Pond Fishing Boats – Which One is Best in 2022?

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My early memories of pond boats are of little timber rowboats with flaking paint, fiberglass canoes, and tiny aluminum boats.

But the strongest memories are of homemade contraptions.

They were usually based on a pontoon configuration, supporting everything from small timber platforms with deckchairs to a huge deck that would accommodate a football team and their fishing gear.

Today, the small pond-boat market offers something bespoke for all demands, fishing styles, and applications.

Importantly, there’s a pond vessel that will suit your budget, mobility, and local pond. And the great thing is there’s a huge range from which to choose.

Let’s take a look at 5 of the best small boats for ponds. Just remember “best” is a little subjective, what we really mean is 5 really good pond-boat options for you to consider.

Top 5 best Pond Boats in 2022 Reviewed

Outcast Fish Cat 13 - Green - Pontoon Boat
Outcast Fish Cat 13 - Green - Pontoon Boat
Outcast Fish Cat 13 - Green - Pontoon Boat
Pond King Rebel Mini Pontoon Boat
Pond King Rebel Mini Pontoon Boat
Aluminum deck has sprayed on bed liner finish.; Frame slides together to allow the Rebel fit in a standard truck-bed.
Perception Pescador 10 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak with Front Storage Well | Large Rear Storage and Dual Rod Holders | 10' 6' | Dapper
Perception Pescador 10 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak with Front Storage Well | Large Rear Storage and Dual Rod Holders | 10' 6" | Dapper
Cruise, explore and fish, with kayaking’s most well-rounded performer - Made in USA; Easy open front hatch with latching lid and massive rear tank well offer loads of storage

Last update on 2022-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Pelican Bass Raider 10E – Best Two Person Boat

The Raider is the most maneuverable and stable two-person pond boat that can fit in the back of most pickup trucks.

While you’ll get change out of 1000 dollars, you’ll no doubt want an electric or gas motor, extra rod holders, sounders, etc.

Pelican - Bass Raider 10E Angler Fishing Boat - 10.2 ft

At 10’2” long and 4’2” wide, it will travel nicely with a 2.5 horsepower motor with a maximum of 3.5.

For some people, there’s no substitute for gas, but for silent motoring,a 40-pound-thrust electric will move you fast enough.

Stability and comfort for two is excellent. You can fish sitting or standing. However, with both standing, a little coordination might be necessary.

The stability is very good, considering it looks so top-heavy. Add two anglers to the mix, and you’d swear it’s going to tip. 

Not at all, this is a particularly sturdy boat and that’s one of its strengths.

The boat comes with chairs and mounts, two-rod holders, and wiring for a bow-mounted electric.

Avoid dragging the boat over rocks or concrete. While the plastic is strong, it won’t stand up to that sort of grind over time.

With carry handles attached, this is an easy boat to carry. A set of wheels is all that’s required for a one-man show, and a handy angler would be able to rig up a trolly easily.

2. AQUOS New Backpack Series – Most Portable Pontoon

Being able to carry a boat with so many features on your back with ease is truly something else. 

If nothing else, the AQUOS gets full marks for innovation and design. However, it’s more than a great idea, the boat works, and it works well.

AQUOS 2021 New Backpack Series FM230 7.5ft Inflatable Pontoon Boat with Guard Bar, Folding Seat and Haswing Bow Mount 12V 20LBS Hand Control Trolling Motor for One Person Lure Fishing

It has a Haswing 12V 20LBS hand control trolling motor, swivel seat, stainless steel grab bar, and an aluminum floorboard. 

Assembled, it will hold 350 pounds comfortably and weighs in at only 52 pounds.

While it sounds like a lot to carry strapped to your back, it’s easier than you think. 

You’ll want to be reasonably fit because you’ll be carrying rods as well. Regardless, a few hundred-yard walk to the pond is no sweat.

