywhere on the boat. The new model also has the control on the wireless pad to turn your co-pilot on or off instead of having to go to the motor to do it.
    Trolling motor on the front as you know gives you better control and turning radius than on the back.
    I prefer the "Santee" brand rod holders as they hold the reel upright/level and the rod comes out of the holder without any trouble.
     
  15. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    What turns me off about remote trolling motors and those trolling motors designed specifically for drift fishing is COST.
    A two motor option will increase menueverability. Just like twin engines on a big boat.
    I can have 2 standard 55 pound thrust minnkotas cheaper then one decent sized remote unit. The cost of getting those two motors to work in unison by modifying them and the controls has a cost of almost nil depending on how far I want to go with the design.
    I can make a workable design with pocket change.
    We're talking about saving up to 2000 dollars here for something comparable.
    not to mention those remote units work with a servo. One more piece in the puzzle to fail at great expense.
    The advantage to the standard trolling motor is price. It fails, chunk it and get a new one without breaking the bank.
    I've got to use the standard rheostat controlled trolling motors to build a drift motor setup.
    These motors come out of the box and straight to a date with a saw.
     
  16. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Dieter, I have about a 10" wide aluminum panel on the bottom of the rails.
    This pontoon boat is 24' long with 19" logs. Its 30 years old and rated for a 55 horse:big_smile: I'm planting a 60 on it because its what I have. It did have a 75 on it though that pushed it in the 30's. I dont even think a 19" log is available on anything over 18 foot these days.
    I should wind up a little lighter then when I got it. The smaller log saves alot of weight too.
    Yep its entirely going to be setup for catfishing. No furniture.
    Its entirely a project boat as far as equipping it for catfishing. Drifting and stationary.

    I havent determined the layout yet and probally wont until I get the floor down and make some mockups.

    I looked at some aluminum truck boxes (not the ones that span the bed of a pickup). Man those things are real light.
    I thought about 2 of those for storage and cushions on top for seating. I can get the boxes for a little over 200 a piece.
    No livewell on this one. If I keep some eaters they get dressed johnny on the spot and put on ice.
    I will have a baitwell though. I havent made up my mind what brand yet.

    Would you consider a gas grill as furniture?:big_smile:
     
  17. ThaBear

    ThaBear New Member

    Messages:
    52
    State:
    North Carolina
    The orginal statement was "If money were not a contributing factor" concerning the trolling motor. I have used all types of trolling motors and enjoy using this one the most. Once you have lost a big fish because you can't get to the motor control to cut it off or change direction you may reconsider. Yes they are expense but not $2000 and no servos, all solid state electronics. Unit has been on my boat for almost five years and no problems. Good luck with your project.
     
  18. Moose1

    Moose1 New Member

    Messages:
    574
    State:
    STEUB, OHIO
    Elwood here,
    I have a 16 ft. toon and i bought strong lawn chairs for seating, and roberts poll holders on the rails, the linoleum flooring is good for clean up, but hot on the feet when in fishing in the sunny days.
    wlamart has a plastic tool box, heavy made,around $50.00, plenty of room in it.you can sit or stand on it also.
    I put my console inthe middle of the floor, that way u can walk around it and store poles on the side while traveling on the lake.
    I also bought those clamp on shop lights,and put 12volt dc.bulbs in them , and clamp them on the rails when needed.
    It takes 16 hrs. with 1 light to run down marine battery.
    I also put a 4 pin trailer plug on the light cord and the female 4 pin plug type with the flap cover on ti.
    Mounted these 1 frount ,middle and 1 in back so lights can be placed anywher on the rails. the flap keeps out rain and dirt , have not had any problems with this type of setup.
    wireing is under the floor with tie straps hoding every thing in place, nothing in the way.
    just something to think about in your planning.
    rodger
     
  19. fwmud

    fwmud New Member

    Messages:
    693
    State:
    Wilson's Mills,nc
    Mark, get with John(bigblaze). His brother-in-law made some nice holders for him at work. They clamp to the railing instead of being screwed on so as to not mar or be permanant mounted.