How much difference does a prop tunnel make?

Discussion in 'Boating' started by BenNewt, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. BenNewt

    BenNewt New Member

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    138
    State:
    Minnesota
    I'm in the market for a river cattin rig. The river that I fish most is full of wood and hidden sandbars. So I'm probably going with a flat bottom rig, 16 foot, with a 25 to 60 hp. I want a center console, but could handle a tiller. I've been told that a prop tunnel would be a good idea for my needs. Any recommendations on this?
     
  2. playin4funami

    playin4funami New Member

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    4,104
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    Saronville Ne.
    the tunnel hull johnboats are pretty sweet because you can set your motor up higher without it cavitating on you,and to give you more clearance in shallow water.saving you props and lower units,get as much protection as you can for the lower unit and prop,as they are the most expensive replacements you might have to make. other than that a single side console bboat gives you more room and working space than a center console,tiller oviously gives you the most working room but is the least comfortable.
     

  3. bnt55

    bnt55 New Member

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    640
    State:
    Northern KY
    I know they are tough to get setup...but alot of guys use them so it cant be that bad.
     
  4. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    Four Oaks, NC
    I don't agree with the side console deal for a couple of reasons.
    Depends on the type of floor space you want for one reason.
    By the time you measure your side console and seat footprint a center console isn't going to be any if much more square foot wise. The difference is in layout of open floor space.

    Second, if you are fishing shoaling waters, shallow waters, and waters with obstacles like sand bars a center console is best because you can stand up to pilot the vessel. The captain has a better view.

    If you have lower back issues, a center console is the only option.
    Standing up you use your knees as shock absorbers. A helm pad makes that even more comfortable.

    And with a center console the acessory options are unlimited.
     
  5. DANZIG

    DANZIG New Member

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    6,672
    State:
    West Virginia
    "If you have lower back issues, a center console is the only option."


    Not necessarily.
    I guess it has little to do with console placement, but they have "sprung" seats now-a-days and not long ago I saw a poor man's version of that. (on a walleye type boat I believe it was).

    The boat had the kind of seat that opened forward to a storage area (just the "seat" part of the chair) and the fellow had placed an air filled boat fender under it for cushion and to raise himself up on his legs a bit. He claimed it worked well.

    I have not seen one yet, but I would be surprised if someone has not come out with an air ride seat for a boat yet.

    I have driven trucks with air ride seats, they take some getting used too, but once you do,, you are spoiled for life!

    All that being said,, I am a "stander".
    Like Mark said, the better view can be darn handy in many situations.
     
  6. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    A side console is no competition for this.
    http://www.bandbyachtdesigns.com/ocracoke.htm
     
  7. DANZIG

    DANZIG New Member

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    6,672
    State:
    West Virginia
    Well, I don't really dislike any boat,, but I can't say that is one of my Favs.

    Different strokes I guess. :big_smile:
     
  8. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    Four Oaks, NC
    That's a 60 foot 3 million dollar high performance sportfish hull in a 20 foot package. Economical as all get out. 5 persons on board , 42 MPH, 20 feet long. With a 90 horse 4 stroke.
    Phenominal performance.
     
  9. DANZIG

    DANZIG New Member

    Messages:
    6,672
    State:
    West Virginia
    OK.

    I am sure it works fine, looks like it would, it's just not my thing.
     
  10. BenNewt

    BenNewt New Member

    Messages:
    138
    State:
    Minnesota
    That one looks abit beyond my budget...plus I don't think it has a prop tunnel.
     
  11. catman79

    catman79 New Member

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    164
    State:
    iowa
    i have 18' jon 70" wide tiller,i have more room than i could ever need.when the back starts to hurt i just stand up and drive
     
  12. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    There is pro's and cons for tunnel hulls.
    Some folks hate them. Some deal with them. Some people like them.

    A tunnel does affect handling.
    I wouldn't dare get a tunnel without spending the dough for a hydraulic jack plate.
    Reason is, you wont get the full benefit of what benefit a tunnel has.
    And if you aren't careful you burn a motor up before you know it with a tunnel and a hydraulic jack jack plate.

