by Gary Koehler
Make no mistake: This is not your grandfather's johnboat. Just as today's waterfowl hunters have ready access to clothing made of space-age fabrics, extremely efficient shotguns, warm waders, top-of-the-line game calls, and a wide array of shotshell options, this once-homely watercraft is now available with seemingly all the bells and whistles one could desire.
Because of the popularity of the johnboat nationally, many manufacturers offer upgraded models that can legitimately be described as customized rigs. Which accessories are added is left to the whim of the buyer. One gun box won't do? Have another one put in. Need the boat wired for lights? No problem. A camo paint job? Done.
"A segment of our customer base uses the same boat for fishing as well as duck hunting," says Mike Ward, president of War Eagle Boats, the Official Aluminum Boat of Ducks Unlimited. "You rig a johnboat the way you want it, and you don't have to go out and buy a $30,000 bass boat to go fishing. A lot of people can't afford both a bass boat and a duck hunting boat. They recognize the versatility that a johnboat provides."