Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

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Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby dams10ww » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:18 pm

I am starting the search for a new boat, I live in SE Idaho and live near the snake river so that will be my main river I hunt. My only holdup is we get froze over around here pretty early but you can still put in depending on the slush ice. I would also occasionally hit mud lake and some of the smaller bodies of water. What are some of the pros vs. cons of the mudbuddy's vs a jet and does anyone have any recommendations?
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby blackrock » Thu Jan 30, 2014 9:58 pm

I don't claim to be a pro on this, but I faced the same decision last year. I ended up with a jet boat (1860 Tracker with a 90/65 Merc 2 stroke jet, 14K) for several reasons. I was excited about the idea of a mud boat and motor and started to buy a Mudbuddy surface drive 45. I was going to put it on a 17 or 18 foot Excel. It started getting expensive fast, about 8-9k for the motor and 11k for the boat. I wanted to buy it all cash and I was thinking crap, now I'm up to 22k. Then I talked to a few guys here in SE Idaho that were selling or had sold their mud boats, not happy with their performance. I will say there is no perfect boat for what I do (Snake, small rivers, creeks and big reservoir, big load). The main problems I see running mud boats on the Snake are gravel bars and lack of speed/power upstream. Mud props get real chewed up on gravel.The Snake is a powerful river. Some guys run these boats down the Portneuf and seem real happy with them. I do know I pass them like they are standing still though. Again, jets aren't perfect either. I dig gravel out of mine with a screwdriver and rake every time I miss the channel or hit a gravel bar on a dark night, and they don't go in real shallow water over mud. Weeds are not good in jet impellers either, surface drives just chew right through them. I would sure test drive both, in the river, with some weight, before I bought either one. Hate to say this, but Mudbuddy's reputation for poor customer service also swayed my decision. The Excel boat is also known for being really heavy, and not that tough. If and when I do buy a mud boat I am looking at a Prodrive on a Phowler boat, or a GTR boat/motor combo. They offer reverse, helps to set decoys in deep water. Hope this helps buddy........
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby blackrock » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:10 pm

I forgot to address the ice. I don't think jets run slush ice through the impeller very well. A mud boat could probably go through slush ice easier. My opinion is that you stay the hell out of the Snake when ice is going down it though. I run down a different river when the Snake gets ice at Blackfoot. All that ice piles up somewhere, and if you are down stream it's going to keep coming at you. A couple guys about lost their boat and their butts a year or two ago, had to be rescued by an airboat out of an ice jam. We still boated all the way until January 17th, but this was a kind of warm winter!
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby waveslider » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:12 pm

Our choice was similar. The main reason we didn't buy a surface drive was:
Reverse - pro drive had just come out with their reverse and it was a little dodgy.
Sound- our Yamaha 4stroke jet is so quiet that you can have a nice conversation with it running full tilt. With a mud motor, you better be wearing plugs AND muffs.
Local Service: I wanted a motor that could be worked on reliably locally. I would never buy a Mudbuddy (for reasons stated above) and ProDrive is a LONG way away.

We are happy with our jet even though it does get clogged from time to time. I would never trade it for anything. But like Blackrock said, if I was going to go with a true mud motor, I would get a phowler and a pro drive and call it a day.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby HaydenHunter » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:14 pm

I am a mud motor guy but I don't run shallow gravelly or rocky rivers. If I did I would probably prefer a jet.

Mud motors are fantastic in shallow water over mud. They will go through thick vegetation idling slowly, wide open, and everything in between. They are beasts in ice...both slush and solid.

My mud motor will run over shallow gravel but I beat the prop a bit and it is at the times where my mm is bottomed out on a gravel bar that I really wish I had a jet. Fortunately, I was only in this predicament 1X this season.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby Fsbirdhouse » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:49 pm

I hope that last $100 helps toward the down payment!
Hope to see ya on the river this spring.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby phutch30 » Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:42 am

I run a 1860 g3 with 90/65. Its great up to the point where you ask should I be on the river with these conditions. Which is really too late. My big beef with jets is the amount of moss ect the suck up. Never have run the snake but Ive run the salmon, clearwater, yellowstone, MO and bighorn rivers and a couple others. If your running rivers go with the jet IMO. Just dont launch when you pull up to the river and its loaded with slush ice. Jets dont steer like a prop drive so to really have good (any) control you need to be on plane near full throttle. You loose that ability real fast in slush or chunk ice. If you plug the intake your dead in the water till you can unplug it. Ive sucked in so much we had to use a long handled screwdriver to basically chip out compacted slush ice out of the jet nozzle. Lets just say thats not what you want to be doing as you float helpless down a river.

Other than the above I love mine.