A tackle bag mounts easily to the alloy frame at the stern of the boat. It holds critical tackle, a few rods, and a water bottle.

Onboard, you’ll find enough space to mount an icebox and fish while either standing or sitting.

The oars mount securely to the well-placed posts. Rowing takes a little getting used to and feels a little weird. 

Nonetheless, you can make decent headway, saving battery power on your motor.

Details go down to ergonomic oar grips, EVA floor grips, and a collapsible tiller, for more space. Boat management is excellent; it’s a truly ergonomic fish.

Even when winding up for a big cast and leaning over to net a fish, stability is very impressive.

Reflective strips add some safety when night fishing, but added illumination would be recommended.

This is a brilliant piece of kit in every way. For well under a thousand dollars (depending on supplier), this is an awesome small pond boat.

3. Outcast Fish Cat 13 – Most Robust 2 Angler Pontoon Inflatable

This is one heck of a versatile unit and highly capable. Sold to accommodate 2 anglers, the Fish Cat converts easily to a single-seater providing more space and cargo options for the solo angler.

The Fish Cat 13 Pontoon is 13′ long and 5’5″ wide. Even with the front angler’s seat mounted so high, it’s remarkably stable.

Outcast Fish Cat 13 - Green - Pontoon Boat
  • Outcast Fish Cat 13 - Green - Pontoon Boat

Last update on 2022-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Highly resistant to puncture, the Fish Cat also has 1-way Summit II valves ensuring you won’t deflate in the middle of the pond.

The Cat Fish holds an astonishing 750 pounds. This is more than enough for two hefty anglers and their kit. 

Broken down, the boat has 11 separate pieces that are easy to assemble fast and securely.

At 170 pounds, it’s not light for one person. However, a simple trolly rig makes transport to the pond child’s play. The beauty of this boat is you don’t need to tow it.

The oars come standard, so cheap propulsion will come at the cost of a little sweat. 

However, with extra investment, the Fish Cat is motor ready and comes with a host of features, albeit at an extra cost.

Depending on the type of fishing you’re doing, an anchor and rope are available. For extra comfort, anglers can upgrade to padded swivel seats.

Cargo carriers, saddlebags, and seat bags come standard, providing ample storage space for all of your fishing kit. 

More storage is available for an extra cost, ideal for customizing to suit your specific fishing application. Rod holders are an added extra. 

This is odd, considering it’s a fishing boat. You’d think they’d provide at least two as standard. The extra deck board is also a feature I feel they should offer as standard.

While this is an outstanding small boat straight off the shelf, your cost will add up considerably once you begin to add accessories.

The bottom line is that this is a go-anywhere inflatable that is stable enough to handle two hefty anglers casting and landing fish on a choppy pond.

Brilliant for the shallows and ideal to venture to the deeper channels. 

This is a versatile and durable pontoon inflatable designed for the adventure angler for whom land-based battles simply aren’t enough.

4. Pond King Rebel Pontoon Boat – Most robust – Editor’s Choice

While it might be heavier than the other small boats on the list, this is the most robust, durable, and stable of the lot.

The one angler pontoon is like having your own private movable floating dock. It fits easily into your average truck tray and has plastic wheels for easy maneuvering to the water’s edge.

Pond King Rebel Mini Pontoon Boat
  • Aluminum deck has sprayed on bed liner finish.
  • Frame slides together to allow the Rebel fit in a standard truck-bed.
  • Slide out trays provide ample area for tackle box and cooler.
  • Extremely stable, lightweight, maneuverable - sit or stand to fish.

Last update on 2022-07-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The all-alloy construction ensures the Rebel mini will last a very long time and handle some pretty rough treatment.

The pontoons are 6′ long, and the deck is 30″x48″, more than enough room considering the deck expands from 47″ wide to 67″ wide. 

The Rebel mini will hold 400 pounds, which I found surprising. It appears as though it would hold more.

