Tips on Buying a New Jon Boat in 2020

new jon boat

Buying a new jon boat may seem a little overwhelming as there are many to choose from. Numerous manufacturers, boat sizes, and different features can make your decision difficult.

You can choose to purchase just a basic plain boat with absolutely no accessories, or you can one with many accessories included; like a steering wheel, swivel seats, standing platforms, livewells, etc. Here are some tips on buying a new jon boat.

Get The Right Size

If you are going to be fishing or hunting in a large body of water, like the ocean or a Great Lake, it is a good idea to go with a larger boat.

New jon boats come in many different sizes and some of the larger ones are over 20 feet. Waves can kick up quickly on large lakes and if you are a couple miles from shore in a small ten footer you are going to have a difficult ride back to shore.

Be Especially Wary of Waves

The waves can crash over the sides of a jon boat and can soak you and your expensive gear. Larger waves toss small boats and the passengers riding inside and can result in bad cases of sea sickness. It also can be a dangerous situation, especially if you are duck hunting or steelhead trout fishing and the water is ice cold.

You don’t want to be tossed out of the boat or soaked when it is 40 degrees outside and the water is barely above freezing. No matter how well you are dressed, when the outside temperature is low and cold water drenches you, hypothermia can quickly set in.

15 Feet & Above is Best

If you are going to fish large lakes or the ocean, it is a good idea to go with a boat at the very least 15 feet. There are a few days when you can go out on calm days with a smaller boat in the 12 to 14 foot range, however; most days the waves are two feet or greater which requires a larger boat.

So, when looking at new jon boats keep this in mind. Jon boats are lighter than other types of boats and are extremely prone to being tossed about in wavy conditions.

V-Hulls Are Better In Waves

Fishing or duck hunting is difficult when the waves are pounding you and it is hard to stay in one place. For this reason, you might want to go with a larger boat and choose a v-hull. These boats will handle the waves much better than a small 10 or 12 foot flat bottom variety.

Don’t Overload

You also need to consider how many people you’re going to be taking out.

If you have four buddies that all want to duck hunt with you, it would not be too smart to buy a smaller boat. You could easily exceed the weight limit of a smaller design so always think about how many passengers you want to take out and how much gear you will have.

On the other hand, if you just want to go out by yourself on small calm ponds or lakes, a small 10 to 14 foot boat is your best choice. It will be able to better transport and move around.

Correct Transportation

Once you make a decision as to the size of the jon boat you need, the next thing to think about how you will transport it.

If you have a small car, unfortunately, you are going to be restricted to a small boat. But if you have a truck or a van, you can haul a large boat with a trailer.

Make sure that your vehicle can handle towing the combined weight of the boat, gear, and trailer. Also, be sure to check out the trailering laws as they vary from state-to-state.

Price Engines Before Purchase

Larger jon boats are heavier and because of this, you will need a larger engine to get quickly from one location to another. If an engine is not included, it is a good idea to price engines before buying your new boat.

Compare the makes and models for the best deal. You might be able to find a deal for both that is better than buying them separately.

Plan For Your Intended Use

Depending on the amount of work you want to do on your boat, purchase one that will meet your current needs.

For example, if you are going to be duck hunting, you can save a great deal of time by buying a boat that is already camouflaged.

Similarly, if you want your new jon boat to be a bass boat with swivel seating and a steering wheel, you will have a big project on your hands if you just buy one that has bench seating.

Fiberglass For Saltwater

If you are going fishing in saltwater, you might want to choose a fiberglass jon boat rather than an aluminum one.

The fiberglass version will be easier to clean and will not corrode like an aluminum model eventually will. When choosing a fiberglass jon boat for the ocean, it is a good idea to go with a v-hull so it will cut through the waves better than a flat bottom design.

Shop Around!

Probably the best tip for those looking to buy a jon boat is to take your time and shop around.

Many times, companies that sell new boats will place their older stock models on sale to make way for the newest models. A 2018 model that is still on display is still a new boat because it hasn’t seen water but will be cheaper than the same 2019 model.

The Best Time To Buy

The best time to buy a new jon boat is in the off-season right after duck season in the dead of winter in many places.

If you live in a warm climate, the best time to buy is in December when inventory is being put on clearance to make way for the brand new models.

