I'll be looking at buying a boat within a couple months, once I close on the house. I want one I can run the small rivers (Chena, Salcha, Gulkana...etc) in; but also capable of saltwater (not too far out, of course) for halibut, salmon trolling and black bear hunting.
I'm thinking around 20', shallow V, and an outboard jet (preferably with a prop unit too). I don't have much experience with inboard jets; that might be a better way to go, but I like being able to lift the motor and do whatever work is needed to clear the jet. I've had to remove the foot and clear gravel from the pump while stuck on a gravel bar on the Ivishak once...doubt we could have done that with an inboard. But not knowing much about 'em, I don't know if we would have had to.
The last boat I had before I left AK in '02 was a 1960 Roughneck with a 90/65 Jet and tiller control. It was a great boat for the Interior rivers, and probably would have been okay in Valdez on a calm day. This time I think I want a steering wheel, windshield and top, but still enough open area to put an ATV and gear in, and enough seating for 4 or 5.
Here's what I'd be leaning toward: Something along the lines of a Hewescraft River Runner, 19-21' with an outboard jet over 90 hp (at the jet).
One problem I'd see (other than its being too small for serious offshore saltwater) is that the outboard jets don't give much control at low speeds...that's fixed by a prop kicker, though. Do inboard jets generally provide more responsive steering than outboard?
Oh, and I'll be looking at used, as I need to keep this under around $20K.