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Thread: Need some advice on a sled

  1. #1
    Member OldSchool45's Avatar
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    Default Need some advice on a sled

    I am shopping for my first boat and trying to find a decent used boat in the $20,000 range which will do the following tasks ( not necessarily at the same time):

    1. haul up to five people for family outings
    2. handle skinny water ok
    3. haul a weeks worth of hunting gear and hopefully a moose

    Any opinions on the Phantom Big Bad Jon, Alweld or SeaArk?
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    I use to own an 18í Alweld tunnel with an outboard jet. I currently own a Phantom SportJon. For work I occasionally run a Phantom SportJon or a JetCraft Extreme Shallow.

    The dividing line for the boats you are talking about is weight vs. creature comforts.

    When I lived in town and used a boat for play, (exploring, hunting, fishing etc.) my 18 foot, wide bottom tunnel hull with a 90 hp outboard jet was just the ticket. I could run real skinny water. Empty I could step out and pull it off of sandbars. It would jump on step in a heartbeat. For the days I chose to go out in nasty weather I could dress for it and wrap the kids up in a blanket then cover them with a tarp. My max load was two men, camping gear for a week, and one moose. That load was flat dangerous, but that boat could do it. My guess is you could get something like this new for $20,000, (but itís been awhile since Iíve priced these kinds of boats).

    Then I moved remote. I needed to be on the river regardless of the weather. I need to haul larger loads safely. I still need to run skinny waters. I bought a Phantom SportJon with a 200hp Optimax and all the bells and whistles. Iíve got a cab, wipers, and a heater. Itís nice and the wife and kids love it. My max load has been 5ea. 55gal drums of diesel, (I was nervous the whole trip, I now limit it to 3 drums). Empty, (unless I have help) I have to wench it off of sandbars. It gets on step pretty quick. I got it new and paid more than double of what you are talking.

    Between the SportJon and Extreme Shallow I see some small performance difference when they are empty and none when they are loaded. If I was buying used Iíd base my decision on what was the best deal (condition, cost, etc), not brand. Phantom, SJX, JetCraft are all good boats and have their supporters.

    My advice would be go new, light, and play on nice days. But if you decide you want a roof, windshield, wipers, and a heater you are talking used. The engine is a big ticket item. Pay to have someone knowledgeable check it out. I love my Mercury Optimax 200hp inboard, but itís a finicky engine. Under warranty, Mercury has replaced my engine once, (thank you Marita Sea & Ski).

    Sorry to be so long winded,
    Kelvin

  3. #3

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    Four stroke inboard ,200hp optimax is awesome but like he said finicky and 2 strokes only last so long and all the parts are really expensive .

  4. #4

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    Google jet boat images there are alot of jet boat companys nobodys ever even heard of that make awesome boats . Between sea ark and phantom you spend alot less for the sea ark and its almost the same thing as a phantom.

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    "...replaced my engine..." WOW!

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    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    I have a buddy selling a sport jon in Fairbanks. Shoot me a PM if you want his number.

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    In your neck of the woods, the sport jon jobbies seem to be the ticket. SeaArk, Phantom, Extreme Shallow, SJX, Wooldridge .... all make a 20' long 7' wide (or so). The boat is not as big of a decision as what comforts you want. Tiller, center console or widshield. Then the POWER. Outboard 4 stroke or etec. Inboard optimax or go big with the small block. If you really want to go big, I think about the perfect boat would be with Mel's FNM diesel. But your 20K would just about cover the engine only that way. Then the wait until the right boat comes along.

  8. #8
    Member OldSchool45's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice everyone. It has been pretty confusing to figure out the best route with some of the debates on here; SeaArks are real good, no they have bad welds, Phantoms are great, no Extremes are better, no SJXs are better, no wait extremes don't handle so well and SJXs are made in china, no Wooldridge's are better but phantoms run skinny water better than Wooldridge's, AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I think something with a top would be nice since I plan to run rain or shine. and probably an Optimax. But from looking at forums and what's for sale I definitely see you guys' point, any of the big brands of boats should fit the bill as long as its got a reliable power plant and is used for its designed intent.

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    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    The buddy that I was referring to above with the sport jon for sale has one of the only 210 opti sport jons (2003 I think). I think it was in the 200 hr range and in really good shape. Has a top and center console, stomp grate and what not. Pretty nice boat and it appears to be in your price range. We have hauled out several moose and camps in that boat off the Tanana, that boat will go anywhere.

  10. #10
    Member OldSchool45's Avatar
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    Ronster, I sure appreciate the info on your friends sport jon. Unfortunately I am now in Portland for my daughter to have surgery so we have had a bit of a set back on finances. Thanks again though!

  11. #11
    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    TJM found this one on craigslist... check it out... might be just what your looking for... http://anchorage.craigslist.org/boa/3900917343.html... I have a Phantom SportJon 60/40 with the 200 Optimax and I love it. But I don't think you will find one of those for sale used for the price you are talking... good luck man... "fishon"
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    OldSchool45: I hope things work out for your family. My Wife has had some repair work done at OHSU in Portland; we were very pleased with the care she recieved.

  13. #13
    Member OldSchool45's Avatar
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    Yeah she is at Deornbecher Childrens Hospital, them saw bones at OHSU sure do a good job. This will be her second trip down here in a year for lung surgery.

  14. #14
    Member OldSchool45's Avatar
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    Anyone know any specs/ experience about the Phantom Big Bad John? I heard it was Phantom's outboard version but never hear much else about them.

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