First thing’s first, you need to know what kind of hull your boat should have. This is a decision that is entirely related to the kind of water you’ll be traversing on your hunting excursion. There are three basic hull types which each offer a different set of pros and cons depending on the environment.
V-Bottom Boats: These boats are designed to cut through big water, like a river, or a large lake. These hulls are mostly constructed from aluminum or fiberglass for strength. If you’re layout hunting in a remote corner of a lake, a V-bottom boat makes a great tender. The boats have high gunwales and transoms that keep water out of your boat as the sharp keel and V-bottom slice though the big water.
Semi-V Boats: Semi-V boats are great because of their flexible performance. These hulls incorporate a pointed bow and a gently sloped keel that will cut waves, while the flat bottom still allows for shallow water running. A good number of our Semi-V hulls are designed specifically for duck hunting so they can be quickly and easily equipped with a duck blind.
Flat Bottom Boats: A Flat Bottom Jon boat is the best possible option if you’re running exclusively in shallow water. When outfitted with a surface drive or long tail motor you can skim across the shallows with ease where other boats would wind up stuck. The biggest drawback to a flat bottom boat is they don’t handle chop well, because of the squared bow and low gunwales. You may be in for a rough (and wet) ride if you attempt to take a flat bottom hull onto open water.
With your hull picked out, you’ll need to choose a motor to match. There are tons of options, but we’ve broken these down into three categories:
Two Stroke: Two stroke motors are lightweight, portable, and affordable. They typically deliver a snappy throttle response and good acceleration. The drawback to a two-stroke is that these motors are noisy, and (like all two strokes) require an oil/gas mix for proper operation.
Four Stroke: More powerful and efficient that Two-strokes, four stroke motors are quieter and can be more reliable. These engines will provide a higher top speed when you get on plane, and don’t require you to mix your oil and gas. The flip side is these motors are heavy, more expensive, and can require more maintenance (in the form of regular oil changes).
Mud Motors: Two types of mud motor are commonly available, Surface drive, and long tail. Surface drive motors are configured much like a typical outboard, but they allow the propeller to sit closer to the water line, preventing as many snags on weeds and reeds. Long tail mud motors extend farther out behind your hull to allow you to get torque even in supremely cluttered water.
Depending on the hull and motor you choose, you’ll have a few more choices to make when outfitting your duck hunting boat. A choice of propeller and fuel tank can provide greater capabilities for your boat in terms of access and range, while the electronic wiring in the hull can give you options for other systems.
Bilge pumps, trolling motors, running lights, and more can be wired into your boat to allow you to get the most out of your duck boat. Every boat will need to be equipped with the basics, which include life jackets, a type IV pfd, fire extinguisher, rope, anchor, and first aid kit. If you’re hunting in an area with particular equipment requirements, make sure you’re outfitted properly.
Hopefully this quick guide has helped you narrow down the best duck boat setup for your next adventure! If you have any more questions, or have decided now’s the time to buy, come in and see us at Water Werks Marine group and let us show you our great selection of duck boats and outboard motors for sale! Water Werks Marine group is located in Country Club Hills, proudly serving the areas of Chicago, and Waukegan, Illinois; Gary, Michigan City, and Valparaiso, Indiana; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.