Skinny water boat advice needed. Jet or Prop tunnels?

Discussion in 'Boats, Blinds, & Gadgets Forum' started by 1simplemann, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. 1simplemann

    1simplemann New Member

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    For a variety of reasons I've been looking for a skinny water boat. I'm not sure what way to go. I live in Montana. I want the boat to have multiple uses. The area where I live to fish is rocky. Usually it has a decent channel with the occasional shoal or boulder that sticks up. One area is very rocky but has has some great smallmouth bass fishing. The area where I want to bowhunt deer is deeper but will be icy at times. Possibly 10-20 below. The river that I want bowhunt elk is narrow and shallow 1'-2' deep maybe shallower in spots and 20-30 yds wide at best. and the area that I duck hunt is the same area that I fish and bowhunt deer. Most guys here usually run jets on something like a G3, Lowe etc with a jet tunnel. A few run Mud motors but since I'm sneaking into some places quietly I have ruled those out. What has my interest is a design that I have no experience with or ever heard of before. Prop tunnel boats! I recently saw where a BASS tournament was won (as well as the other leaders) by a guy a using a Prop tunnel. He got up a rocky river away from the competition. By the description the river sounds just like mine. Anyway, basically he ran 2 jack plates to get his motor far enough away so the prop could grab clean water but high enough to not hit the bottom. It looks like his prop is actually above the bottom of the boat. I can several advantages with this system. 1st. you don't lose 1/3 hp like you would with a jet. 2nd. No issues with moss or ice clogging the intake. 3rd. Better fuel consumption 4th. Less noise. I don't want scare the deer and elk off before I climb the tree. I been researching this concept and have found that several of you guys have vast experience with tunnel props so hopefully I can get some insight. I have mentioned this to several local guys here and they think I'm crazy to run a prop here. I think with the proper set up it can be done but it be expensive to find out that it can't be done. Thanks in advance
     
  2. 1simplemann

    1simplemann New Member

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    No skinny water guys on here? I thought for sure someone would chime in cause duck hunters love to back into some tight spots.
     
  3. Dek

    Dek Elite Refuge Member

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    My 2cents. There is a reason you don't see a lot of tunnel hulls. If you have rocks to deal with get a jet pump and be done with it. Yes you lose HP, so you need a bigger motor. Get one bigger than you thought you could afford so you dont have to buy it twice. That being said, I have no familiarity with a jet pump and ice, but my guess is it will not be a good combo. I've had jets, I have a mud boat and a prop boat. They all have their place.
     
  4. mister gadwall

    mister gadwall Senior Refuge Member

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    I have a jet-merc 40-30 on a modified polarkraft with stick steering. Im hesitant to give you advice because it sounds like you sort of have decided already on the tunnel and prop. Historically IMO the tunnels have not been well received in the jet world around me , as opposed the slick bottom boats with well positioned jet intakes.

    Recently I have heard some river guys describing some newer deep tunnel -prop boat designs with props running higher in tunnel than previous designs that will "run anywhere a jet will run."

    The jet issues with leaves, grass, debris crossing the intake is the only reason I would personally consider the tunnel-prop. Particularly if I used the boat extensively in water or fall. I use my jet exclusively for fly fishing , and have never hunted from it.

    As far as noise my engine is not four stroke. It is loud. A four stroke jet will not have as fast a lift or plane out as will a two stroke, so in a small river the heavier four stroke to achieve plane will take longer and may be a problem. Weight of the four strokes is always an issue with any jet because of the planing ability in tight places IMO. There is a web site called riversmallies.com that is worth goggling and reading before you jump in to a new boat. FWIW
     
  5. chuck99z28

    chuck99z28 New Member

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    I wish I could see that web site. Blocked for me due to something in the page code.
     
  6. likesbigspreads

    likesbigspreads Elite Refuge Member

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    Skinny muddy water, good for a prop tunnel and skinny rocky water would be good for a jet. You loose a lot of power with the jet as well as with the tunnel.
     
  7. 1simplemann

    1simplemann New Member

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    "run anywhere a jet will run" is exactly what I'm hearing as well. But I want to do more research before I believe it. I talked to one builder out your way in TN, Mike Watson. He says it's true. I've seen pics of 3 boats he's modified. I'm not pulling the trigger till I know more about Prop tunnels. They do have me curious though.
     
  8. likesbigspreads

    likesbigspreads Elite Refuge Member

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    I dont know where you are from 1simpleman, but there is a builder here in cent IL by the name of Dave Hamm, he has built tunnel boats for decades. He would be a good contact if you want some info. Google AAD welding in Bartonville, IL
     
  9. mister gadwall

    mister gadwall Senior Refuge Member

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    Here is the knock i ve heard on tunnels in smaller rocky river: virtually no reverse. Get in a spot between rocks and its trouble....of course jet aint much on reverse either but tunnel is far less control per friends who have boats similar to Defoe/Watson.

    Another good quote from another board:
    ""It's(tunnel) a boat you buy when you need a jet but are in denial. They slip in turns and lose hp just like a jet but doesn't run as shallow. And remember you won't be able to upgrade to a jet later because the tunnel for a jet is longer, wider and only a couple inches deep so you'll have a new transom and a lot of bottom reconstruction to get it like you want it if you wanted to go jet eventually. The shallowest running boats for the most part is a non tunnel with a jet and they'll run in a few inches"""

    That last sentence is basically why I used a flat regular john boat to start and modified to stick steering with a heavier hull than a Tracker boat. I did not coat my bottom, but if you vacuum on a slick bottom it takes all the "rock stick" out of your hull. But if you want to duck hunt in winter with debris in water then some type of prop may be your best bet due to jet clogging on leaves etc.
     
  10. 1simplemann

    1simplemann New Member

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    My customer has a G3 tunnel jet that he is parting with in the spring.He 's very happy with it so much so that he is buying a new one. Anyway, he tell's me he has very little problems with moss in the summer and ice in the winter. He said he runs in 4" all the time but only WOT. If he gives me a deal then I may just buy that. I wish some of these tunnel prop guys on here would post so hear directly from someone who has one. Watson just wanted to sell me a boat so I think he was overstating a TP's ability.
     

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