Experienced duck hunters, can you give me advice on this? I'm a long time duck hunter. I have a 14' jon boat and several aluminum deep-v's of 16' or more; however, I don't have a boat in between. The 14' jon boat can't carry 3 men, gear and a dog safely in winter water (we'd be overweight, and it has a shallow side compared to winter waves) and although the deep v's can carry us, they are a pain to drag into shallow spots. Also we need to trailer these boats, and the deep v's are hella heavy. So, I'm looking for the smallest, lightest, shallowest draft jon boat that can safely transport 3 men, dog, and gear in the shallow shore of a big river. This is the Rappahannock River, which is almost a mile wide where I am, and can get rough.
I have done a little research. It looks to me like War Eagle boats are heavier than what we want. Comparing apples to apples, the Lowe L1648MT
(16+ feet, 48" bottom, 70" beam, modified v-bow) weighs 275 lbs, with a 4 person (555 lb person-weight), 973 lb total weight capacity. The War Eagle 648LDV
has basically the same specs except that it weighs 345 lbs. The War Eagle's extra 70 lbs seems to be because it's welded, not riveted like the Lowe. How important is welding (all my current metal boats are riveted, which hasn't given me any problems).
I'm uncertain about whether a 16 foot boat is the correct size. The 18 foot boats clearly have enough capacity but I'm not sure how easy they are to hide or drag, and they are much heavier than the 16s.
If you have a boat recommendation, I'd also like to hear your thoughts on the best motor to power it. We have run the new 4 stroke Hondas, which have been great, but that's my only experience with 4 strokes (we have old 2 strokes Evinrudes, which also have been great, but those models aren't made anymore).