2011 Boats & Mud Motor Round-Up

2011 Boats & Mud Motor Round-Up

These duck boats and mud motors will get you to the birds.

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My first duck boat was affectionately named "The Tub." It was a flat-bottom 16-footer with a 25-horse 2-stroke, a rotting transom and carpet stained with mud-flat goo, duck blood and catfish slime. The title actually had my dad's name on it. He knew I was learning to duck hunt the big waters of Kentucky Lake, so he loaned it to me when I was in college and couldn't afford a boat of my own. No other piece of equipment has ever had a bigger influence on my duck hunting success.

Eventually, I had to call Dad and tell him I'd sucked some milfoil through the water pump and set the outboard on fire. Running shallow water went with the territory when it came to duck hunting, and although that old boat did OK, today's hunters have a variety of much better options.


Air-cooled mud motors, both surface-drive and longtail versions, have revolutionized duck boat locomotion, while boat builders have perfected crafts that can both turn on a dime in flooded timber and provide a safe ride back to the ramp across a choppy river channel.



Here's a look at the best duck boats and mud motors on the market today.

Excel Boats F4 series boats are built for abuse. Hardened longitudinal ribs run the entire length of these boats. Optional features include a winch, just in case you need some help getting the boat over an especially gnarly log jam. The Duck Back transom enables easy access into the boat and also serves as a great vantage point for your retriever. A gun box comes standard.


The Shallow Water Series F4 is built with a triple-taper chine and smooth bottom for use with a surface-drive motor. The Viper Series F4 is made for outboards and comes with the optional Kik-Up system, which has two gas shock absorbers to absorb the impact of hits to your outboard in hazardous duck hunting environments.


Contact: (801) 352-8011


War Eagle Boats 648LDV is the company's most popular duck-hunting model. Its 16-foot hull is constructed from .100-inch-thick aluminum. The LDV version has a low front deck and rear bench seat, one base plate, a ¼-inch center keel and an 8-degree V-hull.

War Eagle was one of the first aluminum boat companies to offer camouflage paint options. Today, War Eagle Boats are available in a variety of licensed patterns, including those from Mossy Oak, Realtree and NatGear. Boats are available with numerous duck hunting accessories, including the Duckbill lighting system, which is new for 2011.

Contact: (870) 367-1554


Go-Devil's 16x44 Duck Hunting Boat, combined with a 23-horse longtail motor, is the favorite rig of Go-Devil owner and Louisiana waterfowler Warren Coco. It's also one of the company's most popular overall setups. Designed as a true shallow-water rig, this boat is at home in expansive marshes, flooded timber and cypress breaks. Coco says a long, slender hull usually provides the best performance with a longtail mud motor.

The hull is constructed from a single ¹â„8-inch-thick 5086 aluminum-alloy sheet, so there are no splices or seams to spring leaks. Combined with ¹â„8-inch thick longitudinal runners, gunnels and heavy transom, it makes a heavy-duty hull that can withstand years of abuse. The 16x44 is available with either bench or split seats, as well as numerous options so you can create the perfect boat.

Contact: (888) 490-3254


Pro-Drive has launched the new SBX Series of boats. SB stands for "self-bailing." The boats have a completely open floor that is welded in and sealed above the waterline, with all of the same structure underneath as the standard Pro-Drive X Series boats. The floor, along with large scrubber outlets, is designed to evacuate all water that enters the cockpit from rain, bags of decoys or even swamping from a large wave. No bilge pump is required.

SBX Series boats are offered in 17-foot, 18-foot, 20-foot and 24-foot models with 48-inch, 54-inch or 60-inch width and 24-inch-high sides. They are constructed from the same marine-grade 5086 aluminum as current X-series boats. Standard 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. Additional features are available.

Contact: (337) 229-0034


Bankes Boats has introduced the massive 25-foot Titan as its flagship model. Bankes is already well known for big, open-water boats preferred by sea duck guides such as Jeff Coats of Pitboss Waterfowl. The Titan is ideal for such use, as it can accommodate up to six hunters.

The Titan is built using a reverse tunnel chine hull design and full fiberglass construction. It has a complete molded fiberglass inner hull and is completely foam-filled between the two hulls. It will reportedly float even when completely filled with water. Despite its seaworthy construction, the boat only drafts 8 to 10 inches of water.

Contact: (519) 586-2544

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Lowe Boats Roughneck line is designed for strength and durability. Roughneck boats are available in a wide range of hull sizes, but the Sportsman 16 and 18 might be among the best offerings for duck hunters. The Sportsman 16 sports Lowe's 8-degree VorTrac performance hull for open-water stability, gun box, spacious decks and open-style console for decoys and gear, stainless-steel hardware, heavy-duty bilge pump, navigation lights and a generous fuel tank. The 16-f

oot boat is rated for a 60-horse motor, but various horsepower Mercury outboards are available in factory packages. The boat is available with a Gator-Skin sprayed-in liner and Mossy Oak Shadow Grass, Mossy Oak Break-Up and Realtree Hardwoods camouflage.

