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Thread: Jon boat. 14 or 16? Tiller or helm?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Jon boat. 14 or 16? Tiller or helm?

    I am in the market for a jon boat to access South Central lakes and rivers. There will be 2-3 people, one dog and minimal gear. Small distances. I would like to be able to run really skinny water as well as be out on the Su and big rivers. The set up needs to have the ability to hold a position for a while while in the current, kind of like back trolling. Control is more important than speed. I am pretty good at jet boats, at least Wooldridge boats. But not much experience with a jon. I am leaning toward all welded with a tunnel.

    Would a 16 or 14 ft boat be best to hold 3 people and a dog, and still be able to run skinny water? I think an 18 might be too big and heavy.

    What HP motor works good on the 14 or 16 ft boat? Oh ya, and width?

    Stand up or tiller? I wonder if a person sitting at the back of the boat plus the weight of the motor places the stern of the boat deeper than if the operator is standing at a helm.

    Can 4 people pick up either boat and carry it/roll it a short ways?


  2. #2
    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010


    This is the same discussion as "Whats the best Rifle for Alaska"... Everybody will have a different opinion. That said here is my opinion. Based on my 42 years of playing with all kinds of boats in Alaskan waters. I'd recommend a 16ft Welded aluminum with at least a 72" beam, bottom width at least 50" (60 would be better). and about 20" side depth. You said you wanted to play in skinny water, so you'll want at least a 60HP 4 stroke Jet. A tiller would give you more room to fish and be a $ cheaper, but A console placed amidships is better load balance and gives the operator better visibility. Plus the console gives you a place for a rod rack (or 2) protection for a Radio, Depth finder, GPS, and a lunch box.


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