In summation, buy a jon boat that you will be happy with for years to come. Oftentimes, people choose one that does not meet their future needs. So, they resort to selling it so that they can buy a boat that fits them better.

If you take your time and think about what you need now and in the future, this will save you a lot of hassle (and money!) downstream.

Tips For Buying a Used Jon Boat in 2020

used jon boat

If you are looking to buy a used jon boat, there are some important things to look at. Here are some tips to help you make a good decision and end up with a boat that will last you many seasons.

How Much Time Do You Have?

The first thing to consider when purchasing a used boat is; how much work are you able to put into it, or how much work do you want to put into it? Like any restoration project, if you buy a “Fixer-Upper” and have time to work on it, you can get a real bargain.

Check For Leaks & Previous Repairs

Used jon boats can cost you quite a bit to prepare them for the water. The first tip is to examine the boat thoroughly and look for obvious leaks.

When examining a used jon boat for leaks, the very first thing you want to look for is areas that have been repaired.

If you visually discover that the boat in question does have repairs, do the repairs look like they were done professionally or are they sloppy? Do they look bad enough that the boat might take on a lot of water?

How To Check Boat Leaks

There are a couple of different methods for checking boat repairs for leaks. The best, and most thorough way, is to move the boat onto a trailer or stands and actually fill the boat with several inches of water.

You can focus on the bottom of the boat and see if it is leaking, and if it is, how fast is it leaking. This will give you an idea of what you can expect when you take it out on the water.

If it is leaking in several places and it is leaking quickly, you might want to pass on the boat. It will be hard to repair it and make it so that it does not leak.

Location of Leaks

Take notice where any leaks are coming from. Are they coming from cracks in a fiberglass jon boat? Or are they just simply dripping from an old bolt or rivet in an aluminum boat?

Oftentimes, if a fiberglass boat is leaking from cracks, the boat is damaged beyond repair. Maybe it fell off of a trailer and the entire hull is cracked. Or it ran into structure and caused a great deal of damage to the entire hull.

Make sure you evaluate the extent to which the used boat leaks before making a purchase. If an aluminum boat is leaking around bolts or rivets, it usually can be repaired easily.

Check For Peeling Paint

The second tip when you are deciding to purchase a used jon boat, is to look for areas of peeling paint. Peeling and chipped paint spots can accelerate corrosion on an aluminum jon boat that is used in saltwater.

If you plan on using an aluminum boat in saltwater, it is important to remove the peeling paint and repaint it so that galvanic corrosion does not occur. Fiberglass boats do not corrode in saltwater so this is not an issue with them.

Test Corroded Areas

If you are buying a boat that has visual signs of corrosion, make sure you test the corroded areas to determine how bad they are.

Most boat sellers are not going to let you try to kick a hole in the bottom of their boat, however; if you just use a finger and press on the corroded areas, you should be able to tell how bad it is.

If the metal moves, or worse yet, if you do cause a small hole, you should examine how large of an area the corrosion encompasses.

All corroded areas can lead to leaks, which in turn can sink your boat if they leak too badly, so make sure that the corroded areas of the boat you are thinking of purchasing are superficial and can possibly be fixed.

Check The Transom

Another tip when buying a used jon boat is to check the transom really well. Inspect the wood for cracks and most of all, rotting.

If the transom needs replaced, it need not be a deal breaker, however; the cost of materials and your labor should come into play when you are negotiating a price for the boat.

If you can do the work yourself, it will cost around $25.00 for materials and a couple hours of your time. If you cannot fix the transom and have to pay someone to do it, it could be quite expensive so you might want to pass on the boat.

Check The Oar Sockets

When you are inspecting a used jon boat, another thing you want to look at are the oar sockets, if the boat has them.

Older boats have most likely had a lot of oar use. This use over time can cause the metal sockets to crack and the nuts and bolts to loosen. Another thing that can happen, overtime, is that the bolt holes can become too large, therefore causing the oar sockets to become loose or fall off.

Inspect the oar sockets because new ones will cost you $30.00 or so.

Ensure The Weight is Correct

Make sure before buying a used jon boat that you are satisfied with the weight of it.

If you are looking to buy a small jon boat for two people, you want to make sure that it is light enough to be moved by two people. A couple extra feet of boat can really add on to the weight and make it hard to move around.

