Poling platforms let you spot the fish more easily, and for those in shallow water, you can push the boat through easier with a pole. Due to those advantages, you may have thought to add a Jon boat poling platform. You see a few out there using small Jon boat poling platforms but not many. Would it be a good idea to add a poling platform to your Jon boat?
For many, a Jon boat poling platform wouldn’t make sense because of how it may tip easier, and it isn’t the most practical choice for a Jon boat. You can add a customized poling platform with many of the Jon boat models.
If you’d like to learn more about using a poling platform on a Jon boat, keep reading as we explore this topic further.
Is the Jon Boat Poling Platform Safe?
You don’t see many out there using a Jon boat poling platform, but I have seen a few on the small Jon boats. Many don’t see it as a practical solution, and I would highlight a better alternative, such as using a casting platform near the front. Out in the open water, you could use it, but you would want to make sure that no one shifts around in the boat while you use it.
With a casting platform, you can install it to the front with a turnbuckle. The casting platform offers a unique advantage in that it reduces the hull slaps. Most say that poling backwards on a Jon boat is easier than trying it the other way due to the design.
Let’s take an example of a Jon boat model where you can install a poling platform, such as the 16’ G3 Jon boat. In all honesty, the one person I met who used it said that it mostly got in the way. Having this on for certain things like duck hunting became more of a nuisance than its worth.
The biggest issue isn’t necessarily that you would fall into the water. For anyone who can swim or wear a life jacket, they will do fine. Instead, the biggest danger comes if you would fall back inside the boat with hard metal and wood as your landing.
Why a Jon Boat Poling Platform Doesn’t Make Much Sense
Jon boats already perform well in shallow and calm water, which makes the idea of a poling platform not make as much sense. How shallow depends on the boat, but you can typically go in water from 8 inches to 12 inches before it starts hitting bottom. This depends on how many people you put in the boat, too.
That makes a poling platform on a Jon boat make little sense in most cases. Why? Unless you plan to pole all the time in water less than 8 inches deep, you don’t have a strong reason to use one. For someone who will be in shallow water a lot, it would make more sense since you would need to pole more often.
For those who just want to push out of the shallows, you could probably do it without the need for a poling platform. The cost to have one custom made and the lack of uses for it makes it unreasonable to most. While I have seen it done, it doesn’t make sense.
Jon Boat Poling Platform: Where Do You Live?
Someone who lives in Florida may see more uses for a Jon boat poling platform since they tend to do poling more in this region of the country than in others. Many would argue that you can simply pole backward from the bow. Poling is necessary for some regions of the country, and when you encounter it a lot, you may want to have a platform to ease things, but keep in mind the dangers of doing it in a Jon boat.
To put this into perspective, the poling platforms didn’t exist until the 1960s. Before that point, people would pole a skiff using the bow of the boat. It may look a bit odd, but this works just fine for those on a budget. You lower the danger on an aluminum Jon boat poling platform. Not poling backward in this way makes it harder to go straight. The other thing is how especially the aluminum Jon boat will pole more quietly when you pole them backward. You also don’t have to maneuver around the motor.
Removable Jon Boat Poling Platform
For someone who has the money to put down without a thought for the practicality, you might invest in a removable Jon boat poling platform since it lets you get rid of it when you don’t need it. For example, it will just get in the way when duck hunting and make it next to impossible. Fly fishing is another example where you need the extra space since the fly line tangle on anything that it can find. Some fishermen even reported it tangling on a shoelace.
Should You Install a Poling Platform on a Jon Boat?
For the average fisherman, a Jon boat poling platform makes little sense. You may have a couple of advantages to putting one on, but on the whole, it just becomes more dangerous than what it’s worth. Unless you need to pole regularly through shallows, it would make more sense to pole from the bow backward.
I have also heard of some people who get around the issue with the poling platform by taking two coolers and turning them into a casting platform. Getting a cooler will cost less than having to custom-make a poling platform from metal. This puts you a little lower to the ground as well, which also has safety advantages in a Jon boat that lacks stability.
Putting a poling platform in a Jon boat won’t make much sense for most people. It’s impractical and will cost more than the return on investment. You must remain mindful of your weight and the weight of your fishing buddy when using it because it can become dangerous if you fell back in the boat or in shallow water.
The larger Jon boats offer a bit more stability, but I still wouldn’t consider this a great choice for most outdoorsmen. Poling from the bow will suit the purpose of most people without the extra cost. A lot of people who install a Jon boat poling platform say that it just gets in the way most of the time.