Finding a kayak or pontoon boat for fishing or other purposes can be quite a challenge, in no small part because it can be used for a wide range of purposes. Even if you’re limiting your range of considerations to just the realm of recreation, that can still include everything from fishing to wakeboarding and waterskiing to simply cruising along, and you need to ensure that you’re buying a pontoon that is up to all of that. In today’s review, we will take a closer look at Sea Eagle 285 Pontoon.
At the same time, you also have to give a thought to what else is included in the package, and how much all of that is going to cost you. You don’t want to find yourself drowning in debt just to afford your pontoon, but you also don’t want to go cheap and sink for real due to your pontoon’s poor construction.
Like so much in life, buying the best pontoon is all about balance, from balancing different features to balancing your wants and needs to what’s best for your balance sheet.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Sea Eagle 285 and see if the balance shakes out in its favor.
Features of Sea Eagle 285
Some of the most important features offered by this model include:
- 9 ft long, 4 ft wide
- Interior space of 6 ft, 2 in. x 1 ft, 4 in.
- Weighs 30 lbs
- Weight capacity of 450 lbs
- Three inflatable chambers
- Inflation time of roughly five minutes
- Hull made from 1000 Denier
- Four carry handles
Durability and Frame
This frameless boat is made with fishing in mind, although it can also be used for wakeboarding and other sports. It is certified by the National Marine Manufacturer Association Conformité Européenne, which speaks to its reputation for performance and durability, the latter point being reinforced all the more by its 1000 Denier material.
Weight Support and Storage
It also has a fantastic weight to weight capacity ration, weighing just 30 lbs while being able to support 450 lbs, although it is still only designed to hold one person at a time. Still, with that much weight capacity, you can load it up with all your fishing or waterboarding gear and still have plenty of room left over.
That product list doesn’t include the expanded packages you can purchase with this model. These can include everything from carrying bags to foot pumps to rod holders and more. While these can add a lot to your boating experience, it can also add hundreds of dollars to the bottom line.
Below you can find a video walkthrough made by Kayak Bassaholic:
What Do Users Say?
The user experience for this model has been positive overall. One thing users have noted is that inflating this model can be a bit tricky with the foot pump offered in these packages. This is not an uncommon issue with pontoons or inflatable kayaks, exacerbated somewhat by the fact that this model does not come with its own pressure gauge. That said, you should be able to inflate it just fine in the end, it just might take a bit longer than the five minutes promised.
The three air chambers offered by this model are large enough to allow the pontoon to float with ease atop the surface, but that doesn’t mean it’s free from issues, either. The shape of these chambers make it harder to execute tight turns while on the water, and it’s built more for easy floating than for high speed tracking. Users have especially had trouble steering in areas with lots of wind.
At the same time, this model’s lightweight shape has been a favorite feature of users so far. When deflated, it can be compressed down far enough to fit into a large hiking backpack, making it quite portable. This, combined with the carrying handles, makes it very easy to transport as well. However, this too has a catch, since that’s just accounting for the inflatable parts of the kayak, and not the floorboard or motor mounts, which obviously can’t be deflated. That said, the floorboard is nice and stable, allowing you to stand while fishing without worrying about flipping the boat over.
All of these features have garnered praise from and has made this pontoon a favorite of solo anglers.
Pros and Cons
Some of the best things about the Sea Eagle 285 include:
A few possible causes for concern with this model are:
A lot of the pros offered by this model are predicated on the water and climate in which it is used being calm. This is not a pontoon that is built to handle strong winds or choppy seas. Poor weather can exacerbate this model’s already extant tracking issues.
That said, as long as you are using it in ideal weather, the pros of this model far outweigh the cons.
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Easy to Deflate
The model is easy to deflate and pack, and as stated above, can fit into a large hiking bag, but because that doesn’t extend to things such as the floorboards and motor, you’ll have to think of other ways of transporting your pontoon. How worthwhile that is will depend on your needs, but it’s something you need to consider sooner rather than later with this model, since you don’t want to find yourself unable to pack everything in the limited space you’ve afforded yourself for your trip.
Can Act as a SUP
That said, the floor lets you do something with this model you typically can’t with inflatable pontoons – stand up and fish. If you prefer or require a standing posture while fishing, that’s a huge point in this pontoon’s favor. This is a big reason why this pontoon is best suited to fishing on ponds, calm rivers, lakes, and bays. All of these areas are more likely to have calmer water streams than areas with raging rivers or roaring seas, so as long as you go on a day when the weather is calm, you should enjoy smooth sailing while fishing.
Where Are My Rod Holders?
Finally, it is worth noting that the Sea Eagle 285 does not have rod holders, which are typically standard in such boats. On the one hand, this can be annoying if you plan on paddling the boat. On the other hand, if you use a motor to propel yourself instead, this is far less of a problem. Still, oars may be more easily portable than an engine, so opting for the latter can make the portability situation worse, while opting for the former can make the lack of rod holders more glaring.
As said at the outset, it’s all about balance.
Our rating: 4.5 / 5
On the whole, the Sea Eagle 285 does a good job of offering a balanced set of features for those looking for an affordable pontoon. Different packages and setups offer different pros and cons, allowing you to decide what things matter most to you and order pontoon packages and set it up accordingly. The carrying capacity is definitely impressive. This model is especially good for fishing, and as long as you stay in calm waters, it glides atop the water with ease.
For those looking for an affordable fishing-friendly pontoon, it’s hard to do better than this fine model from Sea Eagle.