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Thread: Help me with my boat research?

  1. #1
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    Help me with my boat research?

    Cross posting from AO to see if anyone here that wouldn't otherwise see it has some good insights.


    I've gotten the all clear from the wife to start researching for a boat purchase. We're a ways out since we plan to purchase in mid 2022 or so, but there's a ton of learning I want/need to do before I pull the trigger.

    We're looking for something that will give us the most options and funtionality so we put the boat to use rather than have it sit. This would ideally mean something we can use on rivers like the Wapiti, Peace, Smokey, and Murray since we live in GP and rivers are more common than lakes. That said, we love fishing lakes for trout so we'd like to be able to use the boat on lakes the size of Rock Lake near Hinton or Sheridan Lake in BC. We'd probably take it to Sturgeon Lake as well depending on the wind.

    I realize a river boat isn't going to perform ideally on a lake once the whitecaps start rolling but I'm almost always off the lake by then since flyfishing in those winds kinda sucks. I'm willing to sacrifice a smoother ride on the lake by using a jet boat and I'm willing to give up running skinny water to have a slightly deeper hull. I've been thinking a hull somewhere in the 10 - 12 degree, maybe up to 15 degree range would work for us. I haven't run the rivers I named above, so I'm not sure if some or all of those need a flatter hull or if I can get away with a deeper one.

    I'm also debating inboard vs outboard jet. I like that the outboard frees up a lot of space in the boat. It strikes me that outboards would be easier to maintain and cheaper to repair. Not sure if that's true. I'm also under the impression that outboards will be better on fuel. Again, not totally sure on that.

    Here's my list of wants and I'm wondering if you all have suggestions on boats to look at and add to my list. I'll most likely be looking for a used boat, so having a list of models will be helpful when I begin actively searching.

    -$30K, give or take a bit. Hard ceiling of $40K and it'd have to be a one-of-a-kind boat.
    - Max of 18ft if the trailer has a swing tongue, I have 21 feet of length to play with in my garage.
    - Interior room for 2, maybe 3 people fly fishing
    - Ability to run some reasonable rivers but also be usable on medium size lakes.
    - Not adverse to a tiller model, but a side console would be nice for those longer days (running the Murray up to Kinuseo falls for example)
    - Kicker mount
    - Ability to bow mount an electric trolling motor for the lake days
    - Wide and stable
    - A no frills a boat (no livewells, minimal storage compartments etc). I want simplicity, reliability and longevity over frills. I can add accessories if I want.


    Anything else I should be considering?

    Boats that I've seen which pique my interest are the Coyote 160 Otter (seems pretty narrow and interior layout is poor), Explorer Industries 172 (most likely too flat a bottom) and the Hewescraft Open Fisherman (might be too deep a V for rivers?). The Firefish Frenzy looks nice and it seems like a 12deg hull is an option, but I expect it's way out of my price range even used
    "Good" - Jocko Willink

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  3. #2
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    Something along the lines of my old Explorer 166 would work. I've taken it out in 4' chop without and issue and ran it in 4" of water. 8 degree tunnel hull, full length 4' wide teflon skid plate and 16-1/2' long. Tons of room for 2 with room still for the whole family with the back bench seating. It packs a load too.





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  4. #3
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    That looks really nice! Something like that, especially if I could get an open bow, would probably be the ticket.
    "Good" - Jocko Willink

  5. #4
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    Or you could go a similar route to me. I just ordered a 17í mod-v all welded Jon boat. You can get one with a center or side console. Tons of deck room to fish, and capacity for a load too. I went with a 50 hp prop motor, as all my research into prop vs jet landed my uses back into prop country. I will use the boat in rivers too, but none so skinny that I need a jet. The hull I ordered has a 7* deadrise, so while not ideal for really rough stuff, it will be way better than the flat bottom I currently fish.



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  6. #5
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingHigh View Post
    That looks really nice! Something like that, especially if I could get an open bow, would probably be the ticket.
    A water tight hatch but not a open bow. If you’re going out in only good calm days with bikini girls, ok. But to go down bigger lakes, storms happen. One dive into a big wave your done.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redthies View Post
    Or you could go a similar route to me. I just ordered a 17’ mod-v all welded Jon boat. You can get one with a center or side console. Tons of deck room to fish, and capacity for a load too. I went with a 50 hp prop motor, as all my research into prop vs jet landed my uses back into prop country. I will use the boat in rivers too, but none so skinny that I need a jet. The hull I ordered has a 7* deadrise, so while not ideal for really rough stuff, it will be way better than the flat bottom I currently fish.



    That’s a real nice setup. I had an 18 Crestliner that I went 50 go jet with, but my biggest learning applies to boats and vehicles too. (Had a 4 cylinder Ranger pickup once.) Buy close to the most powerful motor the boat is rated for. It’s more efficient running at 1/2 throttle most of the time and when you are heavy or need some speed it’s there for you. A smaller motor is a false economy.