Different makes of boats can vary quite a bit when it comes to weight. So when you are looking at a used boat, preferably have your fishing or hunting buddy with you so that you can pick up the boat and get a good feel for the weight. Look for handles on a used boat that make it easy to move.

Shop Around

Lastly, look for deals and shop around for a while. Many boat owners are upgrading and are just selling their boat. Others are selling their boat with all of the equipment included.

When comparing similar boats, it is a good idea to factor in the cost of all the included gear. Trolling motors, oars, life preservers, flashlights, batteries, air horns, and the anchor can really add to the cost of a jon boat.

If you find one that has all, or some of these things, and is a good solid boat, you have most likely found a good used jon boat.

What is a Jon Boat?

what is a jon boat

As this website is all about Jon Boats, I thought it’d be worthwhile discussing what they are and where the name comes from!

What Is A Jon Boat?

Quite simply, a Jon Boat is a small fishing or hunting boat.

Predominately, they have a flat hull (those some do have a “V Hull”) and this provides much needed stability for reeling in fish or tracking ducks.

Jon Boat Sizes

The size of a Jon Boat can range from just 8′ all the way up to 20′. The common sizes are 10′ to 15′.

Usually, the size of the boat is dictated by the body of water you’re using. For greater distances and larger waves, a longer boat is typically preferred.

You can find more information on our page “Jon Boat Sizes“.

Jon Boat Materials

These boats are usually made from Aluminum, Fiberglass and Wood.

As a general rule, aluminum jon boats are the preferred choice. Their reduced weight allows the hunter or fisherman to stow more gear (or bring a friend along).

Having a lighter boat also means you don’t require a bigger engine, and this is another plus. Add in the fact they’re easier to launch and far easier to modify, their appeal is easily understood.

Fiberglass and wood boats do have they’re own advantages – particularly in salt-water.

You can read more about this comparison here.

Where Did The Name Come From?

No-one is really sure exactly where the name “Jon Boat” originated.

What we do know is that people began referring to “Flat-Bottom Skiffs” in the The Ozarks (the mountainous region that covers part of Missouri and Arkansas) at the start of the 20th century. Having a flat-bottom made them ideal for traversing the shallow waters found in the Missouri Valley.

“Ozark John Boats” were popular for float fishing, duck hunting and even carrying timber from the end of the 19th century. Tourists also loved them as they could fish standing up with little fear of tipping.

Originally, these “Float Boats” were made from pine and green lumber. Because the cost of construction was low, they could be disposed of after a single voyage downstream.

The arrival the 20th century saw improvements in their design and construction. Jack pine began to be used and so, “Jack” became “John Boat”.  At least this is how one theory goes!

Jon or John – The Scandinavian Connection

Shrewd observers will note there are two different ways of spelling the boat – “John” and “Jon”. This alternative “origin theory” could go some way to explaining why.

In Scandinavia, “Jon” is one of the most common names. Fishermen used small, flat-bottomed boats to ferry themselves and their gear to larger fishing boats.

As they were stable, useful and cheap to construct, the fisherman took them to their hearts. In doing so, they bestowed the familiar nickname “Jon” upon them.

One thing is certain. More than 125 years after “Jon Boats” first became popular, outdoorsmen all across America still love these industrious boats!

How To Correctly Store a Jon Boat

jon boat storage

Storing a jon boat correctly will help it last longer, prevent repairs and also protect your investment. You’ll find several great recommendations for jon boat storage in this article.

Before Storage: Cleaning

The first thing you should do before storing your boat is to clean it thoroughly. This is extremely important for saltwater boaters. Saltwater can cause galvanic corrosion of aluminum boats so it is essential to remove all traces of salt.

Freshwater can contain “aquatic hitchhikers”, non-native organisms that can be transferred from one body of water to another. In order to ensure that you are not spreading non-native organisms, the best thing you can do is a thorough wash before you store your boat.

Best Boat Cleaning Brands

There are many chemicals on the market today for cleaning jon boats. A good one is Star-brite’s Ultimate Aluminum Cleaner. This cleaner will remove any living organisms and will also remove algae stains which become harder to remove after storage.

Once your boat is washed and cleaned, inside and out, it is almost ready for storage.

After Washing: Examine

After washing, you should then do a thorough examination and look for any cracks, dents, or peeling paint. These are all areas of concern and can cause corrosion or more serious repairs later.

