Pond Boats, Are They For You?

What is a Pond Boat?

Most pond boats, also known as mini bass boat, are 8 to 10 feet long, 4feet wide and made of plastic.  All of this style of boat are rectangular in shape.  The hull is formed into a pontoon shape like a catamaran.  The deck has a two foot or wider walkway or floor down the length of the boat.  On both sides of the walkway is an elevated shelf that can be used for tackle fish finder or other stuff.  The typical pond boat has two seats, adjustable fore and aft and the seats can rotate 360°.  If you want to fish by yourself, only mount one seat.  A trolling motor can be mounted on the bow or the stern.  Some pond boats have battery wiring installed so that the battery can be installed in one place and the motor can be at your choice of ends of the boat.

What is Good About Pond Boats?

  • Will slide into the bed of most pickup trucks
  • Can carry a a lot of cargo for is size
  • Light weight
  • No maintenance
  • A trailer isn’t necessary
  • Can not sink
  • Vary stable
  • Relatively quiet
  • Can get to places that other larger boat can’t

I have a 10ft “Bass Pro Pond Prowler” and it will fit in the bed of my little Toyota Tacoma.  It is a tight fit between the wheel wells but it fits.  Having a bed liner is a real plus, the boat slides like the bed is greased.  Notice in the photo above how the boat is tied down. The straps run from a tie down behind the tail light to an eye bolt at the stern of the boat.  I would not recommend traveling with the trolling motor mounted.

The maximum load capacity for an 8 foot pond boat is about 500lbs and 600 to 650lbs for a 10 foot boat.  This specification is important.  In my case, I weigh 210, my wife 160, 20 for the trolling motor, 55 for battery and 25 for all the gear like net, paddles, fishing equipment, small anchor, snacks and water bottle.  That comes to 470lbs.  The boat would be very deep in the water.  If my wife and I were to dress for cold weather the extra weight could bring us to the 500lb limit.  So that is why I bought a 10 footer.   When you choose a pond boat or any boat allow 75lbs excess  capacity.  This is a case where more is better.

Typically pond boats weigh from 100 to 130lbs.  One person can load and launch these boats but two people can load the boat on to a lumber rack, leaving the truck bed for camping gear.

Pond boats are manufactured using two methods.  The first method is to ultrasonically weld the bottom (hull) to the top (deck).  The finished boat is in effect one piece.  The other way to mold a boat is called roto molding.  This method starts by pouring plastic bead or pellets into a mold and close it.  This mold will form the bottom and the top as one piece.  As the mold is heating up it is turning and rotating in all directions.  The plastic inside of the mold melts and fills every nook and cranny inside the mold.  The mold must continue to turn and rotate until the mold is cool enough to open and pop out the boat. The result is a seamless plastic boat.  Both methods are produce a one piece boat.  So when it comes to maintenance there is none.  All I do is hose off the mud when you get home from fishing, find a flat place on the ground and cover the boat with a white plastic tarp to keep the sun and heat off of it.

Putting the boat in back of your truck allows you to go to lakes and ponds that trailered boats will never see.  But if you do need to trailer the boat get a 4 by 8 foot flat bed trailer.  A regular boat trailer won’t work very well with this type of boat.  Harbor Freight has a 4 by 8 with small tires.  The little tires get the boat closer to the water witch makes launching easier.  All that needs to be done is to attach a sheet of plywood to the trailer.  Here is the link for this trailer.  CLICK  It was on sale when I posted this article.

All of the pond boats have either blocks of foam or foam in place floatation, which makes them almost unsinkable.  But always think safety and ware a life vest.  I use the kind that inflates when if contacts water.

The boat feels secure when seated or standing or riding over a wake.  Even in choppy water the boat is stable.  But pond boats should not be use in choppy water because they don’t have scuppers to let the water out of the boat.  As water enters over sides or ends, the boat gets heaver (water weighs 62lb per cubic foot, in my boat that would be about 600lb of water in the boat! ).  The speed of the boat gets slower making the situation worse.  So keep a weather eye.

The best feature for me is I can maneuver the boat into places that can’t be reached from land or where bass boats won’t go because of stumps and rocks or its too shallow.  Sense it is made of plastic instead of aluminum it is quiet and stealthy.

What is Bad About Pond Boats?

  • Will not go fast
  • Should not be used off shore on large lakes or the ocean

Pond boats are displacement type craft,  which means the top speed is determined by the length of the waterline. An 8 footer has a water line length of 7.5 feet so the max speed is about 4.4 MPH.  A 10 foot boat max speed is almost 5 MPH.  If you apply more power to try to go faster than the max speed all you get is a larger wave.  So a pond boat can’t be used to water ski.

This type of boat is supposed to be used on protected water.

Where to Buy Your Own Pond Boat?

I bought my boat from Bass Pro’s web site.  Three days later it came in a big box.  One hour later I was ready to go fishing.  The first thing I noticed was how comfortable I was in the boat.  The seat is at normal chair height and has a back.  After using an inflatable pontoon boat, a frameless pontoon and a kayak I always ended up with a sore back.  So I am sold on the pond boat.  Here is a list of places that I know have good deals when I published this post.

Other places to look for a new or used pond boat are craigslist, ebay, big outfitter near you, yard sales and newspaper want ads.  I really enjoy my boat.  It is the best small boat for older over weight  people like me. And to top it off pond boats make a great fishing platform.

Well I better stop here.  I could go on and on about these boats.  Please leave a comment or ask a question.  If you have a pond boat tell me what you like and don’t like about your boat.  Also tell me about any modifications you made to your boat.

-mike