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#3088687 - 12/20/12 02:32 PM Anyone use the "surface drive" outboards?
Crosshairy
10 Point


Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 2698
Loc: Bartlett, TN

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A friend at work had a custom swamp boat built (he's from Louisiana, and used a shop down there to build it).

I had originally thought he had built a jet-drive boat, but he corrected me by informing me that it's a surface drive boat. It uses a large prop that's half-in/half-out of the water and has extremely low draft all along the hull. It has a "skeg" that keeps the prop from hitting anything damaging.

The way he describes it, it will use soft mud or water to push the boat along, such that it's pretty tough to get stuck. He jumped a few small beaver dams with it this past weekeend. He uses it for duck hunting and fishing for reds/specks in the marshes of LA.

I've been looking to buy a used boat that could run up some large creeks/small rivers for hunting and double as a fishing boat in the meantime. Due to the large number of trees and debris in the water, a traditional outboard just doesn't seem safe to me. One place I plan to go has a full-sized tree submerged inches below the water line not far from the ramp, so I assume the whole run would be no walk in the park.

Curious if you guys have experience with these, or if you'd recommend going a different route.
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#3088763 - 12/20/12 03:13 PM Re: Anyone use the "surface drive" outboards? [Re: Crosshairy]
turk870
6 Point


Registered: 09/07/08
Posts: 660
Loc: centerville

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buddie of mine has a gator trax boat with a surface drive motor cant remember which brand(the motors on these are air cooled)when riding in one for the first time it scared me to death,big mud flat that looked just wet like water just dropped no problem,lilly pads looked like a salad shooter behind the boat.then we crossed a tree(like bigger than a truck tire)sticking out of the water about 6in..all that being said if its rocks in shollow water not good will mess up prop.they are widely used by duck hunters
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#3088840 - 12/20/12 04:20 PM Re: Anyone use the "surface drive" outboards? [Re: turk870]
AllOutdoors
10 Point


Registered: 11/03/08
Posts: 3664
Loc: Tennessee

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It your primary use is going to be running in muddy conditions, flooded fields etc. Go with the surface drive. If you are going to be running shallow rivers, go with a jet.
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#3088919 - 12/20/12 05:08 PM Re: Anyone use the "surface drive" outboards? [Re: AllOutdoors]
pressfit
10 Point


Registered: 12/28/09
Posts: 3281
Loc: Giles Co. Tn

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I have run the creeks with a buddy who has had 3 or 4 different go devils.. reminded me of a 4 wheel drive flat bottom boat..
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#3120283 - 01/12/13 09:28 AM Re: Anyone use the "surface drive" outboards? [Re: Crosshairy]
BayouStateVol
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Registered: 01/06/13
Posts: 17
Loc: Sumner County

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I just saw this thread and normally wouldn't bump an old thread, but I have a lot of experience with Pro Drive and Gator Tail driven boats. We never used jet boats.

We would used these engines in either heavy heavy lillies or shallow water. Mostly in the marshes where the water is only be a few inches deep or the where the lillies wold choke an typical outboard.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't know the waters very well up here yet, but I would think these boats would be overkill up here.

Personally I prefer a Pro Drive, but only because it has full power reverse. Gator Tail is also a great engine. Its just underpowered in reverse. Trust me, in that mud you want full reverse!!!

On a side note - I started to see more and more twin surface drives. Talk about money to burn.


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#3120391 - 01/12/13 11:15 AM Re: Anyone use the "surface drive" outboards? [Re: BayouStateVol]
SES
8 Point


Registered: 10/13/11
Posts: 1306
Loc: Corryton, Tn

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If there is going to be a lot of shallow weeds,grass,lilly pads...etc, go for the surface drive. Jets and weeds don't jive.
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#3121252 - 01/12/13 09:49 PM Re: Anyone use the "surface drive" outboards? [Re: turk870]
mossyhorns300
10 Point


Registered: 12/15/04
Posts: 3969
Loc: memphis, tn & savannah, tn

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 Originally Posted By: turk870
buddie of mine has a gator trax boat with a surface drive motor cant remember which brand(the motors on these are air cooled)when riding in one for the first time it scared me to death,big mud flat that looked just wet like water just dropped no problem,lilly pads looked like a salad shooter behind the boat.then we crossed a tree(like bigger than a truck tire)sticking out of the water about 6in..all that being said if its rocks in shollow water not good will mess up prop.they are widely used by duck hunters


We sell the Gator Trax boats at our store. Gator Trax uses the air cooled Briggs and Stratton mud buddy motors. Cool looking boats and handle unbelievably well in the swamps and marshes. They are also headquartered and built down in Lousiana.
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