Fiberglass Jon Boats

If you have a crack in a fiberglass boat that is not fixed over the winter or over a period of time where the outside temperature fluctuates, the crack can become larger as contraction and expansion of the fiberglass occurs with cyclical temperatures.

When you are out in a fiberglass boat and you hear popping sounds, and what sounds like the boat cracking, that is the boat naturally adjusting to the temperature of the water.

Over the winter, or over the period of time that you are storing the boat, this also happens with the temperature fluctuations. Small cracks can become larger cracks so make sure that all cracks are properly repaired before storage.

Aluminum Jon Boats

Aluminum jon boats also expand and contract with changing temperatures but not that much. Still, it is a good idea to check for loose rivets and screws and fix dents before storage.

The biggest reason to fix dents before storing is that if you used the boat in saltwater, these are the areas that usually trap water under seams and starts rusting.

Peeling paint is another area where water can congregate and can cause corrosion over time. This is not a problem with fiberglass jon boats but can be with aluminum boats.

Selecting a Good Storage Area

If you are storing a jon boat outside, you should try to store it in an open area where tree leaves and limbs will not fall on it.

Wet leaves will stick to aluminum like glue and the tannins in leaves can quickly cause staining.

Upside Down & Elevated

Jon boats should always be upside down if they are stored outside without a cover. And, it is a good idea to regularly check on it and remove all leaves as quickly as possible after fall storms.

In addition to keeping your boat upside down, you should also store it off the ground. This allows air to circulate in and around the boat so that it will dry thoroughly.

If your boat does not dry in cold climates, freezing of water can cause expansion of seams which will result in more leaks when it is time to take it out.

Jon Boat Covers

A cover is a good investment for any jon boat. Covers keep wet leaves and debris off of it.  When it’s time to take your boat out again it the spring, it will be clean and ready to go.

There are numerous covers on the market today for any size jon boat and some people just use inexpensive tarps.

Jon Boat Tarps

A tarp is better than no cover at all and will keep wet leaves and limbs out of your boat. Like a cover, a tarp will also protect any gear or seats that are left in the boat for any length of time. Before putting a cover on for long term storage, make sure that the inside of the boat is thoroughly dry.

Protection From Small Animals

If you decide to go with a cover and keep your boat outdoors, it’s also a good idea to elevate it with wooden blocks.  Doing this has several benefits. It allows the air to circulate the boat and keeps the sides and bottom dry. Also, it doesn’t kill the grass under your boat or create an enclosed habitat for animals and rodents to use as cover.

Chipmunks, mice, rats, moles, and snakes can all find their way under your boat. And, if your trailer is close by you might find light wires chewed when you use your boat again.

As you can see, proper storage of your jon boat is essential. When the new season comes round, you’ll also want to get out there as soon as possible!

Aluminum Jon Boats vs Fiberglass

aluminum jon boats

Aluminum jon boats and fiberglass jon boats each have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is a good idea to choose one that best fits your specific needs.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the most important pros and cons both types offer.

Aluminum Jon Boats Weigh Less

Aluminum is lighter than fiberglass and this fact is evidenced by the weight of similar sized jon boats.

For example, an aluminum Lund 1436 L that is 14 feet long and 57 inches wide only weighs 146 pounds while a Pro-Strike 14’ 2” fiberglass jon boat that is 55 inches wide weighs much more at 260 pounds.

So the aluminum jon is almost half-the-weight as the fiberglass one. This marked difference in weights makes the fiberglass boat much harder to lift and move around.

Fiberglass Jon Boats Need Trailering

Fiberglass boats are harder to lift and place on top of vehicles and many times need to be trailered.

An advantage of aluminum boats is that the smaller one’s can be mounted on a vehicle rooftop. This saves the owner the cost of purchasing a jon boat trailer.

Aluminum Jons Are Easier To Launch

Weight also is a factor when you get to the launch location. You’ll  certainly notice the extra weight when you have to move your boat (possibly by yourself) to or from the water.

When you factor in the weight of gear and supplies, the amount of fun diminishes. Especially in the rain!

Fiberglass Jons Need A Bigger Engine

Due to their extra weight, fiberglass boats run deeper in the water. As a result, they require a larger engine to power them. This results in a bigger initial outlay, lower fuel efficiency and increased fuel cost.

