Boats Featured Fishing

Ode to the homely jon boat

As I rowed the 14-foot lumbering jon boat back to her berth on the side of a remote lake in the Adirondack mountains after an incredible day of smallmouth fishing the other day, I thought to myself how much I both love and hate jon boats. They are ugly as hell, hard to row, but definitely get the job done.

Let’s be honest, jon boats are absolute dogs on the water and incredibly inefficient to row. On the the other hand you can put a trolling motor, outboard, or jet on them and they can scream across a lake or up remote wood filled rivers.

Their flat bottoms don’t handle chop or big water well at all, but man can you get in shallow with them.

Squint hard enough and you might be able to pretend the hull outline has got some sex appeal to it, but let’s call it like we see it — jon boats are ugly. On the other hand, their aluminum build allows you to literally leave them outside forever, uncovered and forgotten about.

They are unforgiving as hell sound wise. If you drop something or bump rocks, the aluminum makes a god-awful sound that undoubtedly scares fish. Then again, I can’t think of many boats you can simply run into rocks, trees, concrete boat ramps without a care.

The hull gets crazy hot as well as cold, but throw a simple seat cushion down and, viola! Problem solved.

You can trailer them, drag them and stack them. Hell, I have a 10 footer at home I can literally put on top of my car or shove in the back of my truck.

Oh and they’re cheap. Relatively speaking in the boat world that is. I bet right now if you Googled Jon boats for sale you could find dozens near you for a few hundred bucks.

It’s a love-hate relationship for sure with these ugly, loud, hard to row boats but I would venture to say that the homely little Jon boat has caught more fish and seen more water than almost any type of boat out there.