In search of the perfect hunting rig? Find it here!
Today's waterfowl boats and mud motors are built with state-of-the-art materials, offering waterfowlers outstanding value and reliability. However, choosing the perfect boat and motor can be as challenging as finding the best shotshell and choke combination.
More practicality is built into the 2009 duck boats. Skid-proof surfaces, additional decoy space, watertight, lockable firearm storage, a variety of camouflage patterns and -- maybe most importantly -- improved boat construction and materials are the hallmarks of the latest watercraft. These features combine to make 2009 an outstanding year to be in the market for a new hunting rig.
Waterfowlers looking to propel a backwater boat loaded with hunters, gear and dogs will find an array of longtail and surface mud motors specifically designed for various boat lengths, hull designs and hunting applications. Mud, stumps, logs, sand and weeds are simply no contest for either a longtail or surface-drive motor. The surface-drive motor is an engineering marvel that first hit the water a few years ago. Today, the same companies that manufacture longtail mud motors build surface drives. Surface-drive motors have been extremely popular because they have outstanding power-to-weight ratios. Longtails are well known for low maintenance, strength and durability.
Bankes' 191â„2-foot Crusader has proved to be an outstanding hunting boat. The 100 percent hand-laid fiberglass construction and 7½-foot beam offers waterfowl hunters an extremely stable and seaworthy hunting craft, while providing a gunning platform capable of slipping into six inches of water.
It features plentiful storage space for waterfowlers who bring more than enough gear when hitting the marsh. Decoy storage areas located on both sides, extra shelves and dry storage inside the steering console ensure hunters have all gear properly stowed. Flat boarding pads at the rear of the unit makes getting in and out easy for hunters and the gun dog. The Crusader's side-mounted console has enough room on its display for all the necessary gauges and electronics.
Another cool feature is the reverse transom, which allows the user to back up at high speeds, making retrieving decoys or dead fowl a lot easier. Other features include navigation and interior lights, a 500-gph bilge pump and a waterproof electrical panel. Beavertail
Beavertail is proud to go against the grain and build a boat specific to your needs.
Hunters can order custom hunting or fishing boats in any dimension from 14 to 20 feet long and 48 to 72 inches wide. Every Beavertail boat comes standard with patent-pending Performance Flotation Pods, flat diamond plate floor, dual gun boxes along gunnels and all-welded aluminum construction. Hulls are available in .100-inch or .125-inch thickness and feature thick, heavy-duty rub rails. Beavertail also offers an unlimited assortment of custom options and accessories to meet your exact requirements and usage needs.
Duck Logic offers handcrafted fiberglass duck boats by Carstens. Whether you are in the market for a layout boat or an upright blind boat, motorized boat or an all-around recreational canoe, Duck Logic has the right Carstens model for you. Carstens boats are constructed by molding fiberglass strands with high-tensile-strength polyester resin.
Foam is added to the bulkheads for positive flotation. All duck boats are finished with a gel coat in the Carstens unique camouflage design. The 10-foot Carsten Puddler weighs 70 pounds and glides through the marsh with little effort. The boat's small size and low profile makes it easy to conceal and perfect for one hunter.
Team Excel, makers of Excel Boats, proudly announces the opening of a new boat manufacturing facility in Mountain View, Ark. Leading the duck boat lineup for 2009 is the non-sliding Shallow Water edition models, featuring a smooth slick-bottom, triple-chine hull. These boats are designed for stability and a unique ability to turn on a dime while motoring through the shallowest backwaters.
Features include bow-mounted fuel tanks, battery boxes that enhance boat posture, concealed fuel lines and wiring, convenient and covered front deck storage, a spacious gun box mounted along the passenger side for better boat balance, a protected recessed accessory switch panel, and a tough rubber bumper rail to protect the gunnels from trees, river banks and docks.
The low-profile front deck is great for stacking decoy bags. The inside slotted gunnel T-rails secure tons of storage when using the Mud Buddy Splash space-saver storage decoy, gun and accessory bag systems. The T-rails also hold accessories such as drink and shell holders, dog steps and fishing rod holders. Full-flotation, split rear seats offer plenty of leg room. The duck boats have pre-wired spotlights and trolling motor plugs.
Gator-Tail, the original belt-driven, shallow-water outboard manufacturer, introduces an exciting new boat called the Extreme Series. Its revolutionary design provides the handling of a round-chine boat with the speed and dryness of a square-chine hull. The Extreme Series has a bass boat performance pad that gives it exceptional turning capabilities. The 17-foot boat features 22-inch Big Water sides, a 21-inch Transom and 1â„8-inch thick 5086 Marine Grade aluminum.
