Non-boat-owners are often confused when boating folks talk about a flat bottom vs V hull jon boat. These watercraft look the same on the water. However, their principal difference lies in their deadrise, producing varying effects that cater to different applications.
So, which should you choose if you need a jon boat? Should you pick a V-hulled version or a flat-bottomed type? Please continue reading to learn your options.
Table of Contents
There are many types of flat bottom boats, and jon boats are some of the most iconic flat-bottomed watercraft. These vessels are popular among waterfowl hunters, shallow-water anglers, and inland adventurers.
A jon boat is a catch-all phrase for a tiny open watercraft with a flat or near-zero deadrise – the angle of its bottom hull relative to a horizontal plane. If the deadrise’s angle is over two degrees, it’ll be classified as a shallow-V-hull jon boat.
It is worth noting that different types of jon boats exist, often classified into either purpose or material construction. For example, you can have an aluminum flat bottom boat, a wooden jon boat, or a fiberglass jon boat. You can also have flat-bottom jon boats for hunting, fishing, utility, and recreational purposes.
Thanks to the virtually unmatched flat-bottom jon boat stability in calm water and zero deadroses, these vessels are used for many purposes:
- Their stability can minimize unnecessary boat and water movement, which minimizes the chances of scaring the fish away. As a result, you’re more likely to reel in a catch than with an unsteady boat.
- A more stable jon boat also makes it the ideal platform for duck and waterfowl hunting. The most stable jon boat allows you to sit and focus your aim and land a kill shot with one trigger pull.
- Flat-bottom jon boats have ultra-low drafts, allowing them to traverse bodies of water where no deep-draft watercraft can go. You can maneuver the boat on shallow waters and never worry about running aground.
What is a V-hull Jon Boat?
One of the most significant disadvantages of a flat-bottom jon boat is its unsuitability in open and rough waters. Its shallow draft makes it susceptible to swamping as waves hit the boat’s sides and splash water into the watercraft.
Seasoned boaters know how unpredictable weather can be. A flat bottom river boat might offer stability when the weather is calm. But as winds pick up, this watercraft can easily capsize – an issue that you can address with a V-hull jon boat.
A V-hull jon boat has a deadrise angle of at least three degrees (shallow V-hulls). However, most V hull boat modifications call for a value between 10 and 20 degrees.
Hence, although not as stable in calm waters as flat-bottoms, V-hull jon boats can still go into these bodies of water. They’re also suitable for fishing, hung, utility, and recreation, especially where choppy waters are to be expected.
The reason V-hulls are suitable for choppy terrains is that their pointy bows allow them to “slice” through waves. On the other hand, flat-bottom jon boats “sit” and “glide” on the water’s surface, which produce little friction, resulting in better stability when the waves are calm.
We cannot debate a flat bottom boat vs V hull jon boat without examining their similarities and differences. Let us start with their likenesses.
- Shallow draft – Flat-bottom and V-hull jon boats have lower drafts, around 9-12 inches, making them ideal for inland bodies of water. This hull type is best for use on ponds small lakes and calm rivers.
That said, V-hulls can sometimes have deeper drafts of a little over 1 foot, especially if they’re designed for rough water bodies.
- Variable operation – Both jon boat types can run on a trolling motor. You can also lift the engine and use a pole or paddle to navigate shallower waters.
However, there are several differences between V hull vs flat bottom jon boats that can easily help you distinguish them from one another.
- Hull design – V-hulled boats have a deadrise angle of at least three degrees, with most modified V hull jon boats having 10 to 20 degrees. Meanwhile, a flat-bottom jon boat only has a maximum of two-degree deadrise angle. Its bow is squarish, while a V-hull jon boat is pointy.
The deadrise angle is an objective and easiest way of differentiating a V bottom vs flat bottom jon boat.
- Stability in choppy waters – The V-hull’s “water-cutting” hull design is perfect for choppy or rough waters, including open seas and wavy lakes. Meanwhile, a flat-bottomed jon boat venturing into these waters is susceptible to capsizing.
- Materials – Flat-bottom jon boats usually feature aluminum. That said, you can find models made with fiberglass, roto-molded polyethylene, or wood.Meanwhile, while you can find V hull aluminum boats, they’re not as popular as fiberglass – the most common material for producing these vessels, thanks to their durability. In addition, V-hulls are typically heavier than flat-bottom boats as well.
Let us consider the pros and cons of both jon boat types.
- Stability in calm waters is a flat-bottom jon boat’s most significant advantage over other watercraft. As such, you can stand on the boat to aim at your prey or cast your fishing rod with great precision and never lose your footing.
- Moreover, you can use a paddle or pole to navigate shallow waters while ensuring a plane-like glide. In other words, these boats are less likely to run aground.
- Sadly, you cannot enjoy a flat-bottom boat’s stability in rough waters. You risk swamping the boat and capsizing it.
2. V-hull jon boats
- Although V-hulled jon boats are not ocean-going vessels, they can handle rough waters better than flat-bottomed versions. These watercraft are easy to maneuver and stay upright even in 24-foot-high waves. Their hull design makes V-bottomed boats more versatile.
- V-hull jon boats are also more durable than flat-bottomed ones. This attribute is an unsurprising effect of withstanding choppy waters.
- V-hull jon boats are not as stable as their flat-bottom counterparts. In fact, even if the vessels are standing still, the higher deadrise means they’ll still sway from side to side.
- The following table summarizes the pros and cons of both jon boat types. You can also extend the V-hull points to deep V hull pros and cons.
|Flat Bottom Jon Boat||
|Not recommended for use in rough or open waters|
|V Hull Jon Boat||
|Not as stable in calm waters and can sway sideways|
Differences in design, boat length, and materials make V bottom jon boats more expensive than flat-bottom variants.
For example, the 14-foot Mod V-hull Tracker Grizzly 1448 (with a 7-degree deadrise angle) costs more than $3,000, while the 9-foot flat-bottom Tracker Topper 1036 only costs about $740.
You can get a typical 10-foot jon boat for $700, while a 12-foot vessel can set you back by $850 to $1000. Jon boats exceeding 17 feet can have a price tag of over $3,800. You might spend more if you buy a V-hull type.
Which is better V hull or flat bottom?
A flat-bottom jon boat is better if you prefer water-related activities (i.e., hunting, recreation, and fishing) in calm and shallow water environments because it is exceptionally stable.
However, a V-hull jon boat is better if you fish or transport goods across large lakes, rough rivers, and coastal areas. These boats remain stable amidst choppy waters without the danger of swamping and capsizing.
Tips to choose the right boat for you
Please consider the following tips when choosing between a V-hull and a flat-bottom boat.
- Clarify your purpose for buying a boat. Is it to fish, hunt, transport goods, or give your family a good time?
- Consider the boat’s size. A 10-foot boat is sufficient when fishing alone. Meanwhile, a longer boat is necessary if you fish with a buddy.
- Consider the boating location. Are the waters calm and shallow, or are they deep and choppy?
The flat bottom vs V hull jon boat debate is not as polarizing as other comparisons. Both jon boat types are perfect for shallow water adventures, thanks to their ultra-narrow drafts.
However, a V configuration is more suitable in choppy waters, allowing the boat to “cut” through waves and ensure optimum stability and safety. On the other hand, a flat-bottomed watercraft is ideal in calm waters.
So, choosing between the two depends on where you want to go boating.
Ten years of enjoying countless trips on boats never made me love them any less! So I am here to put all those experiences into good use for other boaters who want to have a safe and fun trip with their friends and families.