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Since I was a little kid I have wanted a North River Jet. I used to watch them on the willamette at my grandparents house. One of our family friends hand one and I absolutely loved the days I got to fish in one. Now I am in the market for a boat of my own and having a very hard time making decisions. I cannot decide between a jet or something like a Seahawk. The thought of running up shallow waterways really appeals to me. I also love the more visceral experience you get with the inboard. I also like not having to worry about a prop but also am worried about sucking something up in a jet. With the family the ability for something like a seahawk to handle rougher water is also appealing but I also know if we got to water that rough it might now be a fun trip for the wife. I do like the amount of deck space for fishing on the seahawk. It will be a dual purpose family/fishing boat. I love everything about the jet except for the potential for major engine pump repairs when not properly cared for after salt use and I know the same can be said for an outboard. I would say with the family the boat will spend most of its time in lakes and rivers towing tubers and wakeboards. Fishing will probably be rivers and the occasional bay trip. I get sea sick so ocean trips will probably be vary rare.

I would appreciate some advise from people who have had both or made the same decision as well.
 

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I own a jet. Love it. But for your use, I would go big outboard. The jet pulls skiers and tubes, but the wake is not as nice and have to run a longer rope. For most trolling, you are going to have to add kicker. As the jets are pain to troll at low speed. I like no prop to bash when pulling up on shore, and running over debris. I run rivers for fun sometimes and have had the jet since 1995. I am to old to swap boats,
 

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Funny I grew up looking at the north River lot to when growing up .1 boat will never do it all but I went from a 18ft alumaweld intruder with a sport jet to a 21ftWillie raptor with a tiller jet . Windshield space cut a lot of room
Down when fishing and open boat is easy for my family I found that I’m always in the back of the boat with the kicker so I thought a tiller would be better for me with the main there too; so I don’t have to run to the steering wheel and back. what I got use to and I run Rivers more and some lakes . You could get a boat with both a jet and a prop . As I know some have. I also found out that some of the medium sized lakes don’t fit the trailer with the new boat so trailer size might be something to consider.good luck .a new boat is always fun buying
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I own a jet. Love it. But for your use, I would go big outboard. The jet pulls skiers and tubes, but the wake is not as nice and have to run a longer rope. For most trolling, you are going to have to add kicker. As the jets are pain to troll at low speed. I like no prop to bash when pulling up on shore, and running over debris. I run rivers for fun sometimes and have had the jet since 1995. I am to old to swap boats,
A kicker will be a must no matter which boat. I do also like the appeal of parking the boat almost anywhere. Not terribly worried about the quality of the wake as my really good friend has the ski/wakeboard boat for when we really want to have those fun trips.
 

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Funny I grew up looking at the north River lot to when growing up .1 boat will never do it all but I went from a 18ft alumaweld intruder with a sport jet to a 21ftWillie raptor with a tiller jet . Windshield space cut a lot of room
Down when fishing and open boat is easy for my family I found that I’m always in the back of the boat with the kicker so I thought a tiller would be better for me with the main there too; so I don’t have to run to the steering wheel and back. what I got use to and I run Rivers more and some lakes . You could get a boat with both a jet and a prop . As I know some have. I also found out that some of the medium sized lakes don’t fit the trailer with the new boat so trailer size might be something to consider.good luck .a new boat is always fun buying
I like the appeal of a tiller boat for fishing. But with the family I think a windshield/forward helm would be better all around. I think it might be easier for the wife and kids to use if they want to “drive” as well.
 

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I’ve had both. An inboard jet and an outboard prop. I fished and played in mostly lakes and occasionally rivers and bays. I would go with outboard prop. Outboard is much quieter also. Good luck.
 

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I think I’ve had every combination once with the exception of forward helm outboard jet...that said I may put a pump on my current boat and check that box.....all that said I love them all but lifestyle changes, geography and fishing preferences caused me to switch thing up from time to time. Inboard jets are great family boats for safety and protection from the elements, pulling tubes and such and can make great fishing platforms so long as you go at least 21x78” ish as you’ll want the interior space. Pumps are pretty much worry free so long as you do the minimal maintenance. Straight up fishing machine, no question open tiller.


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Since I was a little kid I have wanted a North River Jet. I used to watch them on the willamette at my grandparents house. One of our family friends hand one and I absolutely loved the days I got to fish in one. Now I am in the market for a boat of my own and having a very hard time making decisions. I cannot decide between a jet or something like a Seahawk. The thought of running up shallow waterways really appeals to me. I also love the more visceral experience you get with the inboard. I also like not having to worry about a prop but also am worried about sucking something up in a jet. With the family the ability for something like a seahawk to handle rougher water is also appealing but I also know if we got to water that rough it might now be a fun trip for the wife. I do like the amount of deck space for fishing on the seahawk. It will be a dual purpose family/fishing boat. I love everything about the jet except for the potential for major engine pump repairs when not properly cared for after salt use and I know the same can be said for an outboard. I would say with the family the boat will spend most of its time in lakes and rivers towing tubers and wakeboards. Fishing will probably be rivers and the occasional bay trip. I get sea sick so ocean trips will probably be vary rare.

