I get lots of traffic to the site looking for information on jon boats and jon boat customizing. One of the sub-topics that seems to be popular is what to do about livewell space. Whether you're fishing a tourney of some sort or just wanting to keep your fish fresh until you get home, a good livewell is a nice addition to your boat.
I'm fortunate in that the jon boat I customized, a Lowe 1648M, came with a built-in 20 gallon livewell. It wasn't overly functional though, having a mere drain plug in the bottom to both fill or empty as needed. So I had to do some retrofitting to get the set-up I wanted.
I started by drilling a hole through the right side of my hull, just below the waterline and installing an inlet for the livewell fill pump. This is actually placed just in front of the livewell location within the boat to assure the shortest route to the livewell along with the bonus of keeping all the plumbing "hidden" by being under the front deck. Be sure and use a lot of silicone sealant along with a rubber gasket to avoid any future leaking.
Next, I installed the pump and ran the wiring while the floor decks were still off the boat. The inlet went into the top corner of the well and again, a healthy dose of silicone and rubber gaskets were used to seal the inlet. Also be sure and tighten the hose clamps well when you run the tubing from the pump to the inlet, but don't overtighten either. The plastic fittings can be cracked if you apply too much pressure to them.
Since I do fish an occasional tournament or two from time to time, as well as keeping crappie in the well on my fall trips, I wanted to add a recirc pump for additional aeration. This was accomplished by mounting a second pump with separate wiring inside the livewell opposite of the primary fill pump. You can actually put it anywhere the piping fits. I also raised my pump a couple inches off the floor of the livewell when installing to avoid collecting a lot of the regurgitated pieces of "stuff" fish seem to expel at times when confined to a well.
After using this recirc pump last fall, I think I'm going to modify it from the little cap sprayer that it currently has to a spray bar mounted at the top inside of the well. It seems like the little cap is always getting either blown off or knocked off on most trips. You could seal it shut onto the top of the tube, but then you can't easily clean out the pump. I think the spray bar will be the way to go on this.
Finally, I ran all the wiring back to my control panel and hooked the two pumps up separately to their own fused rocker switches. This allows me the maximum freedom to run and operate the setup as needed, and it can all be done from where I sit and run the main engine.
You can find all the supplies you need to convert your well at most any boating or marine center. Many times they come supplied as an entire kit such as THIS ONE from Cabela's. You also don't have to have a built in well to do this. You can easily convert most any portable, insulated cooler into a great jon boat livewell using the same basic procedures and supplies. For instructions and examples of how to do that, check out the following links to web pages detailing this process: