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Inflatable Aluminum Jon Boat Recommendations and Trailer (anyone have experience with Sea Eagle's?)

Question:
I'm a fishing enthusiast wishing I had a Aluminum Jon Boat, but limited by several factors:

1) Money (would really like to stay in the 1K ball park) 2) Storage space (I figure 3) No trailer or SUV to pull this thing (I've got a sedan)

I'm looking on the net for info and so far the most promising thing I'm seeing is a Sea Eagle 10.6 R for about $1200. I plan to restrict use to lakes and rivers. I don't know what kind of motor power I need on rivers with a strong current (I'm in Washington state and like to fish in the Snoqualimie and other Eastside rivers.)

Any suggestions? Anyone have experience with this brand or have better alternatives?


Answer:
-A long time ago I seriously thought about inflatables. But... ...it gets to be a real drag, inflating, and deflating before and after use. ...then you have very little inside area as the inflated hull intrudes into it so much. ...eventually leaks develop and the seams start to let go. Leaks aren't a problem but the seams are.

A 12 to 14 foot Jon boat aluminum or plastic is a lot better, 14 foot is the better of the two. A small trailer for it is not a problem for a small car. It doesn't weigh all that much. As a matter of fact a 14 foot jon boat aluminum and a trailer cost about $845 dollars at one of the big Sporting Goods chain stores. You can get a used outboard or a new one, I would suggest around 5 hp would work good. I got a Johnson 4hp twin for myself as it weighs 33 pounds and is easier to carry from the car to the river shore through the brush and mud (I just drag the boat down to the river bank in this case, no boat launch ramp). But a 5 or 7 hp motor would probably suit you better in stronger currents. The electric trolling motor is nice, but I only use it to sneak into a area for fishing, and for emergencies should something go wrong with the outboard. I also have a collapsable long aluminum push pole for moving around with too.

I also thought seriously about the Portabote folding boat, but I could get a 14foot aluminum jon boat trailer and outboard for around $1200 follars total also, so I didn't get the portabote either.

Besides, having the boat on the trailer makes a dandy place for all that camping gear that doesn't fit in the car. They can put trailer hitches on everything nowadays. A 14 foot jon boat, trailer, and outboard still totals up less than 500 pounds towing weight.

-I think it depends where you're fishing. There are some many lakes, streams, sloughs, etc. here in BC that have no boatlaunch, or at best a gravel beach. A canoe or inflatable are the best for them. I've taken Vinyl Valerie (3-man SeaHawk) to Champion Lakes on my motorbike - caught my first trout on a fly ever! If there's at least a gravel beach, you can probably drag a small aluminum cartopper to the water. He also mentioned storage: a 12 or 14-ft boat needs a place to stay - even more so if you have to use a trailer (ie can't throw it on top of your vehicle, stored by dangling from the roof of the garage). Again, an inflatable or a canoe is the solution if storage is a problem. OTOH, even a 12-ft aluminum cartopper is MUCH more boat than an inflatable, or even a canoe. If you're going on bigger lakes, ocean bays, rivers, etc. you probably want a 12-14ft. You COULD go to a zodiak-type inflatable, but that's WAY over your budget.


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