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bd12345678 05-05-2005 03:32 PM

Small inflatable pontoon boats: Advice needed!
I have been searching for an appropriate, small (8-9ft.) pontoon boat, preferably not exceeding $500. I will be fishing ponds, small-medium sized lakes and floating parts of various rivers. It is also important that it is light; I'd prefer it to be at or under 55lbs. In searching so far, Creek Company has had the most appeal to me, and I am concidering two of their models, the ODC JetPack and the ODC XL9. Has anybody had experience with either of these two models or other small pontoon boats from Creek Company? Also, what other reputable companies are out that I should know about? And of course, I would appreciate any other input or advice from past experiences, hearing certain prefernces or any othe advice in general. I should also mention that I could pick up a 20lb fiberglass canoe for about the same amount mentioned above (although I would have no mode of transportaion)! Thanks in advance!

bd12345678 05-06-2005 06:27 PM

I just wanted to update this (although it hardly been long). I am now more seriously considering a Buck Bronco Extreme 9. I found it for roughly $750. Any comments or ideas on this?

juro 05-07-2005 10:11 AM

Sorry somehow missed your first post...

I am a happy owner of the Buck's Bag bronco, purchased well over 10 years ago while I was in Seattle and it's still going strong. It's floated big rivers like the Skykomish and Skagit, and taken trout on Henry David Thoreau's Walden Pond here in ol' New England. It's even taken me out to islands and shoals on Nantucket Sound and the Atlantic coastline on Cape Cod! But wash it thoroughly after any exposure to salt of course.

The newer broncos are even better, and it's a great solution to drifting rivers solo as if you had a driftboat.

For lakes, you get blown around alot because it's high and dry. Float tubers would comment on how nice it must be to (a) paddle fast where they can't and (b) take a nature break where they have to do a long paddle to shore as they are half underwater as it is. But they are anchored in the wind where the pontoon needs a drift sock to hold it's place.

An anchor is a good option for lakes but DO NOT ANCHOR A PONTOON BOAT IN A RIVER unless it's one of those big expedition sized setups.

The notion of fitting into a suitcase is a stretch... I always have so much fishing gear that it would be impractical, and it would add another 45-50 # to the weight total. For travel, I would suggest a frameless inflatable kayak instead. Some are very light and make for practical travel boats. I don't see the bronco as being a travel unit personally but I guess that's really up to the beholder. If you have modern jet service to the destination it's only a matter of paying the excess baggage fee. If you have actual limits like a prop plane to the Bahamas, well then the bronco would be out of the running.

It's ideal application is as a one-man drift boat for up to class III waters. It also makes a fantastic vehicle for crossing fast current channels in saltwater or fresh. It's a nice lake boat for days without wind but you'd need something to slow your drift in wind.


I'll sell you mine for $350 as is if you are interested.

bd12345678 05-07-2005 11:06 AM

I have a couple more questions. With what kind of wind does it become very impractical? Compared to a canoe, how does it handle wind? How do you properly use an anchor to prevent too much drifting; do you leave it in the water while rowing? How effective are kick-fins in propelling a 'toon such as the bronco? I guess my major concern would be associated with drifting, and if it would really make fishing lakes a drag.

juro 05-07-2005 11:21 AM


Originally Posted by bd12345678
I have a couple more questions. With what kind of wind does it become very impractical? Compared to a canoe, how does it handle wind? How do you properly use an anchor to prevent too much drifting; do you leave it in the water while rowing? How effective are kick-fins in propelling a 'toon such as the bronco? I guess my major concern would be associated with drifting, and if it would really make fishing lakes a drag.

These things bob on top of the water so get blown very easily. Depends on the canoe, but I would say similar to a keel-less canoe.

Not sure I understand the Q but an anchor only works when you are attached to it. You lower it when you want to stay put, you retreive it when you want to row.

You can use kick fins but don't try it in moving water. Your feet are important maneuvering tools against the bottom in a river and kick fins render them useless and you put yourself in danger.

Kick fins on a lake are nice and are compatible with the oars. The oars get you moving so fast you leave a wake, the kick fins are like low thrust adjustments to steering but don't really do much locomotion because you are so high up.

They work nice together I suppose you could use your fins to counter the wind, but for me it was more work than I care to do while fishing so I would either drop an anchor or drag a windsock.

Again, the ideal application of these designs is as a one-man drift boat for traversing rivers with the current up to class III.

Jazzman 05-08-2005 06:33 AM

Another option
I have a Watermaster, which I purchased used when in Montana one summer. It differs from pontoon boats in that it is a frameless raft, half of which is open bottom thru which you stick your legs and fins. I've used it extensively up on the Main Delaware for about six years. It weighs, believe it or not, under 20 pounds because there is no metal, and I bought the lightweight model, which is nonetheless as tough as any pontoon out there -- Bucks, ODC, Scadden, JW Outfitters, etc. It has real advantages and disadvantages, as follows.

Pros -- lightweight; extremely maneuverable; sit a little lower in the water (so less wind resistance); can stand up and wade with it hanging around your legs; folds up very small; very quick set up time (5-10 minutes max).

Cons -- expensive; doesn't track as well as a bigger pontoon (it's 8 feet long); lower in the water is a less helpful in casting.

I love the thing, because I live in a NYC apt. but it is definitely a compromise as all these things are. By the way, I do have an anchor system and do anchor in mellow moving water (like softer runs and pools in the Delaware).

Don't know if they're a sponsor, but you can find it by searching "watermaster kick boats" on Google. Good luck.

Juro -- I've toyed with using this thing on the Cape, but I wouldn't want to mess with those Barnstable tides ....

juro 05-08-2005 07:01 AM

Watermaster is indeed a sponsor of ours, and Sean Ransom who was our hotshot admin for years (now Speypages admin) owns one and really loves it. Also, our sponsor Rod Builder's Workshop carries them and the owner (Smitty) loves them and uses them all over creation for his fishing adventures. I recall some pictures of him on the Skykomish River on it... (worth a search)

I have yet to try one but since you've reminded me of it's virtues and compromise between the two designs (belly boat / pontoon boat) I am definitely going to try one out.

chromefinder 05-09-2005 03:05 PM

Creek Co. ODC 916 pontoon 4 sale, Phila, PA area
I have used Creek Co. ODC 916 pontoon boat that may be of interest. IMHO it was one of the highest quality boats Creek Co. ever produced.

Creek Co. ODC 916 pontoon boat with front casting platform that is removable without tools, 6063-T6 marine grade aluminum break down frame, no tools required to break down frame, adjustable foot bars feature six position adjustment to accommodate any size person, Heavy duty 9'x 16" pontoons made of 32 oz. whitewater grade raft material, 500lb capacity, four "D" rings per pontoon, 6-1/2-foot Carlisle 2pc break-down oars, heavy duty brass oarlocks with three adjustment points, Two large cargo pockets and side mounted stripping basket, Driftboat style liftínílock anchor system, PADDED rowing seat can be moved fore or aft to balance any load perfectly and locks in place with four T-bolts, DIAMDOND PLATE rear cargo deck, pump and repair kit included. The boat cost over $1400 new. Boat is located in South East PA, near Philadelphia. Creek Co. stopped making this model due to the high production costs of its USA made quality components. $450.


Todd Ripley 05-09-2005 08:08 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here's the new (to me) pontoon I'll be buying later this's built on X-Stream ten foot pontoons, with a Skookum Steelheader frame. It's previous owner, besides buying a very quality frame and pontoons, did a lot of custom work on it, as you can see. I've got a few more modifications that I'll be making to it, as well.

I rarely fish lakes, but I'll use it when I do, at least if I have to paddle very far...I've got a couple U-boats and float tubes for that kind of fishing. This boat is rated for up Class IV+ rapids, will be very nice on the rivers I fish (Sauk, Sol Duc, etc.).

Finally, I think it will just fit in the back of my van without being taken down...but even if it doesn't, I can either put it on the 13 foot rack on the roof, or take the 'toons off and stick them and the frame in the van, if I'm travelling more than an hour or so.

Fish on...


bd12345678 05-09-2005 09:45 PM

Hmmm... food for thought. Still, the pontoon boat has retained my interest.

Todd Ripley, I'm drooling! :Eyecrazy: really, that's beautiful. I checked out the steeheaders but they'er a bit pricey for me. Oh well. It still looks as if the bronco is my best option. I should just start saving.

Todd Ripley 05-09-2005 10:17 PM


Try this company out...

URL replaced - Black Bear Co. (sorry Todd, policy is policy)

Go to "boat packages" and scroll to the bottom...they've got the entire package with all the options on their nine footers on sale now for $750. I would have bought it, but I wanted a ten footer so that I could put a two seat frame on it...I think the nine footers are too short for that.

The Black Bears are also very whitewater ready.

Fish on...


Todd Ripley 05-10-2005 07:31 PM

Oops...didn't realize I was busting some rules!

Is is just the link, or the name of the company, that ran me afoul? Would it be appropriate to e-mail it instead?

Sorry, and thanks!

Fish on...


bd12345678 05-11-2005 06:29 PM

Todd Ripley,

Thank you very much. I found their site no problem. I really liked the idea of having a standing platform, and a rock solid frame. Not to mention the price was dang good! Anyway, i gave them a call this afternoon to further investigate their nine-footers. Due to the weight (100lbs.), I'm not going with the Black Bear Company. Thanks anyway!

As of now, I've been doing my research and have desided to go with one of the Bucks Bags Extreme 9's (although it's not yet written in stone). I called numerous shops, spoke to several owners, the company itself, and have done my forum duty (on several other websites as well.). I emailed Creek Co. also, but was disapointed in the construction and slightness of the frame. I suppose my ideal boat would be the Stealheader Osprey, but at $1500 it's a bit steep for a first 'toon. Thank you again for all of you help!


I appreciate your offer, but have decided to go with a newer model that has the warrantee. Thanks anyway!


Thank you also, but I have decided on a different company.

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