23hp Go-Devil LT in 4" of water
If you ask 10 people you will get 20 different answers to which is the best. A long tail (LT) or the surface drive (SD). I would hazard the young very new hunter has never driven one and has never had the thrill of the stand up ride. I have had both a 35 SD and I have a 23 LT. The SD was matched to the boat by the manufacture and the LT is on a 16x48 all weld john boat. If I could get away with it I would have a 36. Both of these have good and bad points as there is never anything perfect. The SD was great and hated to part with it but it just did not preform well in the hard clay of Texas. The issue with the prop guard was the last straw. It made my clients and myself get out and push one too many times. The speed and ease of travel was great and the open water travel could not be beat. The boat was a tank and it pushed through cover well. The guard just killed the deal. No matter what anybody wants to think the power of physics comes into play. Once that prop is out of the water there is nothing that's going to get that boat to move, short of pushing or the winch. All you can get out of it is about 6" of water and then your stuck..Yes you can motor like a bat out of hell in six inches of water or less but Lord help you if you have to stop. The water will no longer be sucked to the prop and your high and dry. Like I said I do not think one is better than the other it just did not work for the conditions I hunt in 99 percent of the time. The LT is not easy to drive at all in open water. It is much slower and very unmaneuverable. In tight spaces it is like a barge and you have no reverse available. You can bash your face on the bar and you must stand to drive. All this said it is the real 4x4 of the marsh. It is like the Defender Land Rover compared to a heavy duty crew cab in the outback. Which one would you want to be in. It can travel in much skinner water with a full load. Please do not say "no it can't". Like you all know you can not dig a hole in hard mud with a SD after you loose the momentum and stop your in a mess. No prop no move. The LT has 6 feet of reach so you can put the prop in the water a full 180 deg,when the boat is high centred on stumps or logs. It also well knock most dead timber out of the way. The torque can not be beat it powers you out of most anything in skinny water. If you hit a unseen river or creek bank while going slow. The reach can save you after the boat comes to an unexpected stop. All this said I wish I had the larger boat and the SD this past year. Most of the runs were 8-9 miles of open water and wind. It was a not only a pain but dangerous. Once there it was gravy. When it's all said and done to each his own. Good luck to all and be safe.