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HookInMouth

HP Limits In PA

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Not sure if this should be in the boating section or here but I'm really looking for PA-specific advice so... 

 

I'm ready to buy another boat. Because of my family's needs I've decided on a Pontoon Boat rigged for fishing (like the Lowe 212 or Bass Buggy 18 DLX). What I'm running into is how big of a motor I need on an 18-20' pontoon boat and how much I should weigh in the ability to use it on HP restricted lakes. I would really like the ability to fish Lake Arthur and Pymatuning but those are 20HP lakes in PA. If I go with a 20HP motor on a 20' pontoon boat though, will I be happy with the performance outside of those lakes? Pulling the kids on a tube would be a nice option too but I would think I need at least a 60HP for that. 

 

Have any of you PA guys faced a similar conundrum? How important is the ability to fish restricted lakes for you? 

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I live 10 minutes from Lake Nockamixon, it's a 20HP lake.  When I want to fish it I tilt my 90 HP engine up and use my trolling motor.  I'd rather be able to run and fish effectively when I go to other lakes.  It depends really on where you plan to go.  I go to Champlain, Candlewood and Onieda so I want an engine that can get me around those lakes.  

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4 minutes ago, smalliemonger said:

I live 10 minutes from Lake Nockamixon, it's a 20HP lake.  When I want to fish it I tilt my 90 HP engine up and use my trolling motor.  I'd rather be able to run and fish effectively when I go to other lakes.  It depends really on where you plan to go.  I go to Champlain, Candlewood and Onieda so I want an engine that can get me around those lakes.  

What kind of boat are you using? Would the trolling motor on a 20' pontoon boat be enough to get me around on say, lake Arthur? 3,225 acres. 

 

I am leaning toward getting a 60-90HP and if I can figure something out for Lake Arthur so be it. If not, I'll fish elsewhere. 

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You won't be able to pull a tube with a 20 hp on a 'toon.  You could add a smaller kicker motor.  That's many guys do with their deep V's so we can run on 9.9 hp lakes here, but still use the bigger motor on unrestricted waters.

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1 minute ago, J Francho said:

You won't be able to pull a tube with a 20 hp on a 'toon.  You could add a smaller kicker motor.  That's many guys do with their deep V's so we can run on 9.9 hp lakes here, but still use the bigger motor on unrestricted waters.

I'm sure I'm showing my ignorance, but how does that work. Do I need to alter the boat to mount a second motor? 

 

I did have a pontoon back about 15 years ago but it just had an old 40HP Evinrude and I didn't mess around with it much. 

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1 minute ago, J Francho said:

You won't be able to pull a tube with a 20 hp on a 'toon.  You could add a smaller kicker motor.  That's many guys do with their deep V's so we can run on 9.9 hp lakes here, but still use the bigger motor on unrestricted waters.

 

This is what I do. Run a 250 on Erie with a 9.9 kicker. Best of both worlds. 

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7 minutes ago, HookInMouth said:

I'm sure I'm showing my ignorance, but how does that work. Do I need to alter the boat to mount a second motor?

It's usually a dealer install. 

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My 20 ft pontoon with a 20 hp did 7 mph. It was painfully slow on lakes like moraine and pymatuning. When the winds kicked up it really wasn’t safe. It was hard to go into the wind barely making any head way. A kicker would be your best bet then you would be good for Shenango,presque isle bay,river and any other unlimited or limited lakes. If you’re only using kicker on occasions you could find a nice used remote long shaft 20 hp for half of new price. Motors will tie together so steering will work for both. Just remember it’s easier if both motors run the same fuel so you don’t have two different styles. 

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Thanks for the responses guys. Some good info here, as usual. I'm really not seeing where a kicker motor would install on a pontoon boat and internet searches aren't turning up much. I might be stuck avoiding the 20HP lakes as I've pretty much decided to go with a bigger motor (probably 60HP). 

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You generally mount a bracket to the base of the floor or one of the pontoons.  There isn't enough torque from a 9.9 to require a full transom mount.  If you do a google search for images using "pontoon kicker" hundreds of pictures will come back.

