I’m getting a 17×54 willie drift boat. Any opinions out there on outboard motors. I will be on the lower Sacramento River mostly. Do you think an 8 HP Merc 4-stroke would be good? A ny help would be appreciated. Thanks, Vince
Vince, I have owned ‘em all and have had zero trouble with Yamaha and Honda. They’re both so stinkin’ reliable it’s stupid! What size you get all depends on what you want to do with it…
For the Sac, you’re probably just going to use it to motor through flat water, I’d guess…though I use mine there to side-drift as well sometimes. If you just need transportation from spot to spot, go small and light like a 4 HP…your back will thank you when you have to schlep the thing on and off the boat and in and out of the truck each day. Also, go with one that has an internal gas tank (but with a connection for a jerry jug as well). A little 4-stroke 4HP can put all day (all week sometimes) on the internal tank…which is nice because you don’t have a red jug and hose laying around.
But, bump it up to an 8 HP if you think you’d like to motor upstream a lot. I used to launch my 20-foot Willie at the Outlet on the Feather River, drift several miles down to Palm Ave and then kicker motor (8HP Honda) back upstream to the launch. Took forever but I didn’t have to do a shuttle. For that kind of stuff, you need more power.
If you’re into that motor back upriver program, check to see if your boat has a transom cut-out or not. If so, you may want to go with a short-shaft so you can creep back up riffles (measure first, though!). Also, a planer fin on the motor makes it so your ass end doesn’t sag as much as you’re trying to power up the shallow stuff.