    Another thing you need to realize. A tunnel is not just a tunnel.
    There is alot of boats out there called tunnel hulls that are piss poor examples of one.
    A tunnel hull is not just having a hump in the floor.
    You can see where alot of custom designers use water flow and volume to predict results and base the shape and size of the tunnel on this. Exstensive tunnel research.

    On the same hand you cant take a cookie cutter tunnel and put it on any ol boat. You design these things to the hull. Well for best performance you do.

    Brings up another point. Stability. They do affect stability. More pornounced the smaller the boat is. Some boats are downright dangerous with a tunnel.

    There is plenty of reading to do on the internet with tunnels.
    I'd read it. Hit the boat building sites. That's where you learn about tunnels.
     
  13. etexun

    etexun New Member

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    375
    State:
    Texas (Nea
    I went from a center console to my tiller set up because I kept messing up the gear box with a lot of shifting needed to keep station in the river while running lines.
    Now if I was worried about running in shallow water all the time I would set up my boat with a jet drive. A friend has one and he can run in water that is barely ankle deep. The jet drives are great but they have limitations too.
    There is all kinds of things to consider when setting up a boat. Most of us have to let our pocket book determine which way we go. If I had the boat of my dreams I would have to be single cause my wife would not understand.
    I would suggest you not jump in without researching things. Plan things out as you go. Look for the best of what you can afford.
    Whatever you get have fun with it.
     
  14. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    I wouldnt have a jet drive if you gave me one.
    You can take the right boat with the right tunnel and a prop motor and run it 35 MPH in less then ankle deep water.

    Got pictures of a 20x8 footer doing it.

    Of course if you shop down at the bargain bin aluminum boat store I aint making no guarantees on nothing, especially 35 MPH in ankle deep water with a prop.
    We're talking custom setups on custom boats designed to do just that.
    Made out of wood of course.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2009
  15. BenNewt

    BenNewt New Member

    Messages:
    138
    State:
    Minnesota
    Hey Mark,

    Excellent tips. I immediately started doing research on hydraulic jack plates.
     
  16. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    That's a start.
     
  17. Arkansascatman777

    Arkansascatman777 New Member

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    7,782
    State:
    AR
    Ben, welcome to the BOC/SOC :cool2:.
     
  18. BenNewt

    BenNewt New Member

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    138
    State:
    Minnesota
    Thanks!
     
  19. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

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    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
    Mark J!!!!!!!!!!! :smile2:
     
  20. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Ben, the main thing is to know as much about it or more then the somebody trying to sell it to you.
    A good tunnel is going to channel and speed up the water flow throwing a higher column of water which allows you to raise the motor higher.
    A poor tunnel may throw up a decent column at high speed but severely lack at low speed. Length, width, depth, and shape of a tunnel all play a role.

    I would much rather stick with the efficiency of a stainless prop then the ineffeciencies of a jet. The jet has it's problems in shallow water as well and at slow speed.

    You can take a lightweight 20x8 hull with a tunnel, power it with a 20 horse engine and get 25-30 MPH out of it. It's a compromise hull that is built exclusively for fishing real shallow water.

    Another good place to get alot of information is from folks that fish the saltwater flats in Florida. Those guys invented skinny water and running skinny water. We're talking guys that will run a propped boat over a dry sand bar by timing letting off a throttle, letting a wave over take the boat and floating it across a bar. Then powering up again.
    Alot of these guys are running the Henderson skiffs and different variants of that type of boat.
    Then you have the mega dollar flats boats, running expensive foam cored hulls with a merc 200 hundred propped engine that over shadows the boat itself.
    I know a builder that ran his his boat 2 miles back to ramp with a mangrove stump drove up through the hull. Hit the stump so hard it lodged in the hull and ripped the root system free.
    These guys run some insanely shallow waters with props.

    You have a ton of optons from just being able to say you have a tunnel, to having a decent tunnel to having a great setup. Money of course dictates the outcome in alot of cases but what's new?

    I would drop my dime on the hull rather then the motor wen it comes to skinny water. All the motor in the world aint going to fix a hull that is lacking in ability.