Having owned many boats from poling skiffs, offshore boats and jet boats. I have learned there’s no perfect boat. It’s always a give and take when building a boat. Speed, performance and maneuverability all come into play. For the perfect Land of Giants jet boat I decided on a 1860 Crestliner with a Mercury 90/60 jet foot. I opted for the tiller model mainly to keep the boat open and deck clean. My last Jet boat had a center console which had positives and negatives. While nice on cold morning runs across Holter Lake up to the Land of Giants, I disliked how much space the console took up once we were actively fishing. My main purpose for this Jet boat build is for guiding clients on the Land of giant section of the Missouri river. I wanted the boat to be comfortable, stable and safe.
The Jet Boat
I chose the 1860 deluxe mainly for its stability and safety while light enough to effectively row. To access the Land of Giants we have to cross a large body of water, Holter Lake that’s known to get pretty sporty. The Crestliner 1860 deluxe has a pretty substantial beam with and a 60″ bottom. The 60″ bottom is about the perfect blend for draft and stability. Especially with floatation pods off the stern. One of the biggest things I was looking for in a jet boat was lower freeboard and a low transom for ease of rowing on those windy Missouri river days. While no jet boat rows like a drift boat, having a lower freeboard really does help in the wind. Paired with the Mercury 90/65 this boat really scoots loaded with two anglers and gear.
Custom Boat Work – Adipose Boatworks
For this Jet Boat build I called on Adipose Boat works in Helena Montana to do the fab work. Adipose has done a fantastic job on my last two boats and I trust the work they do. The fit and finish and quality of their work speaks for itself. Adipose not only builds some of the finest drift boats they also specializes in Jet Boat Builds | Modifications.
Oar locks and oars
Most of my days at the Land of Giants are spent rowing and navigating across holter lake so I needed something comfortable. For a rowers seat I choose a Yeti 45 quart cooler with the thick cushion. The yeti cooler is a stable and comfortable seat to work from while serving double duty for lunches and drinks. The guys at Adipose built custom oarlocks to my specs so the height would be perfect to row of the yeti. I’m currently using the Sawyer Smoker Bandit oars These ultra light oars are 10′ and offer plenty of power for rowing a heaver jet boat.
Fly Rod Tray
I love rod trays! The rod tubes that often come standard on boats don’t seem to work well for fly rods and always seem to damage the stripping guides. The tray is lined with aqua traction foam to keep rods and reels safe from getting banged around when running open water. I had Adipose build the rod trays to run the length of the boat to accommodate the longest of fly and spey rods. Having the tray run fore to aft allows both anglers access to fly rods. The tray neatly stores 5 rods which is more than enough for a day at the Land of Giants.
Land of Giants Jet Boat Anchor system
I have had negative experiences with battery operated anchor systems so I decided on a side pull anchor system on this jet boat build. The side pull anchor comes up easily with the doubler system creating some mechanical advantage. The side pull system is great on days that I’m anchoring a lot to work tangles or land a fish.
Casting braces and Seating
Some anglers prefer to sit and others to stand when fly fishing the Land of Giants. From a guiding perspective I’d prefer my anglers sit. Mainly for safety. On windy days it helps to keep a lower profile. If an angler prefers to stand, casting braces are a great option with added safety. Casting braces can really help alleviate some of the fatigue often associated with a full day fishing trips. The guys at Adipose added a bracket so that I can easily remove the leg braces from my jet boat and move them to my drift boat. Overall I’m really pleased with this build and look forward to a busy guiding season in it. If you have any questions about fly fishing the Land of Giants or this Jet boat build feel free to give us a call or drop me a line.