Are fishing pontoon boats really a sensible option for catching fish? Yes! Any keen fisherman is sure to have a boating preference, with center console fishing boats and bass boats being some of the most common.
But for lake fishing in particular there’s a new trend starting to emerge – fishing pontoon boats. While pontoons have traditionally been known as party boats, their advantages in terms of fishing have slowly started to become acknowledged within the industry.
Many manufacturers including Colorado are producing excellent portable fishing pontoons equipped with additional features making them ideal for taking out on the water. Add a trolling motor and your off with a minimum of fuss. Loads of fun Very customizable so you control your storage needs and comfort. For example you’ve got footrests that adjust to suit your leg length and in this model there are 6 options for mounting your rod holders.
These are awesome value if you just want to take yourself out on the water and be nimble enough to get to some of those special fishing spots that are difficult to access in bigger boats.
What to look for if you intend fishing from your pontoon party boat
If you’re considering buying a pontoon boat, it’s important to determine what you’ll most likely be using the boat for. The more traditional pontoons may not facilitate fishing easily. Large seating areas for example make it difficult to fish from the right angle, while high railings can make getting the fish onto the boat challenging.
These are features to look out for in a larger pontoon boat that will make it easier and more enjoyable to fish from the boat.
Livewells are a must for any fisherman, and many of the new models of fishing pontoon boats do include a livewell as standard. To maximise space, livewells on pontoons tend to be a little smaller than your average tank, so consider a boat with a dual livewell, or custom build your own tank.
● Washdown Pump
It’s easy to ignore washdowns, but unless you want your new pontoon to erode and deteriorate, it’s an essential maintenance step that has to be done. An integrated washdown pump for removing salt is a common feature that’s often found on some of the newer fishing pontoon boats on the market.
● Broad Decks
If you’re hoping to fish from any angle, having a broad deck is a must – especially if you’ll be sailing with friends or family. Look for fishing pontoon boats that don’t have large seating areas to maximise deck space. Most fishing pontoon boats come with just a few fishing chairs for ease and convenience.
● Accessible Bow
High rails that are standard on pontoon boats can make getting fish onto the boat quite tricky. Fortunately, many fishing pontoon boats feature low-rise rails around the fishing chairs, creating a much more accessible deck and making it quicker to get the fish into the integrated livewells.
● Trolling Motor
One of the biggest advantages of pontoon boats is that they come with a rowing option as standard, or can be upgraded with a motor. Trolling motors make pontoons excellent fishing boats. You should be looking to get 3 to 4 hours trolling at 3-4mph from your motor, or around 2 to 3 hours at 4-5mph.
● Speed & Stability
Are you going to get speed from fishing pontoon boats? Not always. Pontoons aren’t typically known for their speed, usually maxing out at around 30mph. Of course, there are some that boast speeds of more than 50mph, making them not that much slower than a v-hull, for example. A question you need to ask yourself, however, is what’s more important when it comes to fishing – speed or stability? Trading speed for stability can have many advantages for those that love to fish.
Fishing pontoon boats are much more stable than many other types of fishing boat, especially in large waves. Even when sailing through the chop, pontoons are generally very easy to operate. Many fishermen cite 18 footers as their favorite fishing boat as, at that size, operating pontoon fishing boats is really not that much different to driving a car! Stability is key when it comes to certain types of fishing technique – including drift fishing – and the stability of pontoons can’t be beaten.
Breaking the Stereotype
Overall, pontoons are rising up the ‘best fishing boat’ leaderboard because they’re comfortable, effective, efficient, and enjoyable to operate – often much more so than other types of boat.
Pontoons have successfully steered away from the ‘party boat’ stereotype and are now being taken much more seriously as a fishing and recreation boat, particularly as more and more manufacturers are adding features and accessories that lend themselves to activities such as fishing and watersports.
Fishing pontoon boats are an emerging trend amongst keen fishermen, and it’s expected that pontoons will soon be the boat of choice for many, especially those that love to fish in lakes.