  8. #7
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    Oct 2010
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    To start off, no boat is perfect. To make this short, a boat to run rivers, cruise lakes and be somewhat easier in the rough water, I’d chose a 12 degree hull. In saying this, water entry or front v of the boat makes a big difference. Example, Firefish boats are 12 degree entry but 8 degree running so you can cut the chop and run skinny water. 21’ of garage doesn’t afford much room as my 18’ is 26’ long to hitch. A swing hitch will shorten 2-3ft so keep that in mind unless you have an alternative storage spot. Price, that’s the other if, as boats are a premium right now even used ones. Don’t be in a hurry, figure your needs out first and view as many as possible. Then don’t be afraid to ask more questions before you pull the trigger.
    If you can pack it in, You can pack it out !!!

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  9. #8
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ride Red View Post
    To start off, no boat is perfect.
    Youíre right. Every boat is a compromise and a guy really needs at least 3-4 different ones to adequately cover all the bases.
    You find it offensive, but I find it funny... Thatís why Iím happier than you.

  10. #9
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redthies View Post
    Or you could go a similar route to me. I just ordered a 17’ mod-v all welded Jon boat. You can get one with a center or side console. Tons of deck room to fish, and capacity for a load too. I went with a 50 hp prop motor, as all my research into prop vs jet landed my uses back into prop country. I will use the boat in rivers too, but none so skinny that I need a jet. The hull I ordered has a 7* deadrise, so while not ideal for really rough stuff, it will be way better than the flat bottom I currently fish.



    I've been considering something along those lines. My biggest issue with those boats is the seating. Having a passenger or two means them sitting on the deck or standing. That wouldn't be much fun for extended trips like running the Murray up to Kinuseo. Not sure if I want higher sides yet though or not as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by MRP View Post
    A water tight hatch but not a open bow. If you’re going out in only good calm days with bikini girls, ok. But to go down bigger lakes, storms happen. One dive into a big wave your done.
    If the waves get that big, I'm off the water. The biggest lakes I'm likely to hit are the size of Sheridan. I might get out to Dinosaur or Williston near FSJ at some point for lakers but once the white caps start I'm generally off the water.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ride Red View Post
    To start off, no boat is perfect. To make this short, a boat to run rivers, cruise lakes and be somewhat easier in the rough water, I’d chose a 12 degree hull. In saying this, water entry or front v of the boat makes a big difference. Example, Firefish boats are 12 degree entry but 8 degree running so you can cut the chop and run skinny water. 21’ of garage doesn’t afford much room as my 18’ is 26’ long to hitch. A swing hitch will shorten 2-3ft so keep that in mind unless you have an alternative storage spot. Price, that’s the other if, as boats are a premium right now even used ones. Don’t be in a hurry, figure your needs out first and view as many as possible. Then don’t be afraid to ask more questions before you pull the trigger.
    Great info, thanks! I actually have 23ft in my garage, but it'd require some less than ideal rearranging to make full use of it. A swing hitch is a must for me. I'm leaning towards a 17ft boat in general though I have been looking at the Coyote 180 Otter. It'd be really pushing my max length capabilities but I love the layout and size of the boat. I'm in no hurry though, we're at least a year out. I'm definitely waiting to see if prices stabilize and come down in the next little while.

    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzybiscuit View Post
    You’re right. Every boat is a compromise and a guy really needs at least 3-4 different ones to adequately cover all the bases.
    The wife has no problem with me owning multiple boats but storage and finances are limiting. I could probably get away with 3; my 12ft jon boat for flyfishing stillwaters, a big lake boat that could also go on the ocean in protected waters and a skinny water jet boat. Now, I need to come up with $100K+ and find storage. Therein lies the issue.
    "Good" - Jocko Willink

  11. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Help me with my boat research?

    It’s personal preference, but I’m not a fan of the windshield in the middle of a boat. It takes up valuable space behind cover. The otter jet hull design is different than a standard tunnel hull too and should be tested on choppy water to see how it challenges cavitation. Outboard jets can cavitate considerably if not setup properly cause of their small intake system. If you do lean towards this boat, make sure you run one to satisfy yourself.
    Windsor Motorsports in GP is a dealer for Firefish boats. Steve builds some real nice tunnel hull 15’-16’ tillers or center consoles that are wide, roomy and built to handle anything you throw at it. Again, price will be your limit. As far as boats stabilizing in price, it’s all dependent on the metal industry which is still crazy and no sign of letting off yet. If you’re handy, you could buy a hull, trim it out the way you like and power it. There are tons of options out there; get what you want/can afford, don’t just settle on what’s around you. If you need more info, Pm me.
    If you can pack it in, You can pack it out !!!

    UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL !!!


    BCWF
    WSSBC
    CCFR
    " The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but building on the new"
    Socrates.

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