Bowfishing Boat Project
|Well, the Muck-Boy Crew is at it again.
It seems like every few years one of us starts another boat project.
This time the Mizzou Crew is working on a Multipurpose Tin Boat. The
goal is to set up a fully functional, guide quality, bowfishing boat
that can easily be stripped down to accommodate 4 people fishing and
then outfitted to take out duck hunting. If you think that this sounds
like a lofty goal, then you probably will think we are crazy for trying
to have it completely done for under $1500! I will be posting updates
as we move forward in this project and posting a video once it is
completely done. Hopefully you will enjoy following the transformation
and maybe you will pick up a pointer or two along the way.
So here is the back story on how we ended up in the middle
of this project.
Interior, Paint, Wiring
and Lighting, Finished Product, Shakedown
The Guys from the Mizzou Crew caught
the Bowfishing Bug last year. Those of you that have tried this
fast paced and challenging sport know just how addicting it can
be. We spent most of the spring hunting off of bridges and watching
the fish surface just out of our reach. In late July I came across
a deal that was just too good to pass up, a 1979 16’ Crestliner
Deep-V with a mid-80’s 9.9 Johnson electric start and trailer.
This boat was definitely farm fresh and had been tucked away in
a barn for nearly 5 years. I brought a set of water muffs with me
and to my surprise the 9.9 fired up right way. Then, just a quick
negotiation and I was pulling away with a great boat for the bargain
price of only $400.
We had the opportunity to get it out on the water
a couple of times last year, unbelievably there was not a leaky
rivet on the boat. We didn’t have much luck bowfishing that
late in the season, but we were able to christen the boat with its
first few gar. The most important part of those trips was to try
to figure out how we needed to set the boat up to be successful
and comfortable with 3 guys shooting out of this boat. The plan
was to complete the boat over the winter and be ready to hit the
water come Mid-April.
With as bad as the winter was this year, we completed almost nothing
through February. What we had accomplished was to complete the planning
and start purchasing all of the materials. The biggest decision
that we had to make was the lights. This is biggest argument in
the bowfishing community, and we definitely didn’t go with
the traditional route! After a ton of research and weighing all
factors we decided to go with LED’s. The biggest factor for
us was not having to run a generator.
The Lights: We purchased a total of 8 – 50W LED’s. Here
are the specs:
• 12/24 Volt
• 4.3 Amp Draw @ 12v, 2.1 Amp Draw @ 24v
• 5000 Lumen
• 2700-3000k Color
The low amp draw, and running 4 lights on each side of the boat
should allow us at least 68 hours of bowfishing without having to
listen to a generator hum in the background the whole time. We chose
the 2700-3000k(Warm White) color due to its similarity to the color
of High Pressure Sodium lights. We fish the floodwaters and creeks
off of the Mississippi, and we are not going to see fish until they
surface no matter what lights we use. Hopefully, we will get great
water penetration when we do hit some inland lakes or more clear
rivers. We also purchased 2 – 27W Cree LED Lights for use
We are planning on running 3 12 volt batteries, the first battery
will power the Trolling motor, bilge pump and electric start. The
other two batteries will be wired together to create a 24v system
and will power the lights exclusively.
We also completed some upgrades to the trailer this winter. The
original trailer set up was pretty rough, the boat was usually launched
in the farmers front yard so he could check his property when the
Mississippi flooded. We extended the tongue by just over 2’
and added a new Coupler. We fabricated a new Winch Stand/Bow Stop
and an adjustable roller guide. The final step will be painting
it and adding new bunk supports.
When the weather broke, we really needed to kick it into gear if
we are wanting to be on the water by mid-April. The list of things
to complete was extremely long and time consuming. Here is a breakdown
of what we have completed so far.
Trailer - Update 4/24/2014
The trailer is painted and will be complete when we put the carpeted
pressure treated bunk boards on this weekend. We added the new Custom
Winch Block and Keel Roller, a second set of bunks and a wheeled trailer
jack. The 3 foot extension with the add-ons and the paint job really
made the trailer much more functional and it looks like a completely
different trailer. We did run into one small problem that we seen
coming, the dry rot on the tires have caught up with them and we will
have to replace them soon. Luckily, the local Farm & Home store
has them on sale for $52 each, but it is definitely a little bit of
a hit to the budget.
