For a great day of fishing, there are many ways to get on the water. Pontoon boats are named for the tubes (called “pontoons”) they use to stay afloat. Traditional pontoons with a hard hull are fairly large with room for groups of people and a bimini top to shade from the sun.
An inflatable fishing pontoon boat, however, is designed for just one person. Using oars or a small trolling electric engine, you can travel to the perfect fishing spot. Inflatable fishing pontoons are significantly more affordable than their large counterparts, much easier to transport, and often more durable than other types of inflatables.
In this article, we’ll go over the top nine inflatable fishing pontoons, buying considerations, and frequently-asked questions.
Top 9 Best Inflatable Fishing Pontoon Boats
Best Overall - Classic Accessories Roanoke
- Long, but lightweight
- Not rated for a motor
This heavy-duty inflatable is one of the best fishing pontoon boats out there. It measures 8-feet, but it’s still lightweight and easy to move around. It has an abrasion-resistant PVC bottom, temperature-resistant bladders, a powder-coated steel tube frame, and nylon tops. The boat supports up to 350 pounds. The inflatable itself weighs 43 pounds. For your comfort, the footrests are adjustable, which is good news for tall anglers.
With the inflatable, you get two 6-feet 2-piece aluminum oars. The big downside is that there’s no motor mount, so you’ll need to rely on your oars. What about storage? There are zippered armrest pockets, mesh pockets, and a rear storage platform. If you fish on rivers, the Roanoke has a class-1 river rating. The molded plastic fold-down seat is nice and high, which helps with visibility.
Best Value - Wistar Inflatable Fishing Pontoon
- Durable construction
- Limited storage space
Looking for something in a low price range? This inflatable pontoon for under $200 holds up to 350 pounds. When inflated, it measures 57 x 48’’ and weighs about 24 pounds. This makes it a great choice if you want something lightweight and easy to transport.
It’s made with an aluminum frame and nylon pontoons. When you buy this boat, you get oars, an oar holder, a carry bag, and a hand pump. It’s a little light on storage, though there’s a mesh compartment on the seat back and two nylon storage compartments. The seat is padded for comfort. An Aquaseal repair kit is included.
An affordable inflatable pontoon like this doesn’t come with extra bells and whistles, but if you’re new to this type of boat and don’t want to invest a lot of money, it gets the job done.
Best Premium - Classic Accessories Colorado XTS
The Colorado XTS is a heavy-duty fishing pontoon with an abrasion-resistant PVC bottom, powder-coated steel tube frame, and nylon tops. When assembled, the pontoons measure 9 feet. Thanks to its width, it balances really well, even in currents.
The boat weighs 80 pounds and can hold 400 pounds. There’s a transport wheel, which makes this boat easier to move to the water’s edge. The oars, which measure 7-feet, can be disassembled for storage.
Speaking of storage, you get a lot with the Colorado XTS. It has 20 pockets and two insulated drink holders. There’s an included gear bag, as well, with removable side pockets. For maximum comfort, you can adjust the seat mount and footrests.
The swivel seat is padded. To stay stable on the water, there’s a two-position integrated anchor system. There’s also a trolling motor mount. With all these impressive features, this is the best pontoon boat for fishing for those willing to pay at a higher price range.
Classic Accessories Cumberland Inflatable
- Very lightweight
- Good construction
- Can be awkward to carry with shoulder straps
- Reviews indicate some assembly issues
At only 14 pounds, this air-filled boat (which Classic Accessories calls a “fishing float tube”) is very lightweight. It works for just about everybody - beginner or not - and supports up to 350 pounds. It measures 56 x 44 x 19 inches when assembled.
It has a hydrodynamic U-shaped hull, a high comfortable seat, and two rod holders. There are also two drink holders, a mesh pocket, two interior zip pockets, and two cargo pockets for gear like a tackle box. Concerned about durability? The PVC bottom is abrasion-resistant, so you don’t need to worry about rocks.
When transporting the inflatable, there are adjustable shoulder straps, so you can carry the boat on your back. The boat is also compact enough to fit in a car trunk. As for downsides, some people find the inflatable awkward to carry with the straps and assembly can be a bit tricky.
YILI Inflatable Fishing Tube
- Comes with fins, oars, good storage, rod holder, etc.
- Can only support 286 lbs
We chose this inflatable fishing pontoon as the best package deal because you get a lot of stuff with the boat. There’s the step-in fins, oar, storage bag, hand pump, rod holder, and fishing rod rack.
If you’re new to this kind of fishing and want to get everything at once for a good price, this is a great option. For storage, there’s a storage pocket on the left side and a detachable, waterproof bag on the right side. Store your fish in the net at the back of the seat.
