Monday, May 26, 2008

The Boat...

I finally purchased my boat. I found it on I highly suggest checking out your local craigslist listings to find good deals on small boats like this jon boat. 

The boat is in great shape. It is a 14' Grumman jon boat. It has a modified-v front and is 36" wide on the bottom. It came with a fish finder, 40# thrust transom mount trolling motor, trailer (in good shape), and a battery. I paid $950 for everything. 

I've asked questions on different message boards about the price and many people tell me stories of how they purchased their 14' boat with all the extras for ridiculously small amounts like $350. To me, that's just a great deal that you can't expect to find. I doubt that these other boats were in the type of condition mine is in either. If you can find an outstanding deal like that, then definitely jump on it. Just make sure you're not "getting what you paid for" if you pay such a low price. Overall, this package would cost upwards of $2000 brand new.

Now begins the process of converting this aluminum hull into a real bass boat.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Choosing the Right Boat

I have been deliberating long and hard about what type and size of boat will be best. In the past, I’ve only fished off of larger saltwater fishing boats and a 10’ aluminum, oar powered jon boat. Like many others I’ve come across on the WWW, I’m concerned about stability once I add decking which will raise the boat’s center of gravity. I am considering either a flat-bottom 14’ jon boat or a 14’ v-hull boat. (See below: top - jon boat, bottom - v-hull, post-conversion)

I have heard on multiple separate occasions, people endorse either one over the other as being more stable. Having never been in a v-hull or jon boat that size with decking built in, I really do not know for sure. But, I do have some experience in a small jon boat.

My friend Chuck (who stands 6’4” at 240 lbs.) and I used to fish from a 10’ jon boat on an extremely small pond. Although the boat was small, we would often stand up to fish at the same time. Although it wasn’t the most stable of situations, we never ended up in the drink.

Considering this, I have been leaning towards the jon boat since I will be looking into a 14’ x 36” model which will be even more stable. Also, although v-hull modifications are nice, I really like the look of the elevated decks on the jon boats as opposed to the basic “flooring” installed on most v-hull conversions. I'm also very wary of putting decking near the top of a v-hull (see above). Maybe someone with more experience in both of these types of vessels could make a better decision. For now, I’m looking for a jon boat.

If I do convert a 14’ jon boat, I will definitely install two pedestal seats to keep the anglers’ weight toward the center line of the boat and help maintain balance. I made this a priority in my mind after watching this demonstration.

I am currently looking into buying a 2003 G3 War Eagle 1436 Jon Boat with a trailer, 2 trolling motors, and an unknown Johnson outboard that was listed on eBay. Asking price is $1,300. Hopefully, the motor will be in good shape and I’ll still be able to walk away with the package for not much more than $1k. If all goes well, she’ll be mine by the weekend. 

About this blog...

live in Northern New Jersey. Even though the bass fishing window is smaller here in the north than say, California or Florida, I still love to fish from April to November (ill-advisedly even later on occasion).

I’m graduating from college in less than three weeks. As a graduation present, my parents are generous enough to purchase me my first fishing boat. With a price range between $1,500 and $2,000 I had a couple of options. I considered finding a pre-rigged bass boat, but it was nearly impossible to find one in that price range that was manufactured post-1970 without needing considerable work done. My second option, as I found out from searching the Internet, was to purchase a newer, less-expensive, flat-bottom jon boat and turn it into a brand new fishing vessel. See an example below.

Although there are many fishing websites and forums on this topic, I’m still finding the process of gathering information and getting solid opinions difficult. Considering that, I have decided to record the process from beginning to end.

The first topic will be about deciding on a boat, because that is where I am now (can’t get much earlier in the process than that). I will share my personal opinions based on any experience I pick up during this process and I will also post links to places that really help me make my decisions. I figure that by the time my rig is ready to set sail, I’ll have a wealth of information for those who follow (and also a how-to guide for myself in the future if the experience is worth repeating).

So, if you’re considering one of these “conversions”, then follow along with me as we learn what it takes to turn your jon boat into a bass-catching (crappie-catching, catfish-catching, pike-catching, bluegill-catching, etc.) machine.