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Thread: Boat dilemma

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006

    Default Boat dilemma

    Excuse me while I ramble, but I am looking for advice from folks who may have been in my shoes already. Looking for any and all advice/thoughts/experiences. Thanks.

    We primarily fish the Kenai and want to get something that will keep the weather off of the babies in August and September, but still have decent performance with 3 maybe 4 adults when we find a baby sitter. We have always run open jon boats, but are know looking for something with a windshield and cover. I have spent the last several months looking at lots of boats and hoping to buy something this fall so we will be ready to go next summer.

    What are your thoughts on a 18' or there abouts, with a 50 horse prop, and with windshield? Hull weight seems to be a good indicator of performance, but hull design must be important also. I think I would prefer a flat bottom, but are the semi v's more efficient? Do wider boats perform better with smaller motors? How about high thrust motors? What am I over looking?

    What do you use or have ridden in and thought was a good set up?

    We are looking at new and used, but just having a tough time making a decision. It seems most of these boats are rated for more than 50 hp and we are concerned we will be under powered.

    Thanks again,

  2. #2


    I guess it really depends on your budget, and whether your getting a fully welded boat or a riveted boat at half the price. But here is a thought.....

    You could order a boat like this:

    Jammie Dorsey builds boats specifically for the Kenai to be powered by a 50hp outboard. They used to be called the "Kenai Lite" models offered in the Rivermaster series, now they are called the "Kenai Sportsman". But I bet he could take one of these Stalker boats and set it up for the Kenai, which usually means a 5 or 6 degree transom and a smaller belly mounted fuel tank. I have an 06 Rivermaster Kenai Lite and I absolutely love it, hence my bias towards Fishrite. There are alot of flat bottom boats with very similar setups to this, Wooldridge makes a killer flat bottom boat that is extremely popular with alot of locals on the river, with a windshield and an optional canopy. There are others as well...
    I might steer clear of boats like the Hewescraft Sportsman series, very popular but I am not convinced that that hull design is ideal for the Kenai (very big wakes), and are restricted to running when the river is at peak summer levels. Not flaming anyone who runs one....just my opinion.

    To answer your other questions, High thrust isn't really needed in my opinion, and as far as boat is rated for 225HP but works very well with the Yamaha 50HP outboard (Not a High Thrust). Rating is the max your transom can handle, not neccesarily what the boat should have. I don't have experience with the high thrust motors, so maybe someone else will chime in as to their benefits, but I haven't seen the need on my setup so far.

    Happy Boat Hunting!

    I spent two years researching before I bought mine, it was fun.

  3. #3
    Member hoose35's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Soldotna, Alaska, United States


    my dad commercial fishes, he has a 50hp on one of his skiffs, it is 22' long, very heavy duty, 6' wide on bottom, pretty flat bottom, and he gets on step with a decent sized load, IMO 50hp is plenty for most all river boats, just think like this, a few years ago, the guides were running the river with the same sized boats they have now, with the same amount of people and gear, and they were flying up and down the river with 35hp motors (supposedly)

  4. #4


    I had one of the old Hewescraft River Runners. It was a riveted boat. (there were a ton of them around then) I bought it new in '83. It looked like it might be the "great grandfather" of the Hewescraft Sportsman that "Sockeye Charlie" talks about. I had that boat for over twenty years on the lower Kenai. It had a top, side windows, and a drop curtain. Both my kids grew up in that boat and I caught a "million" fish in it. You can't fish King salmon from a boat with a top (very well), but when silver season arrived, we anchored up out there in it constantly. Had a little heater. We loved it. I never had a problem from the end of May through mid-October depth wise. ( I realize it isn't the same boat I had.) Good luck in your search.

  5. #5
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Palmer, AK

  6. #6
    Member moose-head's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    @ Seminary, Dubuque Ia


    I have a '97 Hewescraft Searunner and love it. it has a deeper V than the sportsman, but with the honda 50 it is able to get on step with three big guys in it. It dosen't hop right up on plane, but it gets there.
    If you board the wrong train, it is no use running along the corridor in the other direction.
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer


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