The trailer is complete with the addition of the carpeted bunk boards
and the new tires. It looks great and functions even better. We can
now open the truck tailgate with the boat attached and it tows like
a dream. We are thinking about adding guide-ons in the future but
that will not be until the off season.
Sticking with the non-traditional bowfishing boat theme, we will not
be putting a high raised platform on the front of the boat. We have
decided to make two casting platforms and 1 removable casting platform
to shoot off of. We decided to do this to accommodate 3 guys shooting
off of the same side of the boat. We also went this route because
we have a Deep-V and not 72” wide Flat Bottom and this boat
will be also used for other purposes.
The frame for each of these platforms was constructed out of 2x3’s.
It is then being decked with 5/8” plywood and carpeted with
indoor outdoor carpet. The most difficult part of this build was matching
the contours of the boat. We tried a couple different things and was
most successful using an exacto-knife and a roll of brown paper. This
paper folds and cuts easily, to create a template of the boat contours.
We also used large pieces of cardboard for a sturdy more precise template.
(We were able to get all of the cardboard that we needed at the local
elementary school public recycling bin.) The front and back permanent
decks will each have access hinged hatches. The one in front will
provide storage of the anchor and bow ropes. The two hatches on the
back platform will give access to the gas tank, battery and bilge
pump as well as access to the two batteries designated for lights
and a dry storage compartment.
While we were at it, we replaced the rotten wood on the bench seats.
Once everything was cut it was painted with forest green Porch &
Deck Sealing Paint to help extend the life of the lumber. We found
a gallon of this at Home Depot in the OOPS section of the paint department
for $7! With that in mind, I check the Cull lumber each time I am
at Home Depot for good deals. We purchased a couple of nearly full
sheets of plywood and the treated 2x4 bunk boards out of the cull
lumber section at 70% off the original price. Let’s be honest,
on a budget based project every dollar counts.
The interior is completely carpeted and disassembled awaiting the
return of the boat from paint. This will be installed this weekend.
The hinges will be painted to blend in to the carpet. Some small
upgrades were made just before we glued the carpet on; that we think
will really finish off the boat. We added Cup Holders to each bench;
every boat needs plenty of cup holders! We are also going to hard
wire in the bow and stern navigation lights, this way we will not
have to clamp on the lights and risk damaging the paint job. The
final step to finishing the interior will be to install the instrument
panel. We will be fabricating this out of a scrap piece of 24 gauge
metal and it will hold 6 marine electrical switches and the ignition
for the motor. Four of the switches will each have 2 of the 50W
LED lights on them, one will control the navigation lights and driving
lights and the final will control the automatic bilge pump. These
switches will be conveniently located within easy reach of the Captain
and allow complete control of the electronics.
Completed Interior: The interior is complete. Everything
is reassembled and it looks great. We did hard wire in the navigation
lights. We ran the wires along a lip towards the bottom. Once they
were enclosed in plastic tubing we used liquid nails to secure it
to the boat. This way, even if we have the light rail off of the
boat, we still have navigation lights. The instrument panel works
great, we are planning on adding a battery meter to it and change
the paint to camo.
We will be giving you a step by step of the painting process using
this stencil kits.
Updated 5/4/2014 Muck-Boy
Crew Member Charlie from Mobile Magic Auto Body laid the base coat
of Green Industrial Metal Paint late last week. We ran into a problem
as soon as it hit the boat. The paint was mixed incorrectly by the
paint company and it was not an Ultra Flat Paint. It was actually
more like a High Gloss Paint. This wouldn’t be a big problem,
unless you are trying to camo a boat. We scuffed the boat and then
were able to dust coat the boat with ultra-flat black paint and
remove the shine. While doing this we used the flat black to make
random lines to add shadows, and then we started with the Reelfoot
We will also be reassembling
and carpeting the platforms. Fabricating a 3/4” rail around
the boat, this will be used to mount the lights and will be useful
for mounting rod holders and eventually a duck hunting blind. The
final step of the process will be wiring the lights and attaching
all of the accessories.
The project should be complete by the end of April and we will be
posting updates as we hit milestones. We will also be posting a
parts list complete with prices to see how we did with our budget!
Make sure that you check back often to see how we are doing and
to see how everything works when we do get out on the water and
the arrows start flying!
and Lighting: To keep the project
cheap, we used ¾” EMT conduit to construct the light
rail. This is cheap, easy to bend to shape and will provide a secure
place