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I?m thinking of buying a one man pontoon for fly fishing out of, anyone have any recommendations as to what brand and model I should be looking at. I?m thinking I want to keep the price at 500.00 or less. From what I have found I believe I want a 9 footer, something that will have a good payload and be able to handle class 1-2 rapids.
 

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Well, we bought our backs bags bronco 9 footers years back, in like 2000-2001. They were 499.99 then. They now don't sell those to my knowledge though anymore, but maybe you can searchfor them. We take them on up to class IV rapids, like on the gunnison gorge, so don't be scared to take them somewhere like that. They are very manuverable and hard to tip over (although I have flipped it several times 8). They are only good for tiny lakes and ponds though. They really stink in a larger lake, especially a windy one. I took mine out on taylor park reservoir in the past summer and my whole body was drenched in minutes and just keeping the boat on shore was more of a goal than fishing was.
 

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I got a "Waterskeeter Backcast" Last summer at Gander Mtn. for $250. Went together fine, seems pretty strong (I'm 6'6"-305lb), fishes well. Can't beat the price. Came with pump that works surprisingly well.
 

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I've got an Outcast Fish Cat 8 that works very well in ponds, lakes, and streams/rivers up to Class 2 (I'm too chicken to try anything higher than that). I've rigged it with 6 permanent rod holders and a fish finder and can add a downrigger, cargo deck, etc., depending on what I'm going after. I've had it out on moderate sized lakes (Carter Lake, Horsetooth) and it does okay, but remember, you're in a boat 8 - 9 feet long and it takes a while to get out of the way of something bigger and faster.

My one complaint is the weight...loaded for bass (no cargo deck, unless I'm fishing the Sacramento Delta in CA), with 3 - 4 rods, 3 or 4 3600 series tackle boxes, fish finder, and other assorted goodies it weighs in over 75 pounds and is a pain in the @$$ to carry in to local ponds. I do it, though, because once you're on the water it's a blast. I just saw a neat set of wheels in the Cabelas catalog that might let me wheel 'er in instead...worth investigating. One other thing...if you're lazy like me, you'll want to leave the boat mostly inflated so that when a window of opportunity presents itself, you can lower it from the ceiling of the garage, chuck it in the back of the truck, and be out of range of alternate activities within minutes. If you get a larger boat, think about what it'll take to get it to the water, and home again.

Another thing to consider, especially if you plan on spending a lot of time on rivers, is getting a boat with dual bladders in each pontoon...a class 2 or 3 rapid is not the place to lose buoyancy on one side of your boat. I've been almost sunk a couple of times by California striped bass when I still fished out of my venerable Creek U-boat II and I am very glad that they included an inflatable backrest, and that I kept it inflated. Otherwise, I'd have some interesting stories about swimming out of the shipping channel in the delta towing a deflated 3/4 donut and a 10-lb striper!

A useful resource I remember from my CA days (I fished with these guys once and was blown away by their tube and pontoon set-ups) is this bass club called Bass-N-Tubes (http://www.bass-n-tubes.com/). They have pictures of some of the most tricked-out pontoons I've ever seen and links to most of the top manufacturers.
 

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You have a lot of options for less than $500.00. I would suggest to get an all purpose boat that has an alluminum frame. I purchased the Madison boat by trout unlimited a couple of years ago. It has a steel frame, a 350lb capacity, is only 7ft long and cost $250.00. It has been a good first boat for me, but I wish I would have done more research before I bought it. At first I liked the small size. It is easy to carry and can easily support me at 280lbs. I did some of my own modifications to allow for a trolling motor and battery when fishing stillwaters. With the added weight of a motor, battery, and some slight weight gain, I ride a little low in the water. The boats are fairly easy to modify, but the steel frames are cheap, and rust after a while. That might explain the two year warranty.
 

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I'm thinking of getting one too. Trying to get one by the end of march to launch my 2006 open water adventures. I'm hoping for a beginner pontoon for less than less than $300. Will be mainly used on ponds, small lakes and reservoirs. Too scurred to take on any rivers or even streams. The specs I would want included are the following:
- 8 ft
- Dual bladder on each side for an extra measure of safety (preferred, but not a must)
- Light (less than 50 lbs)
- Adjustable foot rest
- Durable (of course)
- Upgradeable (for trolling motor, platform for deep cycle battery, fish finder, camera mounts, bazookas etc.)
- Must be the type that would fit into the hatch/back of a compact car (disassembled)... And yes I'm willing to go through the hassle of assembling and blowing it up with air every outing & vise versa.
- Cost less than $300  :p

Been looking around and found a few 8 footers that I really like. Can't really decide yet until I get some opinions and hopefully even some consumer reviews from you guys/gals  ;D. If any of you own any of these and want to give some input, please let me know. This will be my 1st pontoon. And if anyone thinks I should pick one over the other, go ahead and help point me in the right direction.


