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Thread: Jon Boat Advice

  1. #1
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    Default Jon Boat Advice

    Looking to get a 16ft Flat bottom jon. My main use would be running up the rivers in the valley. Maybe open up some more options for a remote cabin. I would also like to dipnet the copper as well.
    What size motor should I be looking for?
    I would like enough power so I don't ever feel underpowered but not over kill.

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    You are planning on running a Jet on it I assume? I ran a 16' Grumman jon with a 55hp-35hp jet and it did fine for fishing but not for hauling fish and people dipnetting. You might get away with a bit larger motor, but most 16' boats aren't rated for larger outboards and the transom will need to be built up. I wouldn't even look at the copper with a 16ft boat, that river is moving much too swift and you can get in trouble being overloaded quickly. Now running to a remote cabin hauling supplies is going to tax the capacity of a 16' boat to the limit quickly. Any outboard you put on it will eventually feel too small as you start hauling more and more.

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    Good info, what if we bumped up to a 20fter? better or should I look at a different style boat

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    Member DanielApplin's Avatar
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    16 is fine for the copper, a little rough but my dad ran a roughneck in there many times with a 115/80 horse jet.

    It was small though for more than 3 people and hauling any gear.....I would go with an 18 or 20 foot with a 150 if you go the outboard route

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    Member DanielApplin's Avatar
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    I don't know what your budget is but I would go inboard

    The only advantage to a job boat in my eyes is price and if your going though really really small stuff where you will need to push, it's pretty amazing where the new boats go and they handle so much better and are smoother than a job boat

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    Member ptarmigan's Avatar
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    This is a Alweld 1752 tunnel hull with a tohatsu 50/35. I've had 4 adults and 2 kids in it while running the Delta clearwater. Usually 2-3 adults with 2 young kids most of the time. It's not real speedy but it runs real shallow and goes wherever I want to. I did add flotation pods and a grab bar after I bought it.


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    Member Sobie2's Avatar
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    It is all about being able to hop up on step. A 1652 with a 50/35 will be adequate for two people and minimal gear (I added flotation pods after two years and that improved the boat). A 1660 with 70 is much better, or a 17' or 1860 with a 90 is even better (3 people with gear).

    I have a friend who used to run a lodge and he even thought an 1852 with a 50/35 was better than a 1652 because it planned out easier. My 1652 50/35 topped out at 21mph, my 1860 90/65 goes 35mph and cruises at 25mph. Both boats performed awesome in small tight streams and I didn't notice an issue with going bigger.

    What ever you end up with make sure to buy one with a jet tunnel.

    Sobie2

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    Member AK DUCKMAN's Avatar
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    I'll second the tunnel. I picked up a 16 foot Seaark Jet tunnel +pods with a 60/ 40 Yamaha NIB this spring and I love it. Still getting the feel of it but very happy with how shallow of water I can get on step in. It could use a little more power but the motor that's on it is the biggest that Dewey's could put on and I didn't feel like doing it my self or I could of went up a bit. Not quite a hunting rig but I'll make it work. So what if I have to make multiple trips I like being on water. Beside my good buddy picked up a 18 footer so between the two we'll get it done.

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    Member oakman's Avatar
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    I have a 20 foot seaark with a 115hp. Great boat, but of course heavier. The nice thing about the smaller boats is if you're running on your own or maybe just another guy, you can get unstuck a lot easier. I have a friend with a 16' tunnel with a 50hp on a tiller. He can get into much tighter spots than I can. Of course, he's more interested in fishing, hauling a heavy load for a long ways and I'm in a better spot.

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    Looks like I might be after a larger boat with my interests in mind.

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    I've run a riveted 1852 with a Honda 50/35 Jet tiller for years on the Big Sue/Deshka and to dipnet on the Kenai without issue. Of course I've always had a bigger boat with a lot more power to pack weight in at the same time. The outboard jet powered Jon is about as low hassle of a rig as you get that will work on most Alaska road system rivers in my opinion. If you're not worried about being Kenai legal I would recommend an 18' or 16' 52" bottom w/tunnel and a 90/65 jet.

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    Member fatbacks's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good compromise would be an 1872 with a 115/80 jet. Buddy has a Sea Ark 1860 with 115/80 jet and it hauls a good amount and has plenty of power. Only change I would make would be get the 1872 instead of 1860 - higher sides, thicker aluminum and more deck space for only 200 more lbs in weight. Sea Ark is the only way to go for Jon Boats in my opinion.

    I had a 1650 with a 60/40 jet. Great boat but not able to haul any loads or more than three people. Ended up selling it because of that. Also, I wouldn't have wanted to dinette out of the 16' in canyon on the copper - maybe above the bridge, but definitely not down in the canyon.

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    I run a 16' welded jon boat with a 50 horse Evinrude jet and it does fine with just two people. Using my gps, I've clocked it at about 30 mph on a couple different lakes. On the big su going upstream I was doing about 20 mph most of the time going full blast with me, my dad and my dad's dog in it with a good load in it. That's not to say that you have to run any river at a set speed, but it gives you an idea of what you might expect. I have never had any issues. I have never run it on the Copper river though. I have floated down the Copper rafting and I wouldn't hesitate to run it with my boat, but I could be full of it and end up swamping my boat my first time up there and drown, so don't take my word for it.

    Just gain experience with reading the river and know when to slow down and when to apply power. It's better to learn how to avoid situations than learning through experience how to get out of them once you are in them. If the weather is complete ****, sometimes it's better not to go. Try to avoid crashing into the bank or grounding it, or swamping it for that matter because it really isn't hard to get killed in boating accidents up here.

    I'm not going to get into the specifics of handling a boat and whatnot because every boat handles differently due to the various structures, modifications, engines, etc. that people put in their boats. The weight distribution of a boat I have found to affect performance as well, so figure out what works best for you. Try not to put unnecessary weight in a boat - in-laws, for example. Do we really need to take cousin Jed fishing when he comes up here? Personally, I can't stand having lots of people in a boat. Some people want to bring the whole clan with them. I find it to be a hassle to move around in the event that I may need to move around a boat quickly when I have a lot of junk in my way, not to mention people. That being said about the large amount of people factor, it's a good idea to have another person with you because if you get it stuck it's a lot easier to get it unstuck with another person there. If you for some reason get thrown out of the boat, or fall out, that person might be able to take over and get you out.

    I guess if you want to take 5 people in your boat for some reason, get a bigger boat. If you're like me and you are going to max out at 2-3 people, a smaller boat is fine. Whatever boat you get, use it a lot so you can get good because you won't get good at it reading internet posts on Alaska Outdoors forums - you just have to operate it.

  14. #14

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    I have an 18' sea ark w/Yamaha 80 horse jet. Transom cracked and Dewey's built a new transom for no charge. Lifetime warranty on sea ark hulls. They are built like a tank. I've had it for 10+ years and run the Su/Deshka and Little Sue. Am considering adding flotation pods but have heard mixed reviews as to how much they help. Any opinions? Thanks

  15. #15
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    I have a 1656 alweld with tunnel, has a 2014 Yamaha 80 jet 4 stroke, with pods installed. I wouldn't do anything different. Cabin runner up the tek, and also been on 17 mile slough, Tanana river, Nenana river, yenta river.
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