I recently realized that I can be pretty expensive buying a brand new boat and getting out on the open water just to get some fishing done.
I looked into it and it’s really not worth it for me to buy a boat that’s designed for open water areas like big lakes and rivers since many of the fishing spots near me are just smaller ponds, strength, and quiet rivers where a big boat just isn’t needed.
I decided to look online and see what some alternatives were so that I could still get out on the water and get some good fishing done and I stumbled onto pontoon boats so I decided to look into it and check out all of the different models available.
These days, when it comes to the best pontoon boat, there are quite a few options to choose from and each of them comes with their own unique features and qualities depending on what it is you’re looking for.
Despite there being so many options I came up with this list of my recommendations if you’re also in the market for a new pontoon boat and you can use this as a starting point to start your own research as well as check out my different recommendations.
Pontoon Boat Buyers Guide
When it comes to choosing the right pontoon boats there are a few different factors that you’re going to want to consider before settling on just one.
It can be pretty hard to choose a specific boat since a lot of them look the same though they all come with different features and specifications.
The Different Types of Pontoon Boats
There are actually quite a few different types of pontoon boats to choose from so I wanted to cover all of the different models that I believe are most popular among fishermen like myself.
One of the most popular types of boats these days are the inflatable ones.
These are really easy to use and you just have to inflate them before getting them into the water so they’re not as big, bulky, or heavy as some of the fixed ones.
Their lightweight design also makes them easier to pack into your car or even carry on your back with a backpack depending on what you’re comfortable with.
I really like the inflatable pontoon boats for fishing in those hard-to-reach lakes or slow-moving rivers where you might need to do some walking before getting into the water and also they’re great if you’re looking for something lightweight and easy to manage.
Aluminum pontoon boats take advantage of aluminum pontoons and this makes them quite sturdy, durable, and they’re still quite lightweight as well.
The aluminum materials that these pontoons use are durable and if you’re someone that’s not careful with their gear then you might want to check out this type.
Another type of pontoon boats are those made using fiberglass materials and these are lightweight, durable, but they can be expensive to repair.
Foam pontoon boats tend to be quite reasonably priced and they take advantage of foam which helps to give the boat a solid feel and makes it a lot less likely to leak.
One of the main drawbacks with this type is that they’re slow and if you’re using it with a motor you might experience poor fuel management compared to lighter types.
Just like the fiberglass ones, foam boats can also be tricky to repair if something goes wrong and you might require professional help to fix damaged foam.
What’s the Right Choice?
If it’s your first time buying a pontoon boat then I would recommend one of the inflatable ones because they’re very popular, available, come with a generous capacity, and they’re easy to get set up and going.
However, any of the different options are suitable and it really depends on what you’re looking for so make sure to check out the specifications and read reviews online before jumping the gun on a purchase.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Before you buy a brand new boat there are some different things you want to consider.
One factor you’re going to want to look at is the overall weight of any pontoon boat that you’re interested in.
Lightweight ones are ideal since you’re going to have to be carrying it somewhere and getting into the water on your own most likely although you still want to make sure that it’s made from durable materials without sacrificing quality or build design just to shed a few pounds.
Inflatable pontoon boats don’t weigh as much as some of the other types and they’re still able to support a suitable amount of weight while still being able to fit into your backpack or carry it without much difficulty.
Keep in mind that you should also look for any boats that are designed using quality materials, resistance to abrasion, take advantage of powder coated metal frames, and just generally use heavy duty materials.
I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea to head out onto the water with a flimsy or poor-quality pontoon boat so always check reviews as well.
Another factor you want to look at is the total capacity of the pontoon boat that you’re interested in.
You need to consider whether or not you’ll be using it for one person or two people as the capacities are different depending on how many people will be using the boat.
Single seater pontoon boats can come with the capacities of anywhere between 300 pounds all the way up to 450 pounds so even if you’re a big guy there should still be some boats available for you to choose from.
As for the two seaters, these usually come with a capacity of up to 650 pounds although you want to look around to see the different capacities.
One thing you should keep in mind is that you never want to overload the boat that you’re using and you should avoid packing it all the way to its maximum capacity as this could have a detrimental impact on its long-term lifespan and performance.
I recommend going with a capacity more than you think you might need just to play it safe and to avoid any problems in the future.
