Fly Fishing Pontoon Boats
Fly fishing pontoon boats first became available in the
mid-1980s. The one-man pontoon boat varies between 8 to 10 feet long
and can be rowed similar to a rowboat or kicked with swim fins. This makes them
very easy to maneuver.
Let's look at why a pontoon boat is one of the more popular fly fishing boats used today.
Advantages of Fly Fishing Pontoon Boats:
allow a solo fly fisher to access areas in a river or lake that a bank
fisher just cannot get to.
are more affordable than other kinds of boats and they come in many
are very maneuverable.
are very stable. Some even have solid floors, which allow you to stand.
are lightweight and therefore very portable. You can get the inflatable
boats in the trunk of your car.
are easy to assemble. Most do not need tools to put them together.
come with added features like storage bags, drink holders and rod
holders. The extra compartments can come in really handy.
the lower cost pontoon boats are very durable.
will even come with a motor mount for an electric motor.
What to Look For In a Fly Fishing Pontoon Boat
you need to think long and hard (even if that hurts) about the kind of
waters you want to fish. If you are lake fishing or running a sedate river
any fly fishing pontoon boat will work.
you are running a river with some whitewater make sure your boat is rated
for it. Be careful here; most of the smaller boats are not designed for
come with either inflatable or solid pontoons. I would stay with the inflatable
ones for now. You can’t get the solid ones in your trunk; a pickup truck
will be needed for those. The inflatable pontoons are also lighter.
a note here about hull shapes. If a fly fishing boat has a V bottom it will track
better when you want to go in a straight line. A U-shape hull with
“rocker” (the tubes are curved up a lot at both ends) will give you faster
turns but you also will be “rocking” back and forth all the way across the
lake. Ask any whitewater canoeist about “rocker.”
you weigh matters. All pontoon boats are rated for a certain weight. Going
a little heavier allows you to bring more gear if you plan on an overnight
is important. Almost all have a PVC outer shell. The inside air bladder
comes either PVC vinyl or urethane, with urethane being more durable and expensive.
The thickness of the material ranges from 600 to 1500 denier (1500 is the
heaviest). Some companies give a ten-year warranty on urethane models.
These would be good for whitewater but not really needed if you are going
to spend most of your time on a lake.
come in either powder-coated steel or aluminum. Steel is stronger but it
will be heavier. Most can be assembled without tools and other boats have
no frame at all.
in mind that if the boat sits high on the water you will be affected by
the wind. Something to think about.
budget. If you are mainly a fair-weather angler who does not plan on
spending any time in whitewater, buy a lower cost one. If you have the
money, then go for a urethane air bladder.
last but not least, get a 12-volt electric pump. It is just nice to have.
A Few Words of Caution:
not try the one-man pontoon boats in whitewater unless you have a lot of
experience and know the river.
you do, do not overload a pontoon boat. You can tip them over. It sounds
hard to do, but it can be done.
not leave your PVC pontoon boat on the roof of your car on a hot summer
day. When you come back both you and your boat will be deflated. I talked
to a gentleman at a fly fishing show who did this.
you do always wear a life jacket. In most states it is the law. And it’s a
good idea. How far can you swim in 60-degree water?