advice to new floaters

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by herefishynm, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. A little help, please. My husband and I are getting too old and shaky to stumble around in moving water and are considering a raft, pontoon, boat, etc for lakes. First, is a 2 man pontoon easy enough for two old folks to get in the water, or would we be better to have 2 1 person pontoons? Is a pontoon the best option for small lakes? How big a pontoon do you need to support a motor? How long will a battery run a small motor if we have to "make a run for it" from bad weather? Do any of you haul a travel trailer and have a way to attach the pontoon standing on end to the back of the trailer? Thanks.
  2. If you just want to fish lakes I would look at either the watermaster kodiak or one of the new scadden frame less boats.They
    come with a waterproof dry bag that you can just store inside your travel trailer. i would say get two one man boats, its hard for two people to fish at the same time in the small boats.
  3. I would agree with shawn k. However, Scadden will be introducing a new (2 to 3 person) frameless boat this season, the Assault XXX. I looked into the the Assault XX (2 person), but it seemed like a bit of a squeeze for two fishers.

    I also noticed they will be introducing a new Assault Ultra Light(of interest, but probably not applicable to your situation).
  4. View attachment 47321

    My wife and I decided to fish more small lakes about a year ago. I looked at pontoons, rafts and prams and settled on 8ft wood prams. We each have one and they are great. I bought a small trailer and rigged it to carry both boats. They only weigh about 50 - 60 lbs and are extremely easy to row. However, they can be rigged with an electirc motor. In a pram you are out of the water and dry. The only draw back from a pontoon is the pram is not the best for faster moving water. I have tried to attach a picture here. I hope it works.

    Dr Bob :thumb:
  5. I'm with Dr Bob on this one. Why go pontoon? Get yourself an actual boat with a hull that's designed to cut water. Either a pram or a V hulled boat? Your trolling motor would work more effeciently and a small aluminum won't way much when you're talking one of those small boats. Can slide up into the bed of a pickup and you're good to go. Leave the pontoons alone.
  6. Small prams can be great for lakes. However it is difficult to troll and difficult to slowly cruise the shoreline while casting if you are rowing. To do this type of fishing effectively you will either need a boat you can kick (pontoon/scadden assault/float tube) or a trolling motor with an appropriately sized battery (which may weigh as much as the pram).
  7. For me, it really boils down to the launch facility you'll be using.

    If it's mostly boat or good launches, a small aluminum boat powered by an electric trolling motor is good, and quite versatile for fishing two folks. I've a 12 footer that works nicely for that, and its dry and comfy and reasonalbly weather-worthy, especially wind. a light trailer can be used for transport, there's lots of these around for about a grand, light ones weigh a bout 80 lbs or so without a can hand carry them but in reality not too far. Partner, dog, beer, lunch, cruise the bank slowly and cast for fish: nice summer evening activity.

    If the launch is rough and not really accessible by trailer, a pram or pontoon boat is somewhat better being lighter and easier to carry. There are small aluminum jon boats that do this too, but prams are usually wood or composite, and a thing of beauty is a joy forever. If you've a pickup, most prams fit nicely in the bed, as do pontoon boats. The pram is more easily motored and dry. You will avoid the need for waders, but you'll need anchors and anchor line, oars, and a weather eye. The people who fish them standing up are called "swimmers".

    Pontoons are preferred if the launch is truly primitive, as they are generally 40 lbs or less even with gear in them. You can carry them quite a distance. I've never powered one, but I've seen lots of folks power them with small electrics. Pontoons blow in the wind, and you'll need waders and fins and the leg strength to power them. Mine keeps my ACL-free knees in shape quite nicely. As far as practical 1 person flyfishing watercraft go, this is my preferred for versatility. The oars they come with are truly crap, consider upgrading immediately.

    I've considered bigger inflatables for lake fishing with a partner, and my 12 food aluminum wins out. Big inflatables are, well, big, and semi-ungainly given where I launch most. You've pretty much got to trailer them. With all due respect, in my opinion the pontoon boats expanded to seat two or three are not nearly the small catarafts or rafts are, and they're the same price in the end.

    Ive of Ione has an interesting thread where he's building a scow: utilitarian and well constructed, no doubt, but I confess I'm not in love.