Contact: (417) 532-9101


Gator-Tail Xtreme Series boats offer the best of both worlds: the handling capabilities of a round-chine boat with the speed and comfort of a square-chine hull. The boat has high 22-inch sides for running big water with a 21-inch transom, and is constructed from ¹â„8-inch thick 5086 marine-grade aluminum. Standard features include a trolling-motor bracket, front deck drain, rear heavy-duty driver's box and grab bar, and an angled transom for better performance when in reverse.

Contact: (337) 229-4864


Beavertail builds custom aluminum boats to complement the company's mud motors and to serve the requirements of duck hunters. Models start with a 48-inch-wide 14-footer and run the scale all the way up to a massive, 72-inch-wide 20-footer. 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 for running water out of the bow, flotation pods, foam-filled floor, front and rear exterior grab handles and built-in interior tubing for electronics wiring.

Contact: (877) 466-8837


Gator Trax offers customers the ability to choose from 51 different hull sizes and from a variety of interior options to build a custom duck boat suited to their waterfowling needs. Among the hulls offered by Gator Trax is the Gator Hide, which blends the benefits of a three-man or four-man 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 and spotlight kits.

Contact: (225) 294-9991


Xpress Boats HD Duck models are available in 15-foot and 16-foot models. New standards for this year include a center keel for improved handling with smaller motors in tight quarters, a slightly raised front deck, added storage compartment up front and enclosed fuel tank compartment in the rear. The HD Duck Boats come standard with a gun box, skid-resistant Xtreme Coat Liner, and Xpress or NatGear camouflage paint. Available accessories include a 12-volt outlet, Tree Hugger attachment, dog platform and gun bracket. These boats are constructed from 5052-grade aluminum. Both sizes have 21-inch transoms. The 15-footer is rated for a 25-horse outboard, while the 16-footer is rated for a 50-horse.

Contact: (501) 262-5300


Go-Devil's mud-motor powered, 23-horsepower Briggs Vanguard engine is among the company's most popular units. It allows generous load-carrying capacity and top-end speed. The 23-hp motor also offers the convenience of electric start and a factory-installed recoil, which allows you to get your motor started in the event of electric starter trouble or a dead battery. These motors are available in standard or high transom models, painted or galvanized.

Contact: (888) 490-3254


Pro-Drive's Marine Series 36 HP Vanguard Big Block V-Twin is designed for heavy-duty use in harsh waterfowling environments. The engine features digital CDI ignition, a lightweight flywheel, stainless-steel muffler, high-capacity fuel pump and 20/50 Amp Alternator for running accessories such as a spotlight and GPS. In addition to Pro Drive's Full Power Reverse feature is the Automatic Full Power Reverse, which was heavily requested from hunters with console steering rigs. This feature rotates the prop 180 degrees so the motor performs as well in reverse as it does going forward.

Contact: (337) 229-0034


Mud Buddy has more than 85 shorttail mud motors in its 2011 lineup, and among the most popular (and economical) is the Black Death series. The Black Death 4500 and 5500 models are designed to power large boats and heavy loads. These motors feature CDI Ignition, lightweight flywheel, heavy-duty clutch, three-blade Tiger prop, stainless oversized valves, twin or single stainless-steel exhaust and a Mercury-Electric 8,200-pound hydraulic trim.

Contact: (801) 352-8011


Beavertail's backwater surface-drive motors sport a variety of unique features, including all-aluminum housing for improved power-to-weight ratio, external belt tensioner, extended drive shaft, one-hand operation of the controls, electric clutch, performance X-Series prop and a marine powder-coat paint job. The motors are available in 27 horsepower and 35 horsepower, and in versions for 16-inch and 20-inch transoms.

Contact: (877) 466-8837


Gator-Tail's GTR 35 model features a new reverse system that can be operated with one hand, thanks to a master cylinder that can be locked into position. The GTR 35 is powered by a 35-horsepower Vanguard Marine engine, which carries a three-year warranty. Other features include a tiller-handle-mounted control box, which puts a key switch, trim, kill switch, forward and neutral at your fingertips, as well as a trailering bracket that can be easily attached and removed for safe transport.

Contact: (337) 229-4864


Orion proves big things can come in small packages with the Sirius line of mud motors. Available in a pull-start 6.5-horse model and a push-button electric start 7-horse model, both motors weigh about 80 pounds and are built on Kohler engines. They are ideal for solo hunters who need to get a small boat and gear into remote places. The motors feature arched tiller handles, a twist-grip throttle, centrifugal clutch for better control when at idle and during setup/take down and a twin blade stainless-steel prop. Run time is about two hours on a tank of gas. Orion reports GPS speeds of 16.2 mph with the 7-horse motor and one person in a 14-foot-long, 36-inch-wide boat.

Contact: (315) 481-6520

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