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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm at the point now where I think I'm going to need some sort of watercraft this summer to get any descent fishing done here on the Island...so my question is...tube, pontoon or kayak? I'll be both fly fishing and using my spinning combo from the 'vessel' (although not at the same time :naughty:) so that's also something to consider.

My main points of fishing will be the lakes on the Island, which all have fairly good access to some type of entry point, except for Maple lake which requires a 5 minute walk-in. The tube including waders & fins will be the cheapest route and also allow me to dual-purpose the waders for their original intent (which, now that I think about it, will force me to buy wading boots as well), while the pontoon and kayak will be roughly the same price (hopefully under $1000).

Which ever I decide to purchase, it has to either fit in or on top of my minivan (no trailers)

What are the general thoughts on the three 'floaties' I've mentioned above?

Cheers,
Sean.
 

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If the money thing isn't your highest priority, by all means go the pontoon route. You will be sitting higher than than either the tube or the kayak, The tube will limit you to lakes only, while a pontoon lets you hit rivers as well (the drift on the Cowichan River from Lake Cowichan down river to Sandy Pool is an easy couple of hours with great brown and rainbow fishing). A lot of the time you would wear waders (breathable) in the toon. I assume you have a roof rack, so loading an inflated 8 or 9 foot pontoon on top of your SUV should not be a problem. When I got my pontoon, I held on to my float tube for exactly one season and then letg it go. I ralized that I was never going to use it again. Heck I haven't used my 11' aluminum for almost 2 years.
 

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Hi Sean:

A lot of people progress through the different types of boats like I did...started out with a float tube, then picked up a kick boat, picked up a pontoon boat, moved onto a small pram, and now fish out of a 12' Jon.

The float tube is the most comfortable way you will ever fish a lake, but it has several disadvantages. It's SLOW, and it takes a lot of paddling to get to the hotspots...and if you're in a medium to large lake, you're not going to be hitting very many hotspots if the fish are travelling around a lot feeding. If there's any wind...well, have fun. :) The biggest advantage to a float tube is its packable portability...you don't need much room to stow it, and you can hike it in long distances if you want to.

The pontoon boat is the best out of the small inflatables...IMO. The rowing frame sits you well out of the water not only to keep you dry and warm, but to be in a great casting position as well as a better vantage point to spot fish and read structure. The rowing frame also allows you to row, and in some cases use an EMO to get you places quicker. You can carry a cooler and more gear with you on the water...I don't need to explain the benefits of that (pop in my case, not beer...Asian genes). :cheers: You can also anchor off both ends to keep you rock steady when the breeze blows for techniques like chironamid fishing. And...you can still take the whole thing apart and store it in a relatively small space, or keep it together and throw it on top of you vehicle. Look at Bucks Bags High Adventure 8 for a good quality reasonably priced boat (well under $1k). This will be good enough to fish moderate flows also if you ever want to do that.

HTH.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was thinking of a pontoon to begin with, then changed to a float, but a pontoon will definitely get me where I want to go...and faster.

What features should I look for in a pontoon boat (size, construction, ammenities, etc). I plan on rowing it so a motor mount isn't required ($). I might be able to grab one in the States at the end of the month (if there's room to put it in the bomb bay) :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
After reading that post, all I can gather is there are two popular brands of tube. I also did a search for "pontoon" and that was the only thread that came up.

Knowing that there are probably a few dozen companies who make pontoons, what specific things should I be looking for when purchasing one?
 

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From past experience, the ones made in the USA are usually more consistent in quality and craftsmanship. I've owned Bucks Bags in the past, that's why I recommended it.

1) Aluminum frames weigh less and don't rust like their steel counterparts.

2) If you get a pontoon boat with 8' pontoons, you will be able to carry lots of stuff and also be able to drift down moderate rivers. 9' pontoons will get you through most stuff except for the most hair raising rapids.

3) Look at the design of the whole boat...some have nice anchor pulleys built in, look for adjustable foot rests, look at the quality of the oarlocks and oars, look at the quality/comfort of the seat, etc.

4) Look at the design of the actual pontoons themselves...this is probably the most important factor. I personally like a polyurethane bladder as it's more UV resistant and more resistant to cracking and leaks. Look at the design of the valves...are they flimsy, hard to fill, or require an extra adaptor to use? Finally, look at the outer material covering the bladder and the way it's put together...how well they're stitched, robustness of the material, d-rings for accessories, extra reinforcements in critical wear areas?

Hope that gets you started anyway. Cheers.
 

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The one thing to also look for is a double bladder system. This means that there is one bladder inside the other and are filled independently from each other. You fill the inner one first then the other. If by any chance that outer one springs a leak the inner one will still be able to get you to shore.
 

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If you intend to fish smaller lakes a float tube is the way to go, they pack easily and are light (so hiking into a lake is not a problem). Cant say much about pontoons since I have never owned one. Good luck with what ever you buy :peace:.
 

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Just wanted to add smoething for any of us that are a little larger than the average guy. Make sure the floating height works for you. I've seen guys that could hardly fit into their tubes and I've also used pontoons where a 3in waves slaps you backside.
 

