A large amount of the content on Pontoonopedia is focused around entertaining. After all, that’s what takes up the bulk of my time when out on the water.

But from time to time I get the chance to go out by myself or with some buddies and engage in my second passion which is fishing… and have recently also started to introduce my youngest son to this awesome past-time.

Pontoon boats are ideal for fishing from (here are some pros and cons), and if you’re a beginner you should be able to get up and running in no time at all.

Below is my list of the top 11 pontoon boat fishing tips for beginners including some techniques, habits, and equipment I would recommend.

#1: Consider the Pontoon’s Layout

You might already own a pontoon boat, and just want to start up fishing straight away with no delays. But if you are still in the decision-making process on what to buy, then take a look first at some of the best fishing pontoons on the market.

Some of these exist in pontoon boats you can buy today, others you might want to make a few small adjustments to your ride for the best fishing experience possible.

pontoon fishing tips

This Avalon pontoon boat is just perfect for casual fishing trips.

To find out more, take a look at what other boat owners have done to their pontoons to make them as optimized for fishing as possible with these fishing layout ideas.

As a side note for beginners, you might be worried about fishing from a pontoon, but don’t be.

They are extremely stable and tend to be much larger than the average sized fishing boat.

Providing you have the right gear and play safe, there’s no reason why you can’t have a great day’s fishing no matter what your prior experience.

#2: Use a Second Anchor for Stability

Pontoon boats are large and do tend to have problems staying in one place when anchored down. 

There’s nothing more frustrating than finding the best fishing spot, only for the wind to pick up and push you out of position. 

That’s why it’s important to have multiple anchors or at the very least a second anchor on board when fishing.

With one anchor at the front, and one at the rear, you should be able to secure your pontoon boat in place whilst you fish with no spinning and movement.

I’ve previously recommended a whole range of affordable, yet reliable anchors on Pontoonopedia. To see which ones I recommend take a look at this anchor guide. 

#3: Don’t Forget to Lower or Remove the Bimini Top

Almost every single pontoon boat on the market comes with a Bimini top, which is great for shielding you and your passengers from the sun… but not so great for fishing.

Before you set off, make sure that you either lower or completely remove the Bimini top as otherwise it’s going to seriously affect your casting.

I’ve seen scenarios where fishing beginners will forget this essential step and end up getting their rod stuck and even damaging the Bimini this way.

You don’t want that line and hook to get stuck in the fabric as it’s going to lend to an expensive repair job.

#4: Install Fishing Rod Holders and Storage

Your pontoon boat might not have rod holders pre-fitted, but that’s fine as they honestly are not that expensive and will make your day so much easier. 

I’ve put together a guide to the best fishing rod holders that money can buy – and they aren’t’ all expensive so take a look to find some to suit your budget.

holders

Fishing rod holders will make your day so much easier.

I would also recommend that you invest in some storage for not just placing your catch, but also to help keep your rods protected when not in use.

Ideas to consider would include a livewell seat and also some of the different rod storage solutions including racks that are specifically designed for pontoon boats.

If you don’t want to invest in a livewell, and they can be very expensive as aftermarket add-ons, then a cooler box can work just as well for keeping fish and bait in.

#5: Have Plastic Containers for Fish

I just know that your day’s fishing is going to be successful, but you’re going to need somewhere to keep all those fish you catch. 

If you don’t have a livewell or cooler already installed on your pontoon boat or can’t afford one, then plastic containers work fine. 

#6: Think About the Upholstery

Most modern pontoon boats are primarily designed for luxury and comfort. But those features such as vinyl or PVC seats don’t always lend themselves too well to a day’s fishing.

Preparing fish, working with blades, and the mess that fishing can generate can play havoc with your nice furnishings and upholstery so think about investing in some seat covers this season.

If you do end up getting your vinyl seats dirty with mildew and any other stains then they are relatively simple to clean – providing you have the right method which you can read more about there.

#7: Bring Towels for Prep and Cleaning

Following on from that last point, you can never do without enough towels when fishing from a pontoon boat.

Spread them across your boat’s seats and create a place where you can make mess, wipe things clean, prep fish and bait, and do any cutting.

bait

Cutting fish on your pontoon boat can get very messy.

This one obvious pontoon fishing tip will save you not just time in cleaning up but will also make things way easier to manage when on the boat.

#8: Fit a Fish Finder to Make Things Easier

Having a decent fish finder on board won’t just help you find the ideal catch but will also let you have a better understanding on how deep the waters are underneath your pontoon.

Here’s a beginner guide to installing a fish finder, including my tips on what I believe to be the best in the business for pontoon fishing.

 #10: Know and Stick to the Local Laws

Fishing regulations differ from state to state, so if you’re planning on a pontoon boat fishing holiday and rental, know what the local laws are.

There could be limitations on what you can catch, and the boating laws can differ depending on where you are in the country.

If you need a fishing license to fish, then don’t leave it at home!

Whilst you might never see anyone checking them, chances are that the day you forget it is the day you get asked to show yours.

#11: Why Not Grill and Cook Up Your Catch?

Fish tastes way better the sooner it’s been grilled, and pontoon boats are ideal for doing so… providing you have a grill of course!

fishing grill

Nothing tastes better than fresh fish grilled off the side of your pontoon boat.

You can buy standalone grills that can sit on a table, but those aren’t that great when a wake hits you.

Instead go take a look at the recommended pontoon boat grills I have featured previously on Pontoonopedia, including the best ones that can be fitted to the boat’s railings.

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed these 11 pontoon boat fishing tips for beginners.

If there’s one thing I want to end on, it’s functionality.

Most pontoon boats are primarily designed for leisure and entertainment, and unless you are riding a pontoon with a fishing package, you’re best off making a few modifications.

For a comprehensive list of all the fishing gear I believe you will need, please take a look at the best pontoon fishing accessories currently available on the market.