Aluminum Boats Are Easier To Modify

Another advantage to having an aluminum boat is that aluminum is easier to drill through. This matters if you would like to modify your boat in any way.

You can drill though fiberglass. However; caution is advised as fiberglass can crack around your hole, causing much bigger problems.

Fiberglass is Better Suited to Seawater

Fiberglass jon boats are better suited for saltwater. Their extra weight makes them more stable and this is an advantage in waves. Also, fiberglass does not corrode but aluminum will, in certain circumstances.

Aluminum jon boats usually have quite a few places where galvanic corrosion can occur. These include chipped paint areas, dents, scratches, and any place saltwater can accumulate. These areas should be watched closely if you plan on using your boat in saltwater environments.

Lastly, aluminum boats need to be cleaned after every saltwater use to protect against corrosion.

Fiberglass Is Easier To Clean

Yet another advantage to purchasing a fiberglass boat is that fiberglass is generally easier to clean.

Fiberglass will stain, however; there are plenty of chemical cleaners on the market that will help make your boat look shiny and new. Bio-Kleen makes a fiberglass cleaner that is good for cleaning fiberglass and aluminum boats. But it is used in only one step to clean aluminum boats. Then, you still need to use an additional aluminum cleaner.

With Bio-Kleen fiberglass cleaning products, you only need to use one cleaner on a fiberglass boat. Depending on how stained or soiled your boat is, it’s easier and cheaper cleaning fiberglass.

Before purchasing your jon boat, you’ll need to consider all these factors. Then you can decide which one suits your fishing or hunting conditions the best.

Flat Bottom Jon Boat vs V Hull

flat bottom jon boat

Today, there are basically three types of jon boats to choose from: flat bottom, v-hull, and utility; which is a combination of both.  You should choose a jon boat to best suit the water conditions that you plan on fishing or hunting.

All three types have their pros and cons, and we’ll discuss them in this article.

Flat Bottom Advantages

The main advantage of having a flat bottom jon boat is that they are easy to stand in and more stable in calm waters like ponds and small lakes.  A v-hull boat rocks back and forth more in calm waters when you are moving around in the boat.

If you are a river fisherman, the better choice is to go with a flat bottom boat also.  The current of the river can take you over boulders and shallows real quick and with the v-hull; you will hit more structure and can potentially damage your craft.  You can also park your flat bottom boat right alongside the river without running aground.

Better for Shallow Waters

Flat bottom jon boats can go into very shallow water without grounding. If you are fishing for bass in the shallows or if you are duck hunting and want to tuck into the weed, a flat bottom boat is a better choice.

Also, a flat bottom boat can be turned into a duck blind easier because the sides are not as high.

V Hull Advantages

V-hull boats are a better choice if the lakes that you fish are large and prone to wavy conditions.  The v- hull cuts through the waves better than a flat bottom boat and when the boat is stationary, the boat is more stable in waves.

Flat bottom boats will slap the waves harder when you are relocating on a wavy lake, causing more water to enter the boat. For this reason, v-hull boats will keep you drier in wavy conditions and offer a smoother ride.

Better in Waves

Another advantage of choosing a v-hull over a flat bottom boat is that the v-hull has higher sides and can lean more when bobbing in wavy waters. Accidents can happen, and a v-hull is a better choice in wavy waters so that you don’t fall out of the boat.

Due to the fact that v-hulls can handle waves better; they can be driven faster and get you to and from fishing or hunting spots quicker. This is a big advantage if you want to cover a lot of water in a single outing or if you are in a fishing tournament where it is usually always a necessity to move around a lot.

Utility Jon Boat Advantages

If you wish to have the best of both worlds, you can choose a utility boat which has an extended keel that is formed in a v-hull design but has a flat bottom. The Crestliner CRV is one such model.

However, because a utility boat has the flat bottom, the only real advantage of going with it is that it will cut through small waves better than a regular flat bottom jon boat.

In Conclusion

If you’re mainly floating on calm, shallow waters, a flat bottom jon boat is best. They’re also just the ticket for river fisherman.

For fishing on larger bodies of water with waves, a v hull jon boat will probably be better.

If you think you’d like a bit of both, utility jon boats could be what you’re looking for.