[b]Classic Accessorries Arrow Backpacker Pontoon[/b]
This one runs for about a little less than $200 at Sportsman's Warehouse, but I don't know if it comes with the included backpack. This package deal with backpack is from Cabelas.. 42 lbs..

[img]http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/Item/31/79/18/i317918hz02.jpg
Classic Accessories Cimarron Pontoon Boat
This one is nice too and it has dual bladders. Runs for about exactly $200 and you can order from Wal-Mart site for less. 46 lbs.. It will probably come down to this one or the one above.

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Here are the others I'm considering...


[b]Creek Company ODC Sport XL Pontoon[/b]
This one is nice too. Weight was not available at site where I got it from (Cabela's). From Cabela's, it runs for about $240.

[img]
[b]Water Skeeter Back Cast Pontoon Boat[/b]
I really like this one, but don't know of a price and cannot find any place with it in stock. I believe this is an older model (like 2004/2005) or something.

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Hey [b]freerange[/b],
I've read some reviews and the [b]Trout Unlimited Colorado River Pontoon Boat[/b] is a nice bang for buck. This one runs for about $400 and has a lot of really nice features. If I could fork up the change and room and back muscle for this one, I'd pick it.

It looks like this:

[img]http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/content/Item/31/66/84/i316684hz05a.jpg



Thanks,
1eyeReD
 

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in the spring sportsmans wse usually has a pretty good selection of thes in all different price ranges thats where i bought mine a couple of years back. i don't know about portability though as most of them are a pain in the butt to take all the way down to pack in somewhere. once mine was together i never took it apart.
 

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Hey 1eye, I have a Skeeter and I like it alot. I bought it at Gander last year for under $300. I do have it rigged for an electric motor if I want. But, when I use the electric it's like driving a car on ice. I've used mine at Union which I know you fish alot and it worked great for me. If one doesn't want to use an electric, you can move at a good pace using oars. Hope this helps.

Tipup
 

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1EYE, I just came from Gander Mtn. and they have the Skeeter you said you couldn't find. (the one in Thornton) It was priced at $299.00

Tipup/Jeff
 
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I have an outcast 9'. I can load it on the rack on my camper shell by myself. With a 12v trolling motor (take the head off and turn it around so the motor runs in forward but moves you backwards. Steers lots better.) I fish all over Spinney, Taylor Park, Stagecoach and Delaney Buttes (maybe you saw my pic in the Denver Post last spring?). Just added a really neat retractable wheel that lets me load motor. battery, oars, tackle and coffee jug and roll it down from the parking lot like a wheel barrow. I'd get the dual pontoons if I were buying another one. If anyone is interested in the wheel, I'll find the link.
 

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Water Skeeter makes a wheel you can mount on your pontoon. You can buy it from Cabelas...I'm ordering one as soon as I get the next installment of my fishing allowance.
 

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Been really thinking about it and I'm beginning to lean torwards the Classic Accessorries Arrow Backpacker Pontoon. For 1, it's affordable and two it's manageable for me to buy($) and use. I can pack that thing in the backpack and treck places. Plus that pack seems to be the type to fit in the hatch of my little car and it's not that heavy (42 lbs I think). Students with no permanent mattress always have to keep on the move, ya dig? But definitely the Cimarron if it comes with a pack like that tho because it has the dual compartment bladders.

1eyeReD
 
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personally I have two personal water crafts...a personal pontoon for places like quincy where you can drop your boat off right at the water and weight isn't an issue, and an older style inflatable u boat for those area's where a bit of a hike to the water is involved. I spent to much time over the last couple years packing that big pontoon from the parking lot to the waters edge...then getting all my gear ready, putting my waders and fins on, and finally inflating the two pontoons. Thats why I went out and bought a cheap u boat, unless I'm fishing somewhere that wind is a serious issue like spinney I'll stick to the lighter easier to set up old style u boat, but each have situations where they shine.

I'm thinking about getting a kayak to fish from....no waders, no inflating, and relatively light. Not to mention how quick they are on the water!!!
 

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Ken Broeren said:
That will work a little bit better than floating with your lifejacket.  :)
Oh that'll still happen! Especially at Bonny. That lake is clean and sandy w/hard mud in most coves on the SE side closer to the dam. Plus, on hot summer days it's a great way to cool off, fight off some leeches/snapping turtles n what-not and still be fishing! Ok, was just joking about the leeches and snapping turtles... Hope I didn't jinx myself.  :eek:

1eyeReD
 
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