Best catfish boat for fishing a large river

Discussion in 'Boat Tips' started by photocat, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. photocat

    photocat New Member

    Messages:
    803
    State:
    HOCO, Maryland
    I'm on a tight budget when it comes to buying a boat but what should be the minimum i'm looking for if i wanted to fish say the potomac. I found a boat that at the current time is a little out of my price range but hopefully not for long.

    Its 12ft long, about 4.5 wide, 20 inches deep can handle a 10 hp motor... is this enough????
     
  2. metalman

    metalman Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,447
    State:
    IN
    Name:
    Winston
    Bryan,
    I.M.H.O. There is no such thing as too much boat especially when it comes to safety. By the time you get a buddy on board with their gear, extra life jacket etc., etc. it gets pretty tight. I fish the Ohio mostly and I see guys out there in boats such as you describe and they appear to be quite happy. I don't know anything about the Potomac but I do know the that the day a tug went by me pushing a single empty barge and going faster that I thought a barge could move the wave that hit me made me very glad I was in my boat and not one of the small ones I see. There are, of course, other factors to consider such as your boating experience etc. Whatever you end up with make sure that you do whatever is necessary to ensure it is reliable. I think a 12 foot boat with a dependable motor is much safer in most cases that a 22 foot boat with a motor that won't start when needed...W
     

  3. omots2

    omots2 New Member

    Messages:
    59
    State:
    abrerdeen md
    A 12 foot is a good choise if it has the ability to take rough water. The river can get pretty choppy at times. There is a bass expo at tamonium fair grounds outside of baltimore in january that has just about every kind of river boat we use around this area and some have good prices on them exspechely on the last day so they dont have to take them back to the show room may be worth a look see. :)
     
  4. omots2

    omots2 New Member

    Messages:
    59
    State:
    abrerdeen md
    sorry i just seen that the horse power is ten horse mine at first was 10 found out real quick not enough went to 25.Found out the hard way the first storm that came up out of the blue could not get in fast enough not enough power to bucg the wavss that came up lesenlearner real quick :sad:
     
  5. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Messages:
    4,404
    State:
    Little Rock, AR
    IMO, taking a 12' boat out on the Patomic would be fine when the water is calm, but you'd really need to keep an eye out for wind or any kind of bad weather. Back when I lived in Florida, I could put a small boat into Allen's Creek behind my house and run a mile or so down it into Tampa Bay. I used a 12' V-hull boat for this, because my big boat wouldn't go under the bridge I had to pass. I've fished the Arkansas River with a 14' aluminum bass boat, and have taken water over the front of the boat on windy days. Here's an idea you might think about. There are lots of old boats around with very sturdy hulls, but rotted or outdated upper parts. I once had someone give me a 16' runabout with an excellent fiberglass hull and the wood rotted out. I tore out all the wood and left the boat on a local lake to keep me from having to haul my good boat there and back. I used it till some kids thought it would be great fun to sink it by throwing rocks through the bottom of the hull. Another time, I picked up a 16' aluminum runabout, trailer, and non-working 60hp outboard for $155.00. I sold the outboard for parts and tore the aluminum top off the boat, leaving just the aluminum hull, which I eventually sold, rather than making a nice, rough water, fishing boat out of it as I had planned. This was a nice deep hull that I wouldn't have been afraid to take out on the Mississippi River. I don't know about your area, but here in Arkansas, you can drive along the highway and see boats that the owners have just left out in a field. Checking on a few of these will usually result in a free or very cheap boat that's out of style, needs some work, or both.
     
  6. on_the_fly

    on_the_fly New Member

    Messages:
    606
    State:
    Kentucky
    i think an idea boat would be an 18 foot river john extra deep an extra wide with center consol an 50 horse johnson. my ol man priced the bare boat an it was 3,000 to 3,500 an add a motor 50 horse mabey another 3000 so you would have 6 in a boat for any weather,curent,or condition i would think an you just add rod holders an other thinks as time goes by. i would think if you took your time an looked around you could find a used one with every thing for 5 to 6 thou
     
  7. tncatfishing

    tncatfishing New Member

    Messages:
    916
    State:
    clk. tn
    I would think a deck boat or pontoon boat with a big motor would be ideal. Plenty of room. But the deep v tundra boats on the tracker website are some bigtime fishing boats, can handle all kinds of fishing conditions.
     
  8. MoMudCat

    MoMudCat New Member

    Messages:
    186
    State:
    Troy,MO
    I have an 18' Sea Ark with a 70 hp evinrude. I used to fish with my dad's 16' Alumacraft. While the 16' was safe, the 18' is a world apart. Wider, longer, taller sides, WAY more stable in rough water. I boat and fish on the Mississippi, which can get tricky at times, but I've been out on the Missouri River before when I was darn glad I was in a 18' boat!!!
     
