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Deadeye-1

Skinny Water Fishing, How Shallow Does Your Boat Run?

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My 1996 Crintchfield 14 footer will float in under 1 foot of water. I regularly fish one spot that runs 2-3 ft deep. One of the spots I need to run over to get into one of my favorite lakes has an idle zone on it. I have marked 0 feet on the depth finder, while sometimes bumping the bottom of the motor- even when tilted up.

I plan to upgrade next spring to a bigger better boat. One of the guys I spoke with told me his older Bass Boat MUST have a MIMIMUM of 2 ft to float and run. I don't know what the depth ranges are for the new ones like: Bass Tracker PT 175, Straos XT, and others available in the under $20,000 new and $10,000 used market. So I figured some research time was in order.

So: What type of boat do you have and how shallow can you be in BOTH on plane and at idle .....and still run/fish?

Thanks in advance.

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I fish the shallow water marshes of southwest Louisiana which have a maximum depth os 2'.

Most everyone fishes out of specially modified aluminium Jon boats both flat & modified V. These boat are fully decked front & back; carpeted.

Some run 25-40 Hp outboards with jack-up/set back plates allowing fast hole shots in water of 8" in depth.

Some run surface drive motors in 27-36 Hp which can run in just mud & no water!

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my g3 175 will float in 6'' of water. i will run on plane till 3ft. with the motor trimmed way up its starts kicking up sediment in 1.5 ft of water and i chicken out and kill it in favor of the trolling motor

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my 89 tracker txw17 floats in very little water like less than a feet most times, but its hard to run it even with the trolling motor. almost blew out my lower unit going through a mud flat in the mississippi backwaters. found out i was in a foot of water and had to paddle my way back from where i came from!

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Check out RiverPro jet boats, they are the preffered method for running the shallow rocky rivers in our area, I used to have a outboard jet, could float in less than a 1' and run on plane in about 4". Have friends with RiverPros and have been in one that launched in water about 6" deep, we were actually dragging bottom when he launched, they get up on plane so quick that it bounced off the bottom twice on the way up but got on plane in less than a boat length. They also have a double 3/8 aluminum bottom that is steel reinforced around the intake. They are not the best choice for weeds or wavey lakes, they also get blown around in the wind something horrible with no prop or lower unit to hold the back in place. but if your goal is a shallow minded fishing machine they are pretty tough to beat

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It's not that I only fish shallow waters, It's just that I don't want to lose some of the great spots I've found when I go to a bigger boat.

I know that Jet Drives have their place, eastern Pa on the rock filled Susquhanna (?) comes to mind, but not needed where I fish. I see guys running Bass Rigs in there all the time, just sometimes it seems like they are having a little trouble when trying to go slow (and obey the slow-speed minimum wake law, a LOT just stay on plane and run over it).

Guess what I really wondered was What Bass Style Boat is best suited for running in more shallow water?

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Of the top fiberglass manufacturers there probably not much deference in draft with 18" required to float one depending on size.

Of two you listed I would choose the Stratos, Alan Stinson designed hulls are strong, smooth riding, and dependable.

The only other small bass boat I would consider would be a Xpress Aluminum, no other is in the same class.

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I respectfully must disagree Catt. Smooth riding the Xpress takes the cake for sure. I own an 1860 G3 and my buddy has the 1860 Xpress. Both are aluminum modified V "do-all" boats. His boat will do another 2-3 mph with the same 90hp motor, time to plane is nearly identical. His hull is better for plane if you don't consider load, but my weight forward fuel tank evens it out to be nearly identical in performance that way.

However, two factors make his Xpress not float as shallow as the G3

1) Width. Both are 60" bottoms but mine runs WAY more the length of the boat than his does. Xpress boats narrow rapidly in order to achieve their great rough water capability. They just measure it at the widest point. Obviously the more your boat displaces the less water it will float in. It is the same way with the 'Beam' measurement. Its carried out alot less in the Xpress. There is barely room for two people on the front deck.

2) Weight distribution. As I mentioned, my weight forward fuel tanks puts 15+ gallons of gas in the front of the boat. While helping to smooth the ride compared to traditional Jon setups, it also makes the boat float more parallel with the surface of the water. My livewll is also forward which adds 30 gallons of water weight to the front as well. With two people, 3 batteries, a 300+lb motor, 15 gallons of fuel, and a 20+ gallon livewell all in the Xpress, there is alot of additional weight that makes the rear sag significantly.

If I had to put an estimation on it, the G3 floats idle in around 6"s and the Xpress hits bottom in around 11" or so.

Not knocking either brand, I feel like both are great boats for their purpose, just wanted to throw the draft numbers out there since thats what the thread is about. :thumbsup:

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Xpress hits bottom in around 11" or so.

My 18' Hyperlift floats in about 8-9" water, full fuel and livewell.

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My 18' Hyperlift floats in about 8-9" water, full fuel and livewell.

