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Thinking about getting me a fishing boat. Was wondering if it would be safe/sane to go out on a lake on a jon boat. I'm in eastern ky. Dewey Lake, and Fishtrap is where I'd take it. Think I'd be ok, or should I just save for a bigger one?

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Don't go out in heavy winds, bad weather, or busy traffic days and you should be good provided it's a reasonable sized jon. I've seen them from 8' to 20' and over 6' wide, so as long as you're somewhere in the middle of that size spectrum, you'll be fine. 

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The key to a stable Jon boat is bottom width not beam. My minimum is 14' length with a 42-44" bottom. 

 

I prefer welded hull over riveted, heard all the arguments for both, a welded hull is generally thicker. I wouldn't go thinner that .100 gauge.

 

Personally I prefer a modified vee hull over a flat bottom, a mod-v offers a smoother ride in chop. And yes a mod-v will go just as shallow as a flat.

 

Pay close attention to weather 😉

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Physically you can, but since you have to ask the question, it sounds like you lack a little experience.  I have been boating close to 50 yrs and agree with @Catt that a boat that size would do better with. V.  That said, if you limit yourself to smaller coves you should be OK.

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I fish Dale Hollow Lake as often as I can. I stay at Hendricks Creek Resort. That lake is about 60 miles long and the marina has been renting boats for decades.  The rent two types of boats for fishing. Here is a pic of the 14 foot Alumacraft V boats they rent and they have 8 hp outboards on. They also have 16 footers that look the same.  The second pic is of the much larger boats they rent which have big engines and all the electronics.  Both are safe crafts to fish from.  You could also consider something like a used 17 foot aluminum mod V bass boat like a Tracker TX. Sometimes you can find a good deal on one used.

fishingboat.jpgRABblue.jpg

If you can afford it take a look at this boat.  It is a 16 ft Lowe deep V boat in nice condition. It has a 60 Johnson on it with some extras. They want $3500.  That seems like a good deal. I found it on Craigslist. Here is the listing.

https://lexington.craigslist.org/boa/d/lowe-1605/6421417166.html

 

00505_1smADTthsrf_600x450.jpg

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I fished Cave Run and the Kentucky River for a lot of years in a 14 foot 1967 Sears Jon boat. I’ve fished Kentucky Lake and Taylorsville in a 16 foot Lowe (48” beam) with a 25hp motor. Unless you do something really careless you should be fine IMO.

 

if I had waited until I could afford a “proper” boat I would have missed out on the biggest fish of my life, and some of my favorite memories.

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I will keep this short Yes it will work but you don't have the knowledge too safely do it so look for a semi v or mod v welded hull Jon that is 48 to 54 inch on the bottom and 16 foot long with a strong 50 to 60 horse motor on it.

 

Also the first year or two don't go out unless you have someone in the boat with you with a good number of years of boating knowledge to teach you how to handle it hands on.

 

Hope this helps you sir.

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Here's my $0.02.  There ain't no such thing as a safe boat.  No such thing as an unsafe boat.  When, where, and how you chose to use a boat determines whether or not safe. 

 

You should be able to be very safe with a 14' - 16' jon boat on any of those lakes if you use good judgement.  10' or 12' might be pushing it, but if that's what I had, I'd go fishing.

 

If you're not experienced, get that boat in some protected area, away from a lot of boat traffic, and get experience.

 

I'm 71 years old.  I've been fishing out of either my dad's boat or my boat for 65 years.  I've had everything from a 10' flat bottom to my 20' Skeeter I have now.  I've done dumb things, and scared the crap out of myself in every one of them.  I've fallen out of d**n near every boat I've owned and am still kicking.  Get out there and learn to use the boat.  Use some common sense.  Wear your life jacket.  You'll love it. 

 

PS:  The worst I ever was scared and worst wreck I ever had was in the Skeeter.  It don't have nothing to do with boat size.

Edited by mcipinkie
typo
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 As others have mentioned, there is no such thing as a safe boat.  All boats are only as safe as the operator.  It all boils down to knowing your capabilities and limitations as much as it is the boats.  If eithers are exceeded, it usually makes for a bad day on the water, and this all comes with experience. 

There will always be times when you get caught in a bad situation and usually you have that gut feeling it might be a bad idea before you do it, but you convince yourself to try it any way.  Usually it's when you know it's time to hang it up and not go, or wanting to try that one last spot and go for it.  Those are the situations, that providing you live to tell about it, are the ones that provide that very valuable experience.

After 55 years of being on the water and being one of those types that pushed everything to the limit, I've managed to build an encyclopedia full of "dumbs**t" ideas but each one gave me valuable insight on where the limits were at, mine and the various boats.  It's just too bad our brains are not like computers that you can download all that knowledge life has provided and pass it on.

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