    Be prepared: the craft you choose is the one you will look longingly from at your second. Good luck.
  8. I agree with the everybody on the pram thing. But the O.P said he wanted to haul it on his travel trailer. He made no mention of what his tow vehicle would be. if it was me I would get an eide boat loader for my truck and a 12 or 14 ft john boat with a good electric motor and a 9.9 kicker.
  9. They're like Rv's, aren't they, no such thing as the perfect one. Forgot to say our trailer is a 5th wheel, so that pretty well lets out the load the boat in or on the truck scenario. Really like the idea of some kind of inflatable you could attach to the body of the trailer - like the porta-bote. Or a small boat we could trailer behind the trailer, though I hate to see those rigs going down the road, they look like a recipe for disaster. Or a pontoon(or two) that you could deflate till you need it. The prams are beautiful. Maybe we'll just buy an island in a lake and get a pram for it. And maybe pigs'll fly. Thanks for the thoughts.
  10. Ah ha! You are wrong on the 5th wheel scenerio. My Dad had a rack on his truck that he could load boats and other misc gear over his cab/hood and still tow his 28' 5th wheel. So it can be done (and he loaded his boat by himself after 2 severe cancer surgeries that left him pretty weak). He had friends that stashed a portaboat alongside the trailer.
  11. Here is my 2 cents......and please don't take this the wrong way..... but if age is a big factor for this purchase
    then in my opinion you would be wise to avoid the pontoons. They are certainly versatile and lightweight and easy to store, however unless you're planning only to fish during warm summer days you may find that
    wearing waders and sitting in the cold water for any amount of time will take a serious physical toll on you
    both. And that is not factoring in the constant use of your legs. This too can wear you out.

    I've fished from a tube and a toon for going on twenty years. At 32 years old I spent a day floating around Pass lake last weekend. After a full day on the water I was so unbelieveably cold and miserable. I was so sore
    and cramped up badly several times out on the water. Less than a week later I bought a pram.

    My vote would be to find an aluminum v hull or a pram. You will have plenty of room for all your gear,
    lunch, extra warm clothes, camera, thermos of hot beverage, etc. Your feet will stay dry, you can stand to
    stretch and get blood moving, and will be way more comfortable in general. Hell you can even use a heater.
    Just the other day I was looking at a cool little propane heater that would be great for warming hands on
    those cold fall mornings
  12. You're probably right about the pontoon - I was thinking that the pontoon seat would keep the "good stuff" out of the water, contrary to a float tube, and use oars rather than flippers. Sounding more and more like some kind of boat. The porta-bote sounds good, anyone else have experience with one?
  13. I would suggest a pair of short sit-on-top kayaks. I know there's a mfg that makes a rack that holds two kayaks vertically on the rear of trailers and motorhomes. SOT kayaks are easy to get in and out of, light weight, and easy to paddle (you can even find mounts for electric motors for kayaks). I haven't found a lake yet that I couldn't launch my yak. There are a great many reasonably priced SOT kayaks around these days.
  14. Native Watercraft are also a good choice, they have sit inside, tandems, solos. The hulls are very stable and they have some propulsion options, electric motor, bicycle propeller or kayak paddles.

    check them out on Youtube
  15. I don't usually have much advice to give here but I would NOT go with the porta-bote suggested by Speyfishr.
    I had one and they are good in many situations but do require some lifting and can be difficult to put together unless you're in good shape. Yes they do fold down to a few inches but you still have to have a place to store the seats and stern. One big advantage they have is stability.

    One other option to consider is a canoe. I have a 10ft aluminum boat, a 10ft pontoon, and a canoe. The canoe is the easiest to transport, though a 15 ft canoe looks a bit strange on top of my Rav4, it is easy for one man to load and unload. I have a motor mount like this and an electric motor really scoots a canoe along. In small lakes I'm just paddling 90% of the time and only use the electric to traverse larger patches of water You might have to use a drag sock to slow it down for trolling. They can be difficult in wind but with two paddling or motoring,quite manageable once you learn to handle them.
    On a quiet little lake or pond, early in the morning or late evening when there's no wind, you'll love silently gliding through the lily pads and past the scenery.

