Tiller boats – just curious

  • avatarthundereye
    Posts: 30

    What size tiller boats is everyone running and why? 20 footers better that 19’s, are the 19’s better than the 17’s. Horsepower? Mileage?

    Rochester, Mn
    Posts: 5,352

    I purchased a 16′ lund/40hp merc.I wanted a very fishable boat for the river and smaller lakes that I could pull with my Jeep.

    My thoughts on a 16’boat were ,I didnt need a big boat to fish with my family and the savings on not buying a big boat would allow us more $$$ down the road to do things as a family on our outtings.

    I searched long and hard for very fishable 16’boat .I can fish 4 out of it now and love the lay out (very open floor plan). I have added a couple jig case holders along the sides to keep the floor open.It also includes storage, livewell, plastic fuel tank , 3 batteries, 2 depth finders and trolling motor.

    It serves us very well for being a 16’/40 hp and needless to say I am in no hurry to get anywhere on the water or to leave the water.

    With the body of waters we fish if fits our needs of a boat and I hope it brings us many years of enjoyment, as it will be hard to replace .

    Profile photo of walleyebuster5walleyebuster5
    Central MN
    Posts: 3,545

    Depends what you’re doing. I have a 17’Lund w/40hp merc. Perfect for smaller lakes and backtrolling speed couldn’t be better. When I drive home from fishing a bigger lake, my eyes are pealing the end of the driveways looking for a rig with a 60-75 hp tiller!!

    Profile photo of mikehdmikehd
    La Crosse, WI
    Posts: 969

    I purchased an UltraCraft 16′ last year and put a Yamaha 40hp 2 stroke on it. I am happy with the boat control I now have on the river plus it gets up and moves when I want to and is good on gas. Bret and I have fished with 3 people in it comfortably, haven’t tried a 4th yet, that could be a little crowded. I have two locators on it, two batteries, and a front mount trolling motor. I’m happy with the choice I made (or wife let me make) as it fishes very well trolling, drifting and in rough water. I think I’m set for a while with this rig. Good luck in your decision.

    Mound, MN
    Posts: 314

    Got an 18′ Alumacraft tiller with a 70 HP 4-stroke on it. Love the room for fishing in it, and it goes fast enough for my purposes. Only problem with it is I tend to get a bit wet back there if the wind picks up to 15+ on me while I am out there.

    Profile photo of dan-larsondan-larson
    Cedar, Min-E-So-Ta
    Posts: 1,497

    I have a 93 17 foot Alumacraft Competitor with a 60 Horse Yami. The boat is built heavy, so it handles Mille Lacs well. Is also really easy to launch even in shallow water. I bought an 03′ Ranger 620 this winter, but there is no way I am selling the old rig. I love the control of a tiller and the wide open floor plan, only drawback is I only get 31mph. And like das_bass said, I get wet when I run paralell to the waves under windy conditions.

    Twin Cities
    Posts: 9

    I’m running a 1775 Pro-V with a 75 Merc tiller. I was looking for a console model but couldn’t pass up the deal on this boat. I really like the extra room, and the way it handles.

    The only drawbacks are the getting wet once in a while, and the tiller can take some muscle in heavy water. I’m talking 2 to 3 footers. Which isn’t very often. ( Like coming out of the narrows on Leech heading to the Walker Bay ramp )

    Would I buy another tiller? Definately.

    Good Luck with your decision.

