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Thread: Duck Boat...

  1. #1
    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    Default Duck Boat...

    If money was no option and you were building a duck boat (gotta be a mud motor) what would you build? Main purpose is for duck hunting, but will also be used for fishing and other types of hunting. What motor, what boat, and why?

    I'm about to buy a boat, I know I want a mud motor, just curious what everyone would do...

  2. #2
    Member duckslayer56's Avatar
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    Go Devil, 16 foot John with a 35 horse surface drive. That boat will work for anything you want to use it for. It's very stable, and rides very nice. Plus Coco made them for duck hunters. If I was to build one, I would build one like Griffin's hybrid. That boat was amazing. I have never seen a boat more stable, and hide so well. He had a 9.9 short shaft prop on his. It worked just as well as any mud motor I have seen. In fact he would zip past the guys using the long tails, and surface drives.
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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    If money were free, I would go to the States and test drive a Gator Trax or a Phowler and then figure out which one I would buy based on the test drive.

    Since money is not free, and having built a few boats, I would copy a Gator Trax as much as I could for a large surface drive motor. For a long tail I would look at Go Devil style boats.

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    To clarify, I'm not actually building it, I meant building as in picking the right motor for the right boat. It'll be a surface drive, lookin at the mud buddy 4500 mag on an excel boat...

  5. #5

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    Motor: I'd go with a 36 Pro-drive. Alaska tends to have denser mud in the prime duck hunting areas than where most surface drives are made, so the fully-geared lowere unti helps a lot over belts. I've taken two mud-buddies apart and had to replace the lower unit in the same time I've been using pro-drives. If you want a tiller, be prepared to have a pretty sore arm driving it around. A stand-up console and hydarulic steering add some weight, but make the motor way easier to operate.

    Boat: If you want a real duck boat that can go anywhere, you want something tough. A buddy of mine has a 2052 Alweld with a 36 prodrive on it, and it works great for hauling gear. Problem is, it doesn't have strong enough transom to handle the weight of the motor, so he has had to have it beefed up quite a bit. Also, it has hard chines, and the boat doesn't turn very well at speed. The size of the boat is great, though, and it can haul a hell of a load.

    Any of the big surface drives can be traded out with oversized heads (or even more) to boost the HP. I run a 36 PD on an 1852 and it has tons of power, but bogs down easy. My buddy hopped his up with oversized heads and gained ~4 mph and a lot of horsepower. I'm not saying that it has to be done, but it might help.

    My recommendation is to look at some of the heavy welded boats made by all of the mud motor companies, and see what you like best. And if you don't want to have a hull shipped up, bite the cost of the aluminum and have one welded up just the way you want it.

  6. #6

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    My dream would be to put a 35 HP surface drive on the swim deck of my 22 ' Predator.

    That way I could run 40 + MPH up the river. Turn off the Opti, fire up the mud motor and idle back into some of the muddy/grassy sloughs that hold the ducks.

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    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    I did not like my 16 jon with 35 hp surface drive at all for my type of hunting. was really no better then the 50 jet i had on the same boat before i changed. i hunt the tide flats mostly and mud would wear out a prop in a couple days use, at $200 bucks a prop, too expensive for me. worked well in jim creek sloughs however, goes in weeds well, just not mud. not only expensive to operate, but gets stuck and too heavy to push. for where i like to hunt, my ideal boat is my airboat. just hard to hide and hunt out of it. Bud
    Wasilla

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by akblackdawg View Post
    too heavy to push
    I thought I did a very good job of pushing that boat.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by akblackdawg View Post
    I did not like my 16 jon with 35 hp surface drive at all for my type of hunting. was really no better then the 50 jet i had on the same boat before i changed. i hunt the tide flats mostly and mud would wear out a prop in a couple days use, at $200 bucks a prop, too expensive for me. worked well in jim creek sloughs however, goes in weeds well, just not mud. not only expensive to operate, but gets stuck and too heavy to push. for where i like to hunt, my ideal boat is my airboat. just hard to hide and hunt out of it. Bud
    Never even been in a boat with a surface drive but that's suprising because I thought they were built for mud.
    Maybe there is a difference between tidal mud and just slough mud.

  10. #10
    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MCAT View Post
    Never even been in a boat with a surface drive but that's suprising because I thought they were built for mud.
    Maybe there is a difference between tidal mud and just slough mud.
    Any mud that is soil based will result in wear on metal. Guys in Texas run mud motors in sand bottomed rivers and go through one to two props a year - it just grinds them down to nothing. One guy a few years ago was running his first surface drive and did not consider the grinding issue and ended up without much of a prop left on his first day with the new motor. He was stuck on a sand bar and tried to power the boat over/through it.

    The Knik mud in the main river is pretty fine sand mixed with silt and it is great at both polishing and grinding a prop.

    I have always wondered if anyone has taken their prop to a welding or drilling company and have the prop edge hardface? they are not overly efficient anyway so adding a bead of high carbon metal to the edge should not slow things down.

