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Best Fiberglass Jon Boat

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Who make the best fiberglass jon boat for fishing trout and smallmouth on rivers and tailwaters in Missouri and Arkansas?

I recently moved to St Louis and have decided to sell my 16 x 52 jon/bass boat for a shallow water river runner. I don't think a McKenzie drift boat is needed - I want to motor up and drift back without requiring a shuttle. I've decided on fiberglass over aluminum and will equip with a Merc 25 HP jet (smallest factory equipped jet).

The Ozark jon boat doesn't seem to have found many fans outside the area, although I don't see tailwaters on the White drainage as different from those in TN or KY where drift boats are more the rule. Why is that? I expect a jon would fish salmon and steelhead in Michigan rivers as well as the drift boats.

My short list is 4 makes - Supreme, Shawnee, Playcraft, and Carolina Skiff. Are there others out there?

Supreme - looks well built and available

Shawnee - good reputation, but I'm gonnna have to drive to AR for a test ride.

Playcraft - imitator or just as good?

Carolina Skiff - the only one made short enough to get in my garage and no active dealers close by. A 17' or 18' would save me a monthly storage charge and I like the ability to customize the rigging. Why don't I see any Carolina Skiffs in the Ozarks?

Would appreciate your informed comments.

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My home town is in that part of Northern AR where Supreme and Shawnee boats are made. Supreme is cadillac of fiberglass jon boats in that area. Most the guides on the White River run a Supreme boat. Supreme is basically a modern version of the Shawnee. They have the walk through live well and several dry storage boxes. It is a little wider than the Shawnee which gives you a lot more room in the boat. Supreme has a completely flat bottom vs the Shawnee that has the 2 support boards that run from the front to back on the floor of the boat.

Shanee has been using basically the same mold for there boats for years and has not ever updated there body style. Shawnee is a good boat that is a lot less expensive than the Supreme. I think a new Supreme boat and trailer runs around $5,000-7,000.

My Shawnee works fine but it would be nice to have more room and the built in dry storage boxes.

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Who make the best fiberglass jon boat for fishing trout and smallmouth on rivers and tailwaters in Missouri and Arkansas?

I recently moved to St Louis and have decided to sell my 16 x 52 jon/bass boat for a shallow water river runner. I don't think a McKenzie drift boat is needed - I want to motor up and drift back without requiring a shuttle. I've decided on fiberglass over aluminum and will equip with a Merc 25 HP jet (smallest factory equipped jet).

The Ozark jon boat doesn't seem to have found many fans outside the area, although I don't see tailwaters on the White drainage as different from those in TN or KY where drift boats are more the rule. Why is that? I expect a jon would fish salmon and steelhead in Michigan rivers as well as the drift boats.

My short list is 4 makes - Supreme, Shawnee, Playcraft, and Carolina Skiff. Are there others out there?

Supreme - looks well built and available

Shawnee - good reputation, but I'm gonnna have to drive to AR for a test ride.

Playcraft - imitator or just as good?

Carolina Skiff - the only one made short enough to get in my garage and no active dealers close by. A 17' or 18' would save me a monthly storage charge and I like the ability to customize the rigging. Why don't I see any Carolina Skiffs in the Ozarks?

Would appreciate your informed comments.

I like the Carolina Skiffs also but I thought most of those were designed for flats. I don't know why they wouldn't work in the tailwaters, especially Taney. They draw little water and some have center consoles. I wrote them one time and was told that they would make an excellent river boat for the trout waters.

Dano

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As Dano pointed out Supreme is what most guides use if they are actual guides. Guide is a kinda all inclusive in Arkansas as they have no qualification to be one. My guide trades for a new one every year and you can have them made in different floor plans. Very nice boats. Try and find one with rod and bait holder trays all the way down each rail. The playcraft is made in Richland MO and seems like a very good boat as well, just never fished in one.

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I owned and fished out of a Supreme 2000 for three years. Excellent boat. My only complaint, and the reason I sold it, was that it had low sides and no flotation. On the rivers, these facts mean nothing. On TR, where I was swamped twice in one year, I chose to buy a boat for the lake and go back to renting a boat when I went to the river.

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Thank you all so much for your comments.

Shawnee has a new owner, Rob Williams, who sent photos of a recently completed boat. Shawnee has no dealers, no brochure, and no web site. Shawnee is still making a single model with some options available. Williams wrote "This boat is a 48 inch wide, 20 foot long model. It has a walk-through live well, a dry storage in the front, and also a dry storage in the back. This boat also has a full length rod tray on the left side although it is hard to see in the picture. I checked will the trailer company and they can put a swivel tongue on the trailer. This boat and trailer is priced at $4500.00." Photos attached.

I think it's time for me to head for Arkansas to see first hand, but I don't yet know where to find a Carolina Skiff. They haven't got a dealer with a boat in stock that's within a hundred miles.

What I heard is Supreme is a good choice, the others may be worth considering. Thanks.

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I'am looking at a Supreme or Playcraft River Skiff. Does any body have a playcraft and if so how does it compare with the supreme. It looks like it is the same as the 207 as it has a flat bottom. The l42 and l48 have an indention in the hull I think is for turning. Does this make much difference.

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I'am looking at a Supreme or Playcraft River Skiff. Does any body have a playcraft and if so how does it compare with the supreme. It looks like it is the same as the 207 as it has a flat bottom. The l42 and l48 have an indention in the hull I think is for turning. Does this make much difference.

I have not seen the Supreme boat yet, but I have seen aluminum boats with a similar indent - I call it a pocket - that is designed to get more clean water to a jet. Flat bottoms tend to trap streams of bubbles under the hull that mix with the water and can cause cavitation in the jet. The pocket pulls water up (and the stern down) and gets water to the jet that's more air-free. I don't know how much a pocket pulls the stern down - it may not be significant.

Let me know any dealers you've found with a Playcraft River Skiff in stock. Pope, near Lake of the Ozarks, is listed as a dealer and displayed one at the St Louis boat show last winter, but I couldn't get anyone on the phone that appeared to know about the skiff model and they certainly don't have one in the yard. The one I saw at the show had excellent fit and finish, but I do not recall if it had a pocket for the jet. I didn't know enough at the time to look for it. The trailer it was on looked sturdy, too. I'm not so crazy about the hand rail atop the gunwale. Looks like it will tangle fly lines. I can do without a live well, too. If I keep a fish, I like to put it on ice.

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