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  1. Default Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    Hey guys,

    So I’m just about ready to go get a pontoon, and curious if you guys could help me.

    I'm going to be using it mainly on the St. Joe River in IN/ MI going after steelhead. For those of you that not familiar with the St. Joe it is a rather fast flowing river but does not have any rapids to speak of.

    Since this will be my primary fishing grounds and I would like to have the option of motoring back up stream if I end up fishing alone. Thus, I'm looking for a boat that will support a 5-10hp combustion motor.

    I'm leaning towards the North Fork Outdoors Madison River, but it is on the higher end of the budget. So:

    Question 1: Can anyone recommend an inflatable pontoon boat that will support a 5-10hp combustion motor in the less than 600 range?

    Question 2: Does anyone have a pontoon that you have a 5-10 hp combustion motor on? If so what type and how does that work for you?

    As always thanks alot!


  2. Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    Not familiar with any for heavy motors, unless used. The OUTLAW X5 is a cool boat that can, but it is going to be allot more than 6. It is a U shape and stable as they come. Frame can be turned around also.

  3. Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    So take a look at this video of the Madison river in action. That is what I want a realtively powerfull motor that will be me up river. I just was hopeing that someone may have done this with one of the sub $600.00 pontoons on the market and could verify it would work.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    Hi Rob,
    A concern for safety comes to mind here, I don't know that any smaller pontoon boat is going to support a 10h.p. motor, especially trying to go upstream. I would be afraid of the thrust from the motor and the upstream current flipping your boat.
    I would start by contacting the manufacturers of any boat your interested in and ask them if this can be done safely.

    Perhaps I've misunderstood what your asking here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Central Florida

    Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    Hi Rob,

    There are a few problems with your plan. The NFO Madison River is designed to row. Look at how much rocker is built into the tubs. As you see in the video, the boat is riding very nose high back on the flat of the tail. this has to be a very unstable ride. The boat is simply not designed for outboards the size you are interested in.

    If you look at the NFO McKenzie Drifter you see the long flat tube and this would be a better design for an outboard like you are talking about. This boat would ride with the nose moderately high. It again is not made for an outboard like you want. The two frames would need to be fasten together to form one ridged frame. You would have to reinforce the motor mount for the added weight. It is way over your budget.

    For what you want I think a Zodiac style boat would be your best choice. They are designed with a strong transom, a floor that adds rigidity and an inflatable keel. You will get better performance and be much safer.

    To answer your question #1, no I don't think you are going to do this with any one man pontoon boat for under $600. Be safe and drift down stream and have someone pick you up.


    North Fork Outdoors Madison River

    North Fork Outdoors McKenzie Drifter

  6. Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    Best sub 600 pontoon in my opinion is the 10' outcast that Sportsmans wherehouse sells rebranded as their own boat. This is an Outcast fishcat 10IR that retails for probably 850. They sell it for 500. It is an amazing deal. The 10'er is easy for one to handle and drafts shallower than the 9'er.

    As far as motors go. I have a Minn Kota 30 ft. lb thrust trolling motor that I have hooked up to mine sometimes. It really struggles taking me upstream in strong current. I don't think a larger Minnkota would weigh that much more, it is the battery that is heavy.

    In my opinion, the 10' Outcast from Sporstmans with a larger Minnkota trolling motor would be better than what you are thinking about. Just my 2 cents.

  7. Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    The outcast are Vinyl, and in my opinion not a good idea for river.
    As Frank said, a Zodiac. Which is what the Outlaw X5 turns into when you turn the frame around.
    NOW, I bought a Mercury 4 stroke 3 hrsp for my 11 1/2 pontoon. That is allot of power on a pontoon and I think it could handle rivers. The motor weighs LESS than the battery alone. Self contained gas tank.

    Problems, well first off, NO IDLE. which means you are either moving or the motor is off. Now try to pull start the motor while in the middle of a lake or river , not easy.
    The motor cruises faster than an electric but that could be a plus on a river.
    Plus once you get it started, I would think you need to turn it around so it is pulling you. That would be the best if you want to continue to fish.
    Or you can have it push you like a regular boat, but again, it will be difficult to fish at the same time.

    Lastly, the motor CAN! rip the motor mount right off with too much torque.
    Most PONTOONS are not built to be a Motor Boat. Certainly, nothing in the $600. range (unless a killer deal on e-bay...anything is possible)

  8. #8

    Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    Water Skeeter makes a River Guide pontoon which has a trolling motor mount on the back. It works really good for lakes but haven't tested it on a river due to the ones around here are too rocky. If it's a slow moving river a trolling motor with plenty of thrust could get you back upstream. I'm selling mine if you have interest.
    Check out thew best page on Facebook

  9. Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    You are talking an ELECTRIC MOTOR rated by thrust, the poster is talking a GAS MOTOR in a 5 to 10 horsepower range.....big difference. I have seen a 5 like Dave Scadden uses in his ad, but 10?!
    I use the Maxximum 40 Minn on mine NOW.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Pontoon recomendations (with motors?)

    For the price he's looking to spend he won't find a pontoon that will support a gas motor therefore I will recommend something that will hold a motor even if it is electric.
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