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Thread: Best shallow jet boat

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    Default Best shallow jet boat

    I am looking for the best all around hunting type Alaska shallow river running jet boat and options. I have done a lot of searching but would like some real world experience with any Riddle Cargo Jet owners. I am looking at getting a custom 20-22' Cargo Jet with a 6.2 V8. Is this boat going to be to heavy (2700#) to run shallow water? Does anyone know what the actual dry weight of the SJX 21' and Phantom SJ with the 200HP Merc engine? Is the added weight of V8 bad idea for running up 4-6" deep creeks? What options should a boat like this have? I would rather have it built right the first time, thanks for any ideas. The other options are the SJX, Phanton SJ, or a TJ Denali.

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    Member .338WM's Avatar
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    For the kind of water you seem interested in a 16' to 20' jon boat with an outboard jet would be the optimum. Explaining jet boating and the rivers in Alaska is huge undertaking, there are no comparisons in the L48 that I know of. If you can understand the Search function well enough ( I have difficulty with it) there is a wealth of info to be had.

    You will get alot of Phantom and Wooldridge sled fans offering input I am sure. I have experience with the jon/outboard combo and a 22' inboard V8 jet boat. The jon boat will go everywhere the inboard will go and many, many places the inboard can not even dream of with the exception of saltwater.
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    Member bkmail's Avatar
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    A site completely devoted to jetboating in your area is meanchicken.com
    BK

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    Member skybust's Avatar
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    I have the SJX dont know the dry wieght is. I can tell you I can run in 4 to inches of water all day long wouldnt want to stop in 4 inches though. The boat can carry one hell of a load with no problems. Im not saying the other boats cant do this also but I only talk about the boat I have. I use to have a 24 Woolridge it was a great boat but couldnt run as shallow and if you got it on a sand bar lets just say it was a job to get it off. LOL Ive seen the Wooldridge SJ but have never driven one but they seem to be a very nice boat and the people who have them seen very happy also. Dont know if this helps or not Chris
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    This boat would be only used in Alaska in some bigger rivers like the Copper and Tanana but, I would like to run shallower stuff like the Salcha or way up the Goodpaster. I know the SJX is a good boat in the shallow stuff, I've ridden in them and the Phantom. I just want something with a v8 and taller sides but don't want to give up too much of the shallow water capability.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Charger View Post
    This boat would be only used in Alaska in some bigger rivers like the Copper and Tanana but, I would like to run shallower stuff like the Salcha or way up the Goodpaster. I know the SJX is a good boat in the shallow stuff, I've ridden in them and the Phantom. I just want something with a v8 and taller sides but don't want to give up too much of the shallow water capability.
    As soon as you mentioned Goopaster, I think you could write off a V-8 IB. Have you scene the Compeaus videos? Gives you a good idea what to expect, and that isn't big V-8 country. Having said that, I think it would be fun to try one of the new Wooldridge XPs. Have it built with the 7' bottom, full UHMW, 8 degree deadrise, and I think you would be on the right track. Still, when it comes to getting unstuck, it would be hard to beat the Phantoms, SJXs or similar SJ rigs.
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    Driver ability is a big factor in how far you can go in any boat, mist jets will run in 4 to 6 inches, heavier boats need more water at rest and deeper to get on step, that being said a 6.2 will get on step with a heavy load in less distance than a sportjet with the same load. The biggest difference is were you decided to come off step and how hard you push
    when you do get stuck. An aluminum 6.2 and pump is 4 or 500 pounds more than a 200 opti.
    A cargojet will have a heavier and more durable hull than a sportjon.

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    You can run big IB's on the Salcha, done all the time, not familiar with the Goodpaster, but believe its about the same. Running in 4-6 inches all day long.....small jon will do that very well and easy to get off when stuck.

    On the Rivers you mentioned I would look at a IB with 7 foot bottom about 22-23 foot long, that will go most places, add some slickum to the bottom and it will go a few more. Big wide bottoms take less water & drift flatter & step quicker..........haul tons of gear comfortably...things like recovery gear, winch, cable, etc.............. Small jons can do the job on the bigger rivers, slower and with less comfort and less stuff in the boat.

