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Thread: Look for Boat Advice

  1. #1
    Member Whitetail1der's Avatar
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    Default Look for Boat Advice

    I'm looking for advice on what might be the best flat bottom river boat and motor combo to buy? Length, Motor size, set-up, etc. To help with this conversation, I'm looking for input on a boat that would pull double duty (Hunting and Fishing). It would have to be able to get through tight and shallow waters as well as large rivers (Susitna/Deshka/Kenia). It would have to hold up to 2-3 grown men with gear and game (if we're fortunate enough), but normal operations would be 2 grown men and gear. Center console steering would be nice but I'd like all thoughts on transom steering too. Thanks in advance for all comments.

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    I thini the most important consideration is what your budget will allow. For a new boat/motor/trailer combo you could spend from 25-75K. Used considerably less.
    How much were you planning on spending?
    Tennessee

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    Member Whitetail1der's Avatar
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    Snowwolfe

    I'd like to keep it at or under $20K but if I could find something around $15K that would be great. I'm in no hurry to buy; I'm just wanting to know from those with more knowledge than I, what the best set-up would be. I like the hewescraft boat that Triple Jack pointed me towards and the picture is just what I had in mind...getting through those tight places where the water is shallow. However the base price was a bit high but not out of the question; add the trailer and that just puts it out of my range. I'm wondering if a jon boat (lighter) might not be better though?

  5. #5

    Thumbs up

    Sounds to me that you would really like a 20' fish rite Kenai lite. It will work great on the Kenai with a 35, fish up to 5 very comfortable, yet will allow you to take out seats for the Valley drainages to add gear, you can still take on big SHALLOW water except that you are going to need to buy another motor. So ultimatley to do it right you (or I) would have a 20' Kenai Lite.....a 4 stroke 50 detuned to 35 prop....and a 100-200 horse jet to tackle every other piece of water you can find, there is a great jack plate out there that makes it very easy to switch out motors with out rebolting everything each time. Oh you could even run that boat out on the salt if you wanted to on good days. The only draw back is the sticker shock.

  6. #6

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    Sorry I forgot a little advice, My thoughts are except for the above scenario I gave, or one like it, there is no boat that will do exceptionally well at all of your expecatations. Figure out where and for what you will be using it the very most, buy the right boat for that type of senario, and if you happen to use it or can use it for something other than that is just bonus. When you are out doing what you do with it the most you will be sad that you did not buy the best boat for that purpose, there is no middle ground unless you have big pockets.
    But you could always buy the above mentioned set up be very happy and down the road buy the other motor that would complete your perfect boat. You can find a used kenai legal set up for right around your price

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    I doubt you will like this answer but here goes.
    You are not going to find a boat and motor combination that you can use on the Kenia that will also make a good choice for 2-3 adults to take on a moose hunting trip.
    If you want a boat for the Kenai there are lots of great choices within your price range but a 35 hp motor is not going to push 2 adults, gear, fuel, and game.
    For hunting you will need at least a 18 footer and even that you will find to be cramped soon enough. 20 foot minimum if you ask me. Plus enough motor to push it. Smallest motor to consider would be 115 jet (at the powerhead) or 75 prop and even that may be to small.
    So, make the choice and find out what you want to use the boat for, hunting or the Kenai and go from there. There will be a ton of boats on the used market in another month well within your budget and most boaters up here hardly use them so the motors have low hours on them. It will be easy to find a nice Kenai boat package for under 7K used and used larger river boats can easily be found for your price range as well.
    Good luck
    Tennessee

  8. #8

    Default Get 2 boats

    Get a used 16-18 foot Jon boat for the Kenai. Sea Ark has 16 and 18' all welded boats that are farily light (not the wide ones). This way you can run 4 adults with a 50/35 hp motor and not break the bank. Should be able to do well around $5K. Then get a 20-24 foot heavier boat for the Su, Yentna, Yukon, and saltwater. Again, if your mechanically talented, you can do quite well used. Check craigslist.com. They're starting to show up in pretty good numbers now.