Jon Boat Cart Tips & Options

jon boat cart

Jon boat carts are used to transport boats from the top of a vehicle to either the water or storage area. Some people purchase small canoe or kayak carts to transport their jon boat; however; the wide width of jon boats makes this a little difficult.

Advantages of a Jon Boat Cart

Jon boat carts are needed in certain circumstances. They can help you relocate your boat into or out of storage and they can make it much easier to portage.

They are essential when approaching a body of water that does not allow any motorized vehicles. In this case, you cannot back a trailer into the area to launch. It is necessary to either carry your boat or haul it with a cart.

Beware of Thin Carts

Most boat carts are made for thinner boats like canoes or kayaks and wide jon boats have the potential to slide and fall off during transport and need to be balanced by a couple people.

If you need a jon boat cart, make sure that it is wide and sturdy enough to safely carry your boat.

Check The Weight Limit

When purchasing a cart for moving your jon boat, make sure that you are within the weight limit.

Most of the carts made by manufacturers cannot carry over 300 pounds. This can be exceeded by a larger jon boat with fishing or hunting gear in it.

A Cart for Wider Jon Boats

One carrier that is built for wider jon boats is  the “Personal Watercraft PWC Dolly”. It is 48” long by 34” wide and made by C.E. Smith.

This dolly is recommended for transporting your boat into your garage or storage area, but not recommended for transporting your jon boat to the body of water, unless on pavement.

The reason for this is the wheels are too small for rough terrain. This is a problem that you’ll find with many jon boat carts and why many jon boaters choose to build their own.

DIY Jon Boat Cart

It’s not too difficult to build a cart that is able to securely transport a jon boat. For the $100 or so that you’d spend on a cart, you can buy a lot of parts to help.

One big advantage of building your own cart is that you can make it with sturdier metal and wheels that won’t damage or blow out due to the extra weight of gear. This can happen with many of the boat carts on sale today.

For example, you can buy ballon wheel axle kits for less than $50.

Use a Hand Truck

One method of building your own cart is to use a hand truck. Harbor freight tools sells hand trucks at an affordable price. Hand trucks are made to carry heavier weights and make excellent affordable jon boat carts.

Basically, all you need to do is cut the platform off of the bottom of the hand truck and use a ratchet strap to hold it to the bottom of your boat. You can then easily move your jon boat, even by yourself.

Another advantage to using a hand truck as a jon boat cart is that the top of the truck acts just like a stand so your boat will not rub against the ground when the boat is not lifted.

What are the Different Jon Boat Sizes?

jon boat sizes

There are different Jon Boat sizes to accommodate many different uses. It’s important to have the correct size boat for your intended use (i.e fishing, duck hunting) and the size of the body of water you’ll be floating it on.

Jon Boat Sizes

Jon Boats typically range from as little as 8 feet all the way up to over 20 feet. The smaller 8 foot boats are becoming harder to find as more people are opting for a little larger boat.

The common sizes are 10 to 15 feet, and there are quite a few Jon Boat manufacturers that target this size.

What Size Boat Do You Need?

One of the main factors to think of when choosing the correct boat size is the bodies of water that you plan on using it on.

Obviously, if you are planning on fishing a large lake that has the potential for big waves, you should opt for a larger boat so that you don’t capsize.

An 8 foot boat in the middle of a Great Lake is not a good idea, even if you are well below the recommended weight limit.

When You Need a Trailer

As boat size increases, they become more difficult to transport. If you don’t have a truck and boat trailer, you should probably go with a small boat that can be transported on the top of your vehicle.

Jon Boats are light when compared to other boats, however; a 12 foot jon boat without any gear can weigh 600 pounds.  It is unlikely that two people would be able to load a 12 foot boat on their vehicle.

An 8 foot aluminum boat only weighs approximately 100 pounds, while a 15 foot boat weighs nearly 300 pounds. For this reason, most boats over 10 feet long are trailered.

The Advantages of Larger Boats

Some people prefer to have a large jon boat and you can find boats over 20 feet. There are advantages to having a large boat.

Larger boats don’t get tossed as much in wavy conditions; they can utilize a larger horsepower motor; and they can hold more gear like duck decoys, fishing equipment, or coolers. Typically, the longer and wider a boat is – the more stable.

