Boat/Motor Combo's

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Boat/Motor Combo's

Postby fetch21 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:41 pm

For you guys who use boats on the snake in the southwest part of the state, say from Glenns Ferry all the way to Weiser, I'm looking for very general reviews regarding boat/motor size that you use. I know this comes up from time to time but I figure I'll get some fresh perspective since guys are coming down the home stretch of a hunting season and have probably got the pro's and con's of their setups fresh in their minds after 3 months of use.

Bigger doesn't seem to always mean better when hunting due to concealment problems, so I'm just curious to see if anyone has a boat and motor size combo that provides them the power they need while still being small enough to conceal yet big enough to feel safe if the wind comes up and you have to go a mile back to the ramp.

Also, I know I've seen that a lot of guys strongly recommend jets but I assume there are quite a few who are running props as well. Is a short shaft prop a pretty realistic setup on the snake around here?

The reason for the question is I'm looking at some setups that I'd like to use for hunting in the winter and also for some fishing in the spring and summer. Most options i've looked at have been 14-18ft modifided v-hull boats (semi low profile, not high side) with 15-25hp motors, most of which are prop rather than jet. Does that sound like adequate specs for the the water in this part of the state, assuming all proper precautions are taken? Would you buy as big of boat and motor as you could comfortably afford, or do you think there is an optimal size/weight to aim for when looking at the snake during the low water months?

Thanks for any input and opinions.
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Re: Boat/Motor Combo's

Postby blackrock » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:35 pm

Fetch, I actually live in eastern Idaho but run our boat over there too. We use an 1860 side console with a 90/65 Mercury 2 stroke jet. For this size boat I wouldn't go any less horsepower. The two strokes weigh less and it pushes this boat pretty well. We haul a lot of stuff, layout boat, 5-10 dozen decoys etc. if I was going to hunt out of it, I'd put a nice folding boat blind on it with a lot of camo grass and local vegetation. I actually can't see going with a smaller boat, when I lived in Meridian I had an all welded 14 ft mod v Jon with a 40/30 jet on it. It hauled butt and went in about 4" of water, but I found myself piling stuff 4-5 ft high on it! I would only consider jet drive for the Snake! Otherwise you are too limited where you can go, and you'll have prop damage and repairs. I would go with some guys in different boats or get somebody from a dealer to take you out in a couple different ones. They will do that in the spring, I wouldn't buy a boat without running it.......
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Re: Boat/Motor Combo's

Postby waveslider » Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:21 am

Fetch,

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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Re: Boat/Motor Combo's

Postby fetch21 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:47 pm

Thanks for the input. I like hearing what other people are running and what they like/don't like about their setup.

Based on the current boat budget I think I'll be aiming a bit smaller than what you're both running, for now anyways. Those sound like good setups for aim for down the road when the time is right. Currently am thinking that 16ft mod V will be sufficient. I definitely wouldn't be going full flat bottom as I do intend to fish out of it and I know how annoying those can be on a lake (or river) with any type of waves. Was looking at a tiller steer 25hp short shaft prop, but maybe i'll have to hold out for an outboard jet setup like Blackrock used to run over here.
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Re: Boat/Motor Combo's

Postby blackrock » Fri Jan 03, 2014 6:37 pm

Fetch, if you shop around right, you can get an awesome set up pretty cheap. I'm still kicking myself, I let that 14 ft boat, motor and trailer go for 5k. It probaly only had 30 hours on it. Then my dad sold a Lund Alaskan 16 with a Merc 60/45 jet, like new for like $4,500 without telling me! Just goes to show you what can be had if the timing is right......
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Re: Boat/Motor Combo's

Postby fetch21 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:12 pm

Thanks, i'll keep my eyes open for some good used setups on craigslist. I've already got a pretty good boat option lined up if I want to move on it. My biggest thing is getting the right motor. Seems like that is the make or break part of the whole package.

Appreciate the info. :beer:
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Re: Boat/Motor Combo's

Postby hnt&fsh » Mon Jan 06, 2014 11:58 am

We run a set up very similar to both blackrock and waveslide, an 1860, all welded, mod-v hull, side console.

Our motor set up is an older rebuilt 2 stroke 115/85 jet (it's a 1979 Johnson that is actually a 140 but the way they measured the h.p. then vs. now is different. That year the 115, 125 and 140 were the exact same motor but had different carb set ups to change the h.p., the 140 had different pistons as well. The key is that they were all the same weight. In today's world the 140 is a 115. I know TMI.) We also have a 10 h.p. kicker motor that is really useful for getting into slack water or sloughs that are filled with weeds and grass!

Here are the pros and cons to our current set up:

Pros-
Gun box
Floor (this past summer I stripped it to bare aluminum and installed HydroTurf flooring. The stuff is awesome. A bit pricey but worth it)
Side Console (I think this gives you a bit more of an open layout. IOW, more space cause you will end up using all of it)
3 bank Battery Charging System
Hauls a lot of gear, guys, dogs etc. this past weekend we had 3 adults, 2 kids (11 and 14), a dog, 5 dozen decoys, cooler, 18 gallons of gas and she still gets right up on plane and cruises at about 30mph, assuming the water is smooth enough.
Beaver Tail blind (sets up fast. When new though it is real shiny so mudding it in is required)

Cons-
Gas guzzler (especially compared to a 4 stroke)
Rough ride (anything more than about 4-8 inch wind chop and it's a rough ride)
Jets hate weeds/Millfoil. I agree that the pods are a solution to that problem and if you need the additional flotation due to running a surface drive or 4 stroke motor then they work great. We have pods on a couple of 14' boats that have 35/25 4 stroke jets in Alaska and they are a must have for that. However, I just came across a solution for removing weeds from an outboard jet without having to raise the motor and hang off the back of the boat. Stompgrates.com is making a stomp grate for outboards now. Not sure of the price but it sure looks like it would do the trick.

All that said here is my 2 cents based on our experiences and having owned multiple jet and boat combos. Our current boat has been a work in progress for the last 4 years or so. The one thing we learned after multiple boats is that get the biggest boat, within reason, that you can with the most open floor plan. From there you can set it up for the way you are going to use it. You may think you want one thing or another and then you try it and decide you want it different. Once we got a couple of seasons in the boat and had the layout the way we wanted we started to add the accessories such as LED lights, upgrading the blind, flooring etc etc.

I agree that running the Snake is best done with a jet. Just try and get a motor that will properly power your boat the way you will be using it. An under powered jet is a pain in the butt. Been there done that and won't do it again but I do understand how the money thing factors into that equation. Going with an older but bigger motor can offset some of the pain. That said, make sure and get a good solid motor. Gary Cole at Coles Marine is who I would talk to and see if he has anything rebuilt.

Probably way more info than you wanted or need.
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