If you’re looking to get out and fish deeper water this summer, a pontoon boat might be the perfect option for you. Most modern, inflatable pontoon boats are portable, durable, and fun to use! They are generally steadier and safer than inflatable kayaks – great if you want to avoid a dip in the lake.
Now, if you don’t know where to start on choosing the best fishing pontoon boat, check out our handy guide on pontoon boats and how to select the right one for you.
There are many different pontoon boats on the market right now, so narrowing it down to the best boats can be difficult. So we’ve also picked out the top pontoon boats for fly fishing on the market today, to make it easy for you to find the best model for your needs.
What to Look For When Choosing the Best Fishing Pontoon Boat
There are a few different factors to consider before buying a pontoon boat. For fly-fishing, you’ll want one that meets your specific needs and requirements. Here’s what to think about when shopping for pontoon boats, before you part with your cash:
Weight and Ease of Transport
The weight of fly fishing boats really can vary, but the lightest pontoon boats are the fully inflatable models. Any pontoon boat with a metal frame will be bulkier and weigh more, as the frame weighs it down considerably. So this is something to think about if you often hike to your favorite fishing spots.
You don’t really want to be weighed down by a cumbersome boat if you’re walking miles through the undergrowth to a remote mountain stream. In this situation, you’re probably better off opting for one of the inflatable pontoon boats, instead.
You should also think about how you will transport your boat around. If you have a pickup or truck, you can look at larger pontoon boats without worrying about transporting it around. If not, however, you’ll need to look closely at how small each model is when unassembled, especially when it comes to the frame. Many inflatable boats can fold up impressively small, and some of the pontoon boats with frames can also be taken apart for ease of transport.
Are you more of a solitary angler? Or do you prefer to make a day of it and spend the day with a friend or family member? Many fly fishing pontoon boats are only suitable for one person, with an upper weight capacity of 450 pounds including all your gear.
However, some larger pontoon boats are designed for two fishermen or women and can hold up 650 pounds. Keep this in mind when you’re shopping for your pontoon boat and double-check the capacity of your chosen boat.
The amount of storage space on fly fishing pontoon boats really can vary. Some pontoon fishing boats come with lots of pockets and compartments, while other boats are more minimalist. Look for sturdy zippered pockets on the boats, so that all your items will be sure to stay safe, no matter how choppy the water is.
You’ll also notice that some pontoon boats have an extra rack behind the seat to store extra bags or larger items that won’t fit in smaller pockets. Also, look for places to mount attachments like an underwater fishing camera. Our best tip is to assess the supplies you like to take out with you on the river. If you tend to pack for every eventuality, storage space should be one of the first things you think about when looking at pontoon boats. If you tend to fly fish with the bare minimum, it might not be such a priority for you.
If you’re going to be out on the water, pontoon boat fly-fishing all day, comfort should definitely be a concern for you. You’re not going to enjoy your fly fishing as much if you have an aching back, or if you’re crammed into an awkward position like you can be in a fishing float tube.
Some fly fishing pontoon boats are designed with adjustable backrests for comfort – a necessity if you’re going to be using your fly-fishing boat often or for longer periods at a time. You should also look for pontoon-boats with a comfortable, adjustable footrest. Take into consideration your height – if you’re taller, it goes without saying that you’ll want more space. Certain pontoon boats will be able to provide that extra leg room better than others.
Some people are happy to take a slower pace out while fly fishing rivers and creeks and row themselves from spot to spot. However, if you want to take it up a notch, you’ll want to look for a pontoon boats designed with a motor mount onboard. This way, you can install an electric or gas motor and whizz around on the rivers at much quicker speeds without wasting energy on rowing, and gain more fishing time instead.
If you already own a motor, make sure that the model you choose is compatible with your motor model. Not all fishing boats offer this feature, and specifications can vary, so do make sure you check before buying.
Durability and Construction
You want a fishing boat that will last you for years, so take a close look at the materials and check out the craftsmanship on the boats you’re choosing between.
The Best Pontoon Boats: Our Reviews
Here’s the part where we review the best fishing boats around! If you want to fish cover more of the rivers when fly fishing, a pontoon boat is the ideal solution. Check out our reviews to get you started on your search for the best one:
Classic Accessories Roanoke Inflatable Pontoon-Boat
The Classic Accessories Roanoke is an excellent entry-level model, perfect for beginners and for those on a smaller budget. You’ll feel relaxed floating on the river in this boat, thanks to the adjustable footrests. The seat is comfortable and folds down for easy storage and transportation. The frame is lightweight, so you can carry it down to rivers without struggling.
There aren’t as many pockets on the Roanoke fishing boat, but you can make use of the additional rear storage platform to hold your gear.
Although the Roanoke does take a while to inflate and deflate, it’s one of the best budget pontoon boats for occasional fly fishing trips out on rivers or lakes.
Colorado XT Inflatable Pontoon Boat
Classic Accessories is a brand to trust when it comes to pontoon boats, and the Colorado XT model is no different. This is a top quality model, offering everything you could need for an epic day out on the river.
With handy, detachable storage bags, you can keep everything you need in here and then just attach them and you’re all set! There are 20 pockets on the Colorado XT, so you’ll find a spot for every accessory while you’re on the water.
The Colorado XT benefits from having a transport wheel for easy steering and motoring when fishing on rivers. The seat is both padded and adjustable, allowing you to sit in the optimal position to avoid aches and strains. Adjustable footrests make this a good choice, no matter how tall you are.
