Whats The Ideal Catfish Boat for you?

Discussion in 'Boat Tips' started by WylieCat, Feb 9, 2006.

  1. WylieCat

    WylieCat Well-Known Member

    So lets get some opinions here.

    What would be your ideal catfish boat?

    For me, well, I am still undecided.

    Right now I fish off a 21 foot pontoon. The advantages are the superior amount of room over center consoles and bass boats. More than ample room for rods, gear, cooler, live wells, and anyone you want to take along. Everytime I fish on someones center console I am always thinking about how little room they have. Pontoons are also very stable in rough water conditions.

    The disadvantages are speed and the effects of wind on the boat. I only have a 50hp motor, so it will only cruise along at around 15-18mph, so that can be a problem if you have a large lake to cover. Pontoons are like a sail in moderate to high wind, so you have to be able to really run a trolling motor well to maintain a good drift. Double anchoring with heavy anchors is a must.

    I looked at several center consoles at the boat show. One of my biggest problems with most was how little room there was in the "cockpit" area behind the console.

    Bass boats are out. They are really designed for standing and fishing off the front deck and the rear of the boats are not really designed for trolling. The up and down design on most is also a pain and inevitably causes the boat to rock and shift around when you move.

    Some of the Walleye boats as I call them, like the Lund, seem to be more tailored to drifting and trolling since they offer a "cockpit" area behind the console area.

    What are you thoughts?
  2. Itch2Scratch

    Itch2Scratch New Member

    Ivy Bend on LOZ, Missouri
    Not sure there is an "ideal" cat boat but I slobber all over myself everytime I see an Xpress Bay boat.:eek:

  3. Pennsylvaniacatchaser

    Pennsylvaniacatchaser Well-Known Member

    Sarver, Pa
    I have a 24ft pontoon boat and really like it for Catfishin'. Lot's of room for everything. Enough bench space for about 4 people to lay out a sleeping bag on overnight trips. Toilet on board for the ladies! I have a full enclosure that keeps the weather off on rainy days and keeps it a bit warmer at night when one of us crawls up in a sleeping bag. I used to own a 14 ft. v-haul for fishin' and the pontoon is 10 times better. The draw backs are as mentioned in the previous post that wind is the enemy of a pontoon. I have a 40 hp motor and I don't get anywhere fast but I'm usually not in a hurry, afterall I'm out to relax not stress about getting somewhere quick!
  4. fraid_knot

    fraid_knot Guest

    Golly dang Wolfman, Looks like you've put some mitey hard thought into this.

    Let me know if them girls got sisters :)
  5. Sinker

    Sinker New Member

    That is fer me, anyhow! An I don't really care what kinda boat she owns!
  6. Rockjumper

    Rockjumper New Member

    I have been asking the same question. I have looked at alot of setups for an all around boat. Pretty tough to get it all in one set up. I do more in my 14 footer than most people do in a 20 footer. But it is tough with little space.
  7. nosnag

    nosnag New Member

    My take is that we all need four boats that combined would be ideal.
    #1 would have to be a pontoon boat for large calm waters in sheltered areas and larger lakes.Stability and room are the luxury of these boats.With enough power to get them to where the fish are.In these places they are tops.
    #2 is a shallow draft semi-vee for swift rivers and places that have a lot of stick-ups and jambs that have to be manuvered around.Horsepower to get to far reaching places up and downriver in a short time.You have to allow for closer quarters and try to be as comfortable with the seating as you can make it.
    #3 is a large j-boat for streams and rivers with shallow bars and fast but not swift water.A jet drive here is ideal because of the above conditions you would be fishing in.Again you have to allow for more cramped quarters for your comfort.
    #4 would have to be a small 12' to14' j-boat or semi-vee for side sloths and oxbow fishing.Something that can be pulled over obstructions to get to little fished ,hard to get to water.Smaller engines are needed here because of weight restrictions.Comfort here is very hard to get, but the quality of fishing overshadows that fact.
    I can only afford two out of the four and have settled on a 16.5 semi-vee with a 60hp motor for my style of fishing.Space is at a premium on it so I try to keep everything confined to tackle bags and rod holders.It will never be perfect,but I do the best with what I have.
    I also have a 14' semi-vee for backwaters and oxbows as I stated before.It allows me to fish a lot of out of the way places that I ca'nt reach with the other boat.Very tight quarters and a small 5hp.motor.
    Between these two I get the most bang for my bucks.
    I still look with envy when I see those pontoon boats with all that elbow room on board,and I drool when I see a big j-boat with the draft that I know would be as little as my 14'er,but the room for stretching out and relaxing.
    Ideal boat? I do'nt think that there is any ideal boat any more than there is an ideal place to catch all fish.If there were there would be only one boat on the market.I have settled on two boats that I can hook together on large rivers and fish the territory to it's fullest.Of course I only use both together when I plan a weekend or longer time on the waters. I still dream of having the other types of boats too,but unless I have a rich uncle out there that will leave me enough in his will,I'll do with what I have.
    That is all I have to put on this post.(long winded but....)