    I did the 1 boat thing for years. The boat was slow on the Kenai, grossly inadequate for carrying any loads in the Su drainage, and downright scary in the saltwater once or twice. I had an 18 footer (not aJon boat) with a 50/35 4-stroke. I would put it back to 50 hp when in the Su and saltwater.

    I've given several people this same advice, but nobody had taken it yet.

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    Yup, listen to Eggy.
    Another thing to consider is if they lift the 35 hp ban on the Kenai you are going to see more 35 hp motors for sale in Alaska than you can shake a stick at! This will bring down the prices even further.
    If the ban is lifted and careful shopping you may be able to find a really nice Kenai boat ready to fish for under 5k used.
    Tennessee

  10. #10

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    There are no 35 horse motor's....no one makes a 35....they are all detuned 50's so you will not see any used, rather if they ban 2 strokes you will not find a used 4 stroke 50 anywhere....so start shopping for a used one if you want used. You are wise to find a 4 stroke espcially Merc's new jet pump...they make a great new 40 if you are looking for a pump on a smaller jon.
    You will be surprised at how much better a larger 20 foot with a 5 or 10 degree entry will outpreform a flat bottom. They ride smoother and will tackle any water a jon can plus stuff a jon can not.

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    For many years most of the detuned motors running on the Kenai were and still are detuned 40's if my memory is correct.
    But you are probably correct that new detuned 35's are from 50's now a days.
    Tennessee

  12. #12

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    Sure, yeah you are correct there are a couple of 40 2 strokes left out there, but you could probably count on one hand how many are 40's

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    Member Whitetail1der's Avatar
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    Great information all-around and much appreciated. I think what I'd use the boat primarily for is hunting; getting up-stream and getting into places others aren't. I'm not overly concerned with actually fishing the Kenai, just used it as a reference for a type of river I'd use it on for fishing if I did go fishing. I'd also use the boat for fishing lake trout, running the Sag and Ivashack. So hopefully this narrows the field some? Seems to me based on everything said to-date; 18-20' with 50 horse jet sounds like the better way to go. I have been looking on Craigs list and yes they are starting to surface. Because of this, I'm keeping my eye open for the right set-up, I just need to know what that set-up might be and you all are providing great data. Thank you again.

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    50 horse jet will never do what you want it to on a 18-20 foot boat. Smallest jet I would consider would be a 115 at the power head which gives you about 80 at the jet.
    Tennessee

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    I had a 16 foot Jon boat with a 40/28 Jet--console steering...was great for smaller rivers and fishing...not enough for 3 guys and hunting gear. I went up to a 19 ft, 60 inch Jon with a 90/65 Jet, tiller steering--just about perfect for Hunting/fishing, etc. I had to leave the state, so I sold it. Now that I'm back I'm getting a used SportJon 210. If I still had that other boat, though, I wouldn't even be looking. Only thing that would have made it better for its purpose is a tunnel hull. I figure if I really need to run the Kenai, I can rent a boat for that, or go with someone who's got a legal rig. No way will a Kenai-legal boat suit my needs.

    Keep an eye on Craigslist...they're starting to post a lot of boats now.

    What I'd recommend would be a 20' 72" tunnel hull with 65-105hp at the Jet.

    Tiller vs console: I didn't think I'd care much for the tiller steer when I bought that 19 footer, but there are advantages; you have a lot more room in the boat and seems to be more control, once you get used to it. Downside is it gets tiresome hanging onto the handle with the throttle twisted on longer river trips, and it's not as comfortable as sitting with hands on the steering wheel.

