View Full Version : Input on sizing a basic jon boat setup...

clay slayer
03-10-2016, 11:46 PM
I have a Carolina Skiff JVX16 center console that I use for brackish marsh and calm bay fishing, so I'm covered there.

Right now, I'm looking to get a small, basic Jon boat to use on small lakes and bayous fishing for crappie and bream, or recreational crabbing in the marsh. Easy and fun fishing trips with my son is my goal. I don't want to use my 16' fiberglass boat for obvious reasons in these shallow and unknown waters.

Anyway, I'm looking for something really basic that I won't mind banging against weirs and beaching on shell shores.

This will be used for myself, 190lbs, and my 4 year old son 90% of the time. My wife, 125lbs, may join us occasionally. Gear is basic fishing equipment with an ice chest, pretty minimal.

Like I mentioned, I want to keep this setup simple and inexpensive. Academy has an Alumacraft 12-32 for $620 and a 15-40 for twice the price, $1250. I'll be adding a tiller, 9.8HP -20HP, depending on which Jon I get.

So, do you think a 12-32 with a 9.8HP will suffice on smooth water with 2 people? Or should I spend twice as much for the 15-40 and almost another grand for moving up to a 20HP motor?

Thanks for your opinions.

03-11-2016, 07:25 AM
I had a 12-32 with a 9.9 and used it to fish the Delaware River for a couple of years. Had to be really careful and you didn't move around a lot. 2 people was max. I now have a 14-48 with a 20 hp and for my son and I it was fine on small water. Fished out of it for 3 years and now it is just a duck boat. I don't think I would buy new, seems to me you can pick up an old used Jon, motor and trailer for the price of a new. Plus a few extra accessories.

03-11-2016, 07:29 AM
I am very familiar with jon boats as I have a 10', just sold a 16' and fish quite a bit with a buddy in his 12'. My 10' is mainly for the ponds here on my property and are only good for one (1) person. The 12' we use in a larger watershed holding lake and it is OK for the two of us both 220# plus for a half day or so. The 16' (all open with two swivel seats) was great for 2 on the bigger bays we fish on Kentucky Lake. I think the 12' might work for the two of you but will be snug for when you try to fish three at a time. While the 12' will work most of the time, the 15' will work all the time albeit being a little harder to handle in the very small waters.

03-11-2016, 07:35 AM
I agree with the previous post. I would look for something used! If you plan to trailer it, go with at least 14' - then you, your son, and your wife could use it at the same time. 12' is a bit small for all three (my opinion). 9.9 will struggle to get you on plane with a 14' boat, so I would suggest at least a 15 hp. The nice thing about used, you typically get a turn-key set up and are ready for the lake. Buying new means lots of prep work to get on the water. But, it also means you are not buying someone else's problems. I believe most used boats that are for sale is because the previous owner moved up to a bigger/faster boat (that's what I have done along with many of my friends!

03-11-2016, 07:39 AM
I'd worry more about width than length. 32" will be unstable, too much for a young child in my opinion.

Tony the Tiger
03-11-2016, 08:35 AM
15 40 I'd say with no doubt

03-11-2016, 08:52 AM
I have a 14' jon boat bought at Academy. I just looked... it is a 14-32.

I have fished a lot of jon boats in my life. This one is a bit too unstable for my liking. It's not the length, it's the lack of width and lack of depth. I used to own a 12' jon boat and it was awesome... it was deeper than any I have ever seen. Somebody stole it, dang it.

Anyway, I fish okay out of my 12-32 but it's not ideal. Be careful when moving about! I would get one that has some depth and/or width.

03-11-2016, 09:57 AM
Do not let me say do not buy that small boat it will be to small unsafe you will not be happy with it you will wish later that you had not bought it it will cost you more in the long run when you see that it needs replaced by a bigger boat........ Been there done that....... You are welcome because you will thank me later if you don't waste your money on the small boat. Now save your money look around find what you really want nothing wrong with used rigs just check them out good ask to have a trial run with the used boat and motor if it's up to snuff people won't mind a trial run. Better to own something that you like than to sat and wish that you had something better. The safety of you and your family needs to be your #1 choice so do not skimp where safety is involved. Like others said above go for the bigger boat. That's my 2 cent worth and it won't cost you nothing.:twocents

03-11-2016, 10:04 AM
I have two, a 12' 36" that works on smaller bodies of water for two and a 16' 48" that is good for anywhere else I want to fish. I run just a trolling motor on the 12" and have a 25 Mercury on the 16"

clay slayer
03-11-2016, 11:39 AM
Thanks for all the input. I'm now leaning towards something in the larger range, probably 16-48. Since I'll be trailering it regardless of size, I might as well go a little bigger.

Also, I am looking at the used market. There are ALOT of used boats on the market this year in my area. I live in Louisiana and work in the oilfield...it hasn't been a good year, but that's another story.