Bigger Boat…Bigger Engine!

When you increase the size of your boat, you increase the amount of space that you will have but you also increase the size of the motor that you will need to power the boat.

Here are the common jon boat sizes along with the size of the motor that is recommended for them. For this example, common sized Lund boats were referenced.

  • 10 foot – maximum 3 hp engine
  • 12 foot – maximum 10 hp engine
  • 14 foot – maximum 15 hp engine
  • 14 foot wide beam – maximum 25 hp engine
  • 16 foot – maximum 35 hp engine
  • 18 foot – maximum 65 hp engine

Wider = More Stable

Wider boats are generally more stable and you can use a greater horsepower with them.

The common beam widths of Jon Boats are approximately:

  • 48 inches for a 10 foot boat
  • 48 to 60 inches for a 12 foot boat
  • 57 to 70 inches for a 14 foot boat
  • 75 inches for an 18 foot boat.

Avoiding Boat Collisions

Recreational boaters should always be looking out for other boaters in order to avoid boat collisions.avoiding boat collisions

All boats of every size should be equipped with devices that can alert others of your presence. One or more of the following devices should be in every boat.

  • Whistles – A good whistle can alert other boaters to your presence because the high pitch generated from blowing a whistle is like no other sound on the water. The noise also carries a far distance so that other boaters are given warning far in advance of a collision.
  • Horns – Jon Boats can usually get by with a hand-held air horn like a Falcon Commander horn. There are many different hand-held air horns to choose from. The main downfall of using a hand-held air horn is that they periodically run out. However, due to their low price most boaters can afford to have a spare or two in their boats at all times. Larger boats usually opt for horns that are hooked up electrically to their 12 volt power supply.
  • Bells – Another signaling device that is mostly used by larger boats are bells. Bells can be hooked up to ring at all times when the boat is moving or bouncing in waves or they can be stationary and only rung when the captain rings the bell to alert other boaters of their presence.
  • Gongs- Gongs are usually only employed on larger vessels but small gongs can be used on small boats to alert others of their presence in unsafe conditions.

How To Avoid Boat Collisions

If boating at night or during low light conditions, lights are essential for avoiding boat collisions.

If you are caught in a situation where a boat is approaching and you do not believe they see you, let them know of your presence far in advance by blowing on your whistle or using your horn.

It is possible that they will hear your signaling device but still not veer out of your path because they cannot locate you. In this case, shine a bright torchlight at them until they move aside and you feel safe. Always be ready as a last resort to move your boat in order to avoid a collision with another boat.

It is very important during low light conditions to drive your boat slowly and always be on the lookout for watercraft that can be in front of you. If need be, periodically shine a torchlight in front of you to clear the path.

Observe Right-of-Way

To avoid collisions with other boats, there are standard “right of way” rules. These rules dictate what should happen when two boats are going to meet and occupy the same area of water.

When this happens, and it does happen quite often on busy waters, one boat “stands on” course while the other boat “gives way” and lets the other boat pass.

Commercial fishing boats always have the right of way when they are operating their nets. Sailboats always have the right of way when they are operating with only their sails. It is very important to look out for these boats as to avoid collisions with them.

When two boats under power are going to meet, the boat on the right has the right of way and the other boat should yield so there is no collision.

Another thing to consider is that when you are about to pass a boat in a narrow waterway like rivers or channels, they have the right of way and can deny you the opportunity to pass if they think the passing is unsafe.

When In Doubt…Yield!

One final note: when in doubt, yield the right of way to avoid a collision by signaling the other boat to take the right of way.

Fishing from a Jon Boat

fishing jon boat

Fishing from a jon boat is an excellent way to catch fish that many other fisherman cannot reach.

Jon Boat Fishing
Fishing from a heavily-laden jon boat

In this article, we will take a look at the benefits of fishing from a jon boat and how they can help you catch more fish.

Stealth Mode!

Jon boats can be paddled quietly over shallow water and this practice does not spook fish. Larger boats are incapable of doing this due to the fact that they have large engines. In contrast, there’s many electric trolling motors available for Jon Boats that can put them in “Stealth Mode”.
Access All Areas

Submerged vegetation and other structures, like logs, prevent larger boats from accessing certain areas because they could damage their motors. Jon boats can easily be trolled or paddled into areas with thick vegetation where many fish locate such as bass, trout, crappies, bluegills, walleyes, northern pike, and muskellunge.

