River Jet Boat

podflyguy

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Mar 14, 2011
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Just moved from south central PA to bucks county, a few miles from the middle Delaware river. I sold my scadden raft during the move and would like to pick up a jet boat for the river. I had been floating the juniata in my raft and was dead set on picking up a hog island skiff. My main goal is to get my older 2 boys out fishing (now 4 and 5 years old). Really wish I had bought one before the pandemic as everything is nearly double in price now. I’ve talked to a few folks that all run the river in aluminum tunnel hull jets (G3, SeaArk, Lowe). It would be nice to have the option to row, but I realize this won’t be practical when taking the kids fishing. I’m curious to hear your recommendations on the hog island vs aluminum tunnel hulls from a fly fishing perspective.
 

wbranch

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I can't respond to your inquiry about aluminum tunnel boats. However, I have an almost perfect river boat. Lowe Roughneck (probably a 1995 model) 15' long with a 40/30 Yamaha jet 1999 model. It gets up on plane in a few seconds when I'm by myself and at full speed runs at 35 mph yet idles very smoothly. Right hand console, bow and stern pedestal seats, live well, electric bilge pump, running lights. The only minimal downside is it is only 60" wide. 72" be perfect. At one time I had a bow mounted trolling motor but I took it off because the fly line was always fouling on it when I was shooting line.
 

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podflyguy

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Mar 14, 2011
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Thanks for the info. I have looked at the Lowe roughnecks 16-18’, mostly the forward center consoles. I don’t know that I’ll encounter the same types of boulder fields on the Delaware as I did on the Susquehanna, but I like the idea of good visibility while running. If it were just me and some friends I’d plan on rowing. But, with the kids I think I’ll have to control my drift/position with a trolling motor. Is that what you used yours for?
 

wbranch

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Thanks for the info. I have looked at the Lowe roughnecks 16-18’, mostly the forward center consoles. I don’t know that I’ll encounter the same types of boulder fields on the Delaware as I did on the Susquehanna, but I like the idea of good visibility while running. If it were just me and some friends I’d plan on rowing. But, with the kids I think I’ll have to control my drift/position with a trolling motor. Is that what you used yours for?

The Susky can get terribly low some summers and with the right hand midships console I have to go very slowly as there is a distinct possibility that at speed I could hit a big rock and either get ejected from the boat or seriously damage it. Forward controls could help to minimize that threat. To tell you the truth I never used my trolling motor very much at all. I used to buy lengths of zinc plated chain at Home Depot in 2' and 3' lengths. Tie one end of 3/8" braided nylon rope to a carabiner and attach the carabiner to a length of chain. Drop it off over the bow and use it as a drift anchor. Let out a little more rope to slow down the drift. Or add the 3' length. I also use 2# free weights attached to a rope for a drift anchor. If you fiddle around with the weight and length of rope you achieve a nice slow drift so you can cast more than once to a nice lie.
 

podflyguy

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Mar 14, 2011
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Great idea, thank you! I will have to give that a try, especially while fishing by myself.
 

a23fish

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Jan 9, 2021
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I've used a 17' Xpress jet boat on the Susky & Upper Potomac off & on for over 10 years, but not very often in the past couple years. Stick steer is a definite advantage when running shallow water. The trolling motor got used all the time in those rivers. Drifting is OK sometimes, but there are times you want to slowly maneuver around in a particular area - cross current or up current - and the trolling motor is essential for that. But all of my river trips were focused on chasing smallmouths with spinning & casting gear; never fly fished out of the boat. Probably won't either, and plan on selling it this year.
 

wbranch

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a23fish,

What is the beam of your boat?
 

