Pontoon Fishing: What Should You Know
A pontoon boat is not only great for partying with your friends, but it can also be used for angling adventures. It gives you a safe place to spend quality time with your friends and family in the great outdoors.
Due to the stability that a pontoon boat provides, pontoon fishing is rapidly gaining popularity day by day.
It is an extraordinary recreational watercraft that is sure to keep you and your family entertained for hours.
However, it is important to gain and understand all relevant information regarding this adventure in order to make the most of it.
Here is an extensive guide to pontoon fishing and everything you need to about it in order to get started:
Are Pontoon Boats Good for Fishing?
Here is a breakdown of the pros and cons of pontoon fishing to help you understand if pontoon boats are good for fishing or not:
Pros of Pontoon Fishing
Pontoon boats usually come with expansive floor plans and large decks that offer increased stability. The big size of the deck helps the boat maintain its balance, and allows you to easily walk around without experiencing much bouncing and scaring the fish away.
Pontoon boats also offer smooth and steady rides in mildly rough waters. This is a plus point as you are likely to encounter choppy water at some point while fishing.
If you’re worried about experiencing raging waters during your trip, a three-tube pontoon boat might be an ideal solution for you. It provides better stability and balance due to its even weight-distributing properties.
Extra Elbow Room
Pontoon boats don’t only fit more individuals on their deck but they also provide you additional space to store all your fishing gear. Therefore, when it comes to angling, pontoons offer ample of room for all your buddies, coolers, and other fishing necessities.
While pontoon is a spacious alternative to regular boats, remember not to overload it or cross its safe capacity point.
To know the required and recommended number of individuals a pontoon can fit, check the owner’s manual of your boat.
Pontoon is one of those fishing boats that provide you with a remarkable level of comfort. Fishing requires time as well as patience; therefore it is important to have a comfortable experience. Remaining calm and relaxed can boost your angling experience.
If you’re planning a fishing trip with your kids then a pontoon might be your best bet. It offers enough roominess for you to store coolers, baby food, and even a small portable fridge.
With the ample of space available, you can also set up a portable air mattress or spread out a blanket to let your smallest passengers take naps and stay fresh at all times.
Easy to Launch and Dock
As mentioned above, tritoons handle rough seas better.
However, if you always fish in calm waters like a lake or a pond or avoid any bad weather conditions, a standard two-tube pontoon can fulfill all your fishing requirements. It allows you to troll around, drift fish and also anchor with ease.
It is also extremely easy to launch and dock pontoons. This makes your angling experience fun and stress-free.
Cons of Pontoon Fishing
Difficult Handling in Tight Coves and Channels
While pontoons are popular for their large size and are great to carry extra passengers and equipment, its sheer size can cause handling difficulties.
If your favorite angling spots and locations are tight coves and channels then a pontoon might not be your best choice for catching fish. It can’t make turns as sharply or quickly as deck boats.
Pontoons have a decking with railing rather than gunwales.
Therefore, rod holders need to be specially designed to fit a pontoon boat. Your rod-holder needs depend on the type of fishing you’re planning to do. If installing the right rod holders is necessary for you, you can opt for a deck boat instead.
The height of pontoon boats is normally more than that of the deck ones.
This can be an issue when it comes to fishing. Not only does this increased height make pulling fish difficult but it also makes wrangling your catch into the watercraft more time-consuming.
One more problem that can occur is that the railing might get in your way, especially when you reach for something or move around quickly. Moreover, due to the increased height of pontoons, they are incapable of tolerating extremely high winds.
So the real question remains: Are pontoon boats good for fishing?
This matter is quite subjective and deciding whether pontoon boats are good for fishing or not greatly depends on your personal needs. It is always best practice to rent a watercraft for a test-run before finally deciding to purchase one.
However, if you’ve made up your mind about getting a pontoon, we highly recommend consulting our guide below in order to make an informed decision.
Pontoon Boats Regulations
Recreational boats such as pontoons create extraordinary opportunities for parties, romantic cruising or memorable family fishing trips.
However, owning a pontoon boat comes with great responsibilities and you should know all its regulations in order to keep your adventure-partners safe on the waters.
The marine laws differ from state to state.
Some factors that you need to know gain knowledge about are:
- Minimum operator age
- Towing restrictions
- Illegal watercraft operation under alcohol or drug influence
- Mandatory life jackets
- Granting right-of-way
- Boating insurance and license
Study the marine requirements and regulations of your state before you hit the lakes and fully adhere to them.
Similar to automobile drivers who can be arrested or ticketed for irresponsible behavior, boat operators can be imprisoned and fined for reckless behavior too.
Safety Equipment List
Here is a list of some required and optional safety equipment you should carry on your fishing trip:
- Registration and numbering
- Noise-making device (bell, whistle, horn)
- Every passenger’s properly-sized PFDs (personal flotation device)
- Functioning fire extinguisher
- Downed skier flag
- First-aid kid
- Bailing device
- Boat tools and repair parts
- Anchor and line
- Trolling motor or an oar
What to Pay Attention to When Buying Pontoon for Fishing?
When buying a pontoon for fishing, whether new or used, there are a few factors for both situations that you need to keep in mind in order to end up with the best product possible.
Things to Consider When Buying a New Pontoon Boat for Fishing
Purchasing a new pontoon allows you to enjoy more freedom to have your boat customized according to your personal preferences.
You can choose add on features, packages and even pick your seating arrangement or layout. Here are some important factors to consider when buying a new pontoon boat for fishing:
This factor greatly depends on the number of people you’re planning to go on a fishing trip with. You can have lounge areas added, the captain’s chair upgraded and seating maximized.
Pick a seating arrangement that fits your personal requirements and is suitable for fishing purposes.
Number of Pontoons
Pontoon boats usually come with two tubes.
However, you can get one with three as they go a lot faster and offer more stability.
As mentioned earlier, tritoons tend to deliver steadier performance on choppy waters.
You need to pick a motor that delivers just the right power for the intended use of your pontoon boat.
While a regular motor might work fine for fishing purposes, if you plan to participate in some sort of water sports with the same boat, you might need proper power for it. Remember not to overpower your pontoon boat.
Bimini Top Addition
While you’re out fishing in large water bodies, you might require some shade to make your outdoor experience more comfortable and relaxing.
Bimini tops are an ideal solution for this problem.
Try using one before you finalize your purchase to make sure that the process isn’t too difficult.
With a new boat, you can pick the amenities of your choice.
They can include tables, cup holders, privacy space, seating space, etc.
Pick a pontoon boat that provides you with everything you need to make your angling experience memorable and exceptionally comfortable.
Things to Consider When Buying a Used Pontoon Boat for Fishing
If you are on a tight budget, you can always consider purchasing a second-hand watercraft.
However, you need to inspect a used boat very carefully and thoroughly to end up with something worth your while.
Here are some essential factors to remember when purchasing a used pontoon boat for fishing:
The hull is one of the most important elements of any boat’s structure.
Check for chips, patches or cracks as they can worsen over time. Inspect them carefully and see if they are repairable or not.
It is important that you make sure that your pontoon tubes are straight.
Once again, check them for holes, dents, cracks or any other damage that might require some sort of repair.
When it comes to purchasing a pontoon boat, checking its engine is one of the most important steps of the inspection process.
A non-functioning engine will be of no use to you.
Look for liquid seepage, smoke, rust or any other signs of corrosion or decay. Also check if the engine has already experienced some repairs, as that increases the chances of the engine malfunctioning again.
Check the furniture and the flooring of the pontoon boot and make sure that there aren’t any cracks, rotting or mold.
Pontoon vs. Kayak for Fishing
While pontoons are reasonable, easy-to-transport, and easy-to-store in comparison, kayak boats are more durable and versatile.
It all comes down to your personal preference.
We have compiled information about both types of fishing and created a mini-guide to help you make your final decision.
When it comes to watercraft, the biggest concerns anglers have is their pricing.
The inflatable pontoons trump the kayak in this category.
Pontoons are extremely cheap and even the topmost models are priced reasonably i.e. below thousand dollars. While kayak is the less affordable option, its durability certainly makes the investment worthwhile.
Packing all your fishing gear and getting from your home to the fishing spot is always quite a hassle.
Usually, a tow worthy vehicle such as a truck is required.
However, with inflatable pontoon, you won’t have to worry about transportation as you can easily pack it into your duffel bag. Inflatable pontoon provides you the easy transportation you desire.
Kayaks on the other hand have their own perks.
While they aren’t as portable as pontoons, they can be easily loaded into the bed of a trailer or truck and secured. You don’t need to go through the trouble of deflating them.
Fishing kayaks come in different sizes and shapes.
They fit into the narrowest gaps. If your fishing spot is deep and requires you to slip in between fallen trees and rocks them slim kayaks might just be the right choice for you.
Pontoons on the other hand have the same turning capabilities as the kayak but they are bulky and are incapable of squeezing into smaller areas.
With kayak it is easier to reach over the side of the watercraft into the water as compared to a pontoon.
Modern kayaks are manufactured using rotomolded polyethylene.
This material is a form of flexible, soft and touch plastic. Therefore, kayaks are capable of taking numerous beatings and still standing the test of time.
However, if you don’t take the necessary preventive measures and store your kayak in the heat or drag it down a shallow river, it will become subject to extreme damage.
Pontoon isn’t made of as solid materials as kayak therefore the durability factor certainly gets affected. However, with the right price, you can get a durable product that can take a moderate amount of abuse.
Once again, pontoon should be stored properly and you need to take the necessary precautions to prevent your watercraft from getting punctured.
The Community Aspect
Fishing is a great recreational activity, especially when it involves a lot of like-minded people.
If you do enjoy the company of a community of people when you’re out on your outdoor adventure, a fishing kayak might be the right choice for you.
National and local kayak fishing groups are known for hosting numerous fishing tournaments. Kayak fishing offers you the ultimate experience when it comes to enjoying with everyone interested in a single hobby! The pontoon experience lacks a community and doesn’t host any group festivities.
While the kayak fishing is more suitable for hardcore professional fishermen, pontoon is ideal for individuals on a limited budget.
Each boat has its own pros and cons and the final decision greatly depends on your personal needs.
What Size of the Pontoon Boat Should You Get?
A pontoon boat allows you to enjoy various recreational activities including fishing with your family and friends.
While it is easy to get caught up in all the excitement of fishing, you need to take care of the essentials first.
Before you finally settle for a boat, you need to select a size that will suit all your personal needs.
So how do you know what boat size to purchase?
In order to determine a deck size for your pontoon boat, take the amount of people and the size of the water body into consideration.
Here are some facts you need to understand to end up with the perfect sized watercraft:
The Right Pontoon Size Based on the Number of Passengers
- 18 – 20 ft. pontoon for 2 – 6 passengers
- 22 – 24 ft. pontoon for 6 – 10 passengers
- 24 ft. or larger pontoon for over 10 passengers
The Right Pontoon Size Based on the Size of the Water Body
When determining what size you will need based on the number of people, consider the following:
- 17 – 19 ft. pontoon for calm and small bodies of water
- 20 – 22 ft. pontoon for rivers, links and other bodies of water that do not have large waves
- 23 – 28 ft. pontoon for rough water
We hope that with all the aforementioned information on pontoon fishing, you found something worth your while!