You’re drifting slowly in your pontoon at dawn on crystal clear water, so calm it looks like glass. You have a fishing rod in one hand, a coffee in the other, and you’re taking it all in as the sun begins to rise over the horizon. Sounds like heaven.
We’re talking trolling motors, livewells and baitwells, fishing rod holders, depth/fish finders and fishing chairs. You’ll soon see how they can each help you have a relaxing and pleasant fishing experience on your pontoon boat.
So, sit back and enjoy the ride as we cruise through each of these wonderful pontoon fishing must-haves for the summer.
5 Pontoon Fishing Accessories for Reel Fun
1. Trolling Motors
For those of you who are new to fishing, a trolling motor is a removable motor that allows you to troll the pontoon slower than your regular motor while having your hands free to fish. It’s controlled by a remote control or foot peddle.
When I say removable, I mean you can take it off and put it back on with ease every time you use it. I love this feature because it allows you to have the extra space when you aren’t fishing and are just cruising with the family. A trolling motor is also battery powered and can be recharged by plugging it into an electrical outlet.
Most fishing enthusiasts will tell you there are other benefits to trolling. Trolling motors allow you to get into areas where your bigger motor can’t go. You can raise your bigger motor out of the water when using the trolling motor in shallower water.
Depending on the type of fish you’re looking to catch, trolling your lure in the water can be a great way to simulate the natural movement of live bait, increasing your potential for reeling in a big one.
One popular trolling motor brand is Minn Kota (Available on Amazon). I personally have experience using a Minn Kota and I can say it scores big points for durability and longevity in my books. We’ve had ours for years and it remains a great addition to our pontoon fishing experience.
- The only trolling motor that can automatically stow and deploy itself with the push of a button, the Minn Kota Ulterra provides convenient control via the included i-Pilot remote or foot pedal.
- Trim the Ulterra up or down at the push of a button to adjust to changing fishing conditions.
- Using GPS to lock onto fishing spots with Spot-Lock, record paths, and command speed, the i-Pilot Link system allows you to control your motor from the touchscreen remote or from a virtual remote on your Hummingbird fish finder (sold separately).
- Offering optimal sonar performance to help you find fish, the built-in Universal Sonar 2 keeps your transducer and wiring completely concealed and protected, running everything through the trolling motor's shaft with shielded connectors.
- This Minn Kota Ulterra has a 60-inch shaft length, features 80 pounds of thrust (24 volts), and includes a multi-function foot pedal, heading sensor, mounting hardware and cabling, and i-Pilot GPS system.
I always suggest that you do your research and decide what’s the best option for your individual fishing needs and price point.
2. Livewells and Baitwells
These babies are more than just tanks full of water—they’re nifty containers (five gallons is standard), which can be portable or built into your boat.
Built-in livewells are excellent features because they can be filled directly from the lake or ocean (and some livewells can also be installed with this feature).
The purpose of a livewell/baitwell is to keep the oxygen flowing in the water, so the fish or bait stay alive while you fish. This is particularly useful for catch-and-release fishing tournaments where your score depends on the total weight or size of fish count that are eventually thrown back into the water.
I love livewells because they promote responsible fishing in areas that have conservation laws and rules about how many fish you can keep. You can keep fish as you catch them and then release the ones you don’t want, as you upgrade on your catch.
- Bait Tanks & Livewells with Aerators
- KA500 Oxygen Infusion System
- 3 Tray Insert on top of bait tank
- Air Control Center
- Molded polystyrene insulation helps protect bait in hot and cold conditions
- Durable high impact plastic base and lid won't absorb odors and is easy to clean
- Easy to carry using integrated handle in lid or shoulder strap (included)
- Watertight EVA gasket in lid prevents splashing during transport
- Air pump comes with a 30 day warranty from time of purchase
- Made of OEM marine-grade pleated vinyl and mildew-resistant thread
- Features deep foam cushions and stainless steel hardware
- Molded mounting plates make installation easy
- Corrosion-resistant composite seat frame
- Double-wall foam insulated base
Another cool option is this Moeller livewell boat seat (Available on Amazon) to store your live bait or fish in style.
You can also look into built-in pontoon livewells that come in fishing packages when you buy a new pontoon—which I’ll be talking about at the end of this post.
3. Fishing Rod Holders
Yep, its name is pretty straightforward: This cool device connects to your pontoon, holding your fishing rods and allowing your line to stay in the water while freeing up your hands.
Fishing rod holders are great for pontooners who love to fish with more than one rod in the water. This, of course, would increase your chances for catching your dinner but I would definitely check the rules in the area where you’re fishing as many lakes, rivers and bays have stipulations on how many rods you’re allowed to have in the water at once, depending on what you’re fishing for and what’s in season.
There are many different kinds of rod holders and brands. Depending on the type of fishing you want to do, I recommend making sure your holder matches the strength of your rod and will stay firmly in place when ‘the big one’ takes the bait.
