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Fisrt Time Pontoon Boat Buyer - Needs advice

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To all: I am quite interested in adding a pontoon boat to my fleet. It would mostly be used for fishing but also for a fair amount of sunset cruising. It will be housed on Leech Lake and will be subject to some occasional rough water outings. Are there any words of caution that I might need to hear about the proper selection of models and/or features? For example, what is the optimal pairing of outboard HP with the size of the boat? I am thinking about a boat in the 18 - 20 foot range. Thanks

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We've got a 20 foot Northwoods with a 40HP Mercury 2-stroke on it. It does the job but you don't go anywhere too fast. I would definitely go with a 4-stroke for the noise factor. Much easier to converse when sitting in the back of the boat.

You can get them as plain-jane or fancy as you want. Our is a basic model. I'd like some more creature comforts, but they're not necessities.

Some things I'd look for when getting a "fishing" pontoon.

1) A "front deck" with a few pedistal seats

2) Electric anchor winch

3) Trolling motor is nice.

Also, a ladder is a must if you plan on swimming from it cause they're a beach to get back on otherwise.

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Another thing to consider is adding the middle, or third, pontoon. It's a spendy option, but makes the pontoon a lot more stable in the rough water if you think you'll be in the rough water a lot...

marine_man

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That'd be nice. You really get beat when the water gets rough.

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Like any boat get the biggest motor you can afford, underpowering the new pontoon could get you into way more trouble on a big lake then having more motor then you need.

The triple pontoon is a nice option, I just spent the weekend at a friends place on Gull, they had the triple, what a nice ride that was. If I were in the market for a pontoon I would seriously consider a triple first.

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Pontoons get pushed around by the wind a lot more than a fishing boat, so a biger motor on open water is a wise choice. 4 stroke is the way to go as well. Used pontoons that have been well cared for are not that much cheaper than new, so it might save you time to just look for new. Your money not mine, so that is just a suggestion. There are a fair amount of models to choose from. Might want the livewells and baitwells. Some of the top makers are Bennington and Premier. Premier is made up in Forest Lake.

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The feature I have seen lately is having the built in boat lift. I am not sure if you need a lift or not but I would check it out if you do. Basically it is two sets of legs that fold down and lift the pontoon out of the water. I am not sure of the cost compared to a boat lift and you would not have a canopy so you would need a way to keep the sun off of it.

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We have a 21' Northwoods with a 75hp 4-stroke. It goes aprox 20-22 mph with three people on it. We also put sea legs on it and love them. They are aprox $4,500 but worth every penny. The motor trolls down to 2.3 mph. The most people we have had on it is 12 and with that many people top speed it aprox 10 mph. It handles the wind good from what I have seen so far. The two rear seats on the pontoon are made for fishing with a bait box between them. I like the pontoon and its fun to drive around on, but I still would prefer to fish out of my Lund.

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I think the larger diameter floats are a better choice too. Never have been on rig with the third float.

I'd second, third, or fourth the suggestion of a larger engine.

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2 or 3 years ago I rid on a pontoon that was also half sport/fishing boat. The boat could fly with 10-12 people on it and it also worked just like a pontoon. I am not sure exactly what brand this was but it was very sweet. Even had a little porta poddy when duty calls.

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Thanks to everyone who responded so promptly to my question. I value your input and will keep this in mind as I approach the purchase of a pontoon boat.

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Quote:

2 or 3 years ago I rid on a pontoon that was also half sport/fishing boat. The boat could fly with 10-12 people on it and it also worked just like a pontoon. I am not sure exactly what brand this was but it was very sweet. Even had a little porta poddy when duty calls.


A deck boat?

Those are pretty nice...

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That's what it sounds like and they have good size engines on them too

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I would check out Harris-Kayot. They have many options you can even get up to a 250hp motor.

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We were up on Gull Lake this summer and saw a pontoon with two 250hp motors on the back. That must fly across the lake.

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I'd seriously consider a deck boat for a bigger lake. We had a 19' princecraft with a 115hp motor on it. Won't say it flew, but I don't think many pontoons would keep up with it. We could pull 2 skiers with another 4-5 people on board. The "flat-vee" hull will help with rough waters and the increased speed will get you off the lake quicker. The down side was I had a hard time anchoring it, I think that was a combo of weight/ surface area. If you stay with pontoons also check out crestliner they make one with larger tubes and ours does work ok on rougher water I don' know if I'd want a steady diet of rough stufff on a 'toon. Good luck Oh yeah agree with the motor--always put on the max allowed.

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I have a 20 Northwoods with 40 4-stroke. Runs about 17 mph. No problem on my lake but faster would be nice. Go with good size motor not avg. Make sure they prop it right. Mine was not and I knew it even though they tried to talk me out of it like I was a rookie. Once I got the correct prop on and got close to peak RPM my speed was quite respectable for a 40. I put a Minkota bow mount powerdrive and Garmin graph on the front. Also onboard charger for trolling motor. Fishes real well. Partys real well. Guess that's why the model name is "Party and Fish".

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This is what I got specifically for big water: 22 foot tri-toon w/underbelly(a must), and a 90 E-tec. Works awesome in rough water, tops out around 26mph. Also ordered it with movable furniture (not bolted down) in the front half, so I can arrange it accordingly. Most of the time I have the front empty so you can really move around. Just my 2 cents.

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Twinfisher, I'm starting my pursuit of a toon, and would you be willing to say the general ballpark of what you paid?

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Mid 20's - that included the bunk trailer, half camper, locator, and trolling motor.

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