No Rock n Roll Fishing

Due to the fact that jon boats are wide and usually have a flat bottom, they are very stable. For this reason, it is very easy to stand in the boat while fishing. By standing in the boat, the fisherman can cover a greater amount of water in a shorter time period while casting lures.

Other boats like canoes present challenges, as you cannot stand in them. Jon boats, however, are the perfect boat to choose if you want to stand and fish.

If you do decide to stand and fish while in your jon boat, make sure that you are wearing a floatation device in case you lose your balance in the boat and accidentally fall in the water. If you are fishing with a buddy or two, you can just leave the floatation devices in the boat but make sure all fishermen know exactly where they are at, in case of an accident.

Swivel Seats

Unlike canoes and kayaks, jon boats can be equipped with swivel seats. The swivel seats allow the jon boater to fish as fast as if he were standing and generally when you are fishing for gamefish, you will catch more fish if you cover more water.

Go Trolling!

One of the big advantages of fishing from a jon boat is that you can troll very slowly. It is easy to cast a couple rods out over the stern, turn the trolling motor on, and slowly cover a large amount of water. You can also troll by manually paddling the boat which is very hard to do with other types of boats.

Fly Fishing Capabilities

Not only can you troll slowly with a jon boat, you can also fly fish out of a jon boat. You can reach areas with very little fishing pressure and cast poppers and flies to hungry panfish and bass that are feeding on the surface.

The chief advantage of fly fishing from a jon boat is that there usually are no problems with the back cast. Fisherman from shore run into difficulties due to trees and vegetation that lies behind them. You can maneuver a jon boat so that you can fly fish without snagging anything on your back cast.

Great Stationary Fishing

Jon boats also make a great choice for stationary fishing. They are very light so a lighter anchor holds them firmly in one spot. And, you can purchase rod holders to hold your rods while you are waiting for the fish to bite.

You can purchase cheap rod holders for around $4.00 or $5.00, however; the nicer one’s like Eagle Claw’s Deluxe Clamp-on Rod Holder cost around $25.00. This is a nice rod holder for stationary boat fishing because you only need to hand turn a knob to attach it to the side of the boat.

Drift Fishing

Rod holders also really help if you drift fish. Drift fishing is when you just let the wind, waves, or current of a river take you wherever it takes you.

With trolling, you can regulate your speed, but oftentimes, when drift fishing you cannot. If it is real windy, you can lower an anchor down into the water to slow your drift. When you do this, the anchor can get caught up in structure. It is best to do this in deeper water that lacks trees, logs, and large rocks.

Due to the light weight of jon boats, they are an excellent choice if you like to drift fish. It does not take much wind or water movement to move a jon boat.

Bigger is Always Better

Many fishermen choose a jon boat that is too small for the amount of gear and number of fishermen that they take in the boat. This creates a situation that can result in accidents when fishermen are moving around in the boat.

Try not to do this, or else eventually somebody is going to hook a nice fish and trip over something in the boat and either break a rod or worse yet, end up in the water. When fishing from a jon boat, you want to make sure that you do not exceed the weight limit of the boat also, or else the boat can ride too low.

Essential Gear for Jon Boat Fishing

When fishing from a jon boat, you want to have all of the gear that will make your fishing trip enjoyable.

Don’t forget to have face nets and/or bug spray because often, out on the water, the mosquitoes, gnats, and no-see-ums can be pretty thick.

You should also have sunscreen because the sun bouncing off of the water can produce sunburns very quickly. A fishing hat with a wide brim is always a good idea also for everyone in the boat. Hats and sunglasses reduce the glare off of the water and result in less eye strain.

Many bass fisherman use baitcasting reels and flip lures. But in a jon boat, you can use any type of rod or reel that you prefer. You can decide to use spinning rods and reels with spinners as your fishing lures or you can also choose spincast reels that are best suited for casting bobbers with live bait or dropping sinkers with live bait.

Increased Coverage

With a jon boat, you can usually cover a small lake in a day. The major benefit to this is that if you find yourself fishing in one area of the lake and you’re not catching anything, you can easily move around until you find fish.

Before you go on your next fishing trip consider how a jon boat can improve your fishing experience.