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Author Topic: The best small boat?  (Read 4824 times)

Offline MeepDog

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The best small boat?
« on: June 05, 2023, 08:06:23 AM »
There's a class of aluminum boat between 12-16 foot that has massive utility. Some examples include smokercraft, valco, lund, lowe, older hewescraft etc. Which small to midsize aluminum boat do you think is the best for big water like the Columbia and why?

Anyone have strong opinions about the sea nymph fishing machine? I'm going to look at one today

Offline wildfire

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2023, 08:13:25 AM »
Crestliner Sportsman 14 foot, lots of free board, flat floor, and great seat layout. These are well built boats.

Offline mcrawfordaf

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2023, 08:14:28 AM »
I've seen several Sea Nymphs in the "TinyBoat" community repurposed into casting deck bass boats. They seem to hold up to age well and I don't hear many complaints about any of the factory or original hardware.

Offline Mfowl

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2023, 08:33:31 AM »
Crestliner Sportsman 14 foot, lots of free board, flat floor, and great seat layout. These are well built boats.

I run a 16' crestliner sportsmen w/40hp tiller. I fish it on Puget Sound and the Columbia and many lakes around the state. I also use it duck hunting though not as a blind. Great platform but you still need to watch the wind and head in if the sheep start to show on any big body of water.
If I wanted a boat for the Columbia mainly I would not consider anything under 14'. I would also want something with reasonable beam/floor width and gunnel/transom height. Lastly I would want to put at least a 25hp motor on it.
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Offline Dhoey07

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2023, 08:57:54 AM »
I've got a 70's 14' starcraft windshield boat with a 40hp.  I fished the upper columbia and snake with it a lot.  Great for 2 people, 3 not so much.

Offline Stein

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2023, 09:09:30 AM »
Well, for bigger water a self bailing bow is very nice when you scoop up 800 pounds of water.

That said, there is only so much you can expect if your limit is 16', pick your fishing days wisely.  I ran a Smokercraft in the Sound for several years, caught a ton of fish and only two sketchy instances I can remember.

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2023, 09:14:08 AM »
Not a 14 foot flat jon with 6 inches of freeboard, thatís for sure lol

I run a 14 Kalamath, itís deep v, robust but doesnít get on step very well, but rides smooth and cuts waves

Other boats are super light and get on step very well, but punish you in the waves

Iíd err towards an ocean type v for Columbia, get caught in wind and white caps pretty easy



Offline Encore 280

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2023, 09:41:24 AM »
14-16' is a pretty small boat for the Columbia, I wouldn't do it. Not only have to worry about the tide and wind but idiots that go flying by way too close or just plain run over ya.  :twocents:

Offline CP

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2023, 10:20:28 AM »
 Iíd look at a Klamath.   All welded, high sides, you can get a 20Ē transom.   Iíve never owned one but I like their looks.

PS - rivets suck.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2023, 10:45:15 AM by CP »

Offline MeepDog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2023, 11:15:23 AM »
Not a 14 foot flat jon with 6 inches of freeboard, thatís for sure lol
I've been running a 14 foot valco with a 15 hp all around the mid Columbia and 6 inches of freeboard sounds about about all she's got   :chuckle:

I have limited space so I can't fit one of those 18foot windshield boats but still want to be able to fish the wallula gap in more and 0mph winds.

Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2023, 01:41:23 PM »
I've had a 17ft lowe roughneck with 50hp mercury for 11 years and put it through the ringer.  At certain times of the year it has downriggers on both sides for puget sound salmon and dungeness crab.  In fall they come off and I attach a blind for Potholes and Eastside duck/deer hunting. We've fished all of the kokanee lakes in the state. Great boat, but as others have said, on really windy days I'd prefer to be in true V hulled boat with more depth and transom height.  My buddy claims he'll never have kids because of the pounding his junk has taken while cruising on the bow. The roughneck is a "modified V" which is better than a flat fronted john boat.  I'd say it's a good middle of the road that can do a lot.  The welds have all held.

Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2023, 01:59:40 PM »
pics

Offline carpsniperg2

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2023, 02:04:27 PM »
I have a 15' smokercraft Alaskan that we use on the Columbia. Very stable and has the more open floor plan. I hate having to step over rows of benches.
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Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2023, 02:05:20 PM »
pics

Offline Chesterdog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2023, 02:11:30 PM »
pics

Offline thinkingman

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2023, 03:13:27 PM »
Crestliner Sportsman 14 foot, lots of free board, flat floor, and great seat layout. These are well built boats.

I run a 16' crestliner sportsmen w/40hp tiller. I fish it on Puget Sound and the Columbia and many lakes around the state. I also use it duck hunting though not as a blind. Great platform but you still need to watch the wind and head in if the sheep start to show on any big body of water.
If I wanted a boat for the Columbia mainly I would not consider anything under 14'. I would also want something with reasonable beam/floor width and gunnel/transom height. Lastly I would want to put at least a 25hp motor on it.
I had the same rig with dual batteries and a 40hp 4str Suzuki.
With my heft on the tiller, there was not a lot of freeboard but that boat had a lot of great features.
Probably the widest 16' I've seen.
Where did you get yours?
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Offline pickardjw

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2023, 04:07:40 PM »
I've had a 17ft lowe roughneck with 50hp mercury for 11 years and put it through the ringer.  At certain times of the year it has downriggers on both sides for puget sound salmon and dungeness crab.  In fall they come off and I attach a blind for Potholes and Eastside duck/deer hunting. We've fished all of the kokanee lakes in the state. Great boat, but as others have said, on really windy days I'd prefer to be in true V hulled boat with more depth and transom height.  My buddy claims he'll never have kids because of the pounding his junk has taken while cruising on the bow. The roughneck is a "modified V" which is better than a flat fronted john boat.  I'd say it's a good middle of the road that can do a lot.  The welds have all held.

This is probably my next boat hull type, digging the pics!

Online metlhead

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2023, 04:50:44 PM »
Are the Westcoaster 152s still around? Great little windshield boat. Always wanted one but ended up with a Smoker 15Lodge

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2023, 05:00:45 PM »
Roughneck and those style of boats are awesome, jet sleds are even more awesomeness

Add a big offshore tuna capable overnighters boat for 4 guys and a guy would be set

Offline Mfowl

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2023, 05:40:31 PM »
Crestliner Sportsman 14 foot, lots of free board, flat floor, and great seat layout. These are well built boats.

I run a 16' crestliner sportsmen w/40hp tiller. I fish it on Puget Sound and the Columbia and many lakes around the state. I also use it duck hunting though not as a blind. Great platform but you still need to watch the wind and head in if the sheep start to show on any big body of water.
If I wanted a boat for the Columbia mainly I would not consider anything under 14'. I would also want something with reasonable beam/floor width and gunnel/transom height. Lastly I would want to put at least a 25hp motor on it.
I had the same rig with dual batteries and a 40hp 4str Suzuki.
With my heft on the tiller, there was not a lot of freeboard but that boat had a lot of great features.
Probably the widest 16' I've seen.
Where did you get yours?

My brother bought the hull and trailer new in 04 from Boat Country, I believe. He powered it with an early 90's 40hp Evinrude 2s and an 80's Honda 10hp originally. I bought it from him in 08 and by 2010 repowered it with a 2005 40hp Merc 4s then a couple years later the Honda died and I added a 2004 8hp Merc 4s for the kicker. It has a lot of hours and miles on it but has been a versatile low cost boat!
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Offline MeepDog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2023, 12:40:12 PM »
Update: last night I ended up buying a 16'4" lowe/sea nymph fishing machine with a newer 25hp Yamaha. It needs some new carpet, but the floor plan is wide open like a jet sled. I'll update with some pictures later. It has the self bailing transom so that takes a load off the mind about waves over the stern. I'm pretty excited about it but it's definitely more boat than I'm used to.
I attached a screenshot from the craigslist picture.

Offline Stein

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #21 on: June 06, 2023, 12:49:55 PM »
What the heck is a self bailing transom, I must be behind technology?  Is that where you get going and pull the plug? :chuckle:

Congrats, best day in a boat owner's life.