Gator Trax Boats
For 2009, Gator Trax Boats is highlighting one of its smaller rigs -- the Rouge. The Rouge comes in 14 to 18 foot lengths, with or without the exclusive and original Huntdeck option. Many of the options available for the larger size hulls are still available to put into the Rouge. However, the smaller version of a Gator Trax is best equipped when rigged with less.
Just a couple of dry boxes and maybe a trolling motor bracket is all a hunter needs for a backwater boat that does it all. The Rouge can be powered with the Mud Buddy motor up to 27 horsepower.
Go-Devil Manufacturing continues production of a 54-inch bottom craft with 20-inch sides. The boa
t is designed for customers desiring higher sides to run safer in open water.
It has a slick bottom with tapered chines to help control slide at wide-open speeds. All the current options for the Go-Devil boats are available on the new model, such as split seat, high transom, trolling motor bracket, headlights and poling platform. The Go-Devil hull is constructed of one sheet .125-inch-thick, 96-inch wide 5086 aluminum sheet with no splice or seams. It has six longitude runners. The 16x54 rates for 35 horsepower. It will take a Surface Drive or a Go-Devil longtail engine. The 54-inch-wide boat is available in 16-, 18-, and 20-foot models.
Hobie Cat introduces the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler fishing boat -- with hunting applications. Hobie has taken the defining feature in its kayak line, the patented MirageDrive pedal system, and combined it with the company's proven boat-designing capabilities to build a first-in-class, no-gas required, 100 percent fishing/hunting machine.
Waterfowlers will be comfortable in all bodies of water, from narrow inland waterways to ocean coastlines. The 13-foot, 8-inch Pro Angler boasts a weight capacity of more than 600 pounds, despite weighing in at only 138 pounds, fully rigged. The boat is wide enough to allow ample freedom of movement and stable enough to stand up in. It is designed with a large forward hatch and liner, as well as a stern storage compartment.
Mallard Marine Corporation
Mallard Marine recently improved its popular layout boat -- the Marsh Rat Magnum. The boat is now 15 percent lighter and has increased durability. Using new fiberglass resin systems developed by Hexion Specialty Chemicals, Mallard Marine was able to reduce the weight of the Marsh Rat Magnum to 78 pounds, while increasing the flexural and shear strength of the craft.
The Marsh Rat Magnum is extremely stable at 44 inches wide, tracks straight when paddled and is easily loaded into larger boats for long water transports. The craft is an ideal layout boat for large hunters. Popular accessories include the Marsh Rat H20 blind in the latest camouflage patterns, adjustable camouflage seats and Marsh Rat paddles.
The Mighty Layout Boys
The Mighty Layout Boys are proud to manufacture and market one-man and two-man Lake Erie-style layout boats by one of the creators of the design. The two-man version of the John Kalash layout boat is called the Legend II. U.S. Coast Guard tested and rated, it represents one of the stealthiest boat designs ever created.
The 13-foot, 11½-inch long Legend II weighs 160 pounds and features USCG Certified Capacity Rating of 500 pounds. The roomy cockpit measures 40 inches at the built-in backrest, and 42 inches in the middle of the craft, providing plenty of room for two gunners.
Porta-Bote International has unveiled its new high-performance portable folding boats in the Genesis and Extreme Series of 8-, 10-, 12-, and 14-foot models, with hulls weighing in at 49, 59, 69, and 96 pounds, respectively.
All Porta-Botes can be opened in just a few minutes, weigh half as much as comparable aluminum boats and store easily with a 4-inch, flat folded size. The tough hulls carry a 10-year limited warranty by the manufacturer, never need painting and are unaffected by saltwater, fuel and even battery acid.
Porta-Bote's duck boats are designed for waterfowlers who lack the space to store ordinary boats. They are practical for owners of small autos and RVs because they easily stow on the roof or side of vehicles.
When Pro-Drive introduced its "X" Series line, the goal was to design and build a shallow-draft boat to compliment the company's shallow-draft outboards. After running many different boat designs, Pro-Drive discovered a square-chine boat floats higher and drafts less water in every condition, which in turn, produces better speeds and higher load carrying capabilities.
Because hunters cross logs, stumps and deal with conditions that can damage light-duty hulls, Pro-Drive constructs all of its boats with 1â„8-inch-thick 5086 marine-grade aluminum and runs 1-inch-by-2-inch rectangular ribs across the length (front to back) of its boats. In addition, 2-inch-by-2-inch square tubing bracing the floor and side walls make the boats almost indestructible.