    Holmen, WI
    Posts: 162

    i too have a 16’lund. i am going bigger on my next boat. like the rest of the reports 3 is good 4 gets a little thin. any time you get smaller kids in a boat consider it 1 1/2 people. consider too where you will store it. either find the biggest motor you can put on it or buy the biggest motor. 17′ gets decent room for all and 18′ is better yet. unless your ron seeloff a 20 tiller gets pretty big

    Stillwater, MN
    Posts: 178

    I have an 1890 Warrior(basically 19′) I was looking at going to 20′ but am very Happy I didn’t. The 1890 is plenty of room for the 4 of us. This is my second tiller of 4 boats and I will never go back to a wheel boat. It is powered by a 115 Johnson 4 stroke. The gas mileage is great, I get 40 mph out of it and it trolls way down, .5 mph backtrolling and 1.3-1.5 front trolling with no sock. I love the control of the tiller. I fish ML pretty much exclusively and I think this is the perfect size and ride for that lake. The power steer on the Warrior is just like running a wheel, almost like cruise control. you don’t even need to hold the tiller handle at any speed, steers with the touch of a button.

    avatarBrad Juaire
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts: 6,110

    I (just like T-bone) have a 1890 Warrior. Mine came with a 90 HP Mercury (2 stroke) so I put on a Yamaha T8 (4 stroke) kicker for trolling. I primarily troll crankbaits via planer boards on Mille Lacs. Here are my pros and cons about having a tiller.

    1) I have total control of my motors, my electronics and and my rods. Everything is in one spot with me in the middle.

    2) I use rod holders so I have easy access to all of them. If I’m fishing with multiple lines, I don’t have to run around a counsel or in between them to grab a rod quickly.


    1) Due to high winds and big waves, sometimes you can get beat up on Mille Lacs with a tiller. So far this year I cracked one of my metal seat brackets and also busted my steering rod on my big motor.

    2) When motoring across the lake in big waves, you are going to get wet with a tiller more than with a counsel. You just can’t get out of the way and hide behind anything.

    I’m on my 6th year with my Warrior and I’m considering a new rig for next year. I’m leaning towards getting a counsel mainly because my girlfriend fishes with me a lot and I want to make it as enjoyable for her as I can. Over the last couple of years, she has taken on some pretty bad elements and I don’t want to ruin a good thing.

    Just my 2 cents…

    Profile photo of marty28marty28
    Mendota Heights, MN
    Posts: 280

    I agree with Grifter, basically you are going to get wet alot. I have a ’97 Lund Pro-V Gary Roach edition with a 100 2-stroke Merc. i love the storage space and the ability to fish 4 comfortably. I’ve never had a counsel set up, so I guess I don’t know what I might be missing.

    Profile photo of walleyebuster5walleyebuster5
    Central MN
    Posts: 3,545


    I’ve never had a counsel set up, so I guess I don’t know what I might be missing.

    I’ve done both,,and it’s my opinion that you have wayyy better control when trolling raps with a tiller.. However, it was my first time trolling with a wheel so I may be wrong. I just thought speed control and staying on exact depths is much easier with a tiller. but yes, you will get wet!

    Northern Twin Cities, MN
    Posts: 11,403

    Wally Buster
    Are you talking about trolling and control from the wheel or with a tiller kicker on a wheel boat?????

    Posts: 387

    I run a 1890 Pro V Gary Roach with a 90 Yamaha tiller. I’d never go to a console boat. A tiller just fits the way we fish, alot of controlled contour slip drifting, backtrolling, trolling trolling, more room for casting and moving around the boat for slip-float fishing etc etc etc.
    Sometimes u do get wet, but its usually more do to operator error than anything else. I got it down pretty good now. Keep the bow high, just barely on plain when going into big rollers (i mean big ). You get a feel for what u gotta do to move at a good clip and still stay safe and dry.
    If i get another boat it will probally be a 20 footer like the alaskan or the 2010 pro-guide, but i really like the set-up i got now so don’t see much need for change any time soon unless i win the lottery . The 90 Yamaha 4 stroke steers like a dream, up on plain or chugging. The easy lever adjust steering tensioner is really nice.
    I’ll run 38-39 with just me and fully loaded gear and livewells, 35-36 with another person or two or three. It doesn’t seem like how much i load it down, it always gets 35mph, which is plenty fast for me, and most of the time u can’t go wide open when your fishing in 4 foot rollers and bigger like Winnibigoshish is most of the time.
    Sips gas like i can’t believe, definetly cheaper than running a 225 or something on a 21′ glass boat i imagine,

