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Olivia Hudak

By: Olivia Hudak on October 19th, 2022

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Fishing on a Pontoon (What to Know)

Fishing is a very popular sport in the United States. It is estimated that roughly 52 million people in the United States participate in some form of fishing. Most recreational fishing is done while onboard a boat, however, other forms of fishing are popular as well. This article will focus on boat fishing. Even more specifically, pontoon fishing.


Fishing from a pontoon is not uncommon nowadays. Pontoons have become more popular in recent years because of their versatility. Another reason they have become quite popular is that many pontoon manufacturers offer fishing models. 


Pontoons that fall into the category of fishing models are built with features that make fishing easy and enjoyable. Many have rod holders, and fishing seats in either the bow or stern, some have live wells, and some have other options as well. 


So, why are pontoons drawing more fishers than ever before to purchase them rather than a traditional fishing boat? The first and probably biggest reason is space. Fishing boats are very limited in space making them uncomfortable for any guests you plan to take on the boat. The second reason is they are oftentimes considered safer for children because of their enclosed rails. 


This article will go over how to successfully fish on a pontoon. I will offer you the information you need to make sure your time on the water is hassle-free and fun. If you follow the tips included in this article, you’ll be set to head out on the water and get to fishing on your own pontoon. 


Proper Fishing Gear

There are some things you’ll want to make sure you have on your pontoon when heading to the lake. The following list will include accessories that make fishing on a pontoon simple and pleasurable. Be sure to check out this list so you are prepared for anything fishing related.


Two Anchors 

Two anchors will help stabilize the pontoon on the water which is necessary if you’re trying to sit in one place. Pontoons are kind of like sails if there is any bit of wind, so you’ll want to have two anchors on board. It will make it a lot easier and less stressful when you’re enjoying your time fishing. 


Rod Holders 

You’ll need to store your rods in a secure spot, so they aren’t rolling around when you are underway. Some pontoons come equipped with rod holders. If your pontoon doesn’t have rod holders, you can buy some to add to your boat. These will keep your rods safely secured and out of the way while in motion. 


Live Well

If you’re trying to catch any trophy fish, you’ll want to keep some smaller live bait onboard. A Live well is a perfect solution for storing the live bait on your boat. Once again, some pontoons come equipped with a live well, however, if yours does not, you can buy one to bring with you. 


Trolling Motor

When thinking about fishing boats, a big part of their appeal is the trolling motor they have located on the bow of the boat. Who said a pontoon can’t have a trolling motor? Nobody! Trolling motors can be installed on most pontoons, making them the ultimate fishing vessel.


Depth Finder

Many boats nowadays are equipped with a depth finder. If your boat is not, you can buy a depth finder to be installed on your boat. The advantage of having this gadget is that you can find shelves in the water where fish might be hanging out. You can also make sure you aren’t too shallow with a depth finder.



Coolers are an absolute necessity when you are fishing on any boat. The last thing you want is to catch the perfect fish to take home and you don’t have a way to get it home. A cooler will keep your fish cold and preserved. Most definitely an item you’ll want on board your fishing pontoon. 


Fishing Net

Any seasoned fisherman knows that a fishing net is an absolute necessity no matter where you are fishing. A fishing net will help you keep control of a flopping fish. This will also help keep your pontoon cleaner and less hectic. 


Tackle Box

Arguably the most important item you need to have on board while on a fishing extravaganza is a tackle box. A tackle box is needed to keep all your tools, hooks and fake bait contained and safe. You don’t want to have hooks laying out everywhere so be sure to invest in a tackle box before heading out on the water.


Other Accessories

This list is just a start of everything you could equip your boat with. There are many other accessories you could purchase for fishing on a pontoon. It never hurts to know what’s out there that you could add. Be sure to do a bit of your own research to see what items make the most sense for you and your boat. 


Protect your boat

There are a few differences between a fishing boat and a pontoon. One big thing is that fishing boats are set up for easy and quick cleaning. With the typical 2 seats on a fishing boat, there’s not much room to make a big mess. However, on a traditional pontoon, there are a lot more seats to be ruined.


It is important to protect those seats from any mess that could be caused from fishing. A stray hook could catch and tear the vinyl. Fish guts could stain the seats making them look very rough. Along with other problems, fishers need to be prepared to protect their seats as best as possible.


The best way to protect your seats, according to fellow fishers, is to put towels over your seats. It is suggested to use thick towels so if a stray hook gets caught, it will protect the vinyl from tearing. Towels can also help protect your boat from getting dirty from any fish. 


You’ll want to also have some cleaning supplies with you on the boat. It could be something as simple as a bucket to rinse the boat with water and a chamois. If you want to get fancy, you could of course bring some sprays or wipes. Be sure the sprays and wipes are free of harmful chemicals that cannot be used near the water. Using harmful chemicals near the water could damage the overall health of the ecosystem where you are fishing. Always be cognizant of these rules and do your best to protect the water systems. 


Pontoon fishing boats can come in quite luxurious models nowadays. It's important to take care of your boat so that it can stay in great condition. Taking a few extra steps to prepare for your day will help you avoid these situations. 


Know the Water

Finally, you need to know the water you’re boating on. Boating on a new body of water always comes with some risks. It is always important to research state and local laws for recreational boating. Along with basic recreational boating laws, you also need to know about state and local laws for recreational fishing. 


Some waterways restrict where you are allowed to fish, what kind of fish you can catch, how many fish you can take, and other limits as well. Now, I doubt you’ll want to end up with a ticket for not following the rules while fishing. Be sure to research all the fishing rules prior to dropping your boat in the water. It will save you in the long run.


Another thing to consider is that pontoons are not quite as nimble as traditional fishing boats. With this in mind, you’ll want to avoid super narrow channels and creeks. You could get stuck and have a very difficult time getting out without damaging your pontoon. As long as you’re aware of where you are boating, this shouldn’t be a difficult issue to avoid. 


Researching the water and knowing where the depth changes are can also help you to find the perfect fishing spot. Since a lot of fish hang out near drop offs, you can find where a hot spot might be. Prior research will save you time because you won’t have to look around for the perfect spot as you’ll already have an idea in mind. 


Enjoy Fishing on a Pontoon

Although the preparation may require a bit more effort, fishing on a pontoon is a very rewarding activity. You will be able to enjoy the comfort of a pontoon while also enjoying your favorite activity. With the correct preparations, you’ll have many days of peaceful fishing ahead of you. 


Many pontoon manufacturers produce a fishing model that comes equipped with many accessories that can be used for fishing. If you plan on fishing often, I recommend checking out a fishing pontoon. 


The great thing about pontoons that are built for fishing is that they still have the luxury and comfort of a “normal” pontoon. The only big difference is typically the floorplan of the boat and the accessories to make fishing easier. 


Now the only thing left is to sit back, toss a line in the water and relax. Spend time fishing with family and friends on your pontoon. You don’t have to worry about lack of room so everyone joining you will be comfortable as well. Catch some fish and be sure to take a picture or two to show off your big catches of the day. 

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About Olivia Hudak

Avid boater and Barletta Boats team member, Olivia is no stranger to the water. She was on the MSU wake team through college and continues to ride the wake in her spare time.