  9. Mutt

    Mutt Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    18,511
    State:
    Ca
    Name:
    Mutt
    my opinion is if your on a tight budget and want a side console id go with this one here

    http://www.trackerboats.com/boat/index.cfm?boat=1773

    if you want a tiller id go with this one here

    http://www.trackerboats.com/boat/index.cfm?boat=1772

    now there are other brands out there that are as good or better just depends on what you want to spend. i love my tracker boat lowe crestliner all make good boats fisher is good its also made my tracker too. just some ideas. but id go a bit bigger boat and more horse power to be honest.
     
  10. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Messages:
    2,090
    State:
    Kansas CIty, MO
    It all comes down on how much cash you have or credit to get. I never seen the river you mention so i have no clue. I just know what the missouri river has to offer. I would not go out on that with nothing smaller then a 14 foot boat.
     
  11. Environmentor

    Environmentor New Member

    Messages:
    95
    State:
    Buffalo, Iowa
    I have taken my small boat (on one occassion) out onto the Mississippi. It is a very small flat bottom, and it was kinda scary. However, I bought a converted 15' semi-V aluminum runabout w/ 15 hp Johnson for about $800 and put some more into it for nice chairs and a new paint job. I have never had any real trouble in the Mississippi (however, the engine mount sits low so I can't back troll - the guys who I bought it from said they used it all the time to back troll the river - they were liars).
     
  12. Knoxcats

    Knoxcats New Member

    Messages:
    57
    State:
    Knoxville, TN
    My vote would be for the Carolina Skiff 1780 or 1980. 80" wide, stable as a rock, shallow draft, full of foam floation...you can't sink one! Push either with a 90 hp, and you've got a great catfishing boat. (enough boat to have fun with the family too!) You can buy the plain hull and rig it yourself or get a pre-rig that's ready to fish.

    No weight limit issues with these boats...the 17' max weight is 1800 pounds, while the 19' is 1950 pounds.
     
  13. lonegunman88240

    lonegunman88240 New Member

    Messages:
    61
    State:
    new mexico
    imho i wouldnt recommend anything smaller that a 14x36, i have a 14x48 and it handles like a champ on big lakes and rivers
     
  14. jrm11

    jrm11 New Member

    Messages:
    92
    State:
    Fairmont, W Va.
    fished the potomac with a 12 ft flat bottom, no problems. Also fish another river thats not ver calm at all and float down the swift water with no problems. lol probably not the smartest thing to do but it works
     
  15. catchaser19

    catchaser19 New Member

    Messages:
    221
    State:
    UTAH
    I say if you have to go with a smaller boat like a 12-14 ft. I would get one that is as wide as possible with at least a modifiesd vee hull. And plenty of power on the backend as much as you can afford. Because it is better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it. Good luck and tight lines with whatever you go with. :cool:
     
  16. Catmandu

    Catmandu New Member

    Messages:
    27
    State:
    Virginia
    hey photo some of the guys down here use 16ft john boats I personally won't go out on the james with anything smaller. I have an 89 sylvan 19ft its a walk through walleye boat and it fishes some very big water paid 4000 5 yrs ago all I can tell you is use very good judgement on your part and don't buy without test drive . Potomac is cosidered big by all standards . I used to live nrthrn va. so i know alittle about your area . Just be safe and careful because this time of year there aren't very many boats out there. have fun "tight lines"
     
  17. catfishbills

    catfishbills New Member

    Messages:
    630
    State:
    Tennessee
    The main thing to consider is that most rivers are always changing and you have to use GOOD judgment on weather conditions and Watch barge traffic! There have been days on the Mississippi that I dont think they make a boat big enough. Other days I see people out there in 14' jon boats, and most of them have been doing it a long time and know what to look for.......food for thought, cause once your in a situation you have to know what to do like second nature.
     
  18. catfishbills

    catfishbills New Member

    Messages:
    630
    State:
    Tennessee
    I fish the Mississippi mostly and have a 15-48 mod-v w/Yamaha 50 tiller motor, and there have been times that I would NOT have been in anything smaller.......I fished out of a 1436 flatbottom on lakes for 20yrs, but now that I fish the Big river mostly..........Food for thought....Get the LARGEST boat that you can afford!...ALWAYS when in alot of current(high winds, barge traffic,etc) wear your life jacket. If its not comfortable, buy a new one! I can swim w/the best of them, and you wont find me on the Mississippi w/o mine on.Just my opinion. Hope this helps!:big_smile:
     
  19. badbob46

    badbob46 New Member

    Messages:
    190
    State:
    Louisiana
    i saw a lot of good advice here, to me the best advice is buy the biggest boat and engine you can afford, i fish the Red River in Louisiana. its a very large river and can get very dangerous during flood periods, for that reason after a lot of consideration and also having fished out of everything from 12 foot jon boats to an 18 foot sea ark and a 20 foot pontoon boat, the boat i found best is a center console bay boat over 20 feet, the one i have is 21 and a half , and it will handle just about anything any river can throw at you..i got mine pretty cheap actually and i see used ones all the time for about 3500 dollars..they do burn more gas than a little jon boat of course and they take up more space in the driveway, but the safety and comfort far outweigh the downside to me..
     
  20. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    All this talk of little boats on big water makes this old Coastie's blood run cold.

    Just because some people do it, and seem to get away with it, doesn't make it smart. Size matters.