    Weight is always the enemy, but at some point most 20' OB powered boats can run out of space, The only reason IMO to run a OB on a big boat is if you plan to run a prop, of the rivers you mentioned The only one I would run a prop in would be the Tanana. A small jon on the Salcha or Goody would be fun, I wouldnt be too excited about running one on the Copper or the Tanana...........but many do...thats just me.

    Running real small creeks would be the only real limiting factor with a big IB, (how often do you plan to do that?)......and of course learning to read the water and pay for the mistakes......how deep are yer pockets anyway..........?

    With all the help here..........We can help you build the perfect boat with enough money....?
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    The cargo jet with the v8 and bigger pump will go anywhere the sj's will go....you just might not be able to stop absolutely everywhere the sj's can...but darn close ...
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    I own an SJX and have been around and in most all the SJs, to include the Cargo Jet V8, tell you up front-- I love my boat-- it is the best boat for me right now. Riddle builds an impressive boat and like T said it will go anywhere the SJ's will, dont let anyone tell ya differant, they are NICE!. I looked at them hard but went the SJ route due to fuel savings and ease of recovery (and price). I routinly end up stuck, being in places i should not be and it is pretty easy to recover a the lighter SJ by yourself (with simpson winch of course). One huge factor for me was having a local (in Alaska) dealership and customer service, that way if i have a problem i can walk through the door and talk to someone VS making a phone call to someone in the Lower 48 and hope they care that day.
    Just my 2 cents and hope it helps.
    Mike

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    As the owner of a 16' and 18' SeaArk outboard jet tunnel boats, I don't like stopping in 4" of water. I can run them, but most of the rivers that small here in Southeast are full of "can openers"

    If you want to run real skinny remote water I suggest either an airboat, or a sportjohn type boat big enough to carry a side by side, four wheeler, or jeep.

    Sobie2

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    Thanks for the reply's. I need the boat to haul a 4 wheeler and gear. It seems like everyone is happy with their SJX and Phantom SJ boats and that is a route I may go. They are light and easy to unstick, but then dent up and puncture easy. The Riddle CJ has a little heavier built bottom plus add the V8 and now its pushing 2500-3000lbs. I can't find the dry weight on a Phanton SJ or SJX, everyone says light, but how light are we talking? 1500lbs?

    If I go the V8 route I am thinking about getting either an GM alumimum LSA or LS3 motor. What is the best pump for shallow water to put on a 500+HP V8?

    What custom options would be nice on a boat like this? Does a mounted winch work well or does it not since it can only pull straight forward if you are stuck? Do the small jib cranes work for loading/unloading?

  13. #13

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    Whatever you get uhmw is the ticket youll never want a boat withput it once youve had it . The only lame thing about thoseboats withthe 200optimax is you gotta deal with all the problems 2 strokes develope and mercury is pretty proud of that motor. Sounds like you got moneys to take care of it though let us know what you think of your new boat when you get it

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    Member HCL's Avatar
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    +1 on the uhmw, it is worth it's weight in gold for helping prevent damage and getting unstuck! The hulls on the SJ's are alot tougher than you think when covered with uhmw. Cant say enough good things about it.
    But again that is my 2 Cents.
    Mike

