Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pontooner update: Fine-tuning the mods.

(Above: Some renderings of the tooner in various stages of design. CAD "computer aided design" is one of my forte's and how I pay the bills outside of my fishing world. It really helps being able to storyboard these adaptations before going into the prototype phase.)

Last year I released an article on the website called “Pimp Your Pontoon”. That article was so popular that I received two, maybe three e-mails about it. The article itself covered some pontooner basics as well as some add-ons that helped make fishing a bit easier. After toning around for a few years now, I thought it would be nice to update folks on some pontoon additions that have been improved, added and even future tooner additions. (link to article below)

The wheel unit was a great addition and an enormous help in regards to reaching lakes further away from the parking lot. It is just a bike wheel attached to the boat. But after two years the inflatable tire fell apart. It literally fell apart spokes and all. The bike tire version of the prototype also required constant maintenance to stay full of air. What about cactus trails? Clearly some improvements could be made.

Solution: A solid wagon tire was used to replace the inflatable one and I kick myself for not doing it sooner. The ride is not as smooth but can take a lot more punishment. Still a few tweaks before it is 100% but getting there.

The camera holder for the pontoon boat is not the easiest item to find. The ones that I did find were expensive or not as durable as I would have liked. After some trial and error a homemade version seems to be doing the job nicely. Not as cool as a pivoting arm with springs and elbow joints.

Recent Improvement: Once fitted with a longer post it works even better to get the perfect vantage for videos and photos.

The front platform has been kicked up a notch and is working really well. Rather than having a chair and front platform to stand on, the chair has been removed and a larger platform spans across the entire frame. More or less it is like having a flat deck to stand and cast from. It’s just another one of those crazy cool ideas for the pontooner that really makes sense.

(Above: The tooner with the new and improved mods for 2010. The deck will possible go through several variations before I settle on the final design…prototype one is working out great so far. I expect to see a lot of people switch over to the flat deck scene on their pontoon boat once this idea catches on.)

The rod holders are still being tweaked. The front rod holder is too low. Add an extension piece bolt it all back together. That will make the front rod holder damn near flawless. I still need to add one to the other side. This one will utilize the Scotty brand rod holder I picked up for 10 bucks. Just need to adapt it to the boat. That is always the kicker.

The multiple rod holder is working as well as intended. It transfers from my belly boat to my pontooner with a strap adjustment. It holds two rods and that can be a big help when I am switching species or trying to dial in the bass.

Modifications that are being scrapped or sent back to the drawing board:

The extended seat unit was scrapped or at least shelved for now. It added too much weight and wasn’t used or even needed as much as previously thought. My first prototypes were also unstable and just going to get me into trouble. Maybe if I can come up with a lighter seat post and fabricated clamp.

Anchor systems that are effort free and not too elaborate still seem to evade me. The best thing I have come up with so far is a spool and crank option using a large plastic spool and an old reel handle. Once I get the locking pin in place and a better clamping system we may see this go into field-testing. For now the sloppy old school method will have to do.

Hopefully this pontooner update will motivate other anglers to think outside the box in regards to fishing modifications. Good luck and good fishing.


Bigerrfish said...

This is awesome.... I am a big big tooner, I too modify mine! I have made wheels out of bikes and platforms to stand as well as front and rear motor mounts. Its realy great to see some one else in the world who likes to tinker and customize the toon..

Josh Carter said...

Do you think that doing platform or deck will work with any size tooner or should you stay 10ft or bigger? I am just getting into tooners.

Josh Carter said...

Does the platform or deck work with any size tooner or do you need to have a bigger pontoon like ten ft. I am just getting Into tooners for fishing.

Josh Carter said...

Do you think that doing platform or deck will work with any size tooner or should you stay 10ft or bigger? I am just getting into tooners.

Coloradocasters said...

@Josh Carter: Size and weight of the angler are an important factor. I am not a very large guy so my deck fits well on my 9-foot toons. 10-foot or larger would be more ideal and can accommodate larger anglers. My smaller LT Sport (really it’s a kickboat rather than a one man pontooner) has a smaller deck to hold my feet out of the water but I cannot stand on it. If you make a two-piece deck similar to the one I deploy, make sure to secure the ends with an additional bar or even rope on the ends. I added a bungee cord to mine on both ends to keep the boards from flipping over when I step to the edge.

Coloradocasters said...

More bla bla bla on platforms: I cut\fit mine to rest on top of the frame as opposed to the top of my tooner pods. This method offers less surface area but more stability in my opinion. I am always worried about a loose splinter puncturing the sleeve and bladder and the wood resting on the frame (covered with outdoor carpet) helps eliminate that possibility. Josh…when you get your tooner platform done, shoot me a picture at and I will post it on the blog. This may help make you famous to the two or three people that stop by my blog once in a while.

Zach Vu said...

I just found your blog while searching for flat top ideas for my pontoon. I love it, and am going to head home and get to work on it!

Zach Vu said...

I just found your blog while searching images for a flat top pontoon. I love what you've done, and am excited to get home and start working on it!