War Eagle is offering the 648LDV in NatGear camouflage. The duck hunting model features a low front deck and a rear cross seat. It can be arranged with pods to replace the more traditional rear cross-seat, leaving the center of the boat open for equipment or for running mud motors.
The LDV comes standard with one base plate, one cross-seat, a ¼-inch center keel and an 8-degree V-hull. The 648 features a long, narrow hull, making it perfect for shallow-water applications. This solid craft is constructed from .100-inch-thick aluminum.
SeaArk's DuckHawk 1548DKLD features a new camouflage pattern for 2009: SeaArk Duckbrush. This model comes standard with a floored rear area for a battery/fuel tank, extruded caprail, high bow deck, U-shaped DK rear seat, stainless steel base plate, and an all-welded hull. Made from .100-inch thick aluminum, the 15-footer has a 40 hp rating.
Beavertail (previously called Otter) surface-drive motors feature a geometrically reinforced all-aluminum frame and drive housing, which minimize frame weight to deliver an outstanding power-to-weight ratio.
Beavertail spent countless hours on the water pushing and perfecting the frame and drive system to ensure the most optimized surface drive available. The entire line of Beavertail backwater motors consists of three surface drive motors from 27 to 40 horsepower and a half-dozen long shaft motors from 6 to 35 hp.
For 2009, Go-Devil is building twin surface drive units using 23 hp Vanguard engines. Three-blade props and EZ trim are standard. These units will be available in high transom, and recommended on 20-foot boats to get the proper weight distribution. Top speeds were in the high 20 miles per hour on a 20-foot by 60-inch boat. These units require a battery only for starting.
There are no electrical components to fail and leave you stranded. In the event of dead battery or starter, solenoid, or key switch failure, they can still be started with the standard equipment recoil system. If you travel to the Yukon, Amazon or Africa, this is the rig you should take. Go-Devil is currently working on a 72-inch bottom boat with 22-inch sides to better accommodate the 23 hp and 35 hp twin surface drive models.
Gator-Tail is offering backwater motor fans three new features. A new switchbox design, manufactured exclusively by Gator-Tail, is located directly on the tiller handle, providing easy access to the trim, key start, clutch and kill switches. A new propeller provides 30 percent more reverse thrust. Hassle-free full-throttle reverse provides more power for better performance, whether in the mud or i
n deep water.
Mud Buddy offers a full range of backwater outboards and builds the largest horsepower mud motors in the world -- a 45, 50, and 60. New for 2009 is the HD7000. Mud Buddy motors employ flat-drive frame technology, a combination of design and engineering that allows the prop to run more parallel to the surface of the water, resulting in the ability to move larger boats and loads. Mud Buddy offers 85 models -- from 6 hp to the HD7000.
They build short tails from 9 hp to HD7000 and the traditional long tails from 6 to 35 hp. Mud Buddy carries Vanguard, Robin and Honda engines. The Kohler big block 40 horsepower is new this year. Also for 2009, Mud Buddy offers three separate short tail frame designs -- the HD Sport, Hunter and Mini HD Sport. The HD Sport features an easy-to-steer, full-feature frame with power heads from 23 to 45 hp. The new Hunter model is available from 23 to 35 horsepower and is equipped with the industry's lightest full feature frame. The Mini HD Sport has five motor selections, ranging from 9 to 27 horsepower. Its tough, lightweight frame is designed for small boats, but still packs power.
It has been four years since Pro-Drive introduced its Full Power Reverse to the mud motor market. Now, Pro-Drive has released the first ever Automatic Full Power Reverse.
Customers with steering console rigs prompted the new feature's development.
They asked for a full-power reverse that could be activated by the touch of a button on the console. Keeping in mind the poor performance of reversing the prop, as with standard outboards, Pro-Drive realized it would not do the serious sportsman much good, especially in vegetation and mud-choked backwaters where it is needed. The power and thrust capabilities of the company's Full Power Reverse could not be matched, so they went back to the drawing board to attempt to achieve both.
The result, after three years of trial and error, is the Automatic Full Power Reverse. The touch of a button rotates the lower unit 180 degrees to reverse in 2 to 3 seconds and back in about the same amount of time by hydraulic cylinder and gear. The new design can be retrofitted to any unit Pro-Drive manufactured since its start in 2003, and is available for both steering and tiller models.
Who Makes 'Em
Gator Trax Boatswww.gatortraxboats.com
The Mighty Layout Boyswww.mightylayoutboys.com