Here’s a roundup of new duck boats for 2011, including watercraft to suit all waterfowl hunting situations.
WAR EAGLE BOATS 648LDV
War Eagle Boats produces a wide range of aluminum watercraft. One of its most popular models for duck hunters, the 648LDV, is a 16-foot-long, 48-inch-wide boat constructed from .100-inch aluminum. The long, narrow 8-degree V-hull handles shallow water common in most duck hunting situations. The boat features a low front deck and rear cross seat. The transom can handle a 40 horsepower engine, and the hull is available in seven camouflage patterns.
Go-Devil surface-drive boats range from 16 feet long, 48 inches wide up to 20 feet long, 60 inches wide. Although they will work fine with a longtail motor, surface-drive boats are designed for improved performance on more open water and at lower speeds with a surface-drive motor. These boats are constructed from 1/8-inch-thick 5086 aluminum with V-crimps in the sidewalls of the hull as well as longitudinal ribs for added strength. Tapered chines on the hull make sliding off of obstacles like logs and stumps a little easier. A standard bench or optional split seats are available.
EXCEL BOATS F-4 VIPER DUCK BOAT
The F-4 Viper Duck Boat from Excel Boats is designed for hunters who run outboards, but need to access shallow-water areas. The Viper features the Duck Back aluminum transom (17 or 20 inches) and optional Kik-Up motor mount to absorb impacts from stumps and sandbars. The F-4 Viper features Excel's 6-degree V "Exceleration Hull" with reverse chine and is available in a tiller-steering option or a side-console option in lengths from 15 to 18 feet. Standard features include two rear dry boxes, gun storage and pod seats.
Beavertail builds made-to-order custom aluminum boats. Models start with a 48-inch-wide, 14-footer and run all the way up to a massive 20-foot-long, 72-inch-wide version. Standard features include an all-welded hull, stern and sidewalls, two water-resistant gun boxes, a drop-floor in the stern for stowing batteries and a fuel tank, tapered front deck, flotation pods, foam-filled floor, front and rear exterior grab handles and built-in interior tubing for wiring.
PRO-DRIVE SBX SELF-BAILING BOATS
Pro-Drive SBX self-bailing boats have an open floor that is welded in and sealed above the waterline. The floor, along with large scrubber outlets, is designed to evacuate water that enters the cockpit without a bilge pump. SBX series boats are offered in 17-foot, 18-foot, 20-foot and 24-foot models with 48-inch, 54-inch or 60-inch widths and 24-inch-high sides. They're constructed from the same marine-grade 5086 aluminum as the standard X model boats. Features include a front deck hatch, 12-gallon fuel tank, rear driver's seat with storage, multi-position seat/gun box and LED Shark Eye running lights.
BANKES BOATS INTRUDER SNEAK BOAT
Bankes Boats might be best known as the makers of large, seaworthy crafts capable of carrying multiple hunters to offshore hotspots -- but the company makes an array of duck skiffs and other small crafts as well, including the Intruder Sneak Boat. This 12-foot fiberglass boat weighs 185 pounds, has a maximum capacity of 465 pounds and can handle a 10-horsepower outboard. Available features include navigation lights, interior lights, 12-volt receptacle, a locking cockpit cover and blind attachments.
GATOR TRAX GATOR HIDE
Hunters can choose from more than 51 different hull size options and configurations from Gator Trax to build the boat best suited to their needs. Among the hulls offered by Gator Trax is the Gator Hide, which blends the benefits of a three-person or four-person layout boat with the utility of a standard johnboat. Innovative features available on Gator Trax boats include dog ladders, a stabilizer kit for easier shooting from the boat, two-positional Double Island bench seating, gun racks, spotlight kits and more.
PEMBERTON CUSTOM AIRBOATS DRAGONFLY
Duck hunters looking for true go-anywhere capability should consider the Dragonfly from Pemperton Custom Airboats. With a fiberglass boat hull and stainless-steel motor construction, the Dragonfly can carry 600 pounds of hunters and gear. This 33-horsepower fan boat is quieter than most other airboats, fuel-efficient, capable of 45 mph speeds and can accept many aftermarket duck-boat accessories.
