We run a pretty similar rig as Blackrock, with the exception that we run a 4 stroke 90/65. I literally watched someone rip the lower jet unit off their boat yesterday so having a jet doesn't assure you will win, but I would never run without a jet. Thankfully it looked like no one was hurt but it was a bad, bad day for someone. Sure, if you want to run a 10' boat with a small 3hp or a 6hp motor then yeah, but it sounds like that's not what you are talking about. We wouldn't trade this motor for the world as it combines the right mix of weight and speed usability that we want. Sure, you could get a bigger motor, but then don't you just have a glorified bass boat? I guess it depends on how you use it.
A couple of comments regarding things we are glad we have or wish we had on our boat:
PODS. While pods are def nice for a lot of reasons, the single biggest nicety is that you can stand on the back of them and clean the jet foot of weeds, etc. This is something we wish we had badly.
A front anchor spar. Especially in the moving water, its nice to splash an anchor off the front of your boat and have it stay where you want it.
Semi-V hull. The true flat bottom boats are nice, if you are cruising around int he LA swamps or the Delta. If you are going to fish out of your rig, having just the slightest v-bottom cuts down greatly on the jarring, kidney pounding, tooth filling replacement, jack hammering you will get when running long distances on a reservoir or something.
Boat blinds: We have the most kick-ass boat blind on the planet. Custom fit to our boat, insane concealment, easy to put up and down.......we've NEVER used it. Our style of hunting, the fact that we don't have a dog (and therefore will occasionally need the boat for cripples) and just the places we tend to hunt don't call for it. Maybe someday someone with a dog will invite us and we can try it out.
Big gas tank: Find the absolute biggest gas tank that you can fit into the space and buy it. You won't be disappointed. And remember, the one that comes with the boat is almost guaranteed to NOT be the biggest one you can fit in there.
Floor: I know that it adds weight to the boat, but I think having an actual floor on your boat would be a real benefit. If you don't then you are constantly tripping over the reinforcement bars, loosing stuff rolling around in the bottom etc. Definitely want a floor.
Cant think of anything else. The benefits we get from a 4 stroke is that we don't have to bother with an oil mixture reservoir and I can easily do the oil changes at the house. Just like changing the oil in your lawn mower basically. Its quieter also.
I recently saw (and didn't hear) a surface drive motor that was whisper quiet and that intrigues me a lot. I don't know what brand it is but if surface-drives are starting to NOT be ear splitting loud, then I'm totally on board. The main benefit there is you can run just as shallow as a jet, but you don't have to worry about weeds and moss AND you don't have the bother of a water-cooled engine which gets a little dicey at 2 below in northern or eastern Idaho or Utah where we hunt.
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