Looking for Pontoon recomendations

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Chris Selvar, May 15, 2013.

  1. I've finally decided to buy a Pontoon boat, but i have no idea where to start. Seraching the internet I've found literally hundreds of options from all different price points. So I figured the members of this board would have some valuable opinions and pointers.

    That being said the boat would be used more then likley mostly for lakes (although I like to think I will use it often on rivers) realistically it will see a river a couple of times a year (yakima, snoqualmie, green etc... no huge water).

    I like the idea of a standing platform but not sure how often it would be used?
    I'm also a believer in the "buy once, cry once" saying. So rather then say whats the best boat I can get for under X dollars. I'm asking you guys how much should I expect to spend on a good quality boat with useable features, without paying a huge premium for un-needed accessories. And what brands/models do you guys recommend?
  2. I've had a Buck's Bronco for years and really like it. I use it mostly on lakes but it handles Class III on rivers just fine. My two buds both have Outcast boats and they are great boats.


  3. My suggestion is the SKY

    Reason, USA made. Urethane or bladderless. Aluminum frame so very light weight. Largest standing platform.
    Higher pay load, and longest warranty.
    Bill Aubrey likes this.
  4. Is this the same company mentioned in a thread above this one (nightmare CS) buying something and not having it show up for months?

  5. Depends on what friend of a friend you talk to :) I wanted two Predators right after the Idaho show. Came back and stopped at the NFO office. Dave said, there is two in the back room right now. I didn't have thee money at that time. Called him a week ago Monday and he said they were expecting a shipment first part of next week (this week). I get a call this morning telling me they just arrived, did I want them mailed? I was running around and stopped by to get them. ONE WEEK! Don't believe everything you hear, specially second hand.
    Besides, CABELA'S carries several models. Anyone had to wait months for their boats? Not accessories, but boats.
    Bill Aubrey likes this.
  6. I'm one of the few that will throw Creek company into the mix. I've had my ODC 915 toon for 6 years now and it's great in all situations.
  7. Here is something to keep in mind. Some pontoon boats (PB) have a very substantial but complicated frame that unless you tie it on top takes considerable assembly time. I have a model that requires no set up time and slides into my Ford Ranger canopy complete and inflated. It doesn't row as efficiently as the more complicated models.
  8. I can heartily recommend a Bucks Bags pontoon boat. I've had the same one now since 1997. I've been waiting for something major to break on it because I'd like an updated, longer model. I've had to replace the velcro straps that hold the stripping apron tight, but that's all I've done, and their customer service has been quick and easy.

  9. You can pry my Bucs Bronco from my cold dead hands (actually cold wouldn't be that surprising, given the weather lately). I've had mine about as long at Matthew and I love it. I use it equally in lakes and in rivers. It weighs 65lbs and I can load it onto the roof rack of my 4Runner by myself without problem. It is very stable and the construction is VERY solid. I like the fact that I can really hammer on the oars when necessary (like when rowing away from a sweeper that wants me and my boat on the Satsop...). You can spend half as much on a lake boat, but you won't have any reservations on using this boat.

    Downsides, it doesn't have a platform for standing. I haven't found that to be that big a problem. I can usually fin myself easily into casting range and I prefer the mobility of fins to anchoring and casting.

    Also, I have never used a frameless boat. So, I cannot talk about a comparison of the two styles.

  10. I have a skyhomish and a bucks bag high adventure. Just had the seams break on both tubes on the bucks bag the third trip out, (purchased used but supposedly only used less than six times.) so I would certainly go with one of their more robust units with the urethane bladder if I chose the bucks bag option.

    I prefer the sky to the buck bag for floating moving water, but it is heavier than the bucks bag. I find that the standing platform doesn't get used as much as I though that it would. I won't make that a decision point on my next purchase. Also, I don't care for the set up time for either one pontoon when I to transport them unassembled, which is most of the time. I would try one of the frameless units before I bought one (cheaper if you must purchase a trailer to go with your framed model).

    The forum's gear program has a watermaster that you could test drive---if you are on the dryside of the state you are welcome to try either of the two that I have. If you have concerns about customer service from NFO, make your purchase through cabelas. They have always treated me well on the rare occasions that I had to return a product.

  11. You answered it all right there. Bucks is not the same as it use to be. Many models now have vinyl bladders, and I heard if one problem with frame.
    Don't get me wrong, one of my first pontoons was a Bucks. But, again, not the same now.
    This one for sale might be the same as old days being one of the top end model.
  12. I currently use an Outcast 800 and it is a well made boat that would meet most of your needs. I don’t stand up in this pontoon but otherwise it good for lakes and rivers. If I was going to replace the boat now I would most likely get a Catchercraft (although I have had zero problems with the Outcast).
    Like any boat there are some give and takes regarding boat design and construction. More rocker promotes better maneuverability (e.g. river fishing) less rocker allows for better tracking and stability (e.g. standing up). Another thing to understand how a pontoon is impacted by the wind, and how this can impact lake fishing. Living the in Columbia Gorge area it is common for me to have some breeze on the lakes.
    It is also important (at least for me) to be able to use fins on a lake boat. This allows you to row to the fishing location and then adjust your position and speed with fins while you fish. I am not opposed to using a rod holder but I prefer fishing with the rod in my hands.
    The material that the boat is made from and how it is bonded together makes a huge difference in durability and how long the boat will last. The links below scratch the surface and give the basics, like everything else there are some trade offs.


