Choosing the appropriate vessel can pave the way for an incredible fishing excursion. But what happens when deciding between the kayak vs. pontoon for fishing? Which is the superior choice and why?
In one corner sits the swift, maneuverable kayak, with its slim design slicing cleanly through the water. On the other side is a pontoon that promises comfort, stability, and the leisurely joy of fishing.
In this post, we’ll explore the intricacies of this hot debate. Stay tuned as we draw a realistic comparison to help make your perfect pick between a kayak and a pontoon for fishing.
Before we get into a sea-splashed exploration of kayak vs. pontoon fishing boats, let’s take a quick look at their differences.
|Stability||More stable on choppy waters||More stable on flat water|
|Maneuverability||Easier||Quite hard to maneuver|
|Portability||A bit challenging to transport||Lighter and portable|
|Storage||Ample rooms for storage||Limited space|
|Seat comfortability||Slightly uncomfortable||Comfortable|
|Cost||$150 to over $1,000||$100 to $1,000|
What Are Kayaks?
Similar to a canoe, a kayak is a small, slender watercraft used for fishing and recreation.
- It has a narrow, low-profile structure that allows for minimal water displacement and natural maneuverability. Hence, it’s ideal for accessing remote fishing spots or narrow channels.
- Kayaks come in various types and sizes. Anglers can choose a sit-inside or sit-on-top layouts and single or two-person
Another popular choice is the inflatable kayaks. It offers a more convenient and lightweight alternative to traditional hard-shell kayaks.
- Some models are also designed and adapted for anglers. They come with enhancements like rod holders, ample storage, and customizable mounts for fishing accessories.
No matter your preference, using a kayak for angling can offer you a unique and exhilarating experience amidst the breathtaking wilderness. While they’re heavier and longer than pontoons, they boast more stealth and speed.
- Faster than pontoons
- Ready-to-use setup
- Ample storage rooms
- Versatile in most water conditions
- Minimal maintenance
- Easy to maneuver
- Lower seating elevation
- Demanding to transport
What Are Pontoons?
If you’ve visited a calm lake or marina and noticed a charming boat that seems like a floating lounge gliding past, you’ve likely seen a pontoon boat.
A pontoon boat is fundamentally a flat deck secured on two or more pontoon tubes that allow it to float.
These pontoons provide an unmatched level of stability on flat water and are perfectly designed for relaxation, partying, or even angling.
Traditionally, these boats use logs for pontoons. However, modern technology introduced the inflatable pontoon boat. These boat types feature inflatable floats that provide buoyancy and stability.
A typical pontoon boat has a frame mounted between two inflatable tubes. The top of the frame has either one or multiple seats for passengers.
- Superior stability in calm waters
- Higher vantage point
- Highly portable
- Perfect for shallow water
- Slow speed
- Limited storage options
- Needs time for setup
- Easily affected by weather conditions
Which Is Better: Kayak or Pontoon?
Both watercraft have unique strengths and weaknesses that make them different. When concluding whether to get a kayak or pontoon, it’s helpful to consider these factors:
Stability is a crucial factor when fishing. Inflatable pontoons have a clear advantage here, but only in still waters, such as lakes and ponds. With a broader base and buoyant tubes, they’re unlikely to capsize, and you can cast and reel without any wobbly interruptions.
Kayaks, on the other hand, especially narrower models, require more balance. However, they’re adaptable to most water conditions. In rapids and choppy oceans, a kayak delivers the stability and stealth you need to avoid tipping over.
2. Storage space
Do you intend to have a personal pontoon boat for fishing? One thing to consider before purchasing one is the storage options.
Typically, pontoons don’t have much room to stow your gear and belongings. You can install additional amenities like coolers or storage boxes, though.
Most kayaks offer on-deck bungee rigs and dry hatches for your stuff. However, if you choose the inflatable option, storage space might be similar to an inflatable pontoon.
If you’re looking for a vessel with good mobility, the kayak is a clever choice. As noted, this boat can handle various conditions. Their streamlined design allows for efficient paddling, swift changes in direction, and navigation in tight spaces.
Meanwhile, pontoons aren’t as agile due to their clunky and bulky designs. They’re difficult to navigate, especially during windy conditions. Nevertheless, they can be an asset in a fishing scenario where steady, fine movements are preferred.
When considering portability, an inflatable kayak or pontoon excels. You can deflate it for convenient transportation and storage. Hence, these are more suitable for those with limited storage or transport space.
Kayaks with hard shells are heavier and bulkier, which means you need roof racks or trailers to transport them from one place to another. Additionally, they’re cumbersome to keep when you have limited space.
Both options span a wide range in price, depending on the model, size, brand, and included accessories. In other words, you can find affordable options in both categories.
However, in general, kayaks are more expensive. Inflatables can cost as little as $103, while more expensive versions can reach a few hundred to thousands of dollars. Depending on the model, inflatable pontoons can cost $100 to $1000 (and even higher).
As a friendly reminder, note that you often get what you pay for in terms of durability and performance. Therefore, understand your needs and budget before making a purchase.
The decision to choose a kayak vs. pontoon for fishing boils down to your preferences and the conditions you intend to venture into.
In summary, you can pick a kayak if you value speed, storage space, and maneuverability. On the other hand, pontoons give you an edge in storage convenience, stability on calm waters, and affordability.
We recommend considering the factors above and examining your needs before buying your next fishing boat. Happy boat shopping!
Hi, I’m Thomas Kirk. As someone who loves fishing, I am here to offer everyone help on all aspects of angling, whether it’s preparing live bait or determining when to crank in a fish. As you go through the guides here, feel free to let us know your thoughts and any topics you want to learn more about.