View Full Version : Rowability of a power drifter???

01-30-2014, 12:56 PM
Been looking at some options for a boat. I have been wanting a drifter but it is not practicable for me at this time. Need something with a motor, I know drifters can be outfitted but... I have narrowed it down to a couple ideas. One is a "power drifter" which I like alot and seems to being gaining some populatirty. It would carry a 60/40 jet as a permenant fixture. My big concern is the rowability of something like this, especially backrowing against the transom. Anyone have any experience or know of others that do regarding this or have general thoughts?

01-30-2014, 09:47 PM
I bought a Towee and outfitted it with a jet and the oar system for the very same reason you are talking about. I would be happy to take you out in mine if you liked the idea of Towee.

01-30-2014, 10:47 PM
I have own a 16 ft tunnel john with 60/40 jet (never tried to row ) I don't think it would work very easy, might be able to slow the drift down but being able to turn as a drift boat NO. Remember john boats and power drifter have no rocker , dead space in the stern that you are rowing against. Turning would very difficult . Best option is a trolling motor with at least 70 lb of thrust to be able to move with ease under generation .

01-31-2014, 09:05 AM
I think you are in a quandary with wanting to row this rig. As Billspey stated; most boats of this type have a limited rocker and include a chine style in their hull. This makes it difficult to row laterally. Although, most boats of this style are row-able in slack water if you have limited forces working against it.

I would look at a shallow water john-boat and add a 70lb thrust trolling motor (need at-least two-batteries/depending on voltage[+80-90lbs. weight in boat]) and forget the rowing aspect. Also; you will want to add a skid plate to your trolling motor to save on blades. I have the one pictured below and it works fabulous. It was very easy to install and just took a few minutes. Note; it seems expensive at around $130-but, it has saved me 4-5 props at $35 over the past couple of years. I needed a new prop about every 3 months when I did not have the guard and I have not needed a new once since I installed the prop guard a few years ago. I think it is called a Mac's River Runner or Prop Guard...(?)

This type of boat will do you well for the most part if you weight it correctly and be mindful to lift the trolling motor when crossing drags. Also; it is easy to patch with bondo and resin to fix dings. If you plan on adding a boat motor for fishing during generation; I would stay away from the rectangular john-boats and go with a semi-v. These boats love to capsize with a just a little pressure on the gunwales.

Hope this information guides you well!

01-31-2014, 12:29 PM
Thanks for the input guys. I suspected as much. Just wondering if the "Power Drifters" from different companies are over selling the rowability of these boats. Guess I want the best of both worlds but maybe I am being too wishful. I would be looking at tailwaters like the Cumberland and Caney, as well as bigger rivers like the Ohio closer to home. So that is my quandry, I want rowability for the tailwaters, but want the motor for the bigger water like the Ohio.

Sandman - Thanks for the offer, that is kind of you. I would love to sometime but I am a little bit out of the area.

Shawn - I talked to a builder up in Michigan (Stealth Crafts) and he talked about the skid plate on his ATB models that uses a 25 or 30 HP prop motor. That boat has more of a rocker on it and is the second boat I am looking at. That vs a "power drifter." He uses the Rock Hopper version on his props and said the same that it has saved a lot of props. If I go that route I will definitely get a guard plate of some sort.

Thanks for the guidance guys and sharing your experiences. It definitely helps.

02-01-2014, 09:07 AM
Have fished the Cumberland for several years. Running above Rockhouse you will need a jet . The river has several very shallow bars where you have less than a foot of water.a prop is going to hang up. I have friends who have used props on the Cumberland very limited where they can go.i have been hung up floating before had to get out and drag off . When the Cumberland was right ,what a river to fish miss those days, I hope it gets back soon.

02-03-2014, 09:45 AM
Thanks for that info. That helps.

02-03-2014, 11:02 PM
I think you'd be fine with a power drifter for the rivers you mentioned. Those rivers really don't require a whole lot of maneuvering with the oars...as long as you can hold a line you could row the power drifter just fine. The jet would also serve you well on those rivers. I would shop for a light boat though to make rowing as easy as possible.

I've been working those rivers with a standard 16' foot Clackacraft (http://clackacraft.com) for many years, with a 6hp kicker. This setup isn't nearly as fast as power drifters or other motor boats.....but is super easy to row and drift.

Joe Congleton
02-06-2014, 06:51 PM
Have run a 40/30 jet on a number of the rivers in Tenn and in Ky, and have observed a guide on Ky rivers using a power drifter with a jet and also rowing set-up. For the Ky river you mentioned the power drifter might be a good choice mainly because round rocks comprise the bottom there. For the Tenn rivers I think the hard vertical and horizontal geologic substrate conditions ( solid rock ridges) at minimum flows would not be attractive to that boat set up; Rocky s suggestion is a better set up for flexibility in Tenn tailwaters. No jet or motor is attractive to wading fishermen (and some drift boat anglers) and some of the tight minimum flow passages to get downstream in a heavy boat are hard to clear, and clearing them under jet or prop power can/does lead to some hostile reactions from the neighboring fishermen. Probably not as bad as the reaction to the guy in the Hovercraft last year in the Clinch when rocks were thrown at his return upstream after going down a few miles from Peach Orchard, but bad enough to discourage a repeat performance.

02-11-2014, 11:26 AM
Again, thanks for all the advise and input. I put my order in yesterday. I am going with a 16' ATB from Stealth Craft Boats as I think it covers most of my wishlist. Pretty stoked about it. Hoping to have it in a couple months and will post pics soon after I get it.