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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have gotten advice from many of you over the years about your aluminum builds. Considering pulling the trigger on a Jon Boat which I am going to rig up as a poling skiff so I don't donate a significant portion of fiberglass to learning the Charleston area.

Currently looking at the Tracker Grizzly 1648, Weldbilt 1648v, and used Havoc RDB's. Any suggestions on these boats? Others I have left off the list? Going to mainly use the boat for fly fishing but will do some duck hunting, marsh hen hunting, etc. as well.

As of now, I am planning to rig one up myself but would also consider buying one from a fellow Microskiffer if it was relatively local and already set up to suit my needs. Thanks.
 

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When looking at the havocs, make sure you check the thickness of the hull. They make some .080 gauge boats, but you probably don't want to sacrifice rigidity for a few pounds. And if the hull is stamped commercial, it lacks flotation (another way they save weight to pick up some speed).
 

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I ran a 16’ lowe for years . side console .always pushed it around from the bow.Caught alot of wind otherwise . look at getting a trailer it sits on vs cradled in. Better for skinny trails , you never know . drug mine everywhere ....Good luck
 

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I ran a customized 1854 Weld-craft tunnel for years. Adding a rubber floor, jack plate, poling platform, etc and it was a great boat for me for 16 yrs. That being said, hull design is everything and it was NOT at all good for sneaking up on fish with any wind (hull slap). I would pole until I saw fish and then would chase them on foot. If you want to sneak up on fish and want aluminum, I highly recommend you look at Sabine Skiffs here in TX.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
When looking at the havocs, make sure you check the thickness of the hull. They make some .080 gauge boats, but you probably don't want to sacrifice rigidity for a few pounds. And if the hull is stamped commercial, it lacks flotation (another way they save weight to pick up some speed).
Thanks for this advice, I will keep an eye out for the commercial stamp and aluminum thickness. I duck hunted out of a Havoc once a few years back and found it to be a cool boat but know little about it/have not seen many others since.

I ran a 16’ lowe for years . side console .always pushed it around from the bow.Caught alot of wind otherwise . look at getting a trailer it sits on vs cradled in. Better for skinny trails , you never know . drug mine everywhere ....Good luck
I'd be looking to either add a side console/buy with a side console. Would likely add batteries/Yeti up front to hopefully balance the weight a little better but would likely end up poling from the bow most of the time anyways. The poling platform would serve as a place to enjoy an adult beverage or potentially fish from solo while running a trolling motor with remote.

I ran a customized 1854 Weld-craft tunnel for years. Adding a rubber floor, jack plate, poling platform, etc and it was a great boat for me for 16 yrs. That being said, hull design is everything and it was NOT at all good for sneaking up on fish with any wind (hull slap). I would pole until I saw fish and then would chase them on foot. If you want to sneak up on fish and want aluminum, I highly recommend you look at Sabine Skiffs here in TX.
This seems to be a common experience. Everyone loves the versatility/durability but the hull slap is the major turnoff. I'd get a Sabine in a heartbeat if the budget allowed for it but sadly that's a long ways off. I have never been on a Sabine but have seen photos/videos and am impressed every time that they were able to make a boat out of aluminum that doesn't have hull slap. Somewhat similar (but nicer) to a local builder to me, Cast and Blast skiffs.
 

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Definitely go with at least 0.100 aluminum and no rivets. Quality matters. Weld-craft was a solid boat and you can order them how you want. Mine was $4000 custom ordered with McClain trailer in 2001.
 
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Thanks for this advice, I will keep an eye out for the commercial stamp and aluminum thickness. I duck hunted out of a Havoc once a few years back and found it to be a cool boat but know little about it/have not seen many others since.
We see a lot if them in Arkansas during duck season, along with Edges and Ambushes. All three have similar lineage and an intertwined past. There are a ton for sale in that area this time every year, as soon as duck season is over.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
We see a lot if them in Arkansas during duck season, along with Edges and Ambushes. All three have similar lineage and an intertwined past. There are a ton for sale in that area this time every year, as soon as duck season is over.
We duck hunt in Gregory once or twice a year and that is the only place I’ve seen them/hunted out of them. I’ll start looking around on Craigslist in that area and see if anything pops up. Thanks for the heads up!
 

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Down here in the Everglades a 16' jon boat with a forty horse motor - tiller set-up was one of the standard rigs that was recommended for folks wanting to get started in the backcountry... The advice to look for a hull with at least .100 skin - and welded, not riveted is right on the money. Inexpensive to run - easy to modify by adding a forward and rear deck (use 3/8" plywood, glassed on top, resined on the bottom...) and you're on your way. It makes a very lightweight rig to tow with a relatively small tow vehicle - and out on the water if you run aground simply jump out and tow it (or drag it) to where the water is deep enough to float in again. Keep it as simple as possible - use one of those solid roto-molded coolers to stand on when poling and you're all set up...
For anyone needing to sneak up on fish with a jonboat - do your best to pole with the wind and you'll find it pretty silent.. Pole across or against the wind and it will be noisy - nature of the beast... Avoid getting one if you know you'll have to cross open waters very much since a jonboat in a good chop will loosen the fillings in your teeth while also making foul weather gear a daily requirement to at least try to stay dry... Jon boats really shine in sheltered shallow waters though. Most will float just fine with two anglers in six inches of water..