 

Pontoon%20Kicker_opt.jpeg

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I was in the exact same situation as you describe. I purchased the 2017 Bass Buggy DLX last year and during the purchasing process I asked about a kicker and was told that you couldn't do that on the pontoon boat. I don't know if that is because of a warranty issue (obviously some have done it so you could). I decided that with a decent number of lakes having the 20 HP limit throughout the state (and the fact that Nockamixon is close to me) that I would go with a 20 HP on the boat.

I have found it to be fine and honestly don't regret the decision. I am able to go 10+ mph fully loaded and with 2-3 people. True I am getting passed like I am trolling at Beltzville but I am not in such a rush anyway. When meeting up with friends at Beltzville and we are moving to another area I just tell them see you in a bit :). I think that so many fishermen with bigger bass boats pass up on the HP restricted lakes if there are others lakes in the area that are unlimited. I would much rather go to Nockamixon on a weekend when Beltzville is jam packed with bigger boats.

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14 hours ago, PA FischFang said:

I asked about a kicker and was told that you couldn't do that on the pontoon boat.

Were you at a BPS location, or a boat dealer?  A dealer would have given you a different answer.  I mean there is a production kicker mount on a Tracker 'toon a couple posts up. ;)

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4 hours ago, J Francho said:

Were you at a BPS location, or a boat dealer?  A dealer would have given you a different answer.  I mean there is a production kicker mount on a Tracker 'toon a couple posts up. ;)

This was a tracker dealer not at BPS. 

You would think if they could up sell me he would have sold me a bigger main motor and a kicker which would have added thousands to my overall purchase. 

Do you think the image is of a stock kicker mount for a pontoon boat or a homemade rigging? 

I am just saying to be careful so you don't void your warranty. 

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It's an aftermarket product.  I see many pontoons around here with kickers used trolling for trout and salmon.

 

I also doubt you'd void a warranty.  I mean you can bold a seat on, but you can't bolt a bracket on?  Doesn't make any sense.

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The two are linked via shaft with two universal joints.

 

You steer with the same wheel you steer the main.

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On 3/6/2018 at 4:10 PM, J Francho said:

You won't be able to pull a tube with a 20 hp on a 'toon.  You could add a smaller kicker motor.  That's many guys do with their deep V's so we can run on 9.9 hp lakes here, but still use the bigger motor on unrestricted waters.

 

This would also be my solution.  PA has a ton of restricted waters that are otherwise great, unique places to fish.  Getting around on Erie, Kinzua, Raystown, Wallenpaupack, etc would be a nightmare for a pontoon boat with a small engine and there are way too many smaller reservoirs with restrictions that have fantastic fishing.  

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On 3/16/2018 at 11:45 PM, PA FischFang said:

Hookinmouth - what did you decide? 

I'm still wavering. I'm not entirely sure I'm even ready to pull the trigger this year (Disney vacation with the family sucking money out of my bank account) so I might have some time to mull it over yet. The more I think about it the more I'm leaning toward specific boats for specific waters. I might grab a pontoon for the family with a 60-115HP and just dock it on the river, then add something smaller for my son and I to use on the restricted lakes. Heck, my answer for the restricted lakes around here might even be kayaks. I live right beside the Kiski river which is too shallow for motor boats but is a great fishery. Problem is getting around on some of the larger lakes with a Kayak seems near impossible. Might need to do a jon with a 9.9 or maybe something like the V14 Guide from Tracker. 

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1 hour ago, HookInMouth said:

Heck, my answer for the restricted lakes around here might even be kayaks.

That's what I mostly use for restricted lakes.  I love it.

post-12-0-78707500-1436239885_thumb.jpg

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2 hours ago, J Francho said:

That's what I mostly use for restricted lakes.  I love it.

post-12-0-78707500-1436239885_thumb.jpg

Nice. Been eyeing the Diablo Amigo. Like the simplicity of the layout. Could pick up two of those (one for my son) and still be less than a jon. I could probably grab those this year and ponder the larger family boat the following year. 

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