Trips: 79 Hours: 208.5 Bass: 849 No. > 5#: 1
Finally got enough of everything completed to be able to take the jon boat out for its trial run. First a quick update on the more recently finished mods. Here is the upgraded trolling motor mount. The aluminum bracing was added and seems to be doing the job well. No sign of rocking or sway in the trolling motor now. The motor is the Endura 40 mentioned in the previous post.
The front deck is now installed and complete. It has a 4x4 post centrally located underneath for added support with aluminum L-angle on the sides. The deck was then screwed into the aluminum brackets using the 1/4 x 20 2.5" stainless screws. On the left you can also see the Tackle Rac added to the deck riser. This has 3 slots for pliers. scissors, etc. and another 12 holes for hanging lures and hooks. Just below and also on the left is the Rod Buckle system to secure rods and reels on the deck while moving. I also added the front storage lid. Inside I installed a flat floor with carpeting. For this trip I threw in 2 life jackets, a throwable cushion, a fire extinguisher, and a portable GPS and still had extra room. I'll also be adding a drift sock and an anchor inside the storage area. I've never carried either before, but both could come in handy with the way these light jon boats get blown around on breezy days.
One of my favorite additions to the boat is this command center. Lots of things added here. First, I added aluminum L-angle to form covered tackle storage racks. This setup holds 4-3600 and 2-3700 Plano storage boxes. On the top left you have a 4-lighted rocker panel switch plate from Cabela's which controls all navigation lights, the bilge pump and the livewell pump. Immediately to its right is a 12v tap outlet which I used today for the handheld GPS. The black, round covered plate on top is a built-in plug for the onboard 3-bank charging system. Just pull out an extension cord and plug right in after a day of fishing and forget about it. To the far left you'll see the Johnny Ray swivel mount which is installed and will hold the Lowrance X-15MT with GPS. That setup is currently on the Triton but will be transferred over before I go ahead and sell it. Finally, it's all topped off by a carpeted deck extension that is flush with the back deck and screwed into the 2x2 framing with 2.5" wood screws in half a dozen places. There is also an aluminum L-angle support that you can't see attached to the boat's side that supports the far edge of the panel so you can easily step on and fish off that part just like the back deck. Finally, a foldable drink holder that sits at the base of the rear bench and easily reached while running the boat from the plush offset Triton swivel seat.
The rest of the mid-section holds the 3-bank MinnKota charger and 2 Interstate Megatron batteries. They (the batteries) are currently wired in parallel for doubling the 12v trolling motor systems run capacity. At present, I could run wide open at 40# of thrust for over 4 hours solid before worrying about running low! As I believe I also mentioned previously, I chose to remove the original green carpeting in thos portion and replace with matching gray marine grade carpeting like used on the rest of the boat.
Finally, the back lid had light holders added for storage when not in use. The bilge pump and an Everstart Group 27 Deep Cycle battery sits back there. The deep cycle runs everything electrical in the boat except the trolling motor. Additionally, all wires running for electrical run through the left side channel of the boat and the trolling motor wires all run through the right side channel to avoid any electrical interference with depthfinders or GPS units.
As for todays trip, things got off to a bad start when it took nearly 1 hour to get the Yamaha motor running. It is a rope start and I believe after sitting unhooked for nearly 4 weeks, it got so drained and dried for fuel that it took forever to get fully flooded. I'm not so sure I don't have a bit of an air leak in the hose somewhere that wasn't allowing the fuel line to keep good pressure. That will probably be a replacement item over the winter if not sooner. I've added some tape to seal a couple of the line connections so hopefully eveything will work fine now. Once we did get it started and running, she fired on the first pull for the rest of the evening. I'm still completely worn out from all that effort to get her going in the first place though. I'll probably be sore tomorrow (LOL).
Once up and running though, with a partner and his gear along (estimated 200# extra) the boat still ran 13.5 mph (GPS) wide open. I'm guessing by myself I'll top 15 or better, which was my target. Might get the chance to test solo tomorrow. One thing I really noticed is that 190 extra pounds really makes a difference with boat angle in the water, everything from running to trolling motor height in the water. Broke the ice nicely though with this first bass for the new boat. We ended up catching about a dozen in the 2 hours we actually got to move around and fish. Also picked up half a dozen decent sized white bass. Water was lightly stained and green, and had cooled down to 64-67 degrees depending on where we were.