    Just an option to consider.
  16. This is my first post, but you've got to start somewhere, right?

    Since I'm old too, and own a large 5th wheel, plus various hard sided and inflatable boats, I'll give you my perspective for what it's worth.

    First, I'll address your questions:

    1. Is a 2 man pontoon easy enough for two old folks to get in the water, or would we be better to have 2 1 person pontoons? Keep in mind that handling and hauling a 40, 50, or more pound boat that may be 8-12 feet or more long is quite a bit harder than handling a comparable amount of weight that is compact. (A lot of people can carry a 60# backpack, but see how far these same people would want to carry that weight when it is a 10' pontoon boat with 18" diameter tubes.) Only you and your husband know how much weight you can, or want, to handle.

    Then, there's also the question: Do you prefer to both be in one boat together (where only one at a time might get to fish) or do you both like to fish at the same time? Is fishing in separate boats an issue? Can, and do, you both want to row if you have 2 boats (or even use flippers), or is it better if one person rows, or you alternate rowing from one boat?

    Once you've answered these questions, look at the various Scadden and Outcast model inflatable boats, as starters, as well as the various hardsided boats already mentioned. If space is an issue, it's always easy to inflate boats once you get to the lake, frames can also be taken apart (some more easily than others), and there are also frameless options to further reduce the weight.

    2. Is a pontoon the best option for small lakes? A pontoon is a good option for small lakes, but not the only option. There are a myriad of float tubes that are also options, but you have to use flippers, and in addition there are the various hardsided boats already mentioned.

    3. How big a pontoon do you need to support a motor? How long will a battery run a small motor if we have to "make a run for it" from bad weather? When you look at the various pontoon models, the manufacturer will list the weight limit carrying capacity for that boat. A lot of the smaller 1 person pontoons are capable of carrying 300-400# or more. Keep in mind that the more weight you add, the lower the boat will sit in the water, and the harder it is to row (or move with a motor). Nonetheless, most 1 man pontoons are capable of handling 1 normal sized adult, and motor. (Assuming you're thinking about an electric trolling motor, remember that batteries for them are quite heavy.)

    Get the boat first, then pick a motor sized for that boat. A good deep cell battery, when fully charged would run for 4 hours or more of continuous use. You better hope you'd get back to shore by then!

    Personally, I'd get the boat and use it a few times before deciding if I wanted to also get a motor. I have an electric trolling motor for one of my pontoons that I rarely use because: a. oars easily get me where I want to go, and b. its a pain in the rear to lug a heavy battery around, and c. since a pontoon does not have a rudder, it's a bit harder to navigate with the motor (I lash one oar beside the boat to act as a rudder if I want to troll with the motor.)

    4. Last: Do any of you haul a travel trailer and have a way to attach the pontoon standing on end to the back of the trailer? Yes, there are a number of ways to affix a boat onto the back of your 5th wheel. You've got to first make certain that the frame of your 5th wheel is designed to handle the load. I wouldn't do it myself but lots of people do it, and are apparently happy doing so. If the frame of your 5th wheel is designed to handle the load, you can also have a receiver installed on the back and triple tow, with something like a small boat trailer in tow behind your 5th wheel. Or you can mount a carrier in the receiver and put your boat in the carrier.

    Another option is to put a roof rack over the cab of your truck and put a boat on it. Something like the Porta-bote, already mentioned, can be put on there rather nicely. If you decide on an inflatable(s) you could also put just the frame (asssembled) up there, and put the rest of the boat (deflated tubes, etc) either in your truck or in the 5th wheel.

    With inflatables, you should be able to keep them deflated until you arrive with your 5th wheel at you destination, either campground or lake, before inflating them. Once you disconnect your 5th wheel from your tow vehicle (pick-up truck?) you can transport them in the bed of your truck to the lake. (You can use bungy cords to secure them in the truck bed even without removing the 5th wheel hitch.)

  17. MT Flyfisher...though I'm an ardent kayak flyfisherman....your 'first post' is impressive, articulate, and well represents the essential tenor of this forum; a group of enthusiasts who will spend a bit of time attempting to provide solutions that may make someone's days on the water more enjoyable. Bravo!
  18. Agreed. Great post John.

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