Perhaps while browsing boat and fishing catalogs and sports shows you noticed the popularity of pontoon boats and viewed them as possible fishing vessels. More people than ever fish with this boat. With that in mind, here are some pontoon fishing tips and thoughts on pontoon boat fishability.
Let’s state that the pontoon fishing tips here refer to powered pontoon boats as opposed to non-powered swim boats with pontoons that are used by a single person for small water fishing. Modern pontoon boats (which must be registered like any other motorboat) can go fast and far, and their general stability and spaciousness make them good for a group, family, teaching children to fish from a stable platform and bringing the dog along. or in some cases have a grill on board while you catch fish.
When you’re in the market for a fishing pontoon, keep these pontoon fishing and fishability tips in mind:
- Most pontoons are not set up for fishing. Look for these because they have accessories and considerations that make them more suitable for fishing. Alternatively, you can set one up for fishing or order factory attachments for a boat that you order.
- Particular considerations of paramount importance are rod holders, a living space or bait well, and an electric motor mounted on the bow.
- Rod holders are probably the biggest problem. This includes upright brackets for the rods during transport, but especially brackets mounted on the rail for bait and bottom fishing. Clamp-on models are great for catching smaller species, but you’ll need sturdy screw-on versions if you want to catch large fish (like stripes or catfish). Track holders are another installation option.
- Think about where you are going. Pontoon boats do best in calm waters and worst in areas with large waves. Most are good at chop or moderate waves, but in large seas the decks can flood, make waves, and produce a lot of spray. Typically, calmer waters, bays, and fishing in moderate winds are best for pontoons.
- Be aware of the susceptibility of pontoons to wind due to their overall size, boxiness, and freeboard, but also the canopies and spiers that many have. Drift fishing in a pontoon is very popular, but control and positioning are hindered by wind and you may need to anchor.
- One of the best pontoon fishing tricks I’ve seen was using a large, heavy ring tied to a rope to hold on to stumps. The ring was easy to twist over the stump and loosen later so you didn’t have to hang up an anchor or lean out of the boat to insert it.
- Adding living space requires thinking about how to get water in and out when the boat is not equipped to do it. Using a bucket to fill a habitat is getting old quickly. You also need to aerate the water.
- You may need a long-handled net to get larger species on board since pontoons are surrounded by fences. This means that a fish must be lifted several feet out of the water to clear the fences. It is not always possible to take a larger fish to a front or rear rail door where there is a lower entry point. A long-handled net is therefore helpful.