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Jan 23rd, 2013
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Recommendations on motor/setup – 16’ War Eagle #14427327 07/22/22 03:14 PM
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Marsh Rover Offline OP
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Good morning – I’m new to the forum (first time posting) and know very little about boats, but I’ve been doing a lot of research and soaking up as much knowledge from experienced boaters as I can. I'm actually from SC, but have been reading the TFF for years and have gotten a lot of valuable info here. I just purchased my first boat, a used War Eagle 1648 jon boat. I plan to primarily use it for fishing in the tidal creeks and coastal marshes in the Lowcountry of SC, and possibly some local freshwater lakes close to where I live. The boat did not come with a motor, however, it does have a very basic (one position only/non-adjustable) Garelick Eez In motor bracket attached to the transom. I’m not sure if this is considered a jack plate, but it extends the motor out a few inches from the transom and lowers/angles the motor down toward the water. The bracket is only rated for a 30 HP motor, but the boat itself is rated for up to 40 HP. The boat has a 21” transom. The previous owner used an older 25 HP Mercury tiller with a short shaft mounted on the Garelick bracket. He said that was more than enough motor for the boat and he was pleased with it while running that setup with the Garelick bracket.

So…here’s my question(s)…what are your recommendations for a motor and how to set it up on this boat for my specific application?

I’d really like to stick to a 20 to 25 HP tiller (primarily due to lower initial purchase cost, lighter weight and better fuel mileage than a 40 HP) if it is adequate, however, I have read some comments on some forums stating that a 40 HP is a minimum for a 16’ boat. As far as weight…I would typically be fishing alone or with up to 2 other people. The majority of the time it would probably be me and one other person. I realize that fishing 3 people would be a challenge in this boat so that would likely be a rare occurrence. I also plan to add a plywood floor, a plywood casting platform, trolling motor, and electronics/accessories. I will try to keep the floor and casting platform as light as possible, but I know all this will still add some weight. I don’t care about reaching blazing speeds, but would want the boat to get on plane efficiently, etc. The bare hull weighs approximately 400 lbs.

As for setting the motor up…I am a “less is more/keep it simple/minimalist” type, and especially since this is my first boat and I know nothing about boating. I’m also not much of a DIYer, nor am I mechanically inclined. The less I have to install, adjust, fine tune, tinker with…the better. So, I was thinking I would just bolt the motor directly to the transom. That being said…if there is a strong enough case for using a bracket or jack plate, then I would definitely go that route.

So…to summarize...what HP tiller motor should I get? Can I "get by" with a 25 HP, or will I regret not getting a 40? Long shaft (on transom) or short shaft (on bracket)? Electric start, electric tilt, options, etc.? Use a jack plate/bracket or mount directly to transom? (I plan to buy new, not used. I saved some money buying the used hull, but don't want to buy a used motor).

If you were setting up a beginner's, idiot proof marsh boat on a budget (and assuming you were working with a War Eagle 16’ jon as the platform) what would you do? And feel free to provide very specific brands, model #s, options, setup tips, etc. The more specific/detailed info, the better.

Apologies for the lengthy post, but I wanted to provide adequate context and details for the recommendations.

I greatly appreciate any advice you can provide!

Re: Recommendations on motor/setup – 16’ War Eagle [Re: Marsh Rover] #14428805 07/24/22 03:42 PM
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Pat Goff Online Content
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Not once, not ever have I ever heard anyone regret putting the rated motor on their boats. I have on the other hand heard a lot of guys whining about why didn't they put the rated motor on their boats. Lot of regrets.

Reading your essay, it's a path well traveled, many have come before you, so learn from their experiences.

Most boats are designed to be rigged a certain way, that's what the manufacturer made it for, and any changes to that will result is unknown results.

Your previous owner had a motor with a short shaft, the boat's designed for a 20" shaft, so he hung some contraption on it so he could run what he had. Now adding setback to a tiller steer is usually not a positive result, the most common is it'll quit turning and start sliding. Read up on users results.

THEN read more and you want to deck it out. great. Just remember marine plywood is freaking HEAVY. So, go get some buckets and fill them with concrete and set them in the front of your boat and see how it runs. That's the way it's going to run when it's decked. NOW your "adequate" 25 motor is no longer able to push your load. Weight is never your boats friend.

Some of us have been around these silly boats a long time, with a lot of trial and errors. Learn from our mistakes, life gets much easier.

So, if it were "mine" and I wanted to do what you're planning:
Find a 40 tiller with tilt/trim. If you gotta wait to save the money, it's worth it.
Take that junk off your transom and mount your motor directly to the transom.
Get a good four blade prop from Powertech, they make a huge difference in handling on your rig.

Now you're solid and ready for any condition you're going to encounter. Go catch some fishies..


Pat Goff
Seadrift TX
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Re: Recommendations on motor/setup – 16’ War Eagle [Re: Marsh Rover] #14430859 07/26/22 08:02 PM
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Marsh Rover Offline OP
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Pat - thank you for your response and advice. So far, yours is the lone response out of 146 views. Maybe I should have left the "I'm actually from SC" part out to get a better response rate?? laugh

Re: Recommendations on motor/setup – 16’ War Eagle [Re: Marsh Rover] #14430897 07/26/22 08:30 PM
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Pat Goff Online Content
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Nah, you're good. If you'd put I'm from NY, then that would have been bad.
Lots of guys own boats. Not many have sold hundreds of boats and spent the time figuring out how to get the potential out of them.

And out of that slim number, not many are internet blabbermouths like me.


Pat Goff
Seadrift TX
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Re: Recommendations on motor/setup – 16’ War Eagle [Re: Marsh Rover] #14431155 07/27/22 12:37 AM
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Beak47 Online Content
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And welcome to the Forum Marsh!


Hardcore Texan
Re: Recommendations on motor/setup – 16’ War Eagle [Re: Marsh Rover] #14433443 07/29/22 02:39 AM
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IslandJim Online Content
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Marsh Rover: I have been reading that blabbermouth Pat Goff's posts for years, and have met him. He has more practical boating experience than any 20 other guys here. If he advises something, it's more than likely the best way to go. I recently rebuilt a 62 year-old tin boat. I just posted a pic on the General Equipment forum page today. Mine's a 14 footer with a 15 Yamaha 4-stroke. It's ALMOST perfection. BUT, as Pat recommended, get the largest engine for your boat, WITH(!) electric start, tilt & trim. Keep your POS till you can afford what you really need. Buy once, cry once. I really, really wish I had electric start, as I'll see my 77th birthday in two months. Enjoy! IslandJim


I'm an Eighth Day Adventist. On the Eighth Day, God went fishing!
Re: Recommendations on motor/setup – 16’ War Eagle [Re: Marsh Rover] #14433487 07/29/22 03:27 AM
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Grainraiser Offline
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I have a 14ft fiberglass boat with a 25hp Mercury on it. In hindsight I should have gone with a 20hp due to it being 40lbs lighter than the 25hp. The additional 5hp is not worth the weight gain. Your boat is rated for a minimum 25hp maximum 40hp outboard. Larger is almost always better but it really depends on how you fish and how many other people you typically have in the boat with you. You could go with a 30 or 40hp outboard and and either will push you just find. I would highly recommend a electric start and electric tilt/trim because it is money well spent. It will really shine when moving thru shallow coastal waterways. Add a trolling motor and some electronics and you will be good to go. I mostly crappie fish so it dictates how I have my rig set up. You can set yours up based on how you fish. Best of luck to you.

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