When it comes to fishing boats, a pontoon boat is more than likely not the first boat that we fishermen think of. However, what if I told you that other than for deep sea fishing, pontoon boats actually make excellent fishing boats?
In fact, today’s pontoon boats are not at all like the ones you use to go on when you were growing up.
Today, you have toons that are specifically designed for serious fishermen who want to bring the family along or all of their buddies from time to time.
So, do pontoon boats make good fishing boats? Here are 9 reasons why I say they do!
1. The Perfect Boat For Taking The Family Fishing
Other than for maybe a deck boat, there is no other boat (at least in my opinion) that’s better for taking your family and friends out on the water for a day of fishing.
Because pontoon boats have so much room, with most being rated to hold 11 or more people, you can bring your entire family! No longer do you have to decide who’s turn it is to go out on the boat.
Another advantage of buying a pontoon boat is that it doesn’t have to be all about fishing! This is a real plus if you have small kids.
I know if your kids are like mine, they can get bored with fishing real fast! Especially when we aren’t catching anything.
With a pontoon boat, there’s plenty of room for them to do other things like dive off the boat (you’re probably not going to catch any fish though), use it as a base for snorkeling, play board games on the deck, or even take a nap on one of the many cushioned seats.
If you opt for one with a larger motor, you can always throw a tube in the water and let the fun begin.
Speaking of larger motors…with yesterdays pontoon boats you were only able to outfit them with a smaller outboard motor. However, with today’s versions, especially the tri-toons, you can power it with a much larger engine.
Some models will even accommodate a 250 hp motor!
Now, this doesn’t mean that you have to go this route, it is definitely an option.
2. You Can Outfit them With All The Fishing Additions
I’m not 100% for sure about this, but I think that a lot of fishermen discount pontoon boats as serious fishing vessels because they think that they are only for cruising around with a bunch of people.
They don’t realize that you can outfit a pontoon boat with all the latest fishing boat accessories just like you would expect to find any other fishing boat.
- Fish Finder
- Trolling Motor
- Live Well
- Fishing Chairs
- Bimini Top
- Rod Holders
- Jack Plate
This is a total game changer in my opinion!
If I can have all of these accessories on a more stable fishing platform, why would I choose any other type of boat?
3. Pontoons Have Plenty of Storage For All of Your Gear
A big complaint that I hear from boat owners (myself included), especially fishing boat owners, is that there is just not enough storage for all of your gear.
After you load all of the life jackets, coolers, fishing gear, etc, there is very little room on the boat.
This is especially true if you bring all of your buddies who think that they need two tackle boxes and 5 fishing poles, and a portable cooler. That’s a lot of gear to try and fit on a normal 20 ft bay boat.
With a pontoon boat, having enough room to store and keep all of the gear out of the way won’t be a problem.
In fact, most will have a storage compartment under every cushioned seat, not to mention the enormous deck space, you’ll never have to worry about where to fit all of your gear again.
4. Usually Much Cheaper Than Other Fishing Boats
No boat is really cheap, especially a new one! However, when compared to other fishing boats, a pontoon boat is much much less expensive.
Why is this?
The main reason is the size of the engine. With a traditional v-hull boat such as a bay boat, the hull creates resistance in the water, so you need a bigger motor to get the boat on plane.
Since pontoons sit on top of the water, you won’t need as big of an engine as a v-hull and since a boat’s engine can amount to roughly 50% of its total cost, you’ll be saving quite a bit of money.
Also, the aluminum pontoons on a pontoon boat are much cheaper than the fiberglass hull of a traditional boat, not to mention, a lot easier to clean and maintain.
Something else that could make a pontoon boat cheaper than other boats is the cost of insurance you pay each month.
Since pontoon boats are typically less expensive than a traditional fishing boat of the same size, they are usually cheaper to insure. Pontoon boats that sell for under $30,000, can cost as little as $20-$30 a month for good insurance coverage.
Another thing that makes the cost of coverage cheaper is that it’s usually cheaper to fix if an accident occurs when compared to fiberglass boats.
Even if you choose to outfit your pontoon boat with a larger engine, it will still usually be cheaper to insure than that of your typical boat running the same size of motor.
5. Great For Shallow Water Fishing
While pontoon boats won’t get you into really skinny water like some flats boats and skiffs will, they will go pretty shallow, especially if you outfit them with a jack plate.
In fact, depending on how many people and how much gear you have on board, you should be able to take it in water as shallow as 2 feet deep.
That’s much shallower than a lot of other fishing boats will get you!
This will allow you to target those reds and bass during the winter months when they are hanging out in the shallows trying to stay warm.
Also, since the water is so shallow, and since a pontoon boat is super easy to get on and off of, you could always hop off and do a little wade fishing.
6. Pontoons Are Extremely Stable
One of the most annoying things when fishing with your buddies on a traditional v-hull boat (such as a bay boat), is when someone has to get something out of the cooler or move around for some other reason.
With a v-hull boat, when one person moves, the whole boat moves, making fishing a little more difficult.
Not only can this be dangerous, but the constant vibrations in the water that the boat’s hull makes from people moving around can scare away the fish!
With a pontoon boat, you don’t have this problem!
Because pontoon boats are built for stability, they are superior to any other boat when it comes to their stability.
7. You Can Cook Your Lunch Right on The Boat
When I go fishing, I love to sometimes pull up to one of the many spoil islands that dot the Indian River and stretch my legs. If I’ve been lucky enough to catch a few fish, I sometimes will grill them right there on the island.
With a pontoon boat, you don’t need an island in order to grill!
The large deck is your island, and your kitchen, and your dining room. Heck, it can even be your living room to kick back and relax after you’ve filled your stomach with fresh fish or whatever you decide to cook.
All you need to do in order to make this happen is a grill that is made to attach to a pontoon boat and you’re good to go. Cuisinart actually makes a portable grill that has been modified to fit perfectly onto any pontoon boat. You can find the exact model here on Amazon.com.
8. The Perfect for Fishing, Snorkeling, and Diving
I don’t know about you, but I consider diving for lobster and snorkeling for scallops fishing and there’s not a better boat that you can do either of these from than a pontoon boat.
You will not find a more stable platform for fishing, snorkeling, diving, sunbathing, or just hanging out than you will on a pontoon boat!
If you’ve ever tried climbing into a traditional v-hull from out of the water, then you know what I mean.
9. Some Models Come Ready to Fish
It’s true that your typical pontoon boat is not equipped with the latest and greatest fishing accessories. In fact, most don’t even come standard with a fish finder.
Outfitting your boat with electronics, a trolling motor, live well, etc can get pretty expensive and who wants to drop another couple of thousand on additions after having just spent $30,000 on a new boat.
Lucky for you, they already have pontoon boats that come fishing read!
The Avalon pontoon boat comes standard with a built-in fish finder, live well, rear fishing station and even has a center console as you would find on a bay boat.
Honestly, I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want a pontoon boat for fishing?
You get to ride in a Cadillac on the water, while at the same time, have all the latest fishing accessories that you’ve come to expect on a traditional fishing boat.
Is a pontoon boat the ultimate fishing vessel ever? While this might be a stretch, especially since it’s not recommended in taking them deep sea fishing, they are a great alternative for the fisherman who wants to bring the family along.