  13. I've owned three pontoon boats, the NFO Skykomish Sunrise (frame), a Watermaster, and currently have the NFO Assault XX. All great boats. I prefer the framed pontoon oar system in rivers, but I love the lightweight, quick setup that both frameless boats offer. The Watermaster was solid and a great boat, well made. I'm happy I sold it and got an Assault XX because the front cargo area is great for gear or the occasional fishing partner (haven't had another person on it, except for a guy I pulled out of the river when his drift boat hit a rock and pitched him over the bow this winter) and rockered design makes it a bit quicker and more nimble on the water. I'll likely use the front cargo deck for gear when I bring my fishing partner along (dog) who will sit on the back deck behind the rower's seat. It doesn't have a standing platform, but I feel very comfortable standing on the seat in stillwater (probably depends on your balance and size). It takes less than 10 minutes to set up and at the end of the day I deflate it, roll it up and toss it in the back of the SUV. While I've read mixed reviews on NFO customer service, my experiences have been good. When I purchased my Assaut they failed to include the pump which was a part of the package. I called them after receiving the boat to let them know and received the pump within a couple days. The boat itself arrived in less than a week after ordering.
  14. It's really amazing that you'll come on here and dismiss all of the complaints as being those of something someone might have heard from a friend of a friend... Why don't you put a disclaimer in every post of yours that YOU ARE A FRIEND OF DAVE SCADDEN AND YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE COMPANY IS NOT WHAT MOST PEOPLE SHOULD EXPECT.

    Thread after thread after thread about lousy customer service and to you it's like a dinner bell ringing. Time to get to WFF and start the apologies for NFO. Or, just dismiss it as being something someone heard from a friend of a friend. Pretty f'n pathetic that NFO has to have its own internet watch group to jump in and make excuses for them.

    Even in this thread....
    Forgot the pump? Anybody reading this EVER have Bucks, Outcast, Aire, Big Sky, etc forget anything in one of their packages? Simple oversight, sure. To be expected, it seems so.

    Before you jump on me for chiming in on this thread, I come on here occasionally to counter a bit of your cheerleading while you have to chime in on EVERY SINGLE NFO thread to make excuses for that company. It really is odd, and, having someone balance out your cheerleading isn't what I'd consider bashing. Simply pointing out that all these "friend of a friend of a friend" stories aren't just stories. They are real people who have worked real hard to purchase a product from a company that is run about as poorly as any I'VE EVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY AND DO BUSINESS WITH. Yes, I've tried to give them my money on more than one account.

    If it was me looking for a pontoon I'd be looking really hard at Kerry's Bronco Extreme in the classifieds. You won't have to worry about missing parts or broken oarlock pins or promises to have certain oars shipped. You won't have to keep checking your porch to see if the UPS driver has delivered whatever it is that is missing from your order. You'll just have a boat that is there when you need it.

    If you wanted to spend a bit more the Outcast PAC1000 would be a great choice. It would allow you to fish rivers, use as a kickboat in lakes and do multi day trips about anywhere you want to go. It's a workhorse. And, you won't have to worry about receiving only 1 oar and 3 oarlocks in the box.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.

  15. I do chime in as you do, but this makes ME bad? I read all the posts as well. I didn't realize they still included a pump with orders but okay, that was dropping the ball. Just like Sawyer telling Dave the oars will be made at a date then not deliver. Sure that makes Dave look bad too. Then I read someone say they went straight to Sawyer and THEY said there was a waiting list on a particular oar. And for the record, The Power Stroke is Daves oar. There are some here that go out of their way to discredit a boat they have NEVER had anything to do with and they do this out of what they have heard or read.
    But I am reading a lot of Positive here too, as well as personal experience.
    But it is okay for you to bash me and NFO, but brag Outcast....I see what you did here.
  16. Blue, I wasn't going to comment until you tried to discredit all the complaints as being nonsense.

    Even if a person only believed 1/10th of the bs thrown around about NFO, that still leaves a lot to be desired regarding their customer service.

    Not bragging up any company as I threw a couple of them in the mix. I have no allegiance to any manufacturer.

    Anything I said in my previous post not true? Seems they have nice products at a decent price but it is buyer beware when it comes to purchasing their products. There is nothing objective about your support for the company. Their biggest advocate here is also a friend of the owner.

    That being said, the OP asked about pontoon boat options. I threw a couple of them out there. Sorry if your friends boats aren't among those I recommended.

    Time for me to go outside and play nice with the other kids ;)
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  17. Please note, I was NOT the first to recommend NFO. In fact I have many times mentioned Bucks Bags & Outcast. My friendship with Dave was long before the boats. He builds a GREAT boat as many here will attest to. The main complaint about NFO is the accessories, NOT the boat its self. He offers the same oars as everyone else with his boats. People want to "up grade" he offers that as well, but the supplier to the accessories might not be on top of things. His fault for not saying, "I will get them out as soon as I get them, whenever that might be". No, seems people want a date and understandably.

    You decided to hi jack this post by bash me for always "defending" my friend. No I defend a wonderful boat regardless of who makes it. You are also on every one of these posts I am, bashing NFO.
    Okay, you are anti-scadden, we get that. But, apparently some are pro-scadden besides me.

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