The Jim Creek flats can fill with silt over night. One day there can be a well defined channel and the next day it can fill with sand and be covered with 1/2" of water in most areas. The wind can kick up in no time as well. Shallow water and high winds do not mix with airboats. The wind will grab the cage and flip the boat around instantly in shallow water. Previous years the Jim Creek flats used to have more of a twist to it, now it seems to have straightened out for the most part. The key to passing the flats is to go SLOW as possible while staying on step, keep that rear end out of the water. Follow the channel and it will be a piece of cake.
A group of airboaters use to launch in Jim Lake off maud rd because they were scared of the flats. That wet silt sticks hard and creates a suction effect holding the boat firmly to the ground. Our boat was small and powerful enough to give WOT and a few tugs and it would be freed of the nasty silt. I knew a guy with a florida gator airboat and he hit a sand bar on the Jim Creek flats on the way out. He had to spend the night on the flats in late October. He said it was one of the coldest nights he has ever spent in the outdoors.
The owner of Alaska Airboats told me one time an airboat with a chevy 454 or 502 and a good set of props can push itself off the nastiest of sandbars with some WOT and tiller work. A chevy 350 doesnt have that kind of power. Wouldnt I love to have a 16 footer with a 454. :-)` DROOOL!
It took me YEARS to learn how to read water. That is the most important tool while driving an airboat IMO, and it still helps me to this day.
Jim Creek is the most ideal area to take an airboat. The swamps are a blast to ride, but fill your boat with weeds. I miss those days. There are two Y's that I suggest ALL boaters stop for a minute and take a break. This gives the driver and opportunity to listen for other boats. After the first Y this creek can become VERY narrow. The last thing a boater would want is a head on collision.
Airboats have such a bad rap its sick. Airboats do far less damage to a body of water and its shores when compared to a jet or prop propelled boat. When on step the water below and on top of the surface show very little disruption. Plain and simple, a majority of people just plain do not like this form of transportation. I have had multiple objects thrown at me, more "birds" flipped to me than I can remember, lures casted at my prop, dirty looks included plugged ears, dogs sicked on me, plenty of exhange words, and I have even been shot at while driving airboats. Eventually I stopped waiving and even looking at other people. As far as I was concerned no one else was within 100 miles.