Pontoon Boats - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2001, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: J_DDate: 8/15/2001 1:34 AM
I am kind of intriged with boats, particularily pontoon boats. So I thought I might field some answers addressing some concerns I have about them.
Does anyone on the board use a pontoon boat? If so, on what rivers. How bad are the rivers you run (class II, III, IV)? What make , model and length is your boat ? What are your comments on frame contruction and material as pertains to corrosion. Like will powder coated aluminum hold up? Or do you need steel? Does anyone have a boat with a stainless steel frame? (Bucks Bags) Does anyone use their boats in the salt? With all this in mind, how long will they last? Anything else you can think of that I should know before (if) I get one? Thanks
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2001, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: fish-headDate: 8/15/2001 4:12 AM
Why a Pontoon boat instead of a Pram ?Fish-Head
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2001, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: steelheadr99Date: 8/15/2001 4:42 AM
Hi JD, i have a Bucks Bronco, its 7 years old,does not show much wear, its a perfect one day float trip boat. I bought it to use on the Deschutes river on the Warm Springs to Trout Creek run where there are no rapids at all. Within 2 years i had floated all the river (except Shears falls pf course), I have taken it through White Horse(class IV) with no problems, and i think i was one of the first to launch one down at Macks Canyon and float to the Columbia,that did take 2 days but it was a lot of fun. I have used it on the Sandy River, Clackamas River, The Trask river and the Wilson river just to name a few of the rivers i have run.
The one i have has 8' pontoons and a stainless steel frame,for one day trips its perfect but if you think you might do over night trips go for one with 10' pontoons to carry more gear. For 6 years it was my mode of transport down rivers,just strap it to the roof rack on the sport utility and off i would go. I have been guiding a lot more this year so i have not used it as much.one trick i have learned is when i store it keep the pontoons half full of air, they seem to last a lot longer than total deflating them. If i was going to buy another one i would go with Bucks again,it has worked great for me,tight lines,brian 
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-15-2001, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: SpeyrdDate: 8/15/2001 3:31 PM
Hi JD,  Look for a a model that has some good oar locks, not the type that strap to the oar. A steel frame can take a bend and be bent back. Have owned from the start of being popular and like on that is in the 10' range. Look at a Scadden. Don't sell them, not associated with them, and whatever else.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-16-2001, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: J_DDate: 8/16/2001 2:31 AM
As to why a pontoon boat instead of a pram, it has been my experience that altho prams are nice to fish out of, (probably not with a Spey rod) they don't bounce off obstacles too well and they are usually carried upside down atop ones car, which necessitates emptying them out every time. Since what I had in mind was simply drifting from one stretch of water to the next, then beaching the boat and wade fishing, a pontoon boat seemed the better craft.
I have have considered the Bronco as well as the Scadden. Both well made boats. Wondered also about the validity of the dual bladders and the 7' oars. But I guess if you've been through class IV water and still holding up after seven years, maybe it's overkill???? Or  quite possibly you are a real good boatman.
Thanks guys,
><///('> JD
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 08-17-2001, 02:36 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: loco_altoDate: 8/16/2001 9:36 PM
Does anyone have a feel if the Pac 9 pontoons are much less durable than the Pac 900 pontoons? The price difference is on the order of $400, yet the Pac 9 and 900 frames are both aluminum (the Pac 8 is stainless, Pac 800 aluminum) and the Pac 9 seems like a fine deal for a slightly larger boat
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-04-2001, 08:10 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: BullheadDate: 9/4/2001 3:10 AM
I bought the Bucks Bag "Bronco" early this year and it has served me well.  I havent taken it down any white water yet.  I have taken it down the Harrison River in which there are some fast sections but the water remains flat.  I have also used it on lakes and in the saltwater.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-04-2001, 10:42 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: Fred EvansDate: 9/4/2001 5:42 AM
Well this crappy msn site has dumped me again. (Maybe a clue there??).  Often thought of one these types of craft for the upper Rogue. Maybe a couple of class 2's but that's about it. But given wife type gets a major corinary if I wade up to my knees how stable are these boats.
Only sat in one once and never been on the water so will need all the "sales help" I can get to soften up the JoanMeister.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-05-2001, 12:03 AM Thread Starter
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Originator: martyDate: 9/4/2001 7:03 PM
What about spey casting/fishing from a pontoon boat while sitting down? The mouth of the White Salmon river near me, which is almost a stillwater fishery, has a major population of salmon now and I tried my 9.5 ' 8-weight but after seeing the size of some of these fish I probably will need something heftier, like my 9140-4.  Stupid idea to use this sitting down on a pontoon boat / float tube? Impossible to land a big one if hooked? Use a super long net? Get more common sense?
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-08-2001, 03:28 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: J_DDate: 9/8/2001 10:28 AM
Never could keep it straight, the difference between Pac X and Pac XXX series.
How is the Bronco faring in regards to corrsion from the salt? Assuming you hose it down good after a trip to the salt?
You would probably have a real hard time trying to capsize one of these things, unless you were in some rough water and hit something. Promise the Joanster you'll wear a PFD.