  8. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

    Andrews, SC
    I am envious of the pontoons. I would like one in the 21-24' range, small enough to operate in most rivers, but large enough to handle pretty rough lake waters, too, and enough power to move around fairly quickly. Ideally it would have a google map feature, where you click on the map, and the boat moves to that location almost instantly, no trailering involved. Good lighting for night fishing, and an enclosed, climate controlled area, but leaving room to fish from front or rear.
    I own a 17' center console, and I like it for most of my needs, but, as mentioned, it can get pretty crowded. A 21' has a lot more room, depending on the brand.
  9. Sinker

    Sinker New Member

    I get along perty good in my old 16 ft. flatbottom jon boat. Got boards on the floor ta cut the noise a little. 25 hp gets me anywhere I wanta go, fast as I need ta be there. It could use some baubels an bangles, but so far all it's got is an eagle 168 and a little trolling motor. I catch a few fish in'er so I'm just as happy as if I had good sense! Anybody looks down their nose at me or my boat can run aground, I reckon!
  10. beeheck

    beeheck New Member

    Iowa / Missouri
    Just a response to some of the people that would like to have a pontoon boat for fishing. I always wanted one and finally bought one, a 24' Party Barge with a 90 HP merc, trolling motor, electric anchors, two binimi tops, a nice boat. I'm on Lake of the Ozark so it is a big lake with rough water. Ran nice and was good when moving, the problems began when I wanted to anchor and fish. A pontoon blows around on top of the water like a bobber, it takes 1/3 the wind to blow it across the lake and when you want to anchor and takes about 3 times the weight you would think in anchors to hold it steady. I used my two electric anchors and two large heavy duty manual anchors and a specialty anchor on days when the wind was blowing over 10 MPH. I would let out a ton of line to try and hold it steady, I would have to say I never was successful at getting that boat anchored to where it didn't drift a little even on calm days. We even bought several of the specialty anchors and they didn't do much to hold it either. Pontoons are hard to maneuver especially in the wind or current, you can't just motor in and hit your spot unless your really paying attention and your used to the pontoon "drift" as you motor in and if you want to turn around, you better have a lot of water because you aren't going to do it on a dime. Putting them into your dock in even a slight wind is a pain in the drain. They just move so well on top of the water in all directions that it's hard to do much with them unless your using yours all the time and learn to judge the wind and current and account for drift. A few friends of mine have wanted pontoons and after fishing off mine were convinced that they just aren't worth it. Large to trailer, HUGE to store at home, not easy to get on and off in wind or current or in the waves around a boat dock when some hot rod has stirred up the water. I sold mine and haven't missed it for a day. We got a 23' Hurricane deck boat and we love it for fishing. Lots of room and heavy enough to take a bit of a wind to move it and anchors better and holds in a bit of a breeze fairly well. Rent a pontoon for a couple days and see what you think before you buy one, sometimes you want something so bad you don't see the whole picture. So when you see them in that fishing catalog, exclude the young ladies as they don't come with the pontoon, take out the calm water and always perfect day and everyone smiling and just consider all the problems that come with them. After all that, a pontoon might be perfect for you after all... but not for me.
  11. Rockin' Blues

    Rockin' Blues New Member

    st.louis mo.
    thanks Bill,ive been considering a pontoon,good advice.:)
  12. jim

    jim New Member

    Jacksonville NC
    To anyone considering a center console take a look at the 21 ft Triumph.First of all it is made of Ropalene not fiberglass so the color never fades and you can't very easily destroy it.At the Raleigh boat show in Jan the would let you hit it with a baseball bat.The material is much lighter than fiberglass and floats so you cant sink it.Being lighter you can;A:use less motor or B:go faster with the same HP.Mine will do 55 with the 200 Optimax.Best of all the storage is built into the floor and it has an 8'6" beam.So there is plenty of room.No storage boxes sticking out of the bow area with that little narrow walkway.There is a huge storage compartment in front of the console which I had plumbed from the baitwell pump.Just fill it up and bingo livewell for the biggest catfish.Very nice for catch and release tournaments,OR on those really hot days fill it up and get in,presto instant cooling.Also very nice if you don't want to go overboard because the local Gators have had you on their to "Do" list since you gained those 20 lbs over Xmas.OR you and your female fishing partner can "relax" in there with a cool one and count stars at night while waiting for a bite.This boat was designed by fishermen for fisherman,best of all it costs less then comparable fiberglass boats and you never have to wax it etc.This is the best 21ft "fishing" center console I have ever seen and I can own just about anything I want and have looked at all of them.It isn't as fancy as a Scout,Mako,Roballo etc or as well finished but the design and room are far better.:)
  13. Mountain Cur

