I want to share some information with all of you about a new style pontoon boat I discovered, two summers ago.
I've been using float tubes of one sort or another for almost 40 years. One of the lessons I learned is that when buying one requiring inflatable vinyl bladders is to buy at least one extra bladder for each style in the tube before the company goes out of business.
The way I learned this lesson is, several years ago, I purchased a Water Skeeter pontoon system. The Skeeter has two large inflatable pontoons with another one piece inflatable "U" shaped bladder which attaches to the top of the pontoons. A few years ago, the upper bladder sprung a leak so I repaired it. A year or two later the repair began to leak; however, this time, I was not able to repair it. I called the company to purchase another only to learn the company is out of business - so now what?
The summer before last, I was in my local Cabela's store. The first place I visit in the store is the Bargain Cave. On this particular visit, I spotted a pontoon boat, like the one you see in the attached photo #243. I chatted with a clerk then checked the price tag. The original price was $499; it was marked down to $399. I told the clerk I was very interested but wondered if they could do better on the price. Until this incident, I was not aware Cabela's would dicker. The clerk asked me to wait a minute. He took the price tag to a store room then returned with a price of $199. Immediately, I purchased the boat. Later, I did some research on the net and found prices from $500 to $600.
This boat solved my inflatable bladder problem. Let me tell you a little about the boat. Photo #243 shows the components.
First, it's obvious you can't backpack with it or even carry it long distances; however, if you can drive your vehicle to within a few yards of a lake, you're in good shape. The oars are detachable. I don't use my oars; instead, I use flippers like most other float tubes. Waders are a must.
Not counting the oars and shooting apron, the boat is comprised of eight pieces. There are two pontoons, of 5' in length and about 12" square, a seat bottom and a seat back rest. There are four large plastic nuts; you see one in the photo next to one pontoon. These screw onto the seat bottom protrusions from the outside of the pontoons. The seat bottom has, on each side, two cylindrical protrusions of about 15" long and about 5" in diameter. After connecting the seat bottom to both pontoons, you simply slide the back rest into the seat bottom.
The pontoons, seat bottom and back rest are completely sealed. The storage compartment lids are sealed by way of large "O" rings. There is plenty of storage inside each pontoon. Heck, you could fill one pontoon with ice and have cold drinks on the lake. I keep a supply of flies and other fly fishing items in one pontoon and clothing, rain gear, water and food in the other.
In an emergency, the seat bottom and seat back rest could be used for floatation. There is nothing to inflate on this unit and you would be hard pressed to puncture it. It's made of some sort of hard plastic. The only change I would recommend to the manufacturer (Venture Outdoors) is to change the angle of the back rest so it leans back a little more and to re-design the shooting apron so it has attachment points at the corners away from you.
Last edited by Bucksnort; 03-05-2016 at 08:39 PM.