OT(sort of)-Inflatable Pontoon Boats

I know this is a canoe and kayak site, but being fishermen I thought somebody might have tried one of these. I’m thinking of adding an inflatable pontoon fishing boat to the fleet. They look stable, comfortable and the idea of rowing to troll a small lake from one of these sounds nice. How durable are they? Are they a pain in the neck to assemble? Good brands or models that aren’t as much as a Kevlar canoe? Any info appreciated.

Check with ShenandoahRiverRat
He uses an ODC 1018 and loves it. I know a ton of people who use them and I’ve not heard anyone say they wish they hadn’t bought a pontoon.

  • Big D


Check out the sea eagle fold cat at www.seaeagle.com

Most popular I’ve seen
Now, most of my friends fish rivers, and those rivers have up to class 3 rapids. We’re generally not out playing those rapids, but running them. So, that makes a difference as to the kind of pontoon to get.

Anyway, what seems most popular among the guys I know who have them is the Creek Company ODC 1018 for one person and 1220 for two persons. The other popular model is Skykomish somethingorother. Or maybe somethingorother Skykomish. Anyway, I’ve fished the Skykomish River and I can see why you’d want a pontoon. It’s swift and cold with a lot of shoals rapids.

So, for what it’s worth, ODC 1018 and Somethingorother Skykomish as starting points. You want aluminum frames for weight consideration, largish pontoons for both height and a more “solid” platform, and good oars. Most folks seem to replace their oars with Carlisle Cataract or similar oars fairly quickly.

Anyway, I’m not a rower, so all of this is second-hand information from me.

The Sea Eagle Fold-cat looks interesting, but I wouldn’t want to trust those joints over time in the kind of rough water I generally fish.

There’s a LOT of whitewater catarafts that can be outfitted for fishing as well. The price goes up for them.

  • Big D

I’ve seen some called Skeeters
in my neck of he woods. They seem to be at the mercy of wind compared to most kayaks. The high seat looks easy to flyfish from.

Dave Scadden

– Last Updated: Jun-30-08 1:44 PM EST –

I have a Dave Scadden with 9' pontoons and love it. If you're fishing in windy situations you could get blown a bit and might want to consider a trolling motor but fishing from it is great!

Make certain you get a good one and I'd recommend an aluminum frame and hard seat. Steel frames are heave and rust and the soft seats can get uncomfortable. Generally speaking if you get one from someone building with aluminum frame the bladders will be of good quality.

I’ve wondered if skegs or rudders
would help with the wind problem.

I suppose you could anchor it to keep from getting blown across the lake. Are the small anchors used for kayaks and canoes enough to hold one in position?

Wonder if a drift sock would help
The craft would continue to drift, just more slowly and in a more direct line. I like the looks of comfort pontoons have, as well as the high casting height. But, the wind problem with most inflatables keeps me from making the plunge.

What Big D said…
I’m in my second year of rowing an ODC 1018. (When I’m not in one of my OT Loons) Sadly, The Creek Company has chosen to discontinue this boat. Don’t ask me why, most of mine and Big D’s crowd who have a pontoon have the 1018. Easy to row, transport, tough as nails and it’ll handle up to class IV water with no problems. But they’re gonna be hard to find in a years time. There’s a couple of guys who have them (new in the box) on Ebay still. But supplies are gonna dwindle pretty quick over the next year I would guess.

Dave Sacadden does indeed have some very nice boats. Their frame geometry is more suited for Fly Fisherman (come with intergal, slide-out-of-the-way casting decks, lean bars, stripping baskets etc) but they tend to be heavier, have heavier ‘bags’ and are less responsive. More expensive as well…but the quality is definately there and if I was in the market for one, I would definately be look at them.

But for my purposes, (Smallmouth fishing on limestone “ledgy” eastern rivers with up to class III rapids) the ODCs fit the bill to a capital ‘T’.

And yes, if you’re doing heavy waters, you NEED to have some HD oars like the Carlile Catracts. The ODC 1018 and bigger come with 8 footers. They sound long…but in the right postions with the rings adjusted correctly they handle great. The light weight oars on most of the ‘skeeter’ type boats would be bent like pipe-cleaners in most of the water we run…espeically down on the New River in VA and West VA.

Outcast Boats
Check out Outcast boats, the have great boats. I have the Fish Cat ir 9, and I love it. I stap my 2.5 Suzuki to it and I can FLY. Have to be careful going into turns, you can bury the pontoon underwater and flip. But I love it for fishing alone, no point bringout out the big boat if you are alone. Also, they are super fun in class 2-3 waters.

Here is the link to the boats


No pontoon
After watching the Trout Bum Diaries I checked out these http://www.bigskyinflatables.com/Home_Page.html that were being used in the movie. Sort of a raft without a bottom. I bought one and am really impressed. It will handle class 3 or 4 rapids, however I don’t so the 23 lbs is easy to portage. Nice for floating the river, when you want to wade just stand up. Just like the video you can stand on the seat. My buddy and I took a 2 day trip down the river recently and these are great for fall low water runs. Works very nicely on the walk in trout pond I visit frequently this time of year. If you are in the market for a pontoon type craft give these a look.