Since it’s very likely that you’ll be sitting down on the boat for extended periods of time getting some fishing done you’re going to want to make sure that the seat is comfortable and comes with a suitable backrest.
Any padding or additional support is good to look out for and I also recommend taking a look to see if the backrest is adjustable.
Having an adjustable backrest means you can change positions throughout the day so you’re not just stuck in a single position and it’s also a good idea to see if the footrest is adjustable as well so you can fully change up your sitting position during the day.
When you’re fishing you probably have quite a bit of gear and if you’re going to be spending the day out on the water then it’s likely that you brought some drinks and snacks along as well.
I recommend keeping an eye out for pontoon boats that come with a combination of pockets and storage compartments.
In these different pockets and compartments you can store any of the fishing gear that you’re carrying with you such as lures, hooks, baits, and any spares and you can also keep things like your smartphone, maps, or anything else you want in the storage so that you can quickly access it through the day.
Another great feature that I love seeing is that there is a rod holder and this really helps since you don’t have to hold the rod all day and you can still get some fishing done with your hands being able to relax and move freely.
I believe that when it comes to the best fishing pontoon boats that there is a mount that can be used to install an electric or gas motor.
Having a motor really makes it easier to get around on the water and increases the distance that you can get around in a single day.
Depending on the boat that you’re interested in the capacity of motor that I can hold will vary so you’re going to want to check to see the size and mounting options if you’re interested in mounting a motor to use,
The Best Pontoon Boat for Fishing
Now that I’ve covered some of the different features that you should keep an eye out for when you’re looking to buy a new pontoon boat let’s take a look at my recommendations on what I think make right choices for the best pontoon boat to use for fishing.
Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
It’s the Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable Fishing Float Tube that I would recommend checking out if you’re looking for an entry-level pontoon boat just to get out on the water with.
This one offers a maximum weight capacity of 350 pounds and it’s a float tube, which is very similar to a pontoon boat, that’s inflatable and even comes with shoulder straps so that you can carry it like a backpack to wherever you’re going.
The backrest is adjustable and thickly padded And this really helps make it more comfortable for when you’re sitting on the water for extended periods of time and there’s even 2 fishing rod holders so that you can get two rods up and still use your hands if you need to.
For carrying any of the gear that you’re bringing with you there is a back mesh storage platform as well as four cargo pockets where you can stash your stuff.
Right on the front is a mesh cover that comes with a lap stripping apron and fish ruler integrated right into it so you can measure your fish before throwing them back in so you can brag to your buddies back at home about the huge fish that you caught.
Some more interesting features include the drink holders built into the armrests, the PVC bottom that helps to protect the tubing in case you happen to bump into any rocks or debris in the water, and the d-rings that you can use for attaching keys or anything else that you don’t want floating away if you happen to capsize.
Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat
If you’re looking for something bigger and more rugged than the one I just mentioned I would recommend taking a look at the Classic Accessories Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat.
This is an inflatable pontoon boat that’s easy to transport around and comes with a motor mount so you’re able to attach a motor to it.
The pontoons are approximately 9 feet in length and it has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds with a carrying weight of 68 pounds.
To make it easier to bring it around and move it to your preferred fishing spot there is a transport wheel underneath that stows out of the way when you’re not using it so you can just wheel it around wherever you need to bring it.
When it comes to storage, there are 20 pockets including removable side pockets that can be used to customize the interior storage space and there’s even 2 insulated drink holders so you can bring a drink out on the water with you that will stay cool for your enjoyment.
The motor mount offers two positions of motor placement and this is great if you’re looking to do some trolling about or if you just need to move faster around when you’re on the water.
For electric motors, there is a battery platform as well as rear storage on a wire rack where you can place any accessories that you need quickly.
There’s even an anchor system that takes advantage of a fillable mesh bag that you can use if you want to stay anchored in place and just fish from one spot and speaking of fishing there is a rod holder that can be mounted on each oar stand and that can be moved into different positions depending on how you want it.
The oars are made from aluminum and the frame itself is a powder-coated steel so it’s quite durable and sturdy.
As for comfort, the seat is plastic and padded and it folds down when you’re not using it.
Both the seat and the footrests can be adjusted depending on your comfort preferences and your leg lengths so it’s possible to find a comfortable fishing position while you’re out on the water for extended periods of time.