SEA ARK DUCKHAWK
The Sea Ark DuckHawk is available in a variety of hull sizes and with several different layouts to suit the needs of duck hunters. Designed as an all-seasons boat, the DuckHawk is available in sizes ranging from 15-foot-long, 42-inch-wide up to 24 feet, 72 inches. These boats feature an all-welded, .100-gauge aluminum hull (.125-gauge on the 72-inch models), a floored area for the battery and fuel tank and an inside drain plug. Layout options include a low or high deck, split or U-shaped rear seat, livewells, gun/rod box, treadplate floors and a variety of camouflage paint patterns.
The original FatBoy remains a great choice for hunters accessing backwater areas, but it'll work as an open-water layout boat, too. Weighing just 76 pounds and compact enough to ride in the bed of a pickup, the FatBoy features a transom for an electric or gas motor, screw-in drain plugs, tunnel hull design and enough carrying capacity for a hunter, dog and 6 dozen decoys. The boat will accept MoMarsh's Door System Blind and a dog blind so your retriever can remain hidden while ducks are working.
Equally at home on a backwater mud flat or while gunning goldeneyes in open water, the Explorer from AquaPod is the company's strongest and lightest line of boats. Available in 8-foot, 10-foot and 12-foot models weighing from 40 to 60 pounds, these boats offer the portability to use about anywhere while being stable enough for you to hunt comfortably with a retriever. Each boat features four handles, two cleats, shock cords and an eyebolt for towing.
GATOR-TAIL 46 SERIES
Gator-Tail 46 Series boat is a true shallow-water machine designed for accessing tight places. Based on a one-piece 5086 aluminum, 46-inch-wide hull, this popular model is available in 16-foot, 17-foot, 18-foot and 20-foot versions. It is packed with features, including a 4-foot deck with pedestal base and trolling motor bracket, under-deck storage, front deck drain, rear driver's box and grab bar, 18-inch sides and a 21-inch angled transom for enhanced performance in reverse. The boat is rated for a 35-horsepower surface-drive motor.
MALLARD MARINE MARSH RAT
Mallard Marine Marsh Rat offers hunters a stable, economical layout boat option that's towable, lightweight (68 pounds) and easy to paddle. With a low profile and the ability to accept the Marsh Rat H2O blind attachment, it works well as a layout blind on dry ground, too. Options and accessories include a recliner seat, Marsh Rat paddle, bow and stern rope, and a stainless-steel bow eye for towing.
DUCK LOGIC CARSTENS LAYOUT BOATS
Carstens Layout Boats from Duck Logic are handcrafted to fit a variety of waterfowl hunting needs. Offered in six sizes, ranging from the 10-foot-long Puddler to the 14-foot, 6-inch-long Sportster, these boats are constructed from fiberglass and reinforced with foam for flotation. Oar locks and carrying handles are standard on most models. Models such as the Bluebill, Canvasback and Sportster are rated for outboards and mud motors from 5 to 9 horsepower.
XPRESS BOATS BAYOU MUD BOAT
Duck hunters often find themselves in especially muddy places. The Bayou Mud Boat from Xpress Boats is designed to handle mud. Available with a 16-foot, 52-inch hull or an 18-foot, 68-inch hull, it features longitudinal rib construction, injected foam for extra flotation, front deck storage for batteries and gas tank, a Step Pod transom, rear pod seating, welded aluminum floor, smooth bottom with rolled sides for mud release, Xtreme Coat liner and a variety of color and camouflage options. Additional options include a handrail, cup and shell holders, trolling motor harness, fishing seats, spotlight adapters and gun brackets. Both hulls are rated for 40-horsepower motors.
LOWE BOATS 1852MT OLYMPIC JON
Lowe Boats riveted johnboats have been serving the needs of duck hunters for years -- without costing a small fortune. These hulls are lightweight and straightforward. Most feature two bench seats and are constructed from 5052-H34 aluminum alloy. They're available in sizes ranging from 10-foot-long, 32-inch-wide hulls up to 18-foot, 52-inch models. The 1852MT Olympic Jon will carry up to six hunters (or a couple hunters with a lot of gear). It has a 20-inch transom and a 65-horsepower capacity. The center seat has a built-in livewell/storage compartment.