Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tooner Area 51 update-win some lose some

Get to the storage unit and I see that criminals have gotten there first cleaning my unit of nearly all quick to pawn items such as the trolling motor, battery, fish finder, air compressor and my custom pulling cart for some reason. As soon as the feeling of violation fades I quickly realize things could have been much worse. They left the red tooner with custom mods as well as the comic book collection I started as a kid. This break in will set me back a little bit in regards to electronics but nothing I can’t overcome. The best part is that I was still able to roll out and hit some water that morning. But that is not what I wanted to talk about.

Introducing the Sport LT ODC from Creek Company
With the red tooner showing signs of wear and nearly 5 years long in the tooth, I decided to start shopping around for a backup or all out replacement (which means that I still can’t find\fix the tiny pin hole leak on the red one). Looking over the new models of tooners on the market now I chose the Sport LT for it’s lightweight construction and sale price of 199.00.

After a month or two of use I can say that the Sport LT is one of the best “kick-boats” on the market and should be classified as such. The Gunnison model is a perfect example of a “tiny tooner” with roughly 350-375lb payload. Kick boats are meant to be worn with waders and can accommodate the use of fins rather than oars. An actual tooner is larger and the oars or motor are more practical. The payload increases with the larger models ranging anywhere from 450lbs and beyond. Better classification is needed for pontoon boats across the board in my opinion. If such classification exists, please forgive my ignorance and post a link to that reference in the comments section. I would be forever in your debt.

Pontoons: 8’ in length, 16” in diameter, heavy duty 840 denier nylon outer covers with 30oz PVC coated bottom panels, 30 gauge PVC single chamber Bladders fitted with Boston Valves. Comes with oars, seat, frame, built in cargo pockets, a stripping apron…pretty much everything you see in the photo.

A quick breakdown on the basic stats:

Weight Capacity: 375lbs
Overall Weight: 50lbs
Overall Width: 54”
Overall Size: 96”x54”

The back section of the frame is fairly unique as it has a mesh top and a bar that is raised just behind the seat. This allows a lot of options for me in regards to tying off anchors or adding accessories that clamp on.

The main advantage of the Sport LT is the lightweight design. This thing is a feather compared to other models and about half the weight of my red tooner. The swivel seat option will be my next upgrade as well as a continued migration of my custom mods. The frame diameter is smaller than the red one so re-doing the clamps is taking some time.

If you can go the extra cabbage I would suggest the Kenai model that retails anywhere from 400 to 500 clams. Basspro link provided below. The Kenai is a true “get what you pay for” version with higher quality materials and construction. The seat is slightly raised and the frame design is a higher profile lifting you out of the water more than the Sport LT. The Kenai is slightly heavier then the Sport LT but both are very light for their size. Kenai version states a 350lb pound payload as well but just looking at the thing in the store I know that a person could push the threshold more than the Sport LT. Not saying that I dispute the 375lb rating of the Sport LT model…just stating that the Kenai appears more durable and would have slightly more payload.

Hope this information helps as well as explain why I haven’t been able to provide water temps lately. Good luck and good fishing.


kennethwegener said...

Hi Matt. where do you find this boat for $179?

Justin said...

Whats keeping you away from getting a kayak? A wilderness ride 135 is a fishing machine! You can stand in it and everything.

sage said...

I've never used one of those boats.

Shoreman said...

Probably the most inexpensive toon I've seen and it looks good. I looked at toons when I got the Float Tube Cumberland and would have looked closer at this one. Too late now.


Coloradocasters said...

@kennethwegener: I have seen this model go for 179 on clearance but I paid $199 for mine. Some places re-sell this model for 250 so look out. If you are going into the $250 range and beyond I would suggest other models. The real question is, do you want a kickboat or a bigger tooner?

@Justin: I have fished with kayaks and think they have their place. The Ride 135 MSRP’s at 900 bucks. There are a lot of options at this price that far exceed the Sport LT. Kayaks, canoes, even v-hulls can tip over in rough conditions. Rough conditions are all I have faced lately.

@Sage: I’m just lucky to be alive with have the stuff I have fished in. The one thing I am really trying to perfect is the break down, haul in and inflate scene way up in the high country. Looking at a 4 to 6 mile haul for some places.

@Shoreman: I still use a float tube. Easy to carry in and inflate. A few lakes allow belly boat as the only permissible watercraft. Eventually I will have one of everything and fish like a madman.

The Sport LT has some design issues that don’t work for me as a pontoon boat. I can’t stress enough that this craft should be viewed as a great kick-boat to be used with both fins and oars. Most people will have issues with adapting platforms to this model in my opinion. Because I am not a vary “large” person the Sport LT can accommodate some of my adaptations but still prefer the original Outcast XL Streamer I bought five years ago. The new design is 600 and in my view not worth the expense.

Frame designs come in two classes now (thin and heavy) where as before there was just the 1-1\4” outer diameter pipe. The new design is 3\4” diameter (I should probably measure that before getting too crazy with the stats) and much lighter. This should be a defining line for a lot of people that purchase tooner style craft. Larger frame diameter is a must if you are a large person or going to experience rivers with class 3 or above conditions. If you are smaller in stature and only looking to fish small ponds a kick-boat may be more ideal. Storage and transportation can also come into play for one style of boat versus the other.

Then there is big water where the minimum requirement is a 12’ v-hull. That may just be the next step. To be continued.

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt-

We should build a 'toon from scratch man.

Gimmie a shout.