    Mountain Cur New Member

    Missouri, Warsaw
    Beeheck hit it right on the head, "toons" are fine to a point. I have a 28' with a fourty hp we use on the Osage around Warsaw, we don't fish to far, its to slow and then the wind. We have a converted 2220 Lowe Deck boat that is about as close to perfect as you can get. Side console, 120 Hp, will push it at 30 mph with a load. The added accessories, lights, winches, rod holders, depth finders and trolling motors were all easily installed because of the design already in place. Deck boats are more expensive than "toons" but there are a lot of used ones around. Some have said the large riveted boats have a tendency to leak. What leaks in most is the "live well" not the hull. Now about that blonde, red head and the brunette. At my age one would have to rub my back the other would have to bait my lines and well maybe we could think of something for the other one "IF" I could get "Grandma" to stay home and that ain't gonna happen.
  14. wpsatisfide

    wpsatisfide New Member

    Pawleys Island, SC
    Ideal is gonna depend heavily on where you fish most of the time and also who you fish with. Ideally id like to have 2 boats a lil 12ft jon with a 5hp for stumpjumping in little creeks and then a larger center console boat. The one jim described sounds really nice, I think he sold me on it.
  15. brandon

    brandon New Member

    I have two boat. A 16 foot bass boat and a 24 foot pontoon. The pontoon is by far the most comfortable. the bass boat is the best when you have to hunt down the fish if they are in a transition period also better on the rivers. If I had only one boat it would be my pontoon. I have head lights mounted on the front, a deck to fish off the front, a small interior light (like the one in your car) mounted high on the underside of the canopy provides enough light you don't need a lantern, and if I get tired I anchor and sleep. Its like fishing in your living room!
  16. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Tracy Calif
    I am in complete agreement with Nosnag! In fact, I will take one of just about everything that floats! I think it mostly depends on where you want to fish. Also us old guys like our comfort, so being abel to move around and not stumble over gear is important. I have a 16 foot tri hull with a 85 hp it moves along nicely and is a excelent fishing platform! It works for me! There are alot of times though, that I wish I had a car topper with a 15hp!
  17. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    I've got a 20' pontoon and a 20' Kenner Ski Barge; the Ski Barge has more room than the 'toon, is more stable, blows around less in the wind, runs much faster, and gets much better mileage. Oh yeah, it gets me down next to the water so I can jugfish or net a fish without needing a safety rope. It's better than a 'toon for running a trotline, but still a little big for that.
  18. flatheadhunterx

    flatheadhunterx Active Member

    South Carolina
    i have a 20 ft toon with a 70 hp motor. with 3 people a 30 gal. bait tank 3 deep cycle bat. 2 coolers 15 rods, and other misc stuff it will only top out at 21 mph which isnt breaking any speed records but then again it isnt a bass boat. i have a hard top that i use in the winter to make a room on and keep out of the elements. a generator and a heater and it is like home. take it off in the summer and its like camping under the stars at night. can spend the whole weekend on the water with out ever having to step on land if you want and still be comfortable. as the wind goes i have learned to point the front to the wind and anchor so the wind blows down the sides and it isnt as bad as trying to anchor sideways. plus when you anchor this way the water doesnt bounce you around as much as it does when it is coming in from the side. i can hold mine in this pos. in 15 mph winds with 2 fluke anchors, one out the front and one out the back. the reason i got a toon is you dont have to worry about getting turned wrong in a high wind storm and a large swell or wave coming in the boat and pos. sinking it. also i dont fish any rivers with it so i dont have to worry about getting around in tight quarters.
  19. SangamonCatKiller

    SangamonCatKiller New Member

    central illinois
    Hah!! Very wishfull thinking man. There will never be a perfect boat for any species of fishing. There will always be an issue for a boat. Boat doesn't fit here. Boat can't keep steady cuz' too small, v bottom draggin' bottom shoulda gotta flat etc. etc. I think you will need to seriously think about where you are going to fish the majority of the time a get a boat to fit that need. In my case I would take anything flat bottomed and small right now. On the other hand you could just bank fish for the rest of your life and spend that money on some new equip ?
  20. Mutt

    Mutt Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I like my bassboat i can get in some shallow water with it real easy it gets me to where i want to go fast has plenty of room for me and the wife and i troll for trout salmon stripers with it i can drift for cats or anchor and fish. it does have it limitations though it isnt as comfortable as a toon or deck or even as much as a simaler size v hull. it can be a pain when trolling to get turned around to the down riggers as the drivers seat dont swivel. but i can still fish a good 8 hours on it and still not feel like i rode a bucking bronco all day. so for me it fits my needs. but like Phil said i could use a small car topper and a 15 also at times. I like the storage i have with it the dual livewells the stereo gps etc thats on the boat. its all a matter what suits your needs for the waters you fish. I rented a toon once had a blast with it but after renting it the wife and I decided we didnt want one it just wasnt for us.