If you like the idea of lounging on a boat with your line in the water with a clear blue sky overhead, then it’s quite likely you have begun thinking of taking the plunge and getting a fishing boat.
The problem arises when you are trying to decide on which boat is best for fishing? This article aims to focus on pontoon boats and their viability for fishing. I have also included some must-have features you will need – those are towards the end of the page so scroll down if you want to get straight to those.
Regardless, and speaking from a personal perspective, I love fishing from my pontoon boat. I genuinely can’t think of a better way to spend my weekends.
What I have done first is list a few of the major boat manufacturers that offer excellent pontoons. Their boats are specifically geared towards catering for fisherman.
You can pretty much pick and choose from any of those manufacturers as they are equally as good as each other when it comes to offering the best fishing pontoon boat. You decision will come down to price, size, and whether you want to spend extra money on a fishing package.
Why Use a Pontoon for Fishing?
When you think of fishing boats, the first thing you might imagine is a sleek, white boat. But a pontoon offers so much more over traditional fishing boats.
First off, they are much more stable due to the two pontoons on which the deck rests. However, this is only applicable in relatively calm waters found on rivers and lakes. Please don’t expect to go reeling in massive blue marlins in the deep ocean. These boats are not designed for that.
Secondly, pontoon boats have a lot of deck space, making a day out on the water accessible and enjoyable for the whole family. A pontoon is basically a floating lounge with comfortable chairs, toilets and pop up change rooms.
I’ve written at length about whether or not pontoons are good for fishing. Go read that if you want a more in-depth assessment including the pros and cons.
What are the Best Pontoon Boats for Fishing?
Let’s now explore some of the different options available. There are quite a few well-known manufacturers of pontoon boats. I am going to cover a few of the top dogs (or big fish) in this guide and give a brief overview of their fishing pontoons plus any advantages and disadvantages they might have.
Sylvan Mirage Fish 820 4-PT
This brand is known for sleek high-performance boats, but what we’re interested in is their purpose-built fishing pontoon boat, the Sylvan Mirage Fish 820 4-PT.
This 9-seater, 90hp toon is relatively compact and can easily reach the shallows. It already comes with a fishing package and a few fishing accessories such as rod holders (see my Amazon recommendation) and a measuring scale. Overall, it’s a very good-looking boat.
Having seen one in the flesh recently though, it does seem like the fishing accessories were added as an afterthought and despite having “fish” in the name it does not come across as a lean, mean, fishing machine. They’re a good price though and tick most of the boxes in terms of basic functionality.
StarCraft EX Fish 20 F4
StarCraft is an old timer in the fishing boat industry, and with a long-established and reputable 100-year history you can’t deny that they have the knowledge to build a more than capable fishing pontoon. That statement is well-founded given how many you will see out on the lakes and rivers.
You only have to look the fishing accessories included on their 10-seater, 125hp StarCraft EX 20 F4. It comes with two live wells and pedestal mount fishing seats amongst a few other fishing centric features.
What’s more is there is the option to turn this pontoon into a tritoon which adds another extra level of performance. You will need to spend more though! If you want to know the difference between pontoons versus tritoons, check that link. Otherwise, see them in action in the video below.
Avalon Fish Boats
Avalon has been making pontoon boats for almost 50 years and their pedigree is evident in the Catalina Fish (their top-end model) which comes in two variants, the Quad Fish which is designed for serious anglers only and the Rear Fish for weekend anglers and their families.
They are all stunning boats. No argument. The Quad Fish has a live well in front of the captain stand and a rear fishing center which includes rod holders and another live well. Apart from the fishing features their boats also have all the luxuries you would expect from an expensive leisure boat.
Bennington S16 8’ Narrow Beam
A bit smaller than the previous boats, the Bennington S16 8-foot Narrow-Beam fishing pontoon is by no means inferior. Bennington manufacture stunning pontoons, and this particular model is designed for someone who loves a solitary fishing expedition, but still needs enough room to let the family join in from time to time.
This Bennington is a perfect starter for any fisherman (or woman) looking to jump into the world of pontoons. While it only has two bass seats, with cup and rod holders and corner storage boxes, the luxury high-end features more than make up for that.
Sun Tracker Fishin’ Barge 22 DLX
These guys manufacture a wide range of fishing pontoon boats, with some great all-rounders which can cater for large groups of people, all with different interests. That means even if your guests aren’t interested in fishing, you can drop a line whilst they entertain themselves elsewhere on the boat, or in the water.
My particular favorite is the Fishin’ Barge 22 DLX. It comes with a bow fishing position and a starboard compartment prewired for an optional fishing package. And don’t forget the two fishing chairs with rod and drinks holders – perfect for a day’s fishing with a buddy.
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