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Thread: Jim Creek & Airboats

  1. #1

    Default Jim Creek & Airboats

    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.

  2. #2
    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Gremlin
    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.

    Gremlin....ITS CALLED JEALOUSY !!!!!!!

    They are just jealous because they don't have one. And I do the same pretend they are not there and if they throw something do a 180 and blow it back to them.....

  3. #3
    Moderator AKmud's Avatar
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    Default Thats part of the problem....

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger
    Gremlin....ITS CALLED JEALOUSY !!!!!!!

    They are just jealous because they don't have one. And I do the same pretend they are not there and if they throw something do a 180 and blow it back to them.....
    If you are standing on the outside of a corner on a small river you get EVERYTHING thrown at you intentionally or not! I hate it when a monster airboat goes by and blows my gear all over the beach and mists me down! Not to mention the noise. At least when a jet boat goes by, the most I have to worry about is whether or not the wake will go over my hip boots.
    AKmud
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    The porcupine is a peacful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

  4. #4
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    Default Airboat skills

    I have always noticed which airboat operater has experience and which ones do not. the ones with experience can go by you without too much noise and wind by idling past and not aiming the prop wash at you and powering back up. I've never been in one but they look like a blast to ride in.
    The worst experience I've had was at Arctic Man while on my snowmachine. Some guy tried to run me over with his airboat. luckily I was able to easily outrun him.

  5. #5
    Member calndux's Avatar
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    Default Wow..guess I gotta get use to the bird....

    I pick up my AK boat this weekend (not new, just new to me..), I could have got a jet and went alot of places, just not where I always want to go. Jets have there place just as airboats. I just opted for the airboat. Can't wait, guess I will pass out earplugs as I go by....LOL

    I got a 16 with a 350 (provided the test ride goes good and doesn't have any problems).

  6. #6

    Default

    calndux make sure to inspect the plastic on the bottom of the hull, thats if this boat does indeed have the plastic bottom. With airboats that can get really beat up, and its about $1000 to replace. Also the rivets can leak. I would check the prop (depending on the style) over to make sure it hasnt been rebuilt, most rebuilt proprs dont last. We had an airfilter go through our propr and it just wasnt that same after the rebuild.

  7. #7

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    I've been interested in airboats and thought about getting one. But I gotta tell ya, some guys give airboaters a bad name.

    I was on Jim Creek a few years ago with my brother in a canoe. It started out a nice quiet day but we could hear an airboat coming. It took quite a while to reach us and when it did it was a sight. They were putting up at least a two foot wake that was running up into the bushes on both sides. There were about 5 guys in the boat cradling guns like they were ready to shoot any second.

    When they went by us we almost swamped. Seriously, we did take on water and thought we might tip over. After they went by my brother muttered something about "the mutants on the bounty".

  8. #8

    Default

    I would idle, and I mean idle, by canoes that I pass on Jim Creek. I would expect the same, since I do occasionally take my canoe to Jim Creek. Depending on the situation I will keep the boat on step if there is ample distance between us. Quick thinking really comes in handy, but if in doubt back off and drop to idle. There might be some noise but there will be almost NO wake. With proper tiller work there will almost to prop wash as well. I have been buzzed by airplanes that are louder and seen higher wakes from float planes. They dont get a bad name though.

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