In the 18-foot jet boat he uses for muskie fishing, Scott Smith navigates shallow, narrow rivers with ease. The outboard jet drive’s lack of a propeller allows the boat to skim through waters only 2 to 3 inches in depth. John McCoy | Gazette-Mail photo

By: John McCoy, Outdoors Reporter | Posted: June 16, 2018 | Source: WV Gazette-Mail

CLENDENIN — Holding the throttle wide open, Scott Smith steered his boat into a narrow, shallow side channel on West Virginia’s Elk River at nearly 30 miles an hour.

Rough-water waves slapped at the aluminum hull. Smith ducked an overhanging tree limb and threw his craft into a controlled skid that skirted a gravel bar by mere inches.

It was over in seconds. The boat zipped through the shoals and roared into a long, green pool. Smith relaxed and grinned.

“See? This boat can go places [propeller-driven] boats can’t go,” he shouted over the motor’s roar.

To a casual observer, Smith’s craft looks like…