Constructed from high-quality materials including heavy duty PVC and a powder-coated steel frame, this pontoon boat is durable and will stand up to regular, heavy use on the river. Even if you’re fishing on fast flowing water, you’ll feel safe and secure in this boat.
You should get several years out of your Colorado XT. The capacity is an ample 400lbs, and rod holders, a stripping apron, aluminum oars, and motor mount are all included as standard.
Colorado Inflatable Pontoon Boat
The Classic Accessories Colorado is a well-known and popular pontoon for river fly fishing, coming in at the cheaper end of the price scale. Despite this, it does the job well. It’s strong and durable and is a great choice if you’re on a tight budget.
Measuring 9 foot long, the Colorado is an excellent size and it performs well on the water when chasing fish. The capacity of this one-man pontoon boat is a generous 400lbs, and you’ll plenty of space for all your gear and accessories too while out on the rivers.
The seat folds down for easy storage and is padded for your comfort out on the water. However, the steel frame does make it harder to transport that frameless pontoon boats. You can attach your motor in two different positions on this model, and it also comes with a two-year warranty.
Sea Eagle 285FPB Pro Inflatable Pontoon Boat
The Sea Eagle 285FBP Pro is ideal for fly fishing on lakes, rivers, ponds, and in inland bays. Sea Eagle is a respected brand that has been making inflatable fishing boats for years, so you know you’re in good hands when you see the eagle!
You’re sure to feel comfortable in the awesome swivel chair on this fishing boat. It turns 360 degrees, allowing you to cast in any direction and catch more fish! There are two rod holders, so you can keep your hands free at all times. Everything from the seat to the motor mount, footrest, rod holders, and oar set are included, with no assembly necessary.
It’s a breeze to take the Sea Eagle 285FPB out of your trunk and get it set up, ready to get on the water. Using the foot pump included, it takes under 5 minutes to inflate so you won’t waste time hanging around with this clever pontoon boat. Instead, you can spend more time chucking bugs for the fish.
You can mount your motor on this boat – it works with both gas and electric, or choose to row for a slower pace on the water. With a gas motor, you can reach speeds of 5-7 miles/hour, and between 3-5 miles/hour with an electric motor.
Everything from the seams to the strong reinforced material is well-made and high-quality. Sea Eagle even claim that you could take a claw hammer to this model without it ripping, so it should last you for a good few years of excellent fly fishing trips exploring different rivers and lakes!
Classic Accessories Skagit Inflatable Pontoon Boat
The Classic Accessories Skagit is ideal for one-man (or woman) fly fishing trips where comfort is your top priority. You can fish all day on this amazing inflatable boat without feeling cramped or uncomfortable, thanks to a padded seat and fully adjustable seat mount and footrests.
If you like to have all your fishing gear and accessories neat and close at hand, you’ll love all the pockets on this model. The Skagit has two larger pockets as well as 10 smaller, mesh pockets, so you’ll always know where all your accessories are. You can fit a cooler, several fishing rods, fishing reels, tackle boxes and more here.
The seat back can be folded down for ease of transport, too, and the assembly process is simple and quick. All the better – more time to cast out to the fish!
Sea Eagle 285 Inflatable Frameless Pontoon Boat
When it comes to fly fishing pontoon boats, the Sea Eagle 285 is a super lightweight, compact option. It’s ideal if you need to pack it all away into the trunk of your car or walk some distance to your favorite fishing spot.
Despite the price, the Sea Eagle 285 rivals some of the best pontoon boats out there. This frameless pontoon takes less than ten minutes to set up from start to finish! Attaching the swivel seat and floor can be a little tricky the first time, but clear instructions will walk you through the process. The Sea Eagle 285 is frameless and remarkably durable and strong.
Designed for one person, it can carry up to 450 pounds. It comes fully equipped with a motor mount, stripping apron, stow pouch, and two rod holders. The addition of a floor makes it more sturdy, and anglers can even try standing up if they have a good sense of balance. If you prefer to fish from a standing position, this is one of the only pontoon boats which offers this option.
Another positive is that it’s very versatile, and you have the option of adding any accessories you might need. The swivel seat is at the ideal height and is very comfortable to sit in, even for hours at a time.
The Wrap Up
So there you have our guide to the best pontoon fishing boats for anglers on the market today! You can cover even more distance on the water by using pontoon boats. Using a pontoon boat can be fun, relaxing, and help you get to those deeper fishing spots which you just can’t access by wading. As a result, you can catch more fish – can’t say no to that!
Pontoon boats are cheaper and more versatile than a traditional boat. Another bonus of these boats if that they pack up into the back of your car or truck for quick and easy transport!
Whether you’re looking for a budget option or a top-of-the-range pontoon boat with all the features, all of these models come highly recommended. They hit the balance well between durability, portability, ease of use, storage space, and comfort.
If you’re looking for the best fishing pontoon boats, start off with our list of the top inflatable pontoon boats that are guaranteed to perform well. Drop us a comment and let us know which pontoon boat you would go for – or what you’re currently using out on the water!
Hey, I’m Ben, a fly fisherman for over 20 years and also an aspiring blogger. I’ve been into fly fishing since my graduation from spin fishing when I was 12 years old. I started flyfisherpro.com to help introduce as many people into this amazing sport. Tight lines everyone!
You can read more on our about page here.
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