which fishing vessel??



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  • which fishing vessel??

    I am having a really hard time choosing between a float tube, a pontoon fishing boat, or a kayak.

    I will mainly be spin/flyfishing small lakes and streams for trout,char, and greyling but some bigger lakes, streams, and rivers are not out of the question. It is also possible that I might end up using it to hunt ducks back in Arkansas one day. I really do not want a boat big enough that I have to register so flat bottoms with outboards are out of the picture.

    I wouldnt mind being able to use an electric motor on it if its possible.

    I am leaning more toward the potnoon fishing boat right now. Those of you that have them what kind of water do you take it in and how difficult is it to fish out of? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    "A dog has no use for fancy cars or big homes or designer clothes. Status symbol means nothing to him. A waterlogged stick will do just fine." Marley and Me

  • #2
    one man pontoon

    If you are going to do both lakes and rivers, I would go with the pontoon. I would stongly advise against using a float tube in moving water, that could get ugly real fast. I have both a float tube and a one man cat, and both have their advantages. The cat is great for rivers, letting you float from gravel bar to gravel bar, getting away from the crowds of people stuck on the bank. I use my float tube for lakes, because it leaves both of your hands available for casting/fighting fish. I don't have any experience with a kayak, so this is just my opinion, but they don't look like they would not be as stable as a cataraft.

    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.


    • #3
      Originally posted by ARKY View Post

      I am having a really hard time choosing between a float tube, a pontoon fishing boat, or a kayak.
      Why should you have to choose?

      Get all three rolled into one by getting an inflattable kayak.

      Sturdy and easy to paddle, lightweight at 30 +/- lbs so you can hike into lakes with it, and suitable for running rivers if (when) you decide to do that. Check with Tracey Harmon at Alaska Raft and Kayak.

      Below are two good threads from the Kayaking forum about IK's.



      Below is one such option but there are many.


      The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.


      • #4
        I went through this two years ago, there are pros and cons for all the ones you mention and it's really going to come down to how you plan on using it. My main purpose was something smaller than a 14' raft and less expensive to be able to float fish rivers in Colorado, and I specifically wanted something that allowed me to float and fish at the same time easily.

        Kayaks I know the least amount about. You should be able to get plenty of info in the kayaking section on this board. I know a lot of people use them and love them, but I never thought I'd be real comfortable fishing out of one, for me there were too many drawbacks, size, fishing while floating rivers, etc.

        Belly boats, I actually bought one of these about 4-5 years ago. Just grabbed a cheapo $40 one. I got and used it for small ponds or small coves off of bigger lakes. I don't care for it all that much, in the wind it sucks and is hard to manuveur and a lot of work. I wouldn't set foot into a belly boat on a river, foot entrapment is an extremely dangerous and deadly situation to get into and because of how low you ride in the belly boat it would be tough to pick your feet up all that much, and once you did you would have no control anymore. The low seat in mine proved one of the worst parts, I can't get to anything easily, sits low to the water for fly casting, and the water is cccccold some days!

        One man pontoons are a nice option for both rivers and lakes. You can mount trolling motors, some will even take up to 5hp gas if you buy or make a nice mount. They can be bought in portable models, and I've watched guys set them up in no time so they do break down and pack nicely also. I've seen some real McGyver'd up toons, rod holders, fish finders, motors with modded foot pedal controls, there's a ton you can do with them. You can use fins to control small movements and either row with oars or use a motor. The only downside for me was fishing and floating at the same time. Most river rated pontoons, not the cheap ones, whitewater class III-IV rated ones, have a high enough seat to make using your fins a bit more difficult. You can't get good thrust from the fins, this makes most, not all, guys I see use their pontoons to float downriver from spot to spot, getting out to wade fish any spots they like.

        Kickboats, this is what I decided on. When doing my research someone else suggested looking into these:

        You can do everything with these that you can a pontoon, however, they enable floating and fishing easier in my opinion because of the cutout floor setup. They help protect from foot entrapment with room for your legs up in the boat and oars or a motor mount option for moving around. They track in the water very good, when I've fought a fish down some smaller whitewater it's easy to keep my feet up and occasionally dip a fin in the water to control my direction. There's a ton of options, they pack small and lightweight, and with a good pump I can have two of them setup up, fishing gear rigged and ready, and pushing off in 30-45 minutes. I have taken them down class III rapids, bounced off of rocks, been soaked hitting whitewater, seen waves above eye level, and never once did the boat let me down. On lakes, they work nicely and row easily, I don't have a motor. Another great option depending on your budget.