Classic Accessories Roanoke Inflatable Pontoon Boat
The Classic Accessories Roanoke Inflatable Pontoon Boat is what I would recommend taking a look at if you’re looking for something that’s well suited for lake fishing or pond fishing that isn’t as heavy duty as the one that I just mentioned.
This pontoon boat comes with a weight capacity of 350 pounds and the pontoons are about 8 feet in length with a total carrying weight of just 43 pounds.
This is quite a lightweight and portable nifty little boat and the pontoons come equipped with abrasion-resistant PVC bottoms and nylon tops that help keep the bottom protected and help prevent any damage from occurring while you’re out on the water.
For storage there is storage in the armrest including 2 zippered pockets and mesh stuff pockets along with a rear storage platform made from a fabric material.
The seat is made from plastic and can be folded down to make it easier to carry it around and less bulky when it’s in storage and for comfort the foot rests can be adjusted to fit a wide range of different leg lengths.
To make it even more comfortable I would actually recommend grabbing some foam pads or just a single one to lay down on the seat bottom for your butt.
There are non slip foot rests that help keep your feet in place when you’re working the rod or paddling and when it comes to paddling there are aluminum oars and heavy-duty oar-locks to make your paddling easier.
As for the frame, it’s made from a powder coated steel that’s durable, lightweight, and sturdy.
Classic Accessories Colorado XTS Fishing Inflatable Pontoon Boat with Swivel Seat
The Classic Accessories Colorado XTS Fishing Inflatable Pontoon Boat with Swivel Seat boasts a huge storage capacity and it even comes equipped with a padded swivel seat that gives you more mobility when you’re out on the water fishing.
With the swivel seat you can swivel back and forth when you’re casting as well as move back and forth after you hooked the fish and you’re trying to bring it back to the boat.
When it comes to storage, this one comes equipped with 20 pockets as well as two insulated drink holders so you can keep your drinks cool or warm for longer than if you were just holding them or letting them roll around in storage.
It’s even possible to remove the side pockets and use them as a portable gear bag for carrying any of your fishing gear to and from your car or wherever else you launched the pontoon boat from.
There is a motor mount so you can attach your own motor using one of two different positions and the boat itself is 9 feet in length and comes with aluminum oars that can even be broken down into two pieces to make them easier to carry around.
To make it easier for you to get fishing there is a rod holder that can be mounted between 6 different positions and there’s even an integrated anchor system that lets you anchor somewhere on the water if you have happened to find a great fishing spot.
Some other interesting features include the removable stripping basket that can be mounted on the side or on your lap depending on your preferences and also the micro slit fly patches that are detachable so that you can move them into your preferred position for fly fishing.
Depending on your size, this boat has a maximum weight capacity of 400 pounds and the frame is made from a powder coated steel that helps keep it durable and sturdy while you’re out on the water.
There’s even non-slip and adjustable foot rests to make it even more comfortable when you’re sitting in the boat for extended periods of time getting some fishing done.
Sea Eagle 285 Inflatable Frameless Fishing Pontoon Boat (Pro Package)
The Sea Eagle 285 is an inflatable and frameless pontoon boat that boasts a maximum load capacity of 450 pounds.
On its own the boat weighs just 30 pounds and if you put in the floorboard and the motor mount you’re looking at about 42 pounds in total weight out on the water.
It’s possible to attach your own motor and because it’s a frameless boat it can be kept in storage in smaller spaces than if you have to worry about dealing with the frame so this makes it a suitable choice to use if you have a small car for getting around to your favorite fishing spots.
The seat is positioned on a swivel mount so you can swivel around when you’re out on the water casting and thanks to the floorboard it’s possible to put your feet down and even stand up for more control of your rod.
Some other interesting features include a clip-on stow pouch, a stripping apron, and rod holders as well so that you can get some hands-free things done on board while your rod is still keeping your bait in your preferred position out on the water.
It comes with oars so that you can paddle out if you don’t have a motor equipped and the seat can be quickly released and removed so that you can deflate the boat and get everything put away in a reasonable amount of time.
As for pumping it up, it comes with a foot pump, and it even comes with a carrying bag and repair kit that helps to make the whole pontoon boating experience much better for you.