The boat itself is pretty durable, but it only holds up to 286 pounds. If easy assembly is a priority for you, you’ll appreciate the hand air pump that comes with four different nozzle sizes. Carrying the boat is easy, too, thanks to the adjustable shoulder straps. It weighs 15 pounds. For long days on the water, the seat has thick padding and an adjustable backrest.
Classic Accessories Colorado Inflatable
- Lots of safety features
- Durable construction
- A bit heavy
Classic Accessories is represented quite often on this list and for good reason. The Colorado is our favorite example of a fishing pontoon that prioritizes safety features. It’s built to the American Boat and Yacht council standards, has a high seat for visibility, tow rings, non-slip footrests, and a dual-side stripping apron. It has other great features, too, like 10 mesh pockets, 12 pockets, and two drink holders.
The inflatable has 9-foot pontoons, 7-foot aluminum oars, and a class 1 river rating. Built to last, the Colorado boasts a powder-coated steel tube frame, PVC bottom, and nylon top. The bladders are temperature-resistant, as well.
It’s on the heavier side at over 70 pounds, so it isn’t the most portable option. It can hold up to 400 pounds, which makes it accessible to more people. We also like the quick inflation/deflation valves, anchor system and two-position motor mount. You’ll need to buy a trolling motor separately.
Classic Accessories Colorado XT
- Lots of storage
- Durable construction
- Supports 400 pounds
This durable inflatable is great for anglers who want a lot of storage. It’s got 20 pockets, two insulated drink holders, and two detachable foam fly patches. The removable side pockets can be used to create a portable gear bag. Size-wise, this boat’s pontoons measure 9-feet.
The boat weighs 77 pounds, so it’s on the heavier side, but there’s a transport wheel so it’s easy to move from your car to the water. It can support 400 pounds. To stay in place while you’re fishing, there’s an anchor system.
For fishing in areas with rocky surfaces, the XT is a good option. It’s got an abrasion-resistant PVC bottom, nylon top, and powder-coated steel tube frame. The bladders are temperature resistant, as well. The oars measure 7-feet and include bronze locks. Despite the pros, there are some downsides, such as it can’t be used in saltwater. It’s also a bit on the pricey side.
AQUOS PF230 FishMe
- Great construction
- Trolling motor
- Pedestal mount seating w/ gas lift
- A bit bulky
This 44-pound inflatable has a unique design that provides great stability. It has four individual air chambers, including patented two-side air chambers. This equals better balance and stability. Safety features like the foot straps and stainless steel grab bar also help with stability, making it easy to catch and release.
There are two detachable fishing rod holders, so changing rods is quick and convenient. For comfort and visibility, there’s a 360-degree adjustable swivel seat with cushions and a gas lift. The 5.9-feet paddles can be used whether you’re sitting or standing.
The other construction feature we want to point out is the trolling motor. It has a high and low-speed control, as well as a forward and reverse switch. You will need to buy the battery yourself. It’s okay to use the inflatable in either fresh or saltwater. The FishMe can hold up to 374 pounds. It lacks a bit in storage and the fishing pontoon boat reviews say it can feel a bit bulky and heavy when it’s assembled.
Wistar Inflatable Fishing Float Tube
- Very affordable
- Not a ton of storage
- Low maximum weight capacity
Looking for a cheap, no-frills float tube for fishing? This inflatable from Wistar is a great choice for backcountry anglers. It weighs just 14 pounds and can support up to 250 pounds. That’s a bit on the low side, so this tube won’t work for everybody. You get decent storage in the two armrests.
There are also multiple gear pockets and a stripping apron with a fish ruler. Compared to other products on this list, the storage isn’t great.
When inflated, this Wistar is 54x44 inches. It comes with a foot pump. Because this float tube is pretty bare-bones, it’s a good choice if you’re curious about inflatables and planning on upgrading if you really like being on the water.
Things to Consider When Buying Fishing Pontoon Boats
When you’re interested in a fishing pontoon boat for sale, here are the most important buying considerations to remember:
Your first buying consideration should be where you want to fish. Inflatables are used on rivers and lakes. For rivers, you want a very durable inflatable fishing pontoon boat. There are going to be rocks, rapids, logs, and other obstacles. You want a sturdy, durable inflatable that won’t tear or rip easily. Sturdier construction typically means a higher price tag and heavier weight.
For lakes, you have more flexibility and may be able to get a lighter (and more affordable) fishing pontoon. Some inflatables are also acceptable in saltwater, but fishing on the ocean in a small inflatable pontoon can be risky.
An inflatable pontoon’s construction materials are very important. They determine how durable the boat is. Most use materials like PVC, nylon tops, aluminum, and/or steel.