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That looks like a neat boat, Sean...I especially like the included transport wheel that stows out of the way when not in use. I wish I had that feature when I still had my pontoon.

And you can't beat that price! Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks Stone,

One of the lakes I fish (Maple Lake) is road accessible, but it's a rough road for my van and in reality requires a 4x4. It's only a 10 minute walk-in though so I thought I'd just push/pull the boat to the lake and then I'm in the water 5 minutes later.

This boat has a whole hockey-sock full of standard features:
- 9' pontoons.
- 400 lb. capacity.
- Brass oar locks.
- Abraision-resistant 1100D coated PVC bottoms and tough 840D Nylon tops.
- Powder-coated 1.25" steel tube frame.
- Two, 7' two-piece aluminum oars and a fully adjustable deluxe cushioned seat.
- Twelve zippered and eight mesh pockets with two foam fly patches.
- Two insulated drink holders.
- A rear wire storage rack.
- A multi-position rod holder.
- Integrated anchoring system, cord and pulley are also included.
- Weatherproof motor mount (maximum shaft length of 36" and a maximum thrust of 30 lbs.)
- Safety features include dual compartment pontoon bladders, tow rings and adjustable non-slip foot rests.

To me that sounds like good value for the money! This thing has enough storage that I may even throw some camping gear on the boat and fish a lake for 2 or 3 days. All my gear is lightweight backpacking gear, so it's perfect for this!! :thumbup:

A lot of the boats I looked at last night didn't come with everything and you had to purchase other pieces as an option. I'm a "package deal" kinda guy. Although all the boats suggested to me had their pros & cons, I'm going with this one. The only cons I can see are the 2 year warranty and the steel frame (not aluminum), although the frame is powder-coated.

Is 30lb of thrust enough for this boat?
 

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What boat is it? I have a 9" Waterskeeter that has all that for under $700. 30 lb thrust will be plenty. These boats are such a dream to row, that a motor is really not necessary in most cases. I would strongly advise purchasing/making a removable wheel for any hike-in situations. Dragging your boat to the lake (even a 100 yards) can be very hard on the bottom of the toon, especially on the stitching. The wheels are anywhere from $40 TO $80, and you could probably rig one for less.
 

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11th Warrior said:
I supplied a link to the boat about 3 or 4 posts down but it's a Classic Accessories Colorado XT

Cabela's site

Comes with a wheel built in :)
Guess I missed the link. When I bought my boat, I did quite a bit of research. This Colorado pontoon shows up on ebay and many other sites regularly and I was intrigued by the price. I posted on several forums in Canada and the US, asking for info. The answers I received made me very leery of this particular product. To summarize, the boat can be good value for the money if you luck out, but it is made off-shore and has spotty quality control. Common complaints included twisted frames (out of the box), leaky vaves that caused deflations while on the water, poorly constructed outer skins. I ended up with the Waterskeeter Speycaster, on the recommendation of Gary at Riverside. I have been quite satisfied with the boat (the one you are looking at looks like a knock off of the waterskeeter), but Gary has since told me he sometimes has trouble with warranty and shipping speed. Do a google search for pontoon boat forums. There was a good one i found, but I can no longer find the link. :'(
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks Prof!

I did read all the reviews at Cabelas and some of the issues they reported, were the same as what you had to say so I got curious...and called Classic Accessories (which are located in Kent, WA).

Their older boats (pre-2007) did indeed have some manufacturing defects which were remedied by warranty and in 2 cases, a full rebate was issued to the owners even after the boats were repaired (multiple issues with each boat). To me it sounds like they definitely stand behind their equipment.

Their newer boats are manufactured to a much higher standard and actual CA employees from Kent are monitoring the QA at the factory. There were issues with the bladders not aligning during assembly by the buyer, but they now have new instructions and have moved the valves to ensure they line up (they've also installed velcro between the bladders to ensure they stay put).

I'm still going to search out the forums you suggested, just to make sure I'm not being snowed...one doesn't want to make me angry...and there's nothing I hate more than being screwed over....just ask the Dodge dealer in Victoria :naughty:
 

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That is a foxy looking boat, I have a Fishcat, 6' pontoons and I swear by it. I could however probably do with some longer ones as I'm a fella of sightly larger dimensions and sit a little low in the water in my little toon.
 

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I have an Outcast Power Drifter. Very happy to own it however this boat isn't for everyone and I am not here to sell you on one.

What I am here to share is the service I have received from Outcast. I have had to two problems with the seam blowing out (under a little unexpected heat from the sun... :-[). The first time it blew there was n doubt it had been a bad weld on the seam, which shocked the retailer and the manufacturer, the pride themselves on their welds and quality control. They took it back and redid the weld at no cost to myself. The second time it happened it was a lot more my fault. This time it was determined to be 'jinxed' and they sent me a new boat.

Bottom line, great guys to talk to on the phone and prompt service. Mistakes and lemons happen in manufacturing, which I can live with, what makes a company is what they do when the lemon rears it sour head. Outcast made it sweet again!
 
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