In my younger years (who said I'm getting old...) I knew quite a few club anglers that had an offshore center console for the ocean and a small jon boat for the backcountry... My own aluminum skiff back in the seventies was not a jon boat it was a 16' riveted Starcraft with only a .080 skin that we fabricated a bonefish interior for... Caught a ton of fish with that skiff - but also had to re-build it three times (the advice to get a welded skiff, remember...). Fished that lightweight skiff everywhere (even an occasional foray out to the reef ..) from the Palm Beaches to Key West and across to Chokoloskee... 1976 to 1982.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Down here in the Everglades a 16' jon boat with a forty horse motor - tiller set-up was one of the standard rigs that was recommended for folks wanting to get started in the backcountry... The advice to look for a hull with at least .100 skin - and welded, not riveted is right on the money. Inexpensive to run - easy to modify by adding a forward and rear deck (use 3/8" plywood, glassed on top, resined on the bottom...) and you're on your way. It makes a very lightweight rig to tow with a relatively small tow vehicle - and out on the water if you run aground simply jump out and tow it (or drag it) to where the water is deep enough to float in again. Keep it as simple as possible - use one of those solid roto-molded coolers to stand on when poling and you're all set up...
For anyone needing to sneak up on fish with a jonboat - do your best to pole with the wind and you'll find it pretty silent.. Pole across or against the wind and it will be noisy - nature of the beast... Avoid getting one if you know you'll have to cross open waters very much since a jonboat in a good chop will loosen the fillings in your teeth while also making foul weather gear a daily requirement to at least try to stay dry... Jon boats really shine in sheltered shallow waters though. Most will float just fine with two anglers in six inches of water..

In my younger years (who said I'm getting old...) I knew quite a few club anglers that had an offshore center console for the ocean and a small jon boat for the backcountry... My own aluminum skiff back in the seventies was not a jon boat it was a 16' riveted Starcraft with only a .080 skin that we fabricated a bonefish interior for... Caught a ton of fish with that skiff - but also had to re-build it three times (the advice to get a welded skiff, remember...). Fished that lightweight skiff everywhere (even an occasional foray out to the reef ..) from the Palm Beaches to Key West and across to Chokoloskee... 1976 to 1982.
I always appreciate your insight and experiences, Capt. Bob. Thanks for sharing. I plan on keeping it as simple as possible but will likely add a small side console because my fiancé doubles as my fishing partner and isn't crazy about a tiller. I'll keep an eye out for the .100 gauge aluminum hull. The end game is to ultimately do what it sounds like some of the club anglers used to do -- learn the area in an aluminum boat, keep it for backcountry and duck hunting, and then get a "larger" center console for the reefs, sandbars, windy days, etc.

Do you plan on a surface drive or a outboard?
Planning on an outboard. The surface drives are really cool but the boat will be 97% for fishing/cruising, 3% for duck hunting/everything else. I'd ideally like to put a small side console in (if the boat doesn't already come with one) just for personal preference.
 

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You got good advice from the ones above so my contribution is only - use the google machine to find the layout you like and then focus on finding that boat.

Changes to aluminum boats are not for the DIY'er, so start off with what would work best for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You got good advice from the ones above so my contribution is only - use the google machine to find the layout you like and then focus on finding that boat.

Changes to aluminum boats are not for the DIY'er, so start off with what would work best for you.
Great advice, @DuckNut. Thank you. I definitely do not hold myself out as someone who could make any significant changes, especially not to aluminum. With the advice of those above and spending some time on the google machine, I am beginning to get a better picture as to what exactly I am looking for.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Added G3, Gator Trax, Xpress and War Eagle to the list for research. Thanks to those who have sent messages/info my way
 

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If I had the garage room I'd have a John beside my Chittum for kicking around solo and mangrove tunnel exploration.

Sorry to derail.
 

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I have gotten advice from many of you over the years about your aluminum builds. Getting ready to pull the trigger on a Jon Boat which I am going to rig up as a poling skiff so I don't donate a significant portion of fiberglass to learning the Charleston area.

Currently looking at the Tracker Grizzly 1648, Weldbilt 1648v, and used Havoc RDB's. Any suggestions on these boats? Others I have left off the list? Going to mainly use the boat for fly fishing but will do some duck hunting, marsh hen hunting, etc. as well.