Generally, the more expensive the fishing pontoon is, the more durable it is. That doesn’t mean the fishing pontoon will never rip or tear, so it’s also important to see if the pontoon comes with a repair kit. Always bring the kit and air pump with you whenever you go out.
Weight / maximum weight capacity
Larger, wider inflatable pontoons will be heavier than smaller inflatables. That’s the trade-off for better stability. If you’re okay with that trade, lightweight pontoons are advantageous because you can carry them like a backpack and it’s easy to get them to the water.
Heavier inflatables might include a transport wheel, but you’ll need to check. The other weight feature to check is how much the boat supports. Remember that includes your gear, not just you. For the boats on this list, maximum weight capacity had a 250-400 pound range.
To move your inflatable around, you’ll need oars and/or a motor. Most inflatables come with oars that align with the size of the boat, meaning bigger boats will have larger oars. These will be more responsive.
If you’re in a smaller fishing area, the large oars might be cumbersome, so they aren’t always better. For quality, you ideally want oars with bronze locks. Oars that break down into two pieces is also a great feature because they will be easier to store.
For inflatables, you’ll be using a trolling motor, if you’re using a motor at all. Trolling motors, which are powered by electricity, don’t come with huge amounts of power; some go as slow as 5 mph. This makes them a great choice for fishing because you don’t want a loud motor scaring away your catch.
Some inflatable fishing pontoons come with a motor mount, so you’ll need to purchase your own motor separately. If you want the option for smoother travel, invest in an inflatable pontoon with a motor mount.
How many pockets does an inflatable have? How many do you need? Certain fishing styles require more gear than others, so bear that in mind when you’re shopping. You’ll find inflatables with removable side pockets, armrest pockets, mesh pockets at the back of fishing seats, and so on.
As you’ve probably gathered, the price goes up with quality. If you get the cheapest fishing pontoon you can find, you’ll be missing out on some features and construction quality. If you only plan on using it a few times a year, a cheaper inflatable may be the way to go.
Luckily, not all affordable fishing pontoons are low-quality. They may just be slimmed down to the basics. You’ll need to check on the specific product to see what’s missing.
Frequently Ask Questions
Is a pontoon boat good for fishing?
Using an inflatable boat for fishing comes with a few advantages. First, it’s much easier to transport than a regular boat. You can get to and from the water quickly. Launching is very easy, including from places without boat ramps.
Inflatables are also very quiet, even if they have a trolling motor. The downside is that many inflatables only fit one person, so they’re not ideal if you like to fish with friends and family.
Do pontoons flip easily?
Air-filled pontoons are different from kayaks or canoes. Pontoons are designed for better balance and stability. Because of this, they don’t flip too easily, but you should still avoid going down rapids sideways. To straighten the boat, use a few short strokes with your oar. It’s easy to use the oars too much and overcompensate.
You can also maneuver the pontoon a bit with your flippers. While it’s certainly possible to flip a pontoon, it isn’t something you need to be too concerned about if you’re reasonably careful.
Can a pontoon boat sink?
Every boat can sink in the right scenario, including inflatable pontoons. They are lighter than other types of boats and vulnerable to rips and tears. If your boat gets ripped badly, it can definitely sink.
To prepare, always bring your hand pump with you. If the pontoon starts to lose air from a loose valve seal, give it some air and tighten the valve. In case of a rip, you’ll need to keep pumping the pontoon with air until you’re safe at shore. Rips can be addressed with patch repair kits.
Are pontoons better than SUPs for fishing?
Whether one is better than another comes down to personal preference. Inflatable pontoons and inflatable stand up paddle boards both have in common that they're lightweight and easy to transport but SUPs are probably a little lighter. On the flip side, they're also more challenging to use, as you have to worry about your balance whereas nothing really beats the comfort of a good pontoon.
As you're usually in a seated position on a inflatable pontoon boat, casting precision and distance may be limited depending on your skill level, which is why some people opt for a SUP where you can stand and use your full body for casting for improved range and precision.
In conclusion: Neither is better than the other - it comes down to how you want to use it.
Fishing on a boat can be an expensive hobby, but thanks to inflatable pontoons, you can enjoy being on the water at an affordable price! There are fishing pontoons at a range of prices with features like anchors, rod holders, motor mounts, and lots of storage. The products on this list included both inflatable pontoons and float tubes, which are slightly different in their design.
When shopping for an inflatable, keep in mind how much gear you need, how much weight the pontoon can support, where you want to fish, and if you want to use a motor. Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can find an inflatable fishing pontoon that works for you!
If you already have a fishing kayak, you can put it to good use by adding a pair of kayak outriggers instead.