  15. #15

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    Lots of great jet boats out there. Depends on what you are going to use it for the most. Salcha River? Chena? Goodpasture? Delta Clearwater? Personally, I run an 18' Alweld with an Evinrude 130 E-Tec. SJX and Phantom's are nice but brittle bottoms. Have friends who have sliced them open on small rocks. Extreme Shallows seem to be more popular up here in Fairbanks than the Phantom Sport Jon. Fully equipped though, both those boats start in the low $40K range....to much for a boat unless you are running all day long, all summer long. Inboards to me are the problem. You buy a Phantom or Extreme and get something caught up in the impeller (and no, stomp grates don't clear a whole hell of a lot) and have no thrust, you're in trouble. Reason is, you have to get that ass end of the boat out of the water.....completely out and up on some logs or winched at an angle to where you get under it from the side. If this happens on a cut bank, then you are floating it down to where it is flatland, hoping there is something to tie on to if you have a winch or come-a-long. Now, add in a couple kids and wife and your 10 miles up or down a river, and you do the math. With my Alweld, I can tie up to shore on a cut bank, pull the ass end around and use my motor lift to raise the motor right out of the water. From there, I can pull my entire foot if I want. My Alweld will run shallower than any Extreme or Phantom you'll find. Will it carry the load that the Extreme or Phantom will? Probably not, but I don't need or plan on hauling 55 gallon drums of gas, three or four people, gear, and a couple of moose in it either. Working on the engine of an inboard is a pain in the ass too. I know, I had a Hewes River runner, 20', 2004, with the Mercury Sport Jet 175. Nice boat but never liked the feeling of the whole impeller issue. I've probably not done nearly enough boating as some of these people out here after, but after owning two different styles of boats, I'd never buy another inboard jet up here. There is just too much junk in the water, and eventually it will catch up to you. Great example is when I took my Hewes down to Valdez. I idled out of the harbor, went to power up and get on step and had nothing. Reason? Because I sucked up a stupid plactic grocery store bag into my jet system. Sitting just outside the harbor with only idle speed, and now my motor is starting to get hot. I made it back, had to re-trailer to pull one lousy plastic bag out! If I had an outboard, I would have pulled over to the side just outside the harbor and cleared in 60 seconds. Again, all are nice boats, but depends on what you like to do, and how far you are willing to take things and then deal with the consequences.

  16. #16

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    Here is my 2 cents. If you have the funds and need to haul a wheeler around I would buy the Riddle cargo jet. With the LS motor of your choice and either a Hamilton 212 or a Scott 852 jet. Get full UHMW and then just put fuel in it and enjoy yourself.
    06 custom weld storm 6 liter 212 and other stuff
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    Member Bob the fisher's Avatar
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    And my 2cents as follows: I have a 24' Phantom SportJon 60/40 (see picture on left) with the 200 horse Mercury Optimax and SportJet Waterpump on the back. I bought it custom made for me from Aztec Fabrications 3 years ago and I love it. It is the baddest shallow water boat there is. It floats and takes off in 8" of water and once on step will blast over a wet rock at 40 miles an hour. I had a 50 gallon fuel tank put in the bow so with a full tank, me and the dog and gear, it weights just over 2000 lbs. In regards to the UHMW, if you get a Phantom made to your liking, you can also get the Hardkor (polimarSpray) put on by Aztec when they build the boat. I have run the boat over gravel bars, sand bars, big and little rocks and the only thing to show for it is just little scratches and knicks. No holes or puntures or anything at all like that. That stuff is fricken awesome!!! Send me a pm and I will take you for a ride on the Knik... "fishon"
    "Fisherman for Life" and "Phantom owner Forever"

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    A v8 boat is typically lower maintenance than a sj, and contrary to some popular beliefs, can burn equal or less fuel compared to an boats especially if each are loaded, and probably at a higher speed. It ussualy takes a lot of debris to disble a 212 and more for an 852

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    Hauling heavy loads and running shallow water are not always compatible. You can do both with the same boat, but usually not at the same time.

    I don't know how much harder a 2000 pound or 2500 pound boat will be to pull off a gravel bar. Probably about the same, and both will suck. The better the boat is at handling shallow water does not mean you will get stuck less, it just means you will go further until you do get stuck and it will suck worse. I got rid of my shallow running Wooldridge AK 17.5 outboard boat because I got it stuck all the time and really did not go anyplace that was really much better than what I can do with my 20' XP inboard now. The inboard can carry about twice the weight though and is a comfortable ride.

    I haven't heard anybody squeak about the FNM diesel yet???

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daved View Post

    I haven't heard anybody squeak about the FNM diesel yet???
    Someone just had to invite Mel to this party..........
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

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