Offline MeepDog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #22 on: June 06, 2023, 01:08:03 PM »
What the heck is a self bailing transom, I must be behind technology?  Is that where you get going and pull the plug? :chuckle:

Congrats, best day in a boat owner's life.
I'm not sure what it's really called, but I'm talking about area in from of the outboard and transom that if water splashes past the motor it just drains out of the boat.

Offline Mfowl

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #23 on: June 06, 2023, 01:17:41 PM »
What the heck is a self bailing transom, I must be behind technology?  Is that where you get going and pull the plug? :chuckle:

Congrats, best day in a boat owner's life.
I'm not sure what it's really called, but I'm talking about area in from of the outboard and transom that if water splashes past the motor it just drains out of the boat.

That's a splash or wave well. Nice score on the boat! A bow mount and a kicker and you'll be fishing for everything that swims in the river!
Fish hard, hunt harder!

Offline Stein

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #24 on: June 06, 2023, 03:13:36 PM »
What the heck is a self bailing transom, I must be behind technology?  Is that where you get going and pull the plug? :chuckle:

Congrats, best day in a boat owner's life.
I'm not sure what it's really called, but I'm talking about area in from of the outboard and transom that if water splashes past the motor it just drains out of the boat.

Gotcha, those are nice as you are much more likely to take one over the back than front.  At least from my experience.

Offline MADMAX

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #25 on: June 06, 2023, 03:22:55 PM »
What the heck is a self bailing transom, I must be behind technology?  Is that where you get going and pull the plug? :chuckle:

Congrats, best day in a boat owner's life.
I'm not sure what it's really called, but I'm talking about area in from of the outboard and transom that if water splashes past the motor it just drains out of the boat.

Gotcha, those are nice as you are much more likely to take one over the back than front.  At least from my experience.

Pretty easy to wire in a bilge pump also
You can thank me later  :chuckle:
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Offline Stein

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2023, 03:29:28 PM »
I have two in my boat not including the manual tire pump style one.

Offline MeepDog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2023, 09:31:52 PM »
I have two in my boat not including the manual tire pump style one.
Those bicycle pump style can move some serious water! They have saved my butt when I forgot the plug and found my boat full of water at the launch. This new boat has a manual bilge pump.

Offline Stein

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2023, 07:04:40 AM »
Yeah, I had a 14' Smokercraft I would take shrimping.  Took one over the back and about half swamped it.  The manual pump did the trick quickly.

Offline Blacklab

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2023, 06:58:04 PM »
Had a 15 foot smoker craft/Sylvan. Great boat miss it. Fished the columbia river for salmon ect. Pick your days. Big waves little boat not much fun  :twocents:
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Offline BigGoonTuna

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2023, 07:52:48 AM »
Had a 15 foot smoker craft/Sylvan. Great boat miss it. Fished the columbia river for salmon ect. Pick your days. Big waves little boat not much fun  :twocents:
I've had 2 smoker craft alaskans, a 13 with a 15hp prop and a 14' with a 40 jet on it.  I'm convinced that you can't do much better than that for low cost of ownership to fun ratio.  Fished everywhere from the little lowland lakes to the chehalis river and neah bay with my 13'er.
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Offline Happy Gilmore

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2023, 03:16:02 PM »
13' whaler with a 40hp. Biggest small boat ever made. 4 guys, gear and dogs duck hunting, run up the Snohomish to Monroe, run anywhere fast and sip fuel and go in skinny water aluminum duck boats fear. Wind kicks up just nose her in and take the beating and get home. Bad weather just pull the plug and keep the nose up. Not doing that in a tin boat
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Offline OutHouse

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2023, 03:53:41 PM »
13' whaler with a 40hp. Biggest small boat ever made. 4 guys, gear and dogs duck hunting, run up the Snohomish to Monroe, run anywhere fast and sip fuel and go in skinny water aluminum duck boats fear. Wind kicks up just nose her in and take the beating and get home. Bad weather just pull the plug and keep the nose up. Not doing that in a tin boat

My fishing buddy has almost exactly that but he has a 50 HP two stroke on it. Mounted seats etc. We fish for muskies in Tapps, Merwin etc. and have had three guys all casting 9 foot poles with half pound musky lures with no issues. I personally want a 17 or 18 foot Whaler when the money is right.