Thanks again for the help

03-11-2016, 01:58 PM
For 2-3 people, a riveted 14x48 with a 25 hp is a great all around setup. There are an abundance of used riveted boats in that size as well as used 25hp outboards. With you and a child, a well tuned 9.9hp should plane it fine but if you don't have any hp restrictions you might as well put on what the boat it rated for. Going up to a 1648 would probably allow you to move up to a 40hp. There are lots of older OMC's in the 18-40hp range that are in good running condition and can be had for $500-600.

Erin Brewer
03-11-2016, 05:18 PM
I have a waco 1436 and i love it, but I would be happier with a little wider boat because the 30s are pretty wobbly on the water. But It can be done with no problem. I run in rivers and grenada lake with no problems just have to watch the wind on the lake. I even spider rig out of.

03-11-2016, 06:15 PM
1448 or 1648 and dont look back. Smaller will only be uncomfortable anx wife and kids will not want anything to do with it.

03-11-2016, 06:27 PM
I have to start with background. I turn 60 this year and that has changed what I'll consider. Mobility issues aren't bad yet but I see them coming. I have owned jon's from 8 to 16 feet in 2 foot increments. To cut to the chase, width is the biggest factor in keeping everyone comfy. Under 42 inches they don't give much leeway should someone lose their balance, where 42 and better have proven able to take someone of size catching their balance and not sending the group swimming. My last boat was a 1648 stick and low back discomfort was the biggest reason it went and my current boat came in. To my way of thinking, a bare bones 1648 jon with the standard bench seats with a 25 and a 55lb TM, preferably a Terrova for the obvious reasons, has no interior to warrant inside storage and gives plenty of room and comfort for 2 and the extra room for 3. I fished 4 out of my 1648 once and we didn't have any issues but I wouldn't make a habit of it. I've seen some available used near me for $2500 and some cheaper but the cheaper ones had older motors and other issues. Good luck with your decision and finding what you need, they're tough as nails and become a good friend really quick.

03-11-2016, 07:35 PM
I would go no smaller than a 14 ft. used one for years with two and 3 people. Had a 1988 9.9 merc on boat with just me or dad(250 to 290) the boat would run 20 to 25 mph, with both we could do 15 to 18.

Cane Pole
03-11-2016, 09:29 PM
I like Jon boats. My casket is gonna be a Jon boat. My Crappie Jon (Alumacraft) is a 1452, 15hoss T/T, stick steer and dressed out. At my age, worst part is gettin in and gettin out.

This is an upgrade from an old (1962 model) I owned for 45 years.

old 1962

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z157/Tlewis38344/Jon%20Boat/IMG_0421.jpg (http://s188.photobucket.com/user/Tlewis38344/media/Jon%20Boat/IMG_0421.jpg.html)

new 2008

http://i188.photobucket.com/albums/z157/Tlewis38344/IMG_0177_zps0d239d20.jpg (http://s188.photobucket.com/user/Tlewis38344/media/IMG_0177_zps0d239d20.jpg.html)

eagle 1
03-12-2016, 06:31 AM
I just got a 1648 war eagle and love it . cheap ? not really .231956

03-13-2016, 08:51 AM
Another vote for 1448 or bigger. Anything less will be too small. I duck hunted/ fished out of a 1436 with a 9.8hp for years and 2 people was one too many. Good luck with your search for a boat.

03-13-2016, 09:07 AM
Lot of folks try to start small and go cheap and I can understand that but if it were I from what I've learned I would start with no less than a 16ft with at least a 20 hp. Why you say for safety first and room to move. also if you decide to get out you can pretty much find someone looking for this type rig.

03-14-2016, 11:14 AM
FWIW, I plan on buying a new Alumactaft 1648 NCS (no center seat) flat bottom in the next couple of weeks. Prices vary by a pretty large margin but my local dealer sells them for $1800 pretax. I have seen them online for as high as 2500 for just the hull too.

03-14-2016, 09:34 PM
you will be much happier with a 1648. I love mine its small enough to get to places big boats cant get too, and big enough to fish a few people comfortable in. Plus the stability is awesome. Can stand on the gunnels of mine when verticle jigging tree tops and fallen trees and not worried at all about losing my balance and falling in.

01-21-2018, 07:34 PM
I know late as all get up, i have a 1648 with a 25 mercury i fish brackish and ICW. With 3 boys ages 11, 9,and 4 let me tell you they are all boy boys. Absolutly love mine will take a hard wake and everyone shifting around like a champ. I will say hands down do not go less!!!! I can do it all flound gig or chase reds.In a lake its unstoppable.

01-21-2018, 08:52 PM
Yep, minimum 1648. Width is the factor you need to be aware of. The wider the better. Wouldn't worry as much about the hp, if you have to cut corners, drop down on engine size rather than boat width. There are plenty of used choices available, would not buy new.