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.
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.
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.
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.