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Unread 01-08-2014, 07:54 PM   #1
FarmerinVA
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Jon boat 3-person-plus-dog recommendation?

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).

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Unread 01-09-2014, 09:13 AM   #2
Kuntryboy816
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Have you looked into Carolina Skiffs? They have the J series and the JV series... they're flat bottom fiberglass boats. They'll weigh a bit more than an aluminum boat but they also hold a bit more weight. Very shallow drafts as little as 3" on some models. They also claim to be unsinkable b/c IIRC they fill the hollow parts of the hull with foam or something. I've heard claims you can cut them in half and they'll still float.
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Unread 01-09-2014, 02:42 PM   #3
FarmerinVA
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Actually yes, I have seen those Carolina Skiffs. Nice boats. Many watermen here use them, and I've fished from them in Carolina and Florida. They are nice but very heavy. 16' J class (their lightest) is 750 lbs. 16' DLX is 1050 lbs. Way too much compared to the aluminum jon boats. They are designed to be left in the water for days, not pulled out at the end of a hunt.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 10:14 AM   #4
Kuntryboy816
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I'm not sure what the capacity or weight limit of your 14' jon boat is.... If it will hold 3 people comfortably w/ a high enough side profile so as not to get swamped from larger waves have you considered getting a smaller craft to tow your gear and/or possibly the dog or hunting buddy in?

An inflatable would be easy to transport, tow, stow and hide and most in the 8'-10' range will hold a good amount of weight (300-600 or more lbs) yet most hardly weigh anything. If you go with an inflatable, get a decent one that is made of a thicker material and/or has a ripstop bottom such as cordura. I beleive I've even seen some aftermarket slip on covers you can buy for inflatables. That way you can drag it up on shore w/o worrying about puncturing it.

You could also look at one of the smaller resin/plastic pond boats to haul gear. These you will pay a little more for than an inflatable but you don't have to worry about it getting punctured.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/KL-Industr...White/16462515

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sevylor-Sp...-Boat/10928135

As for concealability for any of these you can always rig up a cover or buy some surplus military netting to throw over it.
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Unread 01-10-2014, 04:24 PM   #5
drewmiller
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How about a couple 16' canoes? I'm an avid duck hunter and canoes are great for dragging into ponds and lakes. Not so sure about moving water though.
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