Having said that, 400 pounds is enough for an angler with a lot of kit and it only has seating for one. So ultimately, 400 pounds is more than enough.

Standard features include a trolling motor mount and wired plug, flush seat mount, and 18″ railing.

The railing is great for stability on board and never gets in the way. On the contrary, it provides an excellent mounting place for gear bags, rod holders, and other fishing kits.

With the deck expanded there’s plenty of room to stand and fish without tripping over your motor battery and icebox.

Fishing ergonomics are excellent. Everything is at your fingertips – you won’t have to get out of your seat unless you want to stand and fish.

With 100% all-welded aluminum pontoons and frames, this is a pond boat built to outlast you. 

The tread plate deck is textured for non-slip with an additional spray-on coating that deadens sound, increases traction, and mitigates glare.

The Pond King Rebel Mini Pontoon Boat delivers for anglers who desire stability above all else.

5. Perception Pescador 10 – Best Value Kayak

The rise in popularity of kayak fishing is nothing short of phenomenal.

With this newfound popularity, manufacturers have created outstanding kayaks capable of anything from blue water expeditions to stealth pond missions.

The Pescador is an example of a bespoke kayak where ergonomics, innovation, and ingenuity come with an accessible price tag.

Perception Pescador 10 | Sit on Top Fishing Kayak with Front Storage Well | Large Rear Storage and Dual Rod Holders | 10' 6" | Dapper

The Pescador 10 has a length of 10’ 6”, a width of 32”, weighs in at a very manageable 57 pounds, and will hold a hefty 325 pounds.

The sit-on-top design delivers an optimal fishing position yet remains incredibly stable and can even manage small swells safely.

The leak-proof one-piece construction with added buoyancy gives anglers the peace of mind to venture well away from the shoreline, knowing they’re secure and safe.

While the kayak is one size fits all, the quick-adjust footrests and adjustable seat can accommodate many body types and sizes.

The Pescador is very easy to paddle, even for beginners as the straight running kayak moves smoothly and swiftly through the water with very little effort.

The open storage on the rear will hold critical equipment. 

Custom boxes that hold supplies such as food, baits, tackle, and refreshments can be strapped down with the supplied elastic straps.

Front dry storage can be used for electronics and other items that you must keep out of the water.

There are two vertical rod holders behind the seat, with molded mounts to fit more holders should you wish to bring the whole arsenal.

There are molded positions for things like fishfinders, ensuring you don’t have to drill into the hull.

The handle on the bow allows for easy maneuverability bank-side. Its low weight makes it easy to get to and from the water alone.

While you can customize the Pescador 10 to your heart’s desire, the kayak is delivered ready to fish straight out of the box.

The Pescador 10 is a brilliant, easy-to-use kayak delivering affordable pond boating for the most discerning kayakers.

Proudly American-made, the Pescador 10 will suit the pond, river, and estuary angler looking for easy paddling, stability, and great fishing ergonomics.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Boat

Small Boat Types

Small pond boat types include skiffs, pontoons, rowboats, kayaks, and canoes. 

They’re made from plastics and other advanced polymers, as well as aluminum, timber, rubber, and more.

The thing about ponds is that they are invariably calm. 

This opens the angler to purchase a wide range of vessels where stability is more about movement aboard as opposed to surviving swell and wave.

The greater flexibility you require in terms of fishing waters will determine your boat type. 

If you need greater stability to handle swells and waves of busy waterways, it’s best you go for vessels with better stability in waves.

As far as budget is concerned, you can find small, gasoline, center console skiffs equipped to the hilt that will cost many thousands of dollars.

On the other hand, an inflatable pontoon boat that supports two anglers and their gear can cost well under a thousand dollars, kayaks under 500, and inflatable dinghies even less again.

Your core concerns when buying a small pond boat are stability, ease of transport to the water, endurance and robustness, propulsion, and ergonomics.

Depending on the boat type you select, there are trade-offs in these key features. 

