2014 Gear

Boats & Motors: Getting There

Boats & Motors: Getting There

The only thing more important than getting to a backwater honey hole is getting home at the end of a hunt. These Delta Waterfowl advertising partners have the sturdy boats and reliable motors diehard waterfowlers need to safely navigate log-infested flooded timber, cattail marshes or the open ocean.

The team at Xpress Boats collaborated with duck-hunting icon Jim Ronquest to design their Xpress Tactical Series (XTS) line. Available in 16-foot and 18-foot models, the all-welded XTS boats feature a longitudinal rib design and injected foam construction for maximum durability and safety. A new bow-mounted LED light comes standard and provides powerful illumination for hunters riding to their favorite honey hole. An open floor plan, ample lockable storage compartments and non-slip interior surface add comfort and functionality.

Looking to address carburetor problems common with mud motors, Pro-Drive has released a Performance Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) System that can be installed on any stock or modified Vanguard Big-Block engine. At its heart is an electronic control unit that coupled with a redesigned complete intake manifold, increases RPM and top-end speeds, makes for easier starting in all temperatures and improves fuel economy. A duck hunter with some mechanical knowledge can install the bolt-on kit at home.

The Sport V line of shallow-drive motors from Mud Buddy features a vibration dampening system and modified balance point to create a smooth-riding, one-hand operating system normally only found on a traditional outboard engine. Perhaps most impressive is what’s missing: No electronic clutch, pump, belts or hoses — only a set of gears encased in an oil-filled drive to reliably take a hunter wherever the ducks are. The Sport V is available in three sizes that shift seamlessly from forward to reverse to neutral.

The Poseidon series of boats from Orion are constructed with marine-grade aluminum to withstand a lifetime of hunting. A low-profile design lets the Poseidon function as a layout boat, while a shallow draft allows the boat to maneuver through small marshes and cattails. Full-length floor stringers and a raised cockpit make the boats safe on big water, too, where speeds up to 34 mph have been reached using a two-stroke, 25 horsepower motor. The Poseidon comes in standard 15-foot and 17-foot lengths, but custom manufacturing is available.

From the Kevlar-reinforced bow for breaking late-season ice, to the 5-inch draft for maneuvering in shallow marshes, the features packed into the 17-foot Freedom from Bankes Boats reflects 35 years of experience hand-building dependable fiberglass waterfowling boats. Standard features include dual shelving units capable of storing dozens of decoys and gear, decoy curtains, nylon grassing rails, navigation and interior lights, swing-away rear seat, and molded-in camouflage pattern. A lockable fiberglass cockpit cover and custom-designed Cordura Ripstop blind are optional.

The Mud Runner 180 from Sea Ark Boats is a combination of toughness and agility that make it ideal for running through the toughest hunting situations. The all-welded flat-bottom hull is designed to handle the challenges of shallow water and mud, while a specially designed chine and shaved corners in back will help you turn on a dime and keep from skipping. The Mud Runner comes standard with ample gear and fuel storage and rear access steps. A center console is optional.

The Big Water series from Gator Trax features the same all-aluminum construction and dent-prevention bracing system that hunters have come to expect, but with the flexibility to accommodate outboards or mud motors. That versatility makes the Big Water an ideal boat for every hunter and angler who takes on the perils of shallow water. Gator Trax will customize a boat to handle a customer’s unique needs, but each unit comes standard with running lights, open hull, grab-bar and a lifetime warranty.

Built in Cajun country by waterfowlers who know what dangers lurk beneath the bayou, the
Gator-Tail GTR 35 Extreme Series surface motor handles the stumps and rocks that spell doom to conventional outboards. Powered by a 35 horsepower Vanguard Marine Engine, it also sports a 2,000-hour electric clutch, stainless steel muffler, heavy-duty trim switch, ATV-style reverse lever and a lifetime warranty belt drive. But what gives the GTR35 an edge is its indestructible lower unit that rips through the mud with a 30-inch shaft.

Backwater SWOMP Series Long-Tail Mud Motors possess unique design elements meant to get you to the deepest parts of the swamp and back again. The patented Revo-Clean lower bearing system keeps weeds, decoy cord and mud from wrecking seals and bearings. An adjustable rounded Surface Tracer cavitation plate allows the prop to run on the surface for better handling and speed. The super tough, foam-filled DOM Tubular Frame keeps moisture out and dampens vibration from the SWOMP’s 6.5 to 35 horsepower motor.