  16. #16

    Default Boat advice

    There is another option that might fit your requirements. An 18 or 20 ft Jon boat with a mudmotor like a GoDevil surface drive or Prodrive will go incredibly shallow, even in a rocky stream and carry the loads you are talking about. They are also very fuel efficient. Check out http://home.gci.net/~godevilalaska/ or http://www.prodriveoutboards.com/

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    Member Whitetail1der's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieselfitter View Post
    There is another option that might fit your requirements. An 18 or 20 ft Jon boat with a mudmotor like a GoDevil surface drive or Prodrive will go incredibly shallow, even in a rocky stream and carry the loads you are talking about. They are also very fuel efficient. Check out http://home.gci.net/~godevilalaska/ or http://www.prodriveoutboards.com/
    I find it hard to believe that in Alaskan streams/shallow rivers that a prop like that wouldn't get destroyed. I like the boat set-up and I like the motor too, but? Does anybody have any real experience with this type of motor in this state they would be willing to share with the rest of us? Price seems reasonable but I'm concerned with the power capability. Twins would help but everybodys recommending 80-100+horse power, these are only 35 a piece. Again thoughts are welcomed.

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    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    With the go-devil type of motor, you don't need as much power, as you don't need to get the boat "on step"...Also, they are designed so the skeg hits the ground, rock or log...not the prop. I haven't run one, but have seen them in some real shallow stuff. They won't get you where you're going as quick, but they can push a lot more weigh in shallower water than you'd expect. A jet can get you through areas where your boat wouldn't even float (I've gone through ankle-deep spots in my boats), which a go-devil probably won't.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitetail1der View Post
    I find it hard to believe that in Alaskan streams/shallow rivers that a prop like that wouldn't get destroyed. I like the boat set-up and I like the motor too, but? Does anybody have any real experience with this type of motor in this state they would be willing to share with the rest of us? Price seems reasonable but I'm concerned with the power capability. Twins would help but everybodys recommending 80-100+horse power, these are only 35 a piece. Again thoughts are welcomed.
    Yup. Hard to believe unless you've experienced it. Stu gave me my first ride in a mudmotor and it blew me away. After breakup, give him a call and ask for a demo. Forget the twins unless you need redundancy. They are a little faster and will push an awesome load in a big boat but they are heavier and use more fuel. The prop is stainless and the lower unit is steel so you really have to get aggressive to break something. I worry more about the bottom of my boat than the motor. Oh yeah, if you need to go faster than 25 or 30 mph they are not the motor for you, but if you can live with upstream speeds in the Tanana of 15 to 18 mph in an 18 ft jon boat with 2 people, a weeks hunting gear and a moose it might be worth a look.
    That's my experience. The moose is goooood too.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKRoadkill View Post
    With the go-devil type of motor, you don't need as much power, as you don't need to get the boat "on step"...Also, they are designed so the skeg hits the ground, rock or log...not the prop. I haven't run one, but have seen them in some real shallow stuff. They won't get you where you're going as quick, but they can push a lot more weigh in shallower water than you'd expect. A jet can get you through areas where your boat wouldn't even float (I've gone through ankle-deep spots in my boats), which a go-devil probably won't.
    Well, I beg to differ, AKRoadkill. I have a 35hp Go-Devil Surface Drive on my 18x48 Lowe Jon boat and it sure does get up on step! I can do 30mph (gps) downstream in the Tanana with an empty boat. I have hit rocks, gravel, concrete, and logs with my prop . And kept on going for hours and hours. These motors are amazing, very solid, reliable as a John Deere tractor, and don't burn much fuel.

    The thing to remember about a jet in shallow water is that the minute you throttle back, you are STUCK. With a mud motor, you can just roto-till your way out of it.

    Whitetail1der, FYI, when I first got my 35hp Surface Drive, I put three guys (600 pound) and a 55 gallon plastic drum full of water (440 pound) in my boat. I got 24 mph downstream and 20 mph upstream (gps speeds) in the Chena River. I was happy with that. And the fuel flow was no more than 3 gph as measured on a Navman F2100 fuel flow meter.

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