Offline Happy Gilmore

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2023, 04:50:53 PM »
Mine had a 50hp. Still have it. Just a basket case sitting until I find time. Had it for about 40 years now. Been everywhere and done everything in it. A 17 would be nice but they are $$$$

I went a little bigger with twins and 500hp now. Hehe
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Offline bod

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #34 on: August 30, 2023, 05:16:24 AM »
Gregor welded lightweight

Offline MeepDog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #35 on: August 30, 2023, 07:22:06 AM »
Gregor welded lightweight
Whats your reasoning?

Offline dog

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #36 on: August 30, 2023, 12:38:21 PM »
Gregor definitely makes a good small boat, but good luck finding a used one in good shape. You donít see many come up for sale around here. Having had several aluminum boats over the years I prefer welded. I also like their hull design which seems to work pretty well in the typical puget sound chop. Their design planes easy and the bow is not too high to see over when tiller steered. I had a 15í bayrunner at one time with a 25hp tiller and it felt like you were running blind a lot of the time with the tall bow. It definitely needed a forward console. That would Iím sure help that design plane quicker too. Gregor makes a really good small fishing boat.

Offline Happy Gilmore

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #37 on: September 04, 2023, 10:37:28 AM »
Gregor definitely makes a good small boat, but good luck finding a used one in good shape. You donít see many come up for sale around here. Having had several aluminum boats over the years I prefer welded. I also like their hull design which seems to work pretty well in the typical puget sound chop. Their design planes easy and the bow is not too high to see over when tiller steered. I had a 15í bayrunner at one time with a 25hp tiller and it felt like you were running blind a lot of the time with the tall bow. It definitely needed a forward console. That would Iím sure help that design plane quicker too. Gregor makes a really good small fishing boat.

We like welded boats but they're heavy as *censored*ty glass boats. Choose the right rivet boat, if your not pounding rocks they'll be fine for life
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checked by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat."
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Offline Alchase

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #38 on: September 04, 2023, 06:10:46 PM »
Gregor definitely makes a good small boat, but good luck finding a used one in good shape. You donít see many come up for sale around here. Having had several aluminum boats over the years I prefer welded. I also like their hull design which seems to work pretty well in the typical puget sound chop. Their design planes easy and the bow is not too high to see over when tiller steered. I had a 15í bayrunner at one time with a 25hp tiller and it felt like you were running blind a lot of the time with the tall bow. It definitely needed a forward console. That would Iím sure help that design plane quicker too. Gregor makes a really good small fishing boat.


I used Smart Tabs by Nauticus on my last three (under 15 ft) boats. They work great!

https://www.cabelas.com/shop/en/nauticus-smart-tabs-sx-automatic-trim-and-stabilizer-system?ds_e=GOOGLE&ds_c=Cabelas%7CShopping%7CPMax%7CBoating%7CGeneral%7CNAud%7CNVol%7CNMT&&&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8P6C1KOSgQMV_WpvBB19Ww92EAQYBCABEgKi4_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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Offline MADMAX

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #39 on: September 04, 2023, 07:22:13 PM »
I picked up a newer 15 smoker-craft Alaskan
I took it out first time it was horrible
Put this on
Perfect
25hp Yamaha
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Offline CP

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Re: The best small boat?
« Reply #40 on: September 05, 2023, 10:16:42 AM »
I picked up a newer 15 smoker-craft Alaskan
I took it out first time it was horrible
Put this on
Perfect
25hp Yamaha

I run one of those on my 16í RH Pro-V.  The boat porpoised terribly when I first got it.  Raised the motor as far I thought I could get away with and that helped a bit, but not much.  Put the Doel-fin on and, night and day difference, hardly any bow rise at all unless I trim it up, completely solved the porpoise problem.

 


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