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Discussion Starter #1
I see 3 basic designs of mud motors: Surface drives, Tai style and "American" short shaft styles.
I am interested in the performance characteristics of these. The long Tai style has no cavitation plate (brands like Beaver Dam and Swamp Runner) vs The shorter "American" style (brands like Go Devil and Mud Buddy) vs the surface drives.

The long Tai style have just a shaft, skag and a power head. Where as the shorter styles have a lot of super structure, anti-cavitation plate and skag (more weight).

The Tai style is the least expensive by magnitudes compared to the others.

Is one style harder to keep in the water? Do you need constant pressure to hold them in the water? Is one style easier to turn than another? If you were to put the same HP of all 3 styles on the same boat (not at the same time), what is the speed difference and handling characteristics, etc.?

I have watched a lot of youtube video's and everybody loves their style setup, but no one talks about why?

Looking forward to your input!

Thanks,

Chronic
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It will vary, shallow rivers to flooded fields and some inland lakes with lots of weeds that have been choking my outboard.
 

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I have a Longtail on my 14’ I use for trapping and sometimes spring walleye. I have been trough and over a lot of things. I have a cheap kit with a 6.5 predator. Seems to be well bananced and I use 1 hand to drive. Turning is harder but manageable. The only thing I can’t stand is in really weedy water, if I’m up on plane I can run over the top of it. Getting up and out of vegetation sucks. It works great for what I do. 2 full size adults and it bogs down and can’t get on plane. It’s plenty fast enough as you will hit that submerged log and kiss the bottom of the boat. For the money it’s about the funnest thing to ride around in.
 

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I have a 23 hp B&S Go-Devil longtail on a 16' Starcraft. With 2 guys and fuel it will run about 17 mph and gets on plane with no problem. In that scenario I have to keep constant upward pressure on the handle to keep the prop from blowing out. If I add bow weight the prop will stay in the water with considerable less upward pressure on the handle and with enough bow weight (hunting gear, decoys, etc.) the prop will stay in the water with no pressure needed.

I think the biggest difference in shaft length is the turning radius of the boat. A longer shaft equals a wider turning radius. There are times I have to hang over the side of the boat if I need to make a sharp turn.

If money was no issue I would probably get a short shaft. It seems like every time I see a boat with a short shaft they appear to be flying across the water and throwing a cool rooster tail to boot. Plus now they make them with neutral and reverse, they offer a hydraulic trim option too.
 

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I have a 24 hp Mud Buddy with the extra long shaft on a 14' flatbottom. I like it because I only need about 4" of water. In heavy weeds I can "half-prop" through nearly anything. It does take some elbow greese to control it but I don't care. A grab bar in the boat is an absolute must IMO.
Mine can swing completely into the boat and I can remove the handle for a neat towing configuration.
Very simple and getting on plane is no issue.
From what I have read and by talking to friends with the short shafts they are tougher to plane in weeds but that is about the only drawback. Ease of use, reverse, safety and speed are all better with the hyper drives.
 

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I have a 20hp long tail on my 1542 by myself and hunting load it's pretty fast. Add another guy and dog the thing is slow get as much hp as you can afford I wish I went bigger. Next one will be a surface drive a little faster and can get reverse.
 

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Forgot to mention, a longtail will get more swing in each direction to get a “bite” with the prop if your in heavy mud/muck. Or getting over logs you can pretty much power over them slow by digging the prop in deeper.
 

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I have a Gatortail 35 GTR on a 1652. It will run about 24 with two guys and a hunt load. It has neutral, reverse and power trim. For me with a bigger boat it was worth the extra cost. Long tail with cav plates are fine but as you’ve read are harder to turn and also rig for transportation.

The newer surface drives are using fuel injection as well which will eliminate all the issues with finicky carburetors.


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I have a 24 hp Mud Buddy with the extra long shaft on a 14' flatbottom. I like it because I only need about 4" of water. In heavy weeds I can "half-prop" through nearly anything. It does take some elbow greese to control it but I don't care. A grab bar in the boat is an absolute must IMO.
Mine can swing completely into the boat and I can remove the handle for a neat towing configuration.
Very simple and getting on plane is no issue.
From what I have read and by talking to friends with the short shafts they are tougher to plane in weeds but that is about the only drawback. Ease of use, reverse, safety and speed are all better with the hyper drives.
That 14' handles the weight of a 23hp ok or do you have floats added?
 

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Handles it fine, no pods. The 24hp Honda I have does NOT have a pull start. If I could change anything I would have wanted a pull start on it in the event a battery died. Never had an issue starting though.
The boat I have is the widest 14' boat I have ever found. It had adjustable seats and I removed one completely when I fabricated my grab bar then moved the remaining seat into the middle of the boat. I will get a picture and post it up. I have had the boat well over 17 years.
 

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Handles it fine, no pods. The 24hp Honda I have does NOT have a pull start. If I could change anything I would have wanted a pull start on it in the event a battery died. Never had an issue starting though.
The boat I have is the widest 14' boat I have ever found. It had adjustable seats and I removed one completely when I fabricated my grab bar then moved the remaining seat into the middle of the boat. I will get a picture and post it up. I have had the boat well over 17 years.
How do you like the wide 14'? I picked up an old 1436, but am looking for a 1448 for non-cornrow hunting/summer fishing.
 

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I'll say that if you go surface drive make sure the boat is a true flat bottom. Apparently my buddy got a 1542 Excel modv with a 23 surface drive and he hates the damn thing. Something about how the water comes off of the transom, cant propel properly. Boat is super nice but his expectations ruined the whole experience for him. Spent too much time looking at people ripping around on instagram (mind you 9 time out of 10 its in water deep enough for an outboard lol). Had the boat 3 months and already for sale.

"God damn 8000 dollar paper weight"
"Why the f*** can't I get on plane"
"should have just got a damn kayak"
"rebuilt the damn thing more times than I hunted out of it"
"can we take your boat?"

Be careful, my friend, surface drives and mud motors can change a man.
 

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If your going to run a surface drive motor THEN buy a boat Hull specifically built for a surface drive motor. This is where the problem is with many duck boat set ups in Michigan. Do your homework - Don’t believe everything a salesperson tells you. To the OP. a backwater 23 swomplite would work best for those particular boats your looking at. Do not put a surface drive on them as they will not perform well. Outboard motors > No thanks, never again will I own one for waterfowl
 

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1542 alweld ( No pods)
23 backwaters swomp ( not lite version )
Runs great 3 guys and gear, not breaking records but gets me to my spots. Like someone said up top No mud motor like a real hard bottom ( no bite) but with a long tale you can swing it around to find a softer bottom with a longer reach and also used mine as a oar to turn the boat around a couple of times....
Good luck, and have fun!!!!
 

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Handles it fine, no pods. The 24hp Honda I have does NOT have a pull start. If I could change anything I would have wanted a pull start on it in the event a battery died. Never had an issue starting though.
The boat I have is the widest 14' boat I have ever found. It had adjustable seats and I removed one completely when I fabricated my grab bar then moved the remaining seat into the middle of the boat. I will get a picture and post it up. I have had the boat well over 17 years.
You can add a pullstart to that thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Lots of good info. Thanks. I am sure the performance of the surface drives and American style short shafts are great, just really expensive.

The genesis of this project was wanting to put a long tail on my Grumman Sport boat. However, after a couple hours conversation with an old timer / owner of the same boat his thought was it would be less than ideal. ”Mud motors are made to be driven standing up.” Not too keen on driving my G boat standing up.

Chronic
 
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