There are many others, so be sure to check out BetterBoat’s full pontoon rod holder reviews.
- Holds a baitcaster reel in a cushioned cradle
- Pistol grip rod butts easily clear the sides of the rod holder for quick rod retrieval
- Rod can be secured in the holder with a soft latching strap which snaps over the top
- 6 " High Heavy Duty Riser with 5 vertical position Heavy Duty cradle style rodholder
- Front rod keeper lock
- 360 degree rotation
- 316L Stainless - Mirror Polished
- Rod Holder is 20Degree Above Horizontal
- Includes 48in nylon rod safety strap and 316L stainless quick release reel clip
- Rod Holder is 10in long with 1-5/8in ID
- 16in Tall, 1-1/2in OD mounting tube fits most rod holders
4. Depth Finders and Fish Finders
- Clearer scanning sonar - shows you more of what is in the water around your boat. This high-frequency sonar gives near-photographic images with detailed representations of objects, structure and fish.
- Chirp sonar - Chirp sends a continuous sweep of frequencies which provides a wider range of information. Chirp sonar is able to create crisper fish arches with better target separation.
- Built-in maps and charts - available with either U.S. Bluechart G2 charts, U.S. Lakevü HD maps or Canada lakevü HD maps.
- Clear scanning sonar - the CV Series comes with built-in 500 w Chirp traditional sonar and Chirp clearvü scanning sonar. The SV Series offers all of the same Features Plus Chirp sidevü scanning sonar.
- Best-in-class Internal 5 Hz GPS - Internal 5 Hz GPS updates position and heading 5 times per second to make marking and returning accurately to waypoints easier.
This cool gadget allows you to see the depth of the water and the probability of fish around your boat. It also measures water temperature, shows you elevation changes in the sea-bed or lake-bed and measures the distance to the shore.
Depth/fish finders hook up directly to your pontoon and some models also offer a GPS system as well, which I love when exploring new areas because it lessens my chances of getting lost when all the inlets and islands start looking alike (yep, I’ve been there).
I would review your depth/fish finding needs or take a look at this great Fish Finder Buyer’s Guide for pontoon boats and BetterBoat’s fish finder GPS combos post before deciding which finder is best for you.
However, I use the Garmin 95 with chirp technology (Available on Amazon) and the feature I love the most is its clarity. It gives you an accurate picture of what’s beneath the surface.
5. Fishing Chairs and Leaning Posts
Not just your average chair—these chairs are removable, form fitting and very comfortable. They’re specifically designed for fishing and swivel in all directions, offering flexibility for accurate casting. We have two on the back of our pontoon boat and I love that I have the option to fish off the back of the boat while my family enjoys the scenery on board.
- Cruiser/Run-A-Bout/Ski Boat Bucket Seat with Flip-Up Bolster and Air-Powered Adjustable Height Pedestal
- High Impact Rotational Molded Plastic Frame, High Compression Foam Padding
- Heavy Duty 28 oz. Soft Touch Marine Grade Vinyl is Mildew Resistant & UV Treated
- Heavy Duty Mainstay Pedestal 2 7/8" Outside Diameter, with Air-Powered Height Adjustment from 14" to 20"
- Seat Dimensions: 24.25"H x 24"W x 24"D, Seat Depth: 19.75"; Post Height: Adjustable 14"-20"
For example, here’s a Wise Swivel Chair (check price on Amazon).
There are many options for buying these chairs and many pontoon boats brands make them. You can find the right chair for your pontoon online at Overton’s, BassPro or Savvyboater, just to name a few options.
- Aluminum Frame, High Polished Anodized Finish
- Removable Fiberglass Storage Tray
- Four Flush-Mounted Aluminum Rod Holders
Another comfortable—nay, luxurious!—accessory to have on board is a leaning post with fishing rod holders, like this top-of-the-line item by Neptune (check price on Amazon).
And well, there you have it. Great accessories for a relaxing day of fishing.
All these fishing accessories are solid additions to your pontoon boat. However, if you love to fish and you’re in the market for a brand new pontoon boat, you can buy a pontoon boat with a fishing package, which features already built-in accessories.
Some great examples of new pontoon boats with built-in fishing accessories are the Lowe Ultra 182 Fish and Cruise pontoon boat or the Sunchaser 8522 Cruise-n-Fish. Before you choose a model, check out our best tips for buying a new pontoon boat by clicking here.
No matter how you fish, always adhere to the fishing laws and get that fishing license if you need one! Not only could you be in huge trouble and incur fines and even criminal charges (yes, really), but it’s important to respect and preserve our wildlife. I’m a huge supporter of maintaining our natural environment and I believe the fishing laws exist to protect the future of our fragile aquatic ecosystems.
I hope this post helps you to reel in a good catch on your pontoon boat!
Wishing you all a beautiful day of ‘tooning and fishing out there on the water.