Trying to Spey cast from a pontoon boat while sitting down doesn't sound like my idea of having fun. Boat naturally wants to face downstream. Trying to cast to the side from a sitting position? I don't think so. Well you said it is almost still water so you might get buy with manuvering the boat with fins. But then there is all that crapola like oars and foot pegs and every little strap end, pin, buckle, whatever to get in your way. A stripping apron and a single hander would help. A pram would allow you sit sideways if necessary and turn to cast to any direction. I've seen adds for a pontoon boat that you can stand up in (on). And you can stand in a tri-balance kayak, and then there is always the canoe. Boats come in as many varieties as fly rods. And the more suited they are for a special purpose, the less suitable they are for anything else. You just have to find the best compromise and/or make do.
It's late. I'm outa here.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-22-2001, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originator: Steelheader69Date: 9/22/2001 7:01 AM
Well, I can give you quite a bit of insight on catarafts (aka pontoon boats on the lower spectrum).  I've been running them well before I can recall there being "fishing pontoon boats".  Just say it this way, I have a 16' Aire Ocelot that's over 12 years old.
Here's my insight.  I look at these boats from my experiences running whitewater, and also fishing from them.  I owned a few of the smaller "pontoon boats" but ended up dumping the couple I did have to buy a top notch small cataraft.  I use my 16' for my "driftboat" for using up to 4 fisherman from, and am in process of building a smaller 1/2 man cataraft in the 12' range.  Here's my opinion, though some will defend their boats, I'm speaking from over 12 years experience running cats, and over 15 years in a whitewater boating. 
First off, and this is the most important rule of all....YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!!!!!  You rarely get a deal on a new boat.  Don't expect to go pay $700 and get a $1500 boat.  It won't happen unless you know a person who deals the tubes.  I've owned Outcasts, and I've used Buck's bags and the like.  Outcasts tubes are built by Aire, but to Outcasts specs (which are their downfall, would be much better boats if built to Aire's standards).  You can run any boat through almost any rapid if you know what you're doing.  I highly commend the stick work of the member who took a buck's bag through a class four.  You must be a very skilled oarsman.  I have run my Outcasts (I've owned a fishcat and a pac 9) through class 4's myself, but I was working the whole time.  Especially the short length, an 8' boat through a class 4 is asking for trouble (unless by chance it's actually a class 3).  Most of these so called "pontoon boats" are built off smaller less stable frames.  I've watched outcasts and bucks buckle (and a few even twist and snap) going through class 4's.  A true class 4 is a wild ride, something that will really test a boat under 12'.  If you're inexperienced, then you'd better stay with class 2's and mild class 3's. 
To kind of get to the point before I start preaching (I take catarafts very seriously) you want the best cataraft package on the market?  If I was to pick one that wasn't custom built would be the Steelheader by skookum.  They're a bit heavier, but so much more stable then any other "pontoon boat" on the market.  Before anyone gets up and starts blasting at what I just said answer me one thing.......How many of you in your 8-9' pontoon boats can stand up and fish without doing a balancing act?  This is the true test of a cat and stability in class 4's.  If you can't stand up securely then you're really doing an act while running rapids.  I just sold off my 9' steelheader (i've found from my experiences the ultimate 1 man cat is a 12' that can be converted to run 2 if you want to take your buddy).  I could anchor up in rocky slots and stand up and effectively fish seems without worrying about tipping over.  I played lots of fish on the standing deck without once taking a dunk.  I could never do that with any of the other boats I owned or used.  Want to check out a steelheader?  go to http://www.steelheader.com and see what Bill makes.  These are truly boats built for fisherman by a fisherman.  They're just a bit more expensive then a top of the line Outcast or Buck's and well worth the money.  Before I finish my speil I'll add this.  Go with the galvanized frames.  They're much more durable, though heavier.  You'll have a much easier time fixing a bent steel frame over a bent aluminum frame (trust me, if you actually seriously whitewater your boat you'll dent the frame eventually).  They hold up well in saltwater, just have to clean them up like anything else you use in the salt.
Now, if you're going to spend the money, go all the way.  You want the perfect size for a 1 man?  12' is the perfect sized boat.  8-10' boats are ok, but you'll find really quick that you'll outgrow it quick.  I'd suggest having a custom boat built.  DO NOT BUY A 12' OUTCAST!!!!  When a boat gets bigger, the frame should get wider and the tubes should increase in diameter.  The Outcast diameter stays the same and so does the width of the frame.  You lose weight capacity and stability.  First you have to buy a set of tubes.  I'd suggest either buying a set of Steelheader tubes from skookum, Maravia, Wing, Sotar, NRS, or Aire's in the 12' range.  Then, have a custom frame built.  Go galvanized.  Have a modular frame system built.  Have a rowers frame built.  This way when you go solo you don't need to pack on all the extra weight.  Have it built with either a cooler for your seat or a cooler storage compartment behind your rowers seat.  Next, have a passenger frame built you can tie down in front of your rowers frame in case you want company.  This way you have the best of both worlds.  You can float multi day trips by yourself or with your buddies. 
Well, I could go on and on.  If you have any questions, email me at [email protected] and I'll do my best.  Where do you live?  If you lived in Washington state I'd let you take a look at my setup (that offer goes for anyone who reads this). 
Good luck..Jerry  PS, yes, you can use a spey rod on a true cataraft.  You can stand up and cast it.  I don't have a top notch speyrod, but I love mine to death.  It works superbly. 
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