Also go bigger than you think. If you think a 40hp (at the jet) will work get a 60 ect.
....its like taking x-lax when you have a bad cough. It wont clear up your lungs, but it sure stops you from coughing
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby Tenner » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:55 am

I know people with both...They both shine in their elements. If I had to say I would say the mud motor is more versitile...it can be used in the rivers and creeks with gravel bottoms...not the best for it and possible it wont shine like a jet, but then again. If you are like me and most duck hunters you go where the birds are. If that means creek with mucky bottom and very little water, you are packing a long way on foot or launch a mud boat. I do both types and could use both types. What I plan on doing is one day having a jet boat for the rivers and for summer fun, then have an inexpensive mud boat for the duck hunting if needed. I would also look at long tail as well, less expensive then a surface drive and get the job done. Mayhem Mud Motors in Utah, builds great motors at a great price. A long tail in thick thick mud will go better than a surface drive in my opinion, just not as fast as a surface drive.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby 3200 man » Tue Feb 11, 2014 7:49 am

My 14' 9" flat-bottom is powered by a 60 hp jet-pump , being it has a 72" beam to beam it floats in 5 to 6" of water .
I love this boat ( most of the time ) while hunting but , what kills me dead in the water is grass or leafs , clogging
up the pump where I lose power and I have to stop and clean it out . But , if there is room and I can see it coming
I drop the hammer and slide right over it .

IMHO , Mud Motors are better for Waterfowling if you don't fish too !
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby Fsbirdhouse » Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:03 am

3200 man wrote:My 14' 9" flat-bottom is powered by a 60 hp jet-pump , being it has a 72" beam to beam it floats in 5 to 6" of water .
I love this boat ( most of the time ) while hunting but , what kills me dead in the water is grass or leafs , clogging
up the pump where I lose power and I have to stop and clean it out . But , if there is room and I can see it coming
I drop the hammer and slide right over it .

IMHO , Mud Motors are better for Waterfowling if you don't fish too !


I have run the Snake for twenty eight years, tenty five years of that with a 14 ft and either a 40 HP or 50 HP and jet foot.
I only once got clogged with grass.
But....if I get in tight quarters with grass, I am set up much like a drift boat with oars as well. Gets me in where I want, and out with little trouble. Wouldn't run the river without oars. Way handy, and really good when drifting your boat thru a good trout hole.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby Zupsic » Sat Feb 15, 2014 3:25 pm

I am in the middle of making the same decision so I posed the question to the River Jet Boat guys and got the same type of replies as our fellow duck hunters, although I guess somewhat bias as they own some very nice jet boats. Part of my decision is based on the boat configurations available. Generally, to run a mud motor you rarely have remote steering. Moving to jet opens up more option for some sort of console and a way to break the wind. (Of course if you are buying new and have the budget, you can get anything you want.)

Which brings me to a question for the hunters in the Hammett area, both up and down river:

How big a jet boat can you realistic work through that area?

The reason I ask is there are some Interesting used jet boats on the market. I am attracted to ones in the 18' or 19' range, with a windshield, wheel, good power. Like a twenty year old Hewes, Weldcraft, Alumacraft, etc. Seems like I'd be getting a lot more boat compared to an equally size/powered Excel, Lowes, Grizzly, etc.

So, considering the boat more than the motor, what are your thoughts?
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby mtncntrykid » Sun Feb 16, 2014 12:33 am

I went up through the ranks with a little 12 ft with a 9 horse to a 14 ft valco to an 18 ft Lowe,s roughneck with a 90/65 jet to what I run now which is a 21 ft SJX utility workhorse inboard. I am comfortable with what I have now and wouldn't recommend going bigger as there is a dis-advantage with weight. In the Hammett area you have to be careful with running up on sand and mud banks. There are areas on the Snake where the water level raises and lowers through-out the day and you can get beached if not careful.
The advantages far outway the negatives when I compare my sjx to my lowes but both worked well. The bigger is just more comfortable and easier to get out of situations sometimes.
I run from Browlee Dam all along the Snake to the Hagerman Valley. The bigger boat also allows me to Salmon and Steelhead on the Salmon and Clearwater big water rivers also.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby whiskerbiscuit » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:26 am

That sjx is nice! It was a hard decision for me between the sjx, phantoms, and bwc's. Did u get the uhmv coating? Pm me if u ever want to go run some skinny water...I'm always looking for people to go with.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby Cajun1085 » Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:37 am

I run a gator tail surface drive (has reverse). I mainly hunt shallow rocky river and do just fine. Early September when the grass is thick, I don't have issues either. My boat also chews threw ice. That being said a jet is much faster than me.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby mtncntrykid » Sun Feb 16, 2014 3:22 pm

whiskerbiscuit wrote:That sjx is nice! It was a hard decision for me between the sjx, phantoms, and bwc's. Did u get the uhmv coating? Pm me if u ever want to go run some skinny water...I'm always looking for people to go with.


Yes I have the uhmv black ice bottom. PM sent.
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Re: Opinions on a mudbuddy vs a jet

Postby MS » Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:55 pm

I have a mudmotor and it works pretty good for most of the areas I hunt on the Snake. It doesn't clog with weeds, leaves, sand, or slush. That downside is that it is slow. Add a couple of guys and its really slow. A jet will definately be faster, carry a heavier load, and run shallower in areas with a hard bottom. If you can, find someone with a jet, and someone with a mudmotor, and give them both a test ride. I would be happy to take you out in my boat when things thaw out. Send me a PM if you are interested.
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