By Russ Thetonia
Finding a means to get afloat these days has become the mission of many shore side anglers. This is an article detailing the many options available for someone looking to take their passion to the next level. Having the means to leave the bank behind opens doors to angling opportunities that will improve both the level of your talent and the quality of your outings.
These days, there are many options available for very little money or, if you are handy with tools, even less money and a bit of your time. This is a list of some easily obtained options:
- Float tube
- Canoes & kayaks
- inflatable raft
- pontoon boat
- v hull aluminum boat
- flat bottom jon boat
The float tube is probably the most inexpensive way to have an "on water" experience. Float tubes or "belly boats" can be purchased at many outdoor stores or at many online sites. Benefits of the belly boat are cost, portable (can be transported inside a car) and can be carried by hand from car to lake. A pair of swim flippers will also need to be purchased because this is the only means of flotation on the list that you can't add a motor to. The main drawback is vulnerability. These are not recommended for waters with high snake or crocodile populations, for obvious reasons.
The canoe and kayak come next. Canoes and kayaks are not only a great way to fish but are a handy toy to have. Streams, rivers, ponds, even the beaches (kayak) are all accessible by canoe or kayak.
Inflatable rafts are very light and portable but great care must be taken with hooks, pliers etc. Lighter versions should probably be avoided. To define a "lighter version" I would say that if is man-powered and cannot accept a trolling motor, it is too light. These would be my least favorite choice to get on the ponds but many are available for low money so I thought I would throw it in.
Pontoon boats offer a number of positive attributes. They are lightweight, portable and most importantly, very stable. Pontoons also offer you a better point of view, sitting you higher off the water. Many models come with trolling motor attachments or they can be rowed.
Lastly are the flat-bottom jon boats and aluminum v-hulls. These boats are on the higher end of the price range but accordingly, they offer the most. As a shell, this boat comes in over a dozen different configurations. These boats can accept a trolling motor, gas motor, a combination of both, or oars, as power options. This will be the basic setup (img4). However, with some time and a little money, these can also be converted to mini bass boats with carpeted plywood floors, swivel seats, and modern electronics.
All these vessels come in under the $1000 price tag. Some as low as $49, so there's no reason you have to be stuck on the shore anymore. Get out there, explore, learn and enjoy your environment from a different perspective. I promise you'll be glad you did!