Why not a Jon Boat?

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by jessejames, May 16, 2011.

  1. Bob Newman

    Bob Newman Member

    I've rowed both prams and jon boats. Never found a difference in rowing performance. I use a 14 footer a lot. The boat gets filled with the beer cooler, my wife, and two dogs, one about 60 pounds and the other 125. Still not a problem rowing and not a problem with freeboard even when the big dog wants to see what you've caught and leans hard on the gunwale.
  2. Jim Byler

    Jim Byler Pram Guy

    I can relate to your search for the right boat. I used tubes for years, and still have one but have used it only once in the last 10 years. I also used an inflatible for years. Then I started building wooden boats as a hobby and have built couple of double ended rowboats, three 9-10' prams, a rowing "canoe" and a 12' round bottom pram. I also restored a 1955 18' George Calkins cabin cruiser, and put a 35 horse Honda on it. Most of them turned out ok and I still have most of them, but find that I use the 12' round bottom pram 90 % of the time. The reason is that it is a generalist, and does what I need it to do well enough: it is a semi-planing design and rows well enough but is also fast enough with an 3 1/2 HP 4-stroke; it is big enough for 2-3 people, but light enough to handle easily (I don't car top it anymore though); it is seaworthy enough for the water I fish, but stable enough to stand up in the fly cast. I mainly use it in lakes, but have floated quite a few rivers in it, and once fished it out of Neah Bay (where it felt very, very small). I don't know of any production boats that are similar to mine but if you do woodworking at all there are plans and maybe kits for boats that might suit your needs if you don't find what you want ready made.
    I'm not into marathons, but if you got over this way I could meet you on a lake.
  3. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    The jon boats are much heavier than a pram so in the wind you get that inertia effect. A jon boat pushed by the wind tends to stay in motion!! So it is much harder to turn, etc with oars in the wind. I suppose if you have an electric motor this is not an issue.

    You really notice the difference in gusty situations.

    IF I lived on a lake I would consider jon boat. IF I mostly fished lakes with launch ramps of some sort, I would consider a jon boat on a trailer. Of course, I would also need a covered parking for the trailer so I did not have to break down and move gobs of stuff everytime.

    In the long run, it really depends on the type of fishing you do most often and where and how you store you boat.

    I do know a guy with four different types of boats and it does work for him. He fishes with everything, but a float tube. Never seen him in one of those.

    this guy has some good comments. I have a tiny electric motor and it moves my pram faster than it needs at SLOWEST speed.

    "Two advantages of a good pram over a jon boat: First, many prams are designed for rowing and jon boats usually aren't. Even if you don't row, prams move very nicely with a small electric motor. Second, they are likely to be more seaworthy, as most job boats are flat bottomed and low sided with little flare. These may or may not be problems, depending on where and when one fishes. "
  4. Jeff Dodd

    Jeff Dodd Active Member

    Shot these photos last week in BC. Nice stable boat.
  5. Jeff Dodd

    Jeff Dodd Active Member

    Compared with these pram photos. Another nice boat.
  6. South Sound

    South Sound Member

  7. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

    Jeff - your BC pics are killin' me! Keep 'em coming.
  8. Jeff Dodd

    Jeff Dodd Active Member

    Yea, me too...

    Here are a couple other shots I like.
  9. Dale Dennis

    Dale Dennis Formally Double-D

    Nice Dragons Jeff….Personally I would not own and Jon boat, Jon boats typically have a flat bow (not the compound V as shown in Jeffs BC photos) and will have an annoying slap..slap..slap in addition they are narrow and tippy if your set on a Jon boat get the widest you can find. On two different occasions over the years I have pulled fisherman from the water when their Jon boat flipped over because of a wrong move.
  10. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

    The jons I am looking at have a 36" wide bottom and a beam of 56" There is a model that is 48" bottom width and over 70" beam (14' long)
    But when I looked at it it looked huge!!I just can't imagine the 36" model being unstable but I am not going any further with my research until I have a chance to get one or two on the water in real fishing conditions.
    Thanks for the responses.
  11. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Jesse, have you tried using your drift boat? I have fished out of a friend's on lakes quite often and it works great. It is a bit more effected by the wind but it sure makes a roomy, comfortable lake boat. The best part is you already own it. Add a long shaft electric motor, a Clackcraft bow anchor bracket and you are all set. Just a thought...
  12. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    Drift boat is a great idea.

    I would put a bunch of Idaho stickers on it. A drift boat in eastern Washington will get you the "....so what part of the coast are you from??".
  13. jessejames

    jessejames Flyslinger

    I do use the db occassionally, some launches it is not practical, I can drag a 130# boat off the trailer into the water. I also want to cartop it when I have the travel trailer.
    Idaho stickers? You mean Mr Potato Head?
  14. yellowlab

    yellowlab Active Member

    Jesse, I still consider the Jons to be narrow based in the length. As an example my pram is 40" on the bottom and 53" at the beam. It's 8' long. I'd be hard pressed to capsize even with a big King strapped on the end. Save up and look for used Metalhead pram.
  15. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    Don't you have a complete supply of potato "piggy" banks from North Idaho Bank?? Oh, for the days when everybody thought all Idaho had going for it was potato fields.

    I think you might find that drift boat is just as easy to launch as a jon boat most places.

    The other advantage to a drift boat is you can store a lot of stuff in it for a camping trip.

    Having fish lakes out of both type of boats the drift boat is more comfortable for two or more.
  16. Jim Byler

    Jim Byler Pram Guy

    A comment on the stability question: it is important to distinguish between initial stability, and final stability, or seaworthiness. Wide, flat bottom boats have high initial stability, and are not prone to tipping on flat water--good for standing to cast. But in large waves, they tend to roll over quicker than more seaworthy boats. Round bottom or v-bottom boats seem more tippy, and are less stable to stand up in. But in rough water, they rock and move with the waves giving them greater seaworthiness. High sides with a good amount of flare, like flat bottomed prams designed for floating rivers, counter the tendency to roll over. But they make the boat heavier and catch more wind on lakes. The key is to get the right compromise for the water you fish.