Drift boats with off center motors, stern & bow anchors, sway, John Steinbeck...

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Mark Conner, May 24, 2010.

  1. So I like fishing from my drift boat so much that I want to take it everywhere I want to fish, some where a motor would come in handy: big, slow, deep rivers with little current, estuaries with small tidal flow, lakes with winds that I don't want to have to row against, and class 1 and 2 rivers where I do not need a motor. I should have three boats - but I can only afford one. Since I don't want the hassle of batteries necessary to an electric troller and in the absence of a plug in electric powered drift boat with a motor well, and since my drift boat has no well anyway, I guess that I will have to help out our friends at BP (LOL) and buy an outboard that I surmise I will have to mount on the bow (upstream) and that means that unless the motor can be offset from the centerline I will have to offset the bow (upststream) anchor to the side and live with sway when I don't need the motor. I just would not use the anchor at the bow (upstream end) when I use the motor for fear of damaging the lower end & prop of the motor, even if I had a side mount. If I can offset the motor I can just chuck (not use when I have the motor on) the bow anchor in favor of a stern (downstream) anchor for use once again on "big, slow, deep rivers with little current, estuaries with small tidal flow, lakes with winds that I don't want to have to row against" wherein bow downstream would not be such a big deal (certainly an improvement on lakes)? Can I offset the motor from the centerline and still track o.k? The motor guys (who all work for BP) say yes since there is no keel.

    Like I said, I am sure that I am trying to do too much with this boat that was not designed for all that I want to do!

    John Steinbeck "...some have said they have felt a boat shudder before she struck a rock, or cry when she beached and the surf poured into her. This is not mysticism, but identification; man, building this greatest and most personal of all tools, has in turn received a boat-shaped mind, and the boat, a man-shaped soul."
  2. Mark, Love the Steinbeck quote.

    As for bow mounting a gas motor. I can see lots of problems with this configuration. First off, it will offset the balance of the boat. Next, you will only be using reverse. And how are you going to control it? You would have to set up in the bow to drive.

    It seams like a stern mounted motor would be much more practical. I don't know how your boat is configured now. The DB. I have is rigged for this. It has a center bow mount anchor. A offset stern anchor and a removable section on the transom for mounting the motor.

    Just some food for thought.
  3. A bow mounted outboard makes absolutely no sense. There are some very big issues that would have to be resolved. First off finding a motor with a long enough shaft length. Secondly, operating the outboard. It would require a cable system for both steering and throttle which in turn is going to require some sort of counsel. Third a bracket sturdy enough to hold the motor and be able to handle the motor torque. Is the front side of your boat going to be able to tolerate motor torque plus the weight of the motor.

    Side mounts are available for canoes but are limited to horsepower. I have used them and it is awkward to say the least.

    A transom mount makes sense providing the transom will handle the torque. I would assume you are considering something like a 9.9 HP motor. The motor can be operated with an extended tiller handle and the motor will be pushing the boat rather than pulling the boat. Depending on your boat and how it sits in the water shaft length should not be too big of an issue but something to check out before you jump.

  4. You'll also want to resolve the two-stroke vs. four-stroke issue depending on where you want to use the boat. Jeff's right on target with the issues. However, there are drift boats built which will allow the upstream mounting of a small motor. I have a 55lb thrust trolling motor I can put on mine, but find that the boat weathercocks quite easily due to the higher prow. The sole reason I went for the motor I've got is that it came with an 18-foot cable and foot control, so I can use the motor from the downstream knee braces if I want to. I find a 12-volt deep cycle battery isn't a problem; I can use the motor on lakes or estuaries, has plenty of power, and was easy to mount on the anchor support on my Clacka. I have a 48" shaft on my motor since that was the shortest shaft. I could easily use a 36" shaft.
  5. Sorry for he confusion. I just should have said transom as of course what looks like the stern on a drift boat is actually the stern.

    So back to the questions that I trust you can answer:
    1. Offset motors on flat bottom, keelless boats - do they track?
    2. Bow (opposite the transom) anchors to avoid conflicts between the transom hung anchor and the transom hung motor means that you are now backwards against the current - not so bad on big rivers without obstacles and for sure good on lakes?
    3. Offset transom hung anchors induce too much sway, even with the paddles fixed in the current?

    "Fishing is the pusuit of what is elusive but attainable and a perpetual series of occasions for hope"
  6. The offset anchor does cause some sway, BUT, if you keep one oar down it'll act as a rudder. I had the sidemount, didn't have a problem with it doing that (and had front anchor as well). I've since pulled the front anchor off, and took the sidemount off. I switched to the standard rear drop on my driftboat.

    You should consider just using an electric. In fact, some electrics are setup where you can actually just clamp it to the gunnel and run it like that (mine does). And, the pain of a battery, etc isn't a big deal. If you got a big enough gas motor, you'd need a tank as well. Plus, the gas motor and gas tank would well outweigh your electric and battery. Something to consider hanging that much weight off back of your boat. Plus, alot of guys wire thier boats up so battery stays permanently up under bow, or under rowers seat and wires run back to transom (what there is of one on a driftboat). I don't use my motors alot, why I opted to just use the electric trolling on the rare occasions I do.

    But, to clarify again. The bow mounted anchor is for BIG rivers and lakes. Where you're anchoring and trolling (like a standard V hulled type boat or jetsled). If you want to run downstream and have electric to run you back upstream on slacker stretches or hold you on point instead of using oars, then get a sidemount release for the back and run your motor. Not a big deal.

    Oh yeah, if you DO run it to keep you in place on a river, you can REVERSE the drive on the electrics. We do that for sidedrifting and holding place (where you don't care about pushing the drifter opposed to holding it in place). Usuaully you have more speed on the prop pushing then pulling. So they reverse the head so that you can run the tiller and still have the powerdrive pulling you back upstream (instead of reverse). Just depends on what you plan to do with it.
  7. Not sure if you have been in a drift boat powered by a motor before, but the handling on them is very squirrely especially if there is any wind present. Fishing under power will not exactly be "hands-free" as you will constantly be adjusting the motor to stay on track. Even with chines, my drift boat slides all over the place with a motor. I'd stick with the oars for most situations, but there are times when a motor is useful.

    Jerry is right on with the electric motor advise. Minn Kota even makes one where the head pivots, so you can switch from forward power to backtrolling with the push of a button. Try to mount on the transom if you can. Having the motor offset is likely going to compound any tracking problems. For anchors, I would recommend using both a bow mount and offset stern mount. My stern mount is offset enough to clear a motor and I've never had issues with sway when anchored in current. Having oar-rites with the blades in the water helps a lot.
  8. I just put an electric on my 17' drift boat, mounted it off center from the anchor bracket and it worked great last weekend at Big Twin lake. even it the wind, it seemed to work fine. Buy a series 27 marine/RV battery (cheap at Costco) and you are set-mine lasted all day easily. Rick
  9. Thanks a bunch, guys. I guess electric is the way to go for sure. Now my attempt at some humor: No purchase of gas for an outboard. No more support for those bad guys at BP. But, wait a minute, where is the electricity going to come from? Hydroelectric, you say, here in the Northwest? Didn't all those big dams destroy the best salmon fishing in the world? Choose your poison!

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