Upgrading Jon boat and need your advice

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MAC45

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Hello everyone I am a new member. I need your input as I want to upgrade from my old riveted 16x36 Jon to a more stable and better layout boat. I have fished with a friend who has a war Eagle 542 with the front deck and liked it a lot. So I started looking and war eagle has not built that hull in 2 years with Covid and aluminum costs. So they have the 548 and 648 that they are building. My issue is I want to keep my 15hp short shaft for a few years to reduce cost and then eventually go to a 25hp. What would you go with in my situation as the cost is minimal between the two hulls? I am not war Eagle only it is just the best price welded hull that I have found in my area. Also I am not totally against riveted but I don’t see any with open floors and a front fishing deck. This will be a duck hunting/fishing boat. I have a son and wife who like to fish. I would appreciate any and all recommendations.
 

LDUBS

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It is a tough call. My thinking is since both will likely be underpowered with the 15, I think I would go with the bigger of the two. When the new outboard happens, I think would be glad I made that decision.
 

thill

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War Eagle boats are very heavily built. What HP was on the boat you rode in?

From what I have seen, 15 will probably barely move a War Eagle. A friend got a 16 or 17-footer, and it has a 90 on the back, and I think it's rated for a 125. Very heavily built. You may want to check the specs on the model you are looking for. I would think a 40 would be minimum for the one I've seen.

War Eagles are expensive, but if you really want one, and can find one in your price range, putt around with your 15 for a while, and then upgrade motors when the budget allows.

But there are a number of other boats with open floor plans. Crestliner makes a number of them. I'm working on one right now. Princecraft, Lowe and Tracker also make open floor boats, and their prices will likely be much more affordable. You can probably buy the boat with motor for the same price.
 

MAC45

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War Eagle boats are very heavily built. What HP was on the boat you rode in?

From what I have seen, 15 will probably barely move a War Eagle. A friend got a 16 or 17-footer, and it has a 90 on the back, and I think it's rated for a 125. Very heavily built. You may want to check the specs on the model you are looking for. I would think a 40 would be minimum for the one I've seen.

War Eagles are expensive, but if you really want one, and can find one in your price range, putt around with your 15 for a while, and then upgrade motors when the budget allows.

But there are a number of other boats with open floor plans. Crestliner makes a number of them. I'm working on one right now. Princecraft, Lowe and Tracker also make open floor boats, and their prices will likely be much more affordable. You can probably buy the boat with motor for the same price.
The ones I am asking about are rated maximum of 40hp. I would consider other brands but the price is better than the welded g3 and Lowe roughnecks. The riveted g3 and Lowe are a little less but not a lot. I am definitely not against them but I haven’t seen a riveted boat with an open floor, they all have the benches in the middle.
 

MAC45

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As you all know with Covid choices are few. There is a 1544 and 1648 g3 riveted hull not too far away. The only thing is they don’t have the fishing deck and I don’t know about their durability and especially the 1544 stability. Though I originally set out looking for a 542 war Eagle so I imagine it is as stable as that
 

airshot

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Are you saying go 648 even with my 15 hp for the short time until I can fund a 25?
Why not, while it might not be fast, it will get you around. Quite rare to hear someone say "I wish I had a smaller boat"
 

JL8Jeff

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I would go as wide as you can. If you plan to keep it to 15' look for a 548, 1548 or 1556 if you can find one. If yo decide to go to 16', I'd be looking for a 1652, 1655 or even 1660. But a 25 hp motor will be probably struggle with 2-3 people in a 16' boat. A 16' should probably run a 35-50 hp motor and the 25 might be enough for a 15' as long as the boat isn't too heavy. I have a 1652 with a 60/45 jet and it's more than enough with 1 or 2 people (I'm usually out by myself so it's plenty) but when I get a 3rd person, you an really feel it slow the boat down and I need to use quite a bit more throttle. I have a narrow center console but it's still a bit of a squeeze to get around it even being a 1652.

Lowe_1652_4.jpg
Lowe_1652_3.jpg
 

MAC45

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Have you looked at the Tracker Grizzlies? Those are solid boats, very tough.
Yeah and I like those, however they are no cheaper than War Eagle and much heavier. I have also noticed they are currently not offering anything smaller than the 1648.
 

wmk0002

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Are you limited to 25hp such as from hp limits on your lakes? Ive read that a 25hp will perform ok on a 1648 welded hull but I bet it deteriorates fast with a load. I would also imagine that a 15hp on that would be brutal even if temporary. 40hp seems to be the normal outboard size for that size hull.

Did the War Eagle have the low front deck? They look like they would be nice to crappie fish and shoot from but may leave something to be desired if you are trying to bass fish or do a lot of standing up and casting plus they lack storage. Another thing to consider is that the low deck is more stable. A 1542 with a low deck is probably comparable to a 1548 with a high deck. Overall I'd explore all manufacturers in the same hunting family as the War Eagle. War Eagle is top notch but some of the competitors have more layout options in the smaller hulls.
 

cyclops2

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If you need 40 hp on a 16X48 boat sell the boat & motor.
 
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