        Hope that helps


        • #5

          That is a pretty cool raft. I watched a show the other day called "Fly Rod Chronicles", and they were using that type of raft for a 7 day float somewhere in Alaska. I tried looking them up after the show, but they never gave any info about the boats they were using, or what river they were fishing. Thanks for the link, I think I might need me one of them.

          It looks like that kickboat would meet all the needs you posted. Certainly worth looking into.

          All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.


          • #6
            Jake, I am super happy with mine. I have to admit, they are pricey, cheaper than a full sized raft setup by far though. I actually bought mine from an outfitter who had overstock, so he gave me better than a 2 for 1 deal even. Funny enough, I just saw him post another ad and he has two more to get rid of. Mine were brand new in the box, never opened and he threw in spare oars and two sets of fins, I'm guessing that's what he is offering again. I can probably put you in touch if you are really that interested, just send me a PM, not sure if he'll ship them but maybe you and Arky can split the cost and get one for 1/2 price

            Just in case anyone is wondering....I do not work for this or any inflatable or fishing related/outfitting company. LoL, so I'm not pimpin my own products Just giving an opinion on a craft I've used.


            • #7
              Arky, except being able to carry it to Arkansas a canoe would fit all of your requirements well. If you get a small square stern (freighter) canoe then you could use an electric or gas motor.
              It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.



              • #8
                I use a Osprey by Skookum boats. It's a 10ft. kickboat that's able to run class 1V whitewater. The website is www.steelheader.com They are awsome boats. The pontoons come with 15yr warr. They will hold enough gear for multiple day trips and are super stable. They also make a 9ft version if you need to scale it down abit. They are alittle pricey but it's sure worth the extra dough.


                • #9
                  I just picked up a tieton 9' pontoon for $358. I would love to have a Big Sky raft, but out of my price range for the time being. I had a 46# trolling motor I am going to use with it for the lake behind my cabin and should make a reasonable outfit for the time being. I like the height your sitting in the pontoons for rivers and creeks as well. I also have an inflatable canoe similar to the kayak dan posted but I dont like fishing out of it as well as a pontoon.
                  US Air Force - retired and Wildlife photographer

                  To follow my photography adventures check out my facebook page


                  • #10
                    I bought a 10 foot outcast one man cat last summer. I love it. I mainly floated the kenai and went through both of the upper rapids and it handles just fine. It would take a LOT to tip over one of those boats(or just lack of experience.) One drawback is you cant really fish and float at the same time. I just float from bank to bank and get out and fish.

                    I've taken it on a few lakes but never fished out of it. I imagine it would be fun to fish out of. Theres a stand up platform that you can buy and install on it that would make casting easier.


                    • #11
                      Getting a boat registered isn't too big of a deal. In some places....if you run an electric trolling motor you still have to register the boat. I once pulled a guy 3 miles up rabbit slough becuase his electric trolling motor lost juice. Although good for meandering around a small lake, having the option of a small gas motor would be better. If you want an all around boat for a good price, I'd be on the look out for an old grumm. 19 ft. freighter canoe. The moderator on the canoe forum side of things will be selling freighters from Canada made by Scott canoe company. Also counsult craigslist for a small outboard motor that is between 4-6hp. You can find good deals for between 400-800 dollars. here is a link to a boat that would prob. be a boat you'd keep for a lifetime: http://www.scottcanoe.com/1_canoes/makobe.html

                      It shouldn't cost too much money and will be cabable of handling your lifestyle as you progress into other Alaskan activities. It would handle a moose, camping, duck huntin, salmon fishing, lake fishing, hauling freight if you ever build a cabin. Nothing seems to work better for me than when I troll an olive wooly bugger with sinking line when I fish the lakes. I usually limit out with some big rainbows. Good luck, I hope this info helps.


                      • #12
                        I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.


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