Squatchin

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Jan 8, 2022
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Easton pa
I can't respond to your inquiry about aluminum tunnel boats. However, I have an almost perfect river boat. Lowe Roughneck (probably a 1995 model) 15' long with a 40/30 Yamaha jet 1999 model. It gets up on plane in a few seconds when I'm by myself and at full speed runs at 35 mph yet idles very smoothly. Right hand console, bow and stern pedestal seats, live well, electric bilge pump, running lights. The only minimal downside is it is only 60" wide. 72" be perfect. At one time I had a bow mounted trolling motor but I took it off because the fly line was always fouling on it when I was shooting line.
How much ya askin for that bad boy??
 

wbranch

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How much ya askin for that bad boy??
Not for sale, I was responding to podflyguy's post. There will likely be a time in the next few years where I will no longer be able to manage the boat. Keep your eyes open to see it on the Swap Forum.
 

wbranch

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72" at top of gunwales at the rear of the boat. I guess that's where you measure beam.
Thanks, I think mine is only 60". It is definitely only big enough for two adults.
 

poopdeck

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Dec 7, 2013
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Welcome to bucks county. So I will assume you will be fishing between Easton and Yardley. I have been fishing this area for many decades. I have a wooldridge jet boat and I have 2 friends with 1862 roughnecks. one has a very forward center console where the front of the console is up against the front casting deck. The other is still a forward console but there is enough room between the front of the console and the front casting deck for a cooler seat. All three are tunnels but like anything a tunnel or no tunnel is a preference.

A couple things I like and dislike. No offense to any other boat owner out there as these are my preferences and my preferences only. Fishing out of the roughneck style boats scares the hell out of me, might be a phobia, I don’t know. The really forward center console makes me have to either stand next to my buddy while he is driving or I have to sit on the front edge of the rear casting deck. Either way I feel exposed. We hit a rock once and we both almost went over and the strike itself wasn’t that bad. My other buddies boat one can sit on the front cooler seat. I much better design for a passenger.

I have a full windshield, high sides and a safety rail around my boat it makes me feel firmly and completely inside my boat. Im that odd person that does not like raised casting decks. Don’t like them one bit on a river boat. I do realize I may be the only fisherman to hate casting decks on river boats. I also do not like the bathtub design river boats like the G3’s and roughnecks. I’ll never ever give up my full windshield. It’s just so warm on a cold morning.

I’ve never even seen a hog island so I can’t comment on them in comparison to other boats. It’s an open boat so I would never buy one myself. I would fish from one though just like a roughneck. As for fly fishing both my and my friends boats are a frustrating fly fishing platform. A stripping basket or trash can is nice to have. the roughnecks with raised casting decks are less of a pain in the neck but neither of my friends are fly rod enthusiasts But I’m sure a deck could be stripped of everything to facilitate easier fly casting.

one last thing, do not let the Delaware fool you. It is shallow in some areas at different times of the year and there are areas that cannot be traversed even in a jet boat. You don’t see as many rocks as on the susky but they are there. our SMB fishing is way way off and will never compare to the Juniata and Susky. We are compensated with better striped bass and shad fishing though.
 

D-nymph

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Nov 16, 2006
Messages
156
I do not own either boat, but I've fished out of a 16x66 jet john with a 60/40 Yamaha a bunch. It is a tiller motor set up to both row & trolling motor. When it's 3 guys or faster water, we row. When it's slack water & 2 guys we use the trolling motor. It's a great platform for fly fishing, I think. Does it row like a drift boat? Of course not, it takes me a good bit of effort to slow momentum if you let the current get you moving too fast, but other than that it rows good enough. He has mounted a diamond plate truck box as a rower's bench & when travelling, the two guys sit on it & face forward while the operator runs the motor in back. The motor gets in the way sometimes but it's just something you learn to deal with. If your line gets hung up on something often, just toss a wet towel over the thing & you'll get snagged up a bunch less.

The Hog Island skiffs... I've seen them & I really like them, but haven't fished from one. Their hull might be tougher than the aluminum & it probably rows easier. I may get one of these in the future.
 

wbranch

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But I’m sure a deck could be stripped of everything to facilitate easier fly casting.

That is the main reason I removed the bow mounted Minn-Kota. Almost every time I went to shoot line it would get hung up on various protuberances on the motor.
 

poopdeck

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Dec 7, 2013
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Yep, between the trolling motor, anchor and cradle, cleats, rod holders, seats, tackle bags, cooler, net, paddle, PFD’s, throw cushions, fire extinguishers, and extra rods, it’s just easier to strip into a bucket or a trash can. Come to think of it maybe a hog island is a better option. Any chance they can get up to 33 mph?
 
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