When it comes to shallow water inland boating no vessel comes close to a Jon boat. But, with 2 different types available it can be difficult to know which one is the best choice for you. In this article we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of both. Its the epic battle of the flat bottom vs mod v Jon boat.
In order to know which type of Jon boat is the best fit for you, you need to understand the similarities as well as the key differences between each boat. Only once you know why the boat designs are different and how this affects their performance will you be in a better position to make a decision about which one is the best choice for you.
- Similarities between flat bottom and Mod V Jon boats
- Hull differences
- Flat bottom Jon boat uses
- Mod V Jon boat uses
- A fun Jon boat owners take on the Mod V
Both flat bottom and Mod V Jon boats are shallow water vessels that are designed to be used on inland waterways.
Because many inland waters, such as rivers, creeks, ponds and lakes etc., have shallow areas that don’t have the depth for a v-hull boat, such as a rowboat for example, a shallow draft boat is needed to navigate those waters. A Jon boat is arguably the best shallow water boat for this purpose.
Both Mod V and flat bottom Jon boats have a shallow draft. This means both boats are capable of traversing marine environment that have have shallow water.
The shallow draft of both boats makes them ideal for inland waterway use because most inland waters have areas with shallows that deeper draft boats would find impossible to pass. Jon boats can access shallow waters that even a shoal draft boat would run aground on (for a better understanding of shoal draft read this article).
Both a flat bottom Jon boat and a Mod V Jon boat can be mounted with a trolling motor and/or propelled by paddle or pole and can even be fitted with oars for rowing (yes you can row a Jon boat).
Although both flat bottom and Mod V Jon boats look similar, and are used in similar waters, there are some key differences in their hull designs that affects their performance in certain environments and under certain conditions.
Let’s take a look at those now.
A flat bottom Jon boat has a completely flat bottom. This allows the boat to almost “sit” on the water.
When conditions are calm and fine a flat bottom Jon boat is extremely stable. It also offers an exceptionally smooth ride even at speed because its shallow draft means it encounters less resistance from the water. It is also very easy to get on plane.
A flat bottom Jon boat has a squared bow and flat transom.
To learn more about a flat bottom Jon boat read this article.
Mod V hull design
A Mod V Jon boat is also known as a modified v hull Jon boat and a semi-v Jon boat for reasons we will cover now.
A Mod V has a slightly different modified hull design to the traditional flat bottom Jon boat. The bottom of a Mod V Jon boat has a deadrise; a flat surface takes up about 60% of the bottom of the boat while a curved section, with a slight “V” shape, rises up out of the water at the front bottom of the boat. You can see this in the image below.
Although a Mod V is still basically a flat bottom boat because it incorporates a slight “V” shape into the curved front part of its bottom it gets the name semi-v Jon boat.
A flat bottom Jon boat is the more traditional type of Jon boat as it has been around a lot longer than its Mod V brother.
Flat bottom Jon boats are shallow water utility vessels that are great for fishing, hunting, boat camping and just about any other inland water activity you can think of.
Flat bottom Jon boats have such a shallow draft that they can be used in areas that have only a few inches of water. As Jons are powered by trolling motors it is easy to trim the motor and lift the prop out of the water so a paddle or pole can be used to move the boat in the extreme shallows.
Even when powered by a trolling motor at speed a Jon boat offers an exceptionally comfortable ride. When a Jon boat gets on plane it feels like gliding on ice.
Because a flat bottom Jon boat has such a shallow draft and can be manually propelled it makes an excellent shallow water fishing boat and duck hunting boat.
It even rivals a bass boat and it can be set up for bass fishing quickly and easily because the boat is so customizable (though you can actually convert a Jon boat into a bass boat pretty easily too).
The shallow draft and completely flat bottom makes a flat bottom Jon boat very unstable in rough water. Because the boat does not sit very deep in the water it is easily jostled about by chop.
The square bow also makes deflecting waves and spray difficult and so most of the water ends up inside the boat.
In strong winds and choppy water a flat bottom Jon boat can feel unsafe and very unstable. This boat is designed to be used in calm waters and does not play well in challenging conditions.
Mod V Jon boat uses
Like the flat bottom traditional Jon boat the Mod V Jon boat is also a shallow water utility vessel. And, just its flat bottom brother this boat excels as an inland waterway fishing, hunting and camping vessel.
Anything a flat bottom boat can do, a Mod V boat will be able to do also. But as you will see later it can do a good bit more.
We have an extensive article about Mod V Jon boats and their unique uses here if you’d like to delve deeper into the subject.
Main advantages of Mod V Jon boat
The Mod V Jon boat was designed to address and fix the problems encountered by the flat bottom Jon boat – mostly, dealing with challenging conditions and choppy water.
The design characteristics of a Mod V, already mentioned, were incorporated into the hull to make this type of boat more efficient and safer in choppy waters and waves.
Although inland waters are much calmer than open waters, like the ocean, not all inland waters can be considered calm. Some inland waters experience high wind and lots of chop. Because a flat bottom Jon boat will struggle under such conditions the Mod V was developed.
Mod V Jons are much better able to deal with chop and can even handle waves as high as 24 feet though I don’t personally advise you to try that.
The semi-v shape of the curved part of the bottom of the boat offers better movement and stability through choppy water while the pointed bow cuts through waves and deflects spray from getting inside the boat.
These are the type of Jon boats you will usually see used in the ocean because they are better suited to deal with choppy water and waves – but only under specific conditions. Like flat bottom Jon boats, Mod V Jon boats are not ocean-going vessels and are therefore not seaworthy!
Main disadvantages of Mod V Jon boat
Apart from being unable to go into turbulent ocean water there aren’t a lot of disadvantages to a mod V Jon boat. It is in many respects a superior boat to the flat bottom Jon.
Mod V Jon boats tend to be bigger and more expensive though than flat bottom Jon boats.
A fun Jon boat owners take on the Mod V
If you watch the video below you will see that some Jon boat owners think Mod Vs differ very little from flat bottom Jon boats and were only created as a marketing ploy. Hopefully after reading the article above you know understand that this is simply not the case.
There are key differences between each boat type and each one will perform differently in the same marine environment.
You should also now know by now which one is the best fit for you.
Watch the video below as it is a bit of fun but take the information with a pinch of salt.
Although the video guy’s take on where a Jon boat got its name is funny it is of course completely inaccurate. If you want to know why a Jon boat is called a Jon boat read this.