Good pontoon brands

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Modest_Man

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I'm researching buying a pontoon and without any "hands on" experience there are so many different brands that it's hard to tell which will last me years and which will pop tomorrow, especially buying used.

I'm looking for a little larger one I think around the 10' range. If you know of any quality brands (or super crappy brands to avoid) please let me know.
 
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RunWithSasquatch

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Ill be honest, if you want a REAL cataraft, thats good for more than a tule in the lake, look into getting a Sotar, you wont be disapointed.
 
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Growbug

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You are going to get a lot of personal prefs on this thread.... grin

I LOVE my Classic Accessories Rogue toon. Says its 8ft 6 but feels and looks larger. Can handle larger dudes (like me) and loads of stuff bolted on. Currently it in "lake" mode with 30lb Minn Kota, battery, fish finder, etc. etc. etc. River mode is easy, strip everything off that you dont NEED. It also has an attachable wheel so you can move it around like a wheelbarrow.
 
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Throbbit _Shane

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I bought a creek company on craigslist last year for $80. it looks like it may have some years on it. but its worked great and seems like it will for some time.
 
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skunk

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You will get one, try it, and instantly find what you don't like. Main thing, sit on it and pretend rowing with it, with the oars in locks. This will show which ones will hit your knees, hips etc with your hands as you row. Find one you fit on well.
 
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Modest_Man

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My fiance's dad has a 14' Cataraft (Sotar I think?) that I'd like to tag along with on some river runs this summer. Mostly class III. I need something that can do it all and take some abuse but still easily packable and fishable.

A cat would be very nice but I'm not sure I can afford one yet. Another option is a cheap pontoon boat and a couple kayaks for the rafting. I'm just in the planning stages still.
 
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Chedster

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Check out Water Ready pontoons. He makes one heck of a boat with all the options you will need.
 
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Keith

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Modest_Man, you want to look at options, options, options..... Once you hit a certain quality level, all the toons are basically the same.

Go to Fishermans and other outdoor shops and look at what they have on display. Also, keep your eyes peeled when you see toons out in the "field" being used. You will then have a feel for frame constructions, tube length, tube covering options, etc...

Then decide how you will use it... lakes, streams, white water class I, II, III, etc... That will steer you toward what will be suitable, un-suitable or overkill.

My best advise is to look for options: Gear bags, Rod Holder, Anchor System, Rear Platform, Engine Mount, Weight Capacity, etc.... You would be surprised how many times I am usiing mine and I come across another fisherman who has a huge toon that is a really nice brand but has very limited gear bags, no way to mount an engine (electric of course), etc..

Mine is rated for class II rapids... more than enough for me and my needs, has a 400 lb capacity.. more than enough for me and my Minn Kota, has three gear bags per side - enough storage for all my gear, the fish I catch, lunch and about 18 beers with room for ice to keep them cool. It has a rear platform, engine mount and full anchor system that can be used on both sides of the boat. My biggest thing is storage - and most toons do not come with much storage unless you get into the real expensive ones... With mine, I can go out all day and never have to return for anything.

That is my advice - everybody has different priorities/needs but, I have never heard anybody say they have too much storage or too many options !!!
 
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colbypearson

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my creek company lasted about 2 years and lost air every trip my classic accessories cimmaron has the stupidest air valve and didn't come with complete pieces to blow it up, it held air great until the valve broke and fell in now i have a pontoon with a 2"hole in it where the valve used to be lol
 
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Modest_Man

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All good advice. Guess I really just need to get hands-on. I'm all about DIYing it up and modifing whatever I end up getting. Frankly, all of my fishing gear can fit in a small backpack and I'm of the less is more mindset (and no drinking near water) so while storage could be an issue it shouldn't be a large issue. I don't think I'd ever add a motor, I actually really enjoy rowing if that's weird, and I'm a skinny mofo so weight isn't an issue (6'2" and 160 soaking wet). I'm worried more about frame and pontoon construction as ideally I'd use it for up to class III.

There are just so many brands out there it's like a sensory overload.

This is what I'm looking at right now. Creek Company :: Pontoon Boats :: #930 - ODC XR 9
 
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Keith

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It looks like you are getting to the bottom of what your priorities are.

Nice looking toon...... wow I'd hate to have that much $$$ into mine but, again, mine wouldn't be as suitable for rapids as the one you are looking at.

No beer near water.. you are not invited to fish with me!! HA !! Not that you'd want to. I always where my life vest and when I am out camping and on the lake for 3 - 4 hours you bet I'm packing a few barley pops!!!

Good luck with the search.
 
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Modest_Man

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I wouldn't spend that much either. I found a site that has them for $680 new.
 
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JAFO

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I can't stress enough about quality oars and locks. You need to be able to get yourself out of a bad situation if need be.
I got caught on a big lake when the wind came up and broke a sh tty oar lock. Not a fun ride!
 
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OnTheFly

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You are going to get a lot of personal prefs on this thread.... grin

Rob here is right. Everyone's pontoon is their favorite. Pontoons have come a long way in the last 15 years. I own two 8' Bucks Bags Broncos one of which is 13 years old and the other 10 and had no issues with failure. They don't make the 8' bronco anymore but they do have a 10foot Bronco Extreme. Their 8 footers are the South Fork. The web site is worth the look.
 
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Modest_Man

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So now I've got a lead on a 12' cataraft. Go big or go home right? Made by Jack's Plastic Welding. Seems about ideal. Set up for 2 person (with dual oar locks and seats) but can easily go one person with the frame. Narrow enough for smaller river fishing but large enough and hardcore enough for rafting up to class V rapids (eventually). Can be rowed or paddled.
 
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skunk

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That's funny, I was just looking at their website and drooling over the toons there. Sounds like a good one to me. Reminds me, Next Adventure has a basement where they have a number of cool river running deals, toons and rafts. Stop in and you can walk on and really look over items. Good for general ideas and what not.
 
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Modest_Man

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Ok, so today I bought a legimate cataraft. Twelve foot. Made in 2008, used once on the Rogue by an older couple who flipped it and the wife wanted nothing to do with it.

I'll assemble it and take some photos. This thing is hardcore. Threw the frame ontop the Subaru and deflated the pontoons and tossed them inside. Came with oars. Just need some life jackets and an invasive species permit and I think I'm good to go.
 
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