Pontoon boats make excellent fly fishing boats. We’re not referring to the large party boats chartered for fishing, but small, compact one- or two-man pontoon boats that are designed specifically to meet the needs of sports fishermen. They are well designed for the task and quite comfortable. Fly fishing pontoon boats are typically small, usually having a length of less than eight feet, although larger models are available through most dealers. You’ve undoubtedly seen these boats plying the waters of your local lakes and rivers. There are two popular constructions: the solid air-bladder boat and the inflatable boat. Using pontoon boats for fishing, a trend which started in earnest during the 1980s, has gained in popularity. When you know more about these boats, you’ll understand why.
Pontoon boats have a V shape that makes them quite easy to maneuver, provided you know the basics of handling a set of oars. The boats rigid frame enables the rower to execute extremely powerful thrusts and easily negotiate quick turns in tight spaces. These boats are also known for their excellent durability. Their rugged pontoon design and shallow draft enables them to negotiate the bottom hazards usually encountered when fly fishing, and it doesn’t take very long for the novice to become an expert sailor. Because these boats are small and relatively light weight, they are quite portable, and easy to handle. They can be carried and set up easily by one person.
If you’re a fly fisherman or are considering taking up the sport, consider the comfort and efficiency of a good fly fishing pontoon boat. These boats are readily available in both one- and two-seat models. The construction is straightforward and simple: two pontoons lashed together with a platform on top. Seats are integrated on the flat platform. These popular craft are often referred to as mini-pontoon boats. Different designs offer different seating methods. One type has a simple seat in between the two pontoons. The user’s feet generally usually extend beneath the boat into the water, making it necessary to wear clothing that is appropriate to the weather and water temperature. This seating configuration is found on less expensive boats. Some fishermen prefer this seating, claiming it is more manoeuvrable. Some say the extended feet scare the fish, although this is not a problem for fly fishermen whose target is further away from the boat.
The alternative seating configuration is found on boats that are slightly larger. These boats generally have a platform in between the two pontoons. They are slightly bigger in size; this enables you to have another person accompanying you on the fishing trip. This is perfect since fishing is an activity which is supposed to be enjoyed with someone. Because of their small size, these boats can navigate in tight areas from small puddle-sized waters to lakes, streams – even calm ocean areas. These mini-boats are available in a number of styles and can be found or ordered through any pontoon boat dealer.
Cost is an important consideration when buying a fishing boat. Many fishermen who would certainly like to own their own boat cannot do so because of the high cost of a traditional boat and motor. Some traditional higher-end boats cost upwards or $20.000, more than most weekend sports fishermen can afford. This is the area in which small pontoon boats capture the market. They are the perfect choice for the weekend user, costing less than most second-hand boats. By demanding only a fraction of the cost of older more traditional craft, these boats have made it possible for many fishermen, who could otherwise not afford to purchase an expensive craft, to enjoy the benefits of boat ownership.
Before the advent of these smaller pontoon boats, fishermen wishing to enjoy the sport using their own small craft were limited to fishing from canoes or kayaks. While these boats were popular and not terribly expensive, they were and are quite uncomfortable for a long day of fishing. It’s difficult to stretch or to work out a painful cramp when sitting in the confined space offered by a canoe or kayak. The deck, or main structural platform, while not spacious, allows enough room for the passengers to stretch their legs and move around in their seats. You can also attach a small, most probably electric motor to enhance your experience without expending the physical energy to row to that favorite fishing spot. This small engine allows the fishermen to drift lazily down the river and not be worried about disturbing the waters. Larger fishing boats with their necessarily more powerful engines can be extremely noisy and cause a lot of turbulence, which is not conducive to fishing. Lastly, there is always enough room on the deck for a cooler filled with cold beverages, and maybe even a small grill for the afternoon meal (of fresh fish, if you’re lucky).