    Ramsey, MN
    Posts: 3,487

    My next boat will be a tiller. I grew up fishing out of my Dad’s full windshield boats. They are great for bobber fishing and drifting, but that windshield acts like a sail and makes boat control so much tougher. In the last 5 years I have had the chance to fish out of and drive about every Warrior model out there. I have also been in a few Ranger 620 consoles and tillers, Alumacrafts, Lunds, and some other boats. Although I love running my Uncle’s new Warrior 2090 with the 175hp opti tiller, I think my next boat will be a 1890. Still a big and fast boat, but a little smaller to make boat control easier. I just love that cockpit/office feel in the tillers. Everything you need is within arms reach. I am always walking, running, and driving forward, so it is refreshing to jump in the boat and go backwards all day.

    Profile photo of walleyebuster5walleyebuster5
    Central MN
    Posts: 3,545

    Sorry,,I was saying that for me it’s much easier trolling with a tiller (forward when pulling raps) than it is with a 115 Yamaha steering column. Maybe that was the problem, kickers must be much easier to control..

    Northern Twin Cities, MN
    Posts: 11,403

    Posts: 35

    Does hull material change how wet you get? I have a 17′ Pro Angler and she likes to kick spray up, not down and out. Is anyone out there that has run both? I’m curious how a Fisherman or 1890 would compare.

    Profile photo of corey-studercorey-studer
    Posts: 423

    I’ve been very pleased with my Warrior 2090BT with a 135 Mercury OptiMax tiller for the past four years. I’m not exactly sure what the gas milage is, but I do know it uses a lot less gas and oil than my 125 Mercury tiller did, which was also on a 2090BT Warrior. Prior to my 20 footer, I ran an 1890BT Warrior with a 90 tiller. It was a great boat, but I feel that the extra 2 feet made a HUGE difference in ride and comfort. Boat control is about the same with maybe a slight edge to the 18 footer. Now with all that being said, I do fish Mille Lacs the majority of the time. However, the are a few instances where I wished I had a 14 footer for some of the little lakes or pot holes I like to fish.

    Farmington, MN
    Posts: 4

    I run a 2095 Yarcraft with a 150 Yamaha 4 stroke with the Mertens power steering. I have to say that I love this power steering over the Warrior pro tiller system. My last boat was an 1890 Warrior with a 90 Mercury which was great. However the extra two feet and wider boat is great for ride and much more room. I love the control of the tiller and with this bigger boat can pretty much handle the waves that Mille Lacs will bring in most conditions. As for the power steering you can steer the boat with two fingers at the throttle and not even move the tiller if you reach back and try to move it. I can run with a hand off the the throttle without any movement of the motor (but don’t recommend in case it ever failed). The reason I switched came down to features and the fact that a certain retailer now that sells them in Minnesota has pretty put most of the other dealers out of selling them and will not deal on the boats. This being said Warriors are a great boat also and I feel the weight of the glass boats and better shape control will make the boats run much smoother in the waves from my experience. There are some great aluminum boats also but I bleed glass and feel that tillers are the best way to go for total boat control.


    St. Louis Park
    Posts: 6

    Funny thing, I have just entered the sight to view posible console boats for sale. Now I read this thread and doubts reappear…
    I currently run a ’02 Crestliner Fishhawk 1750 (tiller)with a 75 hp Evinrude. Easy to operate, easy to pull, easy in and out. Purchased with the intent to fish lakes and rivers. Problem: I fish Mille Lacs more than anywhere and most often with my dad. We get wet and he has difficulty moving about the boat’s higher/wider platform. After this year’s opener on Mille Lacs (we fished not far from where our fellow IDA’r swamped that windy Sunday) I’m seriously considering a change to a full-console, deeper-hull configuration. At least for now, I’d sacrifice control for a more comfortable, safer ride for pops.