I would appreciate some advise from people who have had both or made the same decision as well.
here is the scoop. Dont buy a prop. So what if you get some less percent power , there is nothing funner than getting up on plain and going balls out up the deshutes or clackamas. Its just so much fun. And dont and i say dont get a short boat. make it 20 and you wont be unhappy
 

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Discussion Starter #9
here is the scoop. Dont buy a prop. So what if you get some less percent power , there is nothing funner than getting up on plain and going balls out up the deshutes or clackamas. Its just so much fun. And dont and i say dont get a short boat. make it 20 and you wont be unhappy
I’m thinking either way I go, ideally I want a 21-23ft. Since I am most likely buying used I won’t be picky. 21ft will do everything I need it to do but 22 or 23 would be nice.

the only thing that worries me with a jet is salt water use and not being taken care of, and the pump not being maintained.
 

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I’m thinking either way I go, ideally I want a 21-23ft. Since I am most likely buying used I won’t be picky. 21ft will do everything I need it to do but 22 or 23 would be nice.

the only thing that worries me with a jet is salt water use and not being taken care of, and the pump not being maintained.
Then maintain it.


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There's a lot to said for a jet, and they are still an excellent choice. I've had my 21' North River at Buoy 10, out over the bar and out to the CR Buoy, up the Clackamas, up the Snake to Pittsburg landing, all over Puget Sound and the San Juan's, and towed many a family member on tube and wake board... I even had a National wake board champion doing back flips off the wake.
There's absolutely nothing that sounds better than a Big Block either. The two downfalls of the Big Block and Jet are the fuel economy, and the doghouse, neither which are Deal Killers if you like what you have.
As far as maintenance, that's a push so to speak... although that Big Block is much easier for the average Joe to maintain, and a good pump has only minor required maintenance (Hamilton, not SportJet)
If you want a jet, then I'd suggest a jet... you'll be plenty happy.
Troy
 

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There's a lot to said for a jet, and they are still an excellent choice. I've had my 21' North River at Buoy 10, out over the bar and out to the CR Buoy, up the Clackamas, up the Snake to Pittsburg landing, all over Puget Sound and the San Juan's, and towed many a family member on tube and wake board... I even had a National wake board champion doing back flips off the wake.
There's absolutely nothing that sounds better than a Big Block either. The two downfalls of the Big Block and Jet are the fuel economy, and the doghouse, neither which are Deal Killers if you like what you have.
As far as maintenance, that's a push so to speak... although that Big Block is much easier for the average Joe to maintain, and a good pump has only minor required maintenance (Hamilton, not SportJet)
If you want a jet, then I'd suggest a jet... you'll be plenty happy.
Troy
I have had numerous boats over the years and this is what I would recommend. Do not go less than 22 ft, especially if you are taking more than 3 people. Jet or prop is the big debate, they each have their advantages. I have a Motion Marine Outback and love it because it gives you so much more fishing room without the doghouse. Mine is a jet and the only two things I don’t like is the noise of the jet and sucking up stuff in the intake. That can ruin your day and be dangerous in really rough water as you are basically dead in the water if you can’t get the intake cleared. I have had to use the kicker a few times to get back to the ramp, no fun.
As much as I like my boat, if I was shopping I would probably go with a 22 to 24 prop boat with a hardtop. For rivers and lakes a 22 and if you are going out in the big water a lot a 24.
 

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Get a jet. It’s your life-long dream. They definitely provide a more “visceral “ experience and maneuver better in most situations than outboard props. A lot of my fishing is slow, precision control getting in and out of hogline gaps docks and wingdams. Outboard
Motors cannot slide your stern to the side and require a much larger turning radius.

I ran a 23’ hardtop windshield Thunderjet with 340 hp 460 V-8 for 15 years on the Columbia, out past C.R. Buoy trolling coho, bottom fishing Neah Bay, Halibut in Canada’s Swiftsure Bank, BCs’ Poet’s Cove, Washington’s San Juan Islands and 34 miles North out of Pt Hardy fishing for a week in remote Echo Bay. And up the Cowlitz smelting and way up the White Salmon or some piddling little river up in the gorge.

Big inboard Jets can safely do it all and anyone that tells you differently is wrong.

I had green water over the windshield multiple times. Never felt unsafe. That top & high deck shed water like they’re designed to.

I had and recommend an American Turbine single stage pump. Simple, reliable, the rebuild I finally did at 850 hours was optional, not required and not very expensive. It was still working great. Multi stage pumps compress white water better and don’t cavitate like mine did occasionally, but every guy I know that ran them spent more rebuilding them than I ever had to.

Full height fish deck and tall wrap-around rail is WAY better than a doghouse. Beautiful women and dogs love to drape themselves up there. It is ideal for fighting fish and netting from swim deck. Prepare to be envied.

Cons to jets and why I went propeller:

-Prepare to spend 2X the fuel bill. My boat had a 112 gallon tank for a reason. I rarely filled it so I wasn’t hauling around extra weight all the time, but it was nice to have for longer trips.

-They are much louder. No conversations unless yelling while underway.

-few mechanics can work on them. To run them you have to be able to feed the big intake a high volume of water, most aren’t set up for that.

-jets can clog or cavitate inefficiently with kelp or even a little willow stick. Be prepared with a wood handled rake to reach up under there and clear it.

Have fun. No regrets.

Jets troll okay fast on main; precision slow trolling requires a kicker.


Once I realized I prefer the freedom of the main Columbia vs crowded tributaries, like quiet and boating more than paying same for less time out there, I switched to outboard 4 stroke prop. They track on anchor better.


CW
 

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Life is short. Sounds like your lifelong dream has been to have an inboard jet. If you don't do it, you'll always wonder. Life is short. You only live once. If it doesn't work out for you, you can always sell it. Used boats seem to hold their value pretty well these days. Follow your heart and get the jet.
 
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