That dosn't tell me much. Alot of them are "hyper-lift's" The actual 'Hyper-lift model' has a 67" bottom according to the site. His is an Xplorer 1860 , and although it is also a hyperlift hull, it would be 7 inches narrower in the rear.

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That dosn't tell me much. Alot of them are "hyper-lift's" The actual 'Hyper-lift model' has a 67" bottom according to the site. His is an Xplorer 1860 , and although it is also a hyperlift hull, it would be 7 inches narrower in the rear.

Maybe I'll get my caliper out, and get down to the thousandth of an inch? :laugh5:

It's an H18 w/ Merc 115.

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Haha, not a matter of using a caliper :) , but I'd bet my paycheck 7 inches in max bottom width can relate to 2-3 inches difference in draft, espcially with the taper that those boats carry. Nice rig by the way!

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The Xplorer series have a fast taper, but honestly, mine doesn't seem that fast. It's not like a Tracker. Probably close to the G3. Anyway, the only boat I've been in that goes shallower than mine is my buddy's 20' Bullet. The only difference is I'll take mine through stumps and over laydowns, lol.

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Mine is a Tracker PT 185 with a Mod v hull that will idle in 9". Very comfortable in semi-rough water. I would think a Tracker 17, which I believe has a flater hull, would go a few inches shallower.

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Excuse but the Xplorer Series is a Hydro-Dynamic Hull which can not compete with a Hyper-Lift. The Hyper-Lift is smoother & drier than any G3!

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Excuse but the Xplorer Series is a Hydro-Dynamic Hull which can not compete with a Hyper-Lift. The Hyper-Lift is smoother & drier than any G3!

From the website?

"The ultimate multi-purpose boat line, the Xpress Boats Xplorer Bass Series does it all. Our “V” Style Hyper-Lift® hull provided unmatched performance as you glide across the water. Whether hunting or fishing, our Xtreme Coat non-slip liner provides positive footing, even under nature’s worse conditions. Whether casting a line or blasting a cap, this is truly a multi-purpose high performance platform."

I don't disagree they are smoother riding. When you take an 86" beam boat down to 50 something in the front it sure will cut waves. Deck size isn't a HUGE issue, but I use mine for team tournaments, and its 5x harder out of his boat than mine when we are both needing to be up front. Not enough room to fish comfortably with both on his. I also bow fish, duck hunt, and everything else out of it, so size matters more than wave cutting. The new model of G3 Jon is WAY better if you havn't tried a 2011 or 2012 with the weight forward and new hulls. Still a Jon boat but it 'cuts' at least 50% better than previous models. I havn't see and difference in dry ride, so far they are similar.

If I ever move to a big lake like your Toledo, Catt, I may be more willing to make some sacrifices for that smoother ride though ;) I don't think my boat would really like living on a large lake, although we get some decent swells here once in awhile, and I have yet to have any issue.

Francho, thats exactly why I traded off my Triton. Stumps, sticks, rocks, hunting, etc, this boat can take it all, with no worries about making my sparkly boat look beat up. :) The draft is ridiculously good with a push pole too.

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That's weird cause I have Xpress's 2012 catalog in my hand & it says what you copied from their site (I cross cheched) except it says it is a "Mod-V" Style Hydro-Dynamic hull. I have 2 friends, one owns a XP180 & the other owns a XP170 & both say it's a Hydro-Dynamic hull.

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Could be the difference between bass and crappie models. The bass series is that camo finish and comes in Hyperlift, while the crappie series has carpet and is not the hyperlift hull.

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In any case, BOTH sound like great boats. I have looked at the Express Boats website and there is only 1 dealer in my area, or at least that is all they show, and they are quite some distance from me. Also maybe because they are the only one their prices are quite high compaired to G3 or Tracker.

I have seen some G3 models in the past and they look like decent boats. Tracker is big around here because of BPS in Orlando and another dealer loacted not much further away.

Anybody know what year is was that Tracker came out with their Revolution Hull? It is something I would want to consider when buying used.

Also anyone have much experience with the Stratos XT models? They are close in price, but fiberglass.

Has G3 changed their hull design as well and if so, what year did they do that?

Not stuck on any Manufacture, all suggestions are welcome.

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All Xplorer series in both bass & crappie are "XP" and are Hydro-Dynamic hulls

The Hyper-Lift bass boats are the Xclusive series or "X" boats, they have a full front deck the extends all the way to the console. Next are the Hyper-Lift series or "H" boats, threir console stops short of the console.

The Hydro-Dynamic bass boats, Xplorer series or "XP" boats have short decks that are even shorter than the "H" boats.

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I have a 1996 Stratos 258V with a Johnson 70 Hp ;)

In

The boat has been used on Toledo Bend for 16 years and has one gouge in the bottom the hull from where my buddy run into the concrete boat ramp. Yes it has some scratches from stumps but nothing more than surface scratches.

As I first mentioned you'll be hard pressed to beat an Alan Stinson designed hull!

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My 1987 Ranger 373 with a Merc 150 needs 2.5' and even then it is churning mud. I do not recommend it.

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