View Full Version : Jon Boat setup for Tailwaters

10-14-2016, 11:28 AM
Hello Folks,
My father-in-law recently gave me a 14' aluminum jon boat that included 2 chairs, a trolling motor, and front deck platform. I would like to set this boat up for fishing my local tailwater on the Cumberland River but I'm not sure where to begin. Does anyone have any suggestions for setup such as ore types (size), motor type, etc.?


10-15-2016, 06:32 AM
Bobby, there are tons of good posts on this forum. Use the search feature and see what you can find...try "boat", "motor", etc. Hope this helps guide you well.

10-17-2016, 08:17 AM
Thanks, Shawn. I'll do some research and see what I can find.


10-17-2016, 08:57 AM
7.5-15 hp should be fine. I have a long tail motor on mine that is not only cheaper than an outboard but also goes most anywhere a jet will go and some places they won't

10-17-2016, 02:40 PM
I used to have a 14 ft with a 9.5 horse motor that I used on the Cumberland. When the water was generating it would get up river, but it wasn't fast. I personally would go higher than 9.5 if I had to do it over again.

Joe Congleton
10-27-2016, 05:09 PM
In the fwiw category I put together a set up specifically for the Cumberland. My thoughts were to answer several factors: Stability to either stand or sit comfortably; endurance to take a rock or log hit and not sink the boat or beat it up too badly; open space so that fly line would not constantly be entangled on things sticking up in the floor or on the boat ; speed to move up or down the length of the river ( fifty miles of trout water at that time); Shallow Jet outboard drive to cross gravel bars and negotiate the shallow areas at no generation or minimum generation; right size it for me and one other angler to fly fish comfortably all day; silent running trolling motor to maintain boat direction in floating with current through fast and slow waters.

So I found a great condition heavy guage aluminum used 16 foot 56 in wide Polarcraft Jon boat. Got a great aluminum welder and had him Cut 1/3 out of entire middle seat to form two middle short benchs on either side in the middle of the Boat leaving a flat bottom walk through the middle of the boat and then put a boat seat on one of the short benches from which I could run the throttle and stick steering controls. Middle weight is critical in a jet drive to get on plane quickly.

I use a 55 lb Minnkota trolling left hand run (so can hold rod in right hand as I steer to realign path) mounted on side of boat opposite the driving seats. Foot controlled or front mount makes a mess with fly line. I have a floor mounted pedastal boat seat positioned slightly in front of the short bench on the left side of the boat. Battery sits right behind pedestal seat. seat is bolted to the thin (weight factor)Plywood floor which is covered in carpet so floor is open and clean except for eight gallon fuel tank in back open area I can move tank around back area to match weight distribution requirements depending on one angler or two as desired jet plane angles varies with boat weight distribution. tank covered with tarp pieces to avoid line tangles on it.

I found a great condition used 40/30 mercury jet. Got the great welder to build a perfectly designed , strongly enforced, raised transome to put jet drive water intake and drive module at the right level in the water. CRITICAL.

I would not change one thing in that design now after @ 8 years of this set up. Fwiw. It will get me where I want quickly and is comfortable to fish out of. Safe and stable and durable. I might add oar locks at some point and it would be done easily with a removable seat insert in the cut of the middle seat. But then I would have to find a rower!!!

The Cumb is a more forgiving river that clinch and some other local Tailwaters. Cumb has round river rock bottom and gravel and you can roll or slide over the bottom much easier than the hard substrate and ledge rock of East Tennessee Tailwaters.

11-01-2016, 02:26 PM
Mr. Congleton,

How about some pictures of your Cumby boat?

Joe Congleton
11-01-2016, 06:34 PM
i will see if l can get someone to post some. Don't post pictures much myself