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Thread: All-around boat?

  1. #1
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    Default All-around boat?

    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.

    Recommendations?

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    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    While I don't have experience on the interior rivers I wouldn't discount an inboard. They are imo more responsive and have alot more HP than you have talked about. On an inboard you can use a rake (for IB's) to clear your grate or you could install a stomp grate in which the name says it all. I have not installed one as of yet but I am sure I will soon as I stick it, knock on wood! I would suggest something like my boat but it isn't really set up to haul a wheeler in. I suppose its doable but not in my boat. A fellow name Crumm has a boat that may be more to your likings. We have had similar discussions before about this topic. The attached are links to the previous discussions.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ead.php?t=5029
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ead.php?t=4313

  3. #3
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    I wouldn't mind a SportJon with a stomp grate, but not too many used ones available for under $20K.

  4. #4
    Member Crumm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBighorn View Post
    A fellow name Crumm has a boat that may be more to your likings.
    A boat like mine is about $14,000 more than he is wanting to spend.

    Since you are shopping for used your best bet would be to just start shopping and see what you can find to fit your needs and budget. Many guys can tell you what is best but it might not be possible to find on the used market in the middle of winter.

  5. #5

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    New to forum,but ill actually be selling my boat come spring.Dont want to but have owned for 5 years and use about once a year...Wife promises when our lives settle down and we get more free time she will buy me another.22' woolridge semi-vee w/large self bailers....inboard 427 bb chevy w about 300 hrs on it and 3 stage hamilton jet.I have put alot of upgrades on it since buying and now have it the way i want so i have many mixed feelings regarding selling it.Just a few things i have done are a posi-nozzle jet,plumbed a new hi-output cabin heater in,had a 3/4 swim deck made for back by Heavy Weather Boats,New full canvas top with taller hieghth and on and on....also comes with new radio and depth finder + many extras with no time to mention.I will be selling for 20k in spring so if your still looking............

  6. #6

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    New to forum,but ill actually be selling my boat come spring.Dont want to but have owned for 5 years and use about once a year...Wife promises when our lives settle down and we get more free time she will buy me another.22' woolridge semi-vee w/large self bailers....inboard 427 bb chevy w about 300 hrs on it and 3 stage hamilton jet.I have put alot of upgrades on it since buying and now have it the way i want so i have many mixed feelings regarding selling it.Just a few things i have done are a posi-nozzle jet,plumbed a new hi-output cabin heater in,had a 3/4 swim deck made for back by Heavy Weather Boats,New full canvas top with taller hieghth and on and on....also comes with new radio and depth finder + many extras with no time to mention.I will be selling for 20k in spring so if your still looking............

  7. #7
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    How does that thing do on the smaller rivers? Seems like it'd be really heavy and tough to get off a gravel bar if beached. Ideally, I'd like to get one that only needs about a foot to 18 inches of water to get on step, and can run in 3 inches. However, it's quite difficult to find something like that that'd still be worth it's "salt" in saltwater.

    I recall the one time we took a 19 foot Sprint out of Homer, we got kelp caught in the grates and had to limp back to shore with no power. With an outboard, that wouldn't be a problem. I don't know if a stomp grate would help that or not. I've gone out on halibut charters with inboard jets, and they don't seem to have any problems.

    I'm more familiar with the interior rivers, but since I'll be living in Palmer, will probably want to try some of the Rivers off the Su, plus the Gulkana. Would also like the ability to run the Ivishak...but that one was tough even in my old 16 foot jon boat with a 40 hp jet.

    I am interested in your Wooldridge, but would have to know a bit more about it, and see some photos. I reckon I could try to borrow (trade use)a smaller boat if I ever needed one. The logical choice would be to get 2 boats, but parking space is gonna be limited, so I'm gonna try to "do it all" with one boat.

  8. #8
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    Default Cwoods

    I sent you a PM.

  9. #9
    Member AK NIMROD's Avatar
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    I HAVE 9 BOATS CURRENTLY. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A GOOD ALL AROUND BOAT FOR ALASKA. IF I HAD TO PICK ONE I WOULD GO BACK TO AN INFLATABLE, 16 FOOTER OR LARGER..... OR JUST PICK SALT OR FRESH TO PLAY IN. I HAVE A 14 FOOTER AMONG OTHER BOATS I WOULD SELL :-) ACTUALLY COULD GET YOU INTO A 12 FOOT INBOARD JET BOAT WITH TRAILER AND TWO EXTRA MOTORS, JET UNITS AND THE INFLATABLE ( NO MOTOR) FOR LESS THAN $7000. FOR THAT I WOULD THROW IN A SECOND TRAILER FIOR THE INFLATABLE. YOU STILL CAN DO ALOT WITH A 14 FOOTER. AND THAT WAS MY STARTER TYPE OF ALASKA BOAT.
    YOU CAN HANDLE ALOT WITH ONE OF THESE IN THE SALT WATER. BUT THERE ARE NO CREATURE COMFORTS. GET NEOPRENE WADERS AND GOOD FLOAT COAT AND STILL PLAN ON BEING WET AND COLD.
    RETIRED U.S.A.F. CAPT.; LIFETIME MEMBER NRA; LIFETIME MEMBER ALASKA BOWHUNTER ASSOC.
    MASTER BOWHUNTER EDUCATION INSTRUCTOR; MEMBER UNITED BLOOD TRACKERS; POPE & YOUNG MEASURER

  10. #10
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    I started with a Coleman Crawdad and a 36 lb trolling motor as my first Alaska boat in '93, then a 12 foot Inflatable with a 25 jet, then a 14 foot inflatable with a 40 hp prop, then a 16 ft jon with 40 jet, then finally a 19 ft Roughneck with 90/65 jet. I don't want to go back to an inflatable; I want an aluminum boat around 20' with a jet.

  11. #11
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I'm also of the belief that there is no boat that is good for both little rivers and salt water. When you try to compromise you end up with something that doesn't work well in any application.

    Figure out what you will spend the most time on, and get a boat that works best for that application and within your means.

    A 20' semi V aluminum skiff with at least a 60 horse and both prop and jet drives is as close as it gets, but it's still a compromise.

  12. #12
    Member AKRoadkill's Avatar
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    I might have a line on a used SportJon in my price range. Definitely not an ideal rig for the salt, but should work in the bays for halibut and salmon a couple trips a year. And I'd be able to get where I need to go on the skinny water. Best bet would be to get that and make friends with the owner of an ocean boat, then just team up in my boat for rivers and the other fellas rig for the salt.

  13. #13
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    Pick what is most important to you, ocean or rivers and buy a boat tailored for that. Find a friend who went the other way and share expenses when you both go out. You will be much happier in the long run. Compromise boats suck.
    Tennessee

  14. #14
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I would much rather bet a seaworthy boat stuck on a shallow river, then have a river boat capsize in the ocean. Something to consider when it comes to compromises.

    Our weather changes much too rapidly to rely on a boat that can only opperate in perfect conditions.

  15. #15

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    I'm trying to figure out where the smooth water bay is located.

    There's only so many places to launch from up there...

    Whittier
    Seward
    Kenai (area)
    Homer

    ...all places known to get nasty any given day.

    Only takes a decent breeze against a decent tide, and things get lumpy. Foul an anchor line, or get some water in your fuel, and the next thing you know there's water coming over the transom.

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