    Profile photo of gary_wellmangary_wellman
    West Metro
    Posts: 6,061

    Welcome to IDA!

    If your majority of fishing time is on Mille Lacs, in all weather, you may want to consider a bigger rig.

    However, if you fish multiple waters, I wouldn’t give up your rig for about anything!
    Like you said, not too big-not too small, easy to pull, easy in-out of ramps, awesome boat control.

    There are honestly A LOT of 17′ boats on Mille Lacs. I would have no reservation at all being in that boat on a typical “windy” day.

    avatarSartell Eye Guy
    Sartell, MN
    Posts: 614

    Gus, what kind of top end do you get with that boat, boxes full and 2 guys? Does it come out the hole O.K.?

    Thanks, Adam

    Profile photo of mille-lacs-guymille-lacs-guy
    Chaska, MN
    Posts: 284

    I’ve got a 2095BT Yar Craft with a 150 Suzuki and I get about 47 fully loaded for top end. Mine comes out of the hole fine. The Suzuki has a gear reduction system which helps it on hole shot.

    I can answer any other questions anyone has on the 2095BT Yar Craft as well.

    Profile photo of ducksmugglerducksmuggler
    Red Wing, MN
    Posts: 145

    I have a ranger 617 tiller with a merc. 75 four stroke and will never touch a wheel boat.

    I get 34-36 fully loaded with two guys

    Profile photo of koldfront kraigkoldfront kraig
    Inver Grove Heights mn
    Posts: 1,531


    Mine comes out of the hole fine. The Suzuki has a gear reduction system which helps it on hole shot.

    How does the gear reduction system work?

    Will this let you troll slower?

    How slow can you forward troll?


    Profile photo of derek_johnstonderek_johnston
    On the water- Minnesota
    Posts: 5,025

    I run a 17 tiller and prefer the smaller tillers for better boat control. I can swing it on a dime. My next rig will be an 18 so I can increase the horsepower. It will also have the Mert pro-tiller steering.

    With tillers, the only thing you sacrafice is comfort. Whats more important to you? Driving around staying dry when its windy or catching fish?

    Profile photo of walleyebuster5walleyebuster5
    Central MN
    Posts: 3,545


    Whats more important to you? Driving around staying dry when its windy or catching fish?

    DING DING DING.. We have a winner!

    Profile photo of koldfront kraigkoldfront kraig
    Inver Grove Heights mn
    Posts: 1,531

    So true!

    It’s funny watching the wheel boats during a hot jig bite in high winds.

    Too tough to forward troll in high winds with the bowmount, even if you have enough thrust.

    They see the tiller boats backing into the waves hovering over the fish and they try it with their kickers.

    Being it’s offset it doesn’t turn the boat as easy. Plus the extra hoarse power isn’t there.

    Then they fire up the big motor and drop it in reverse, too fast, darn it!

    Throw out the drift sock to slow down then try to steer with the wheel.

    I’ve driven wheel boats. It’s tough to spin the steering wheel to keep the boat in the right direction while your fishing with the other hand.

    Why are the steering wheels smaller on a boat than in a car? Wouldn’t it make it easier to steer with a bigger wheel?

    Profile photo of mille-lacs-guymille-lacs-guy
    Chaska, MN
    Posts: 284

    I’m not exactly how the gear reduction system works but it gives you better hole shot. It also means you swing a bigger pitch prop. Most guys with Yamaha run a 17 or 19 pitch and with Suzuki you would run a 21 or a 23 pitch. I run a 21 pitch and can forward troll at about 2.4 when it is dead calm and about 2 or less with wind. I have heard the Yamaha troll closer to 3 mph with no wind. I can back troll rigs with it if it is pretty windy otherwise I just use my vantage and that works fine. I troll a lot of cranks and don’t need a kicker, the big motor trolls slow enough.

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