As of now, I am planning to rig one up myself but would also consider buying one from a fellow Microskiffer if it was relatively local and already set up to suit my needs. Thanks.
I owned a 1648 for duck hunting . Ran a Mud Buddy for ducks and tiller steer 25 2 stroke for flats fishing in Fla Bay. A great boat.
 

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I have gotten advice from many of you over the years about your aluminum builds. Getting ready to pull the trigger on a Jon Boat which I am going to rig up as a poling skiff so I don't donate a significant portion of fiberglass to learning the Charleston area.

Currently looking at the Tracker Grizzly 1648, Weldbilt 1648v, and used Havoc RDB's. Any suggestions on these boats? Others I have left off the list? Going to mainly use the boat for fly fishing but will do some duck hunting, marsh hen hunting, etc. as well.

As of now, I am planning to rig one up myself but would also consider buying one from a fellow Microskiffer if it was relatively local and already set up to suit my needs. Thanks.

I have gotten advice from many of you over the years about your aluminum builds. Getting ready to pull the trigger on a Jon Boat which I am going to rig up as a poling skiff so I don't donate a significant portion of fiberglass to learning the Charleston area.

Currently looking at the Tracker Grizzly 1648, Weldbilt 1648v, and used Havoc RDB's. Any suggestions on these boats? Others I have left off the list? Going to mainly use the boat for fly fishing but will do some duck hunting, marsh hen hunting, etc. as well.

As of now, I am planning to rig one up myself but would also consider buying one from a fellow Microskiffer if it was relatively local and already set up to suit my needs. Thanks.
I’m running a Havoc 1756DB with a 90. The RDB and Marsh Runner are .080 gauge boats with a 14 deg deadrise. That’s why they are faster. They also have a pocket transom which gives an additional 4” of setback.

The DB’s are .100 gauge with no pocket, 8 deg deadrise and have longitudinal I-beam ribs. They need more motor setback to get the nose up and run fast. I’m running a 6” setback because draft was important. My boat will run 54-55 empty and 46-47 loaded.

These boats don’t run like you’re traditional jon boat. They lift with trim turn on a dime. Tuck the motor and yank the tiller at 35 and and you better be holdin on. Itll drop the gunnel and damn near throw you out.

Just know they don’t have the interior space of a traditional Jon because of the inverted sidewalls. So far I’ve been happy with mine. I take it to the glades and 10k islands often

Let me know if you’ve got any questions about them


168000

168001
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I’m running a Havoc 1756DB with a 90. The RDB and Marsh Runner are .080 gauge boats with a 14 deg deadrise. That’s why they are faster. They also have a pocket transom which gives an additional 4” of setback.

The DB’s are .100 gauge with no pocket, 8 deg deadrise and have longitudinal I-beam ribs. They need more motor setback to get the nose up and run fast. I’m running a 6” setback because draft was important. My boat will run 54-55 empty and 46-47 loaded.

These boats don’t run like you’re traditional jon boat. They lift with trim turn on a dime. Tuck the motor and yank the tiller at 35 and and you better be holdin on. Itll drop the gunnel and damn near throw you out.

Just know they don’t have the interior space of a traditional Jon because of the inverted sidewalls. So far I’ve been happy with mine. I take it to the glades and 10k islands often

Let me know if you’ve got any questions about them


View attachment 168000
View attachment 168001
Thanks for all the information, this is good to know about the Havocs. Yours is set up exactly how I'd like to set one up, what a great looking boat. I was supposed to go take a look at one in SC the other weekend and it fell through. May shoot you a message if I come across another to pick your brain.
 

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I’m running a Havoc 1756DB with a 90. The RDB and Marsh Runner are .080 gauge boats with a 14 deg deadrise. That’s why they are faster. They also have a pocket transom which gives an additional 4” of setback.

The DB’s are .100 gauge with no pocket, 8 deg deadrise and have longitudinal I-beam ribs. They need more motor setback to get the nose up and run fast. I’m running a 6” setback because draft was important. My boat will run 54-55 empty and 46-47 loaded.

These boats don’t run like you’re traditional jon boat. They lift with trim turn on a dime. Tuck the motor and yank the tiller at 35 and and you better be holdin on. Itll drop the gunnel and damn near throw you out.

Just know they don’t have the interior space of a traditional Jon because of the inverted sidewalls. So far I’ve been happy with mine. I take it to the glades and 10k islands often

Let me know if you’ve got any questions about them


View attachment 168000
View attachment 168001
Where did you find that clean motor?
 

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Thanks for all the information, this is good to know about the Havocs. Yours is set up exactly how I'd like to set one up, what a great looking boat. I was supposed to go take a look at one in SC the other weekend and it fell through. May shoot you a message if I come across another to pick your brain.
Thank you and no problem!
 
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