For example, an aluminum pontoon boat offers robustness, great stability, and brilliant fishing ergonomics, yet you will sacrifice maneuverability and transport to the water.

Kayaks offer excellent speed and maneuverability on the water, yet you sacrifice comfort and stability.

A powered skiff offers great speed, maneuverability, and fishing comfort; however, you’ll pay big money for purchase and maintenance and need a trailer and boat ramp.

When you’re selecting a boat for your pond, think about how you like to fish and the logistics of launching. 

Then you can look at the details of costs, ergonomics, stability, and endurance.

See Also: Best Fish Finder For Small Boats

Pontoon Boats

Pontoon boats offer outstanding stability. You can stand or sit and hold a lot of fishing gear

They’re available in inflatable designs and materials such as aluminum. The trade-offs are weight, transport to the water, and maneuverability on the water.

Kayaks

There are kayaks that sit well under the 500-dollar mark, getting you out on the water very cheaply.

However, it’s important to note that kayaks look very compelling, but they’re by no means for everybody. 

A reasonable level of fitness, balance and the ability to remain seated for lengthy periods is a must.

I love the idea of a kayak; however, my inability to sit still and remain comfortable in one position for any length of time means that the kayak is off-limits for me.

Good kayaks have brilliant ergonomics and outstanding stability, especially in a swell, and are easily transported, launched, and fished.

Float Tube

A float tube is as rudimentary as it gets, and it will involve getting wet. A float tube will get you out on the water, floating, and able to take a modicum of gear with you.

Ultimately, however, they have limited functionality and versatility. Their main strength is their simplicity and portability.

Materials

As mentioned earlier, there is a wide range of materials used to construct small pond boats. Inflatables are the least robust.

While modern plastics are tough, they still get holed and torn. The weight and transportability compensate for this.

Alloys are by far the most robust and will withstand pretty significant punishment and last a very long time. Your compromise is weight and transportability.

Sitting in between these two are the strong hard plastics that offer both lightness and endurance.

While not bulletproof, the plastics in kayaks and boats such as the Bass raider are incredibly durable and can withstand quite significant impacts.

These plastics will degrade over time, and dragging over rocks or concrete should always be avoided.

Hard plastics offer an excellent blend of lightweight maneuverability, on and off the water, and stability and strength.

User-Friendly Features

All of those features that make handling, storing, and moving fishing equipment easier are user-friendly features.

There should be plenty of storage onboard, sturdy fishing platforms, well-planned rod holders and motor mounts, dry pockets, and sounder mounts.

An intuitive layout is critical in a small space. Look for boats that have critical tools and storage mounts in the right areas.

Look for vessels that have put great consideration into transporting and launching. 

Heavy, cumbersome units take a lot of the joy from fishing as it can be a mission to get the boat in the water.

For me, it’s all about stability. I want to stand on board, cast, wrestle fish, and land them without the fear of the boat tipping so much that I fall in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Small Boats Safe

Good quality small boats are as safe as the angler in charge of the operation. A poor skipper has an unsafe boat, regardless of size.

What is a Good Inflatable Boat for Camping?

Look for a boat that fits in your car and holds all the kids. Importantly, go for boats with excellent floatation properties, anti-holing, and anti-sinking properties.

Ultimately, it depends on your level of adventure. If you’re doing rapids, that’s a whole new ball game.

Why does Pontoon Tube Size Matter?

It’s the pontoons that deliver stability. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the pontoon relative to the platform, the greater stability.

What Type of Trolling Motor Should I Get for my Pontoon Boat?

While it depends on the size and weight of your pontoon, it’s always good for stealth if you can go electric, with a thrust suitable for the size of your pontoon and your desired speed.

However, if you have long distances to travel, there really is no substitute for gasoline.

The absolute best way to determine the best motor size is to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and stick to them! 

Being underpowered can be a pain. Being overpowered can be downright dangerous.

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Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home, and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.

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