  11. #11

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    The trick to surface drives is that they need to be matched to the right boat. A 35 SD is really heavy (close to 400#), and it probably too much for a 16 footer. And if it gets stuck, it is more likely to bog down than a bigger boat with the same motor.

    I can't comment on the tidal areas, but in the interior, the combo seems to work well for everyone I have talked to who runs one on an 18-22 footer. Never heard of many complaints about the props wearing out, but it could happen in really hard tidal mud, I suppose. If you want to run it in the tide a lot, you might consider any of the motors running the 35 Briggs and Stratton marine edition motor - it's more corrosion resistant and seems to have abit more pep than the older models right out of the box.

    You should try and line up a test drive this spring with one of the dealers down your way. Try out a few different configurations / motors and see what you like.

  12. #12
    Member click's Avatar
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    short tail mud motors are much easier on the driver, I know i used to hunt with one on the arkansas river. I know that short tail mud buddy would get us to hxll and back. I jumped beaver dams that the top was 4 foot out of the water with one on a 1648 war eagle. Now for what it's worth the long tails do have alot more torque for lack of better wording. With a long tail you can actually work the motor and gain leverage to get through the thick stuff.
    For me i would go with a 1750 gatortrax, and the biggest short tail i could afford. I would urge you to either get a boat with a huntdeck on it or weld on some pods if you go decide to go with a short tail mud motor...believe me they are HEAVY.

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    BTW I do not reccomend jumping log jams or beaver dams if you can avoid it. Where we hunted there was no way around it, and we were the only ones that could get there to hunt. PS if you do decide to go over something that tall TIE YOUR SHXT DOWN!!! The first time we did it , it was not a good experience......

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    OK, I see someone metioned that a 35 Hp mud motor weight is "about 400 pounds"... Not sure on all the other brands but a 35 Hp Go Devil Surface Drive is 268 pounds dry weight............thats before you add the 80 oz of oil and enough gas to fill the carb and Fuel lines, maybe a 1/2 cup. That said, I do think a 35 Hp is a little heavy for most 16 footers but it is the bomb on a 1860 Go Devil Surface Drive boat. One thing to remember is that a "mud boat" is designed to run the shallows. The bottom is smooth with the transom bottom edge and lower edge of the sides are tapered so it's a far easier task to push it or trun it around when your hung up. As far as mud goes there is, all mud is not created equal. The mud we have here is alot firmer and made up of fine sand. The mud in the south is organic, made up of rotted leaves and grass.... Soft mud is not a problem, soft and liquid like thick paint. , Hard mud is like driving on a roadway and resisits truning to liquid when you stur it with the prop. Pm me if you want anymore details or take a test ride when the water gets softer. Duckdon

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    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    I'm pretty set on a 19' Excel F4 with a Mud Buddy BPS 5500.

    Duckdon, I sent you a PM and never got anything back...?

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    So I just stumbled on this thread (insomnia) and, after eading all the remarks about prop wear, I have to ask: Why don't you guys just get a stainless steel prop?

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    Member AK Ray's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    So I just stumbled on this thread (insomnia) and, after eading all the remarks about prop wear, I have to ask: Why don't you guys just get a stainless steel prop?
    Mud motors only come with stainless steel props.

    Next question.

  18. #18
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    i want one that will push me back up the copper
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckdon View Post
    OK, I see someone metioned that a 35 Hp mud motor weight is "about 400 pounds"... Not sure on all the other brands but a 35 Hp Go Devil Surface Drive is 268 pounds dry weight............thats before you add the 80 oz of oil and enough gas to fill the carb and Fuel lines, maybe a 1/2 cup.
    Don I hate to argue with the guy who handles them regularly, but I got a 35gdsd from you last spring in the crate for my brother in law in afganastan (I'm sure you remember me) I took it to my shop where I have a full shop bridge crane and a strain gauge (fancy lifting scale) When I plucked that thing off my truck with the strain gauge it was well over 375# in the crate. (I don't suppose the crate was what 50# tops?) I just figuared that the marketing numbers were best case scenario with helium in the cylenders. However we still love the motor and what it does. That being said I just bought a mb 27 mini hd lite (sorry don gd didn't have anything that would match the (advertised) 165# and on a 1448 that matters.) So that and an Excel 1545 would be my ideal mudboat set up.

  20. #20
    Member DucksAndDogs's Avatar
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    Digging this one up from a few months back, but I settled on an Excel 1645 with a Mud Buddy 5500 BAMF. Probably overkill (ok, I know it's overkill) for a 16' boat, but I plan to get an 18 footer in the spring, just didn't want to pay $3,500 to ship it up here now since no one else is ordering a boat to split shipping. The boat is already here and the motor should be here within a week or two. If any of you see a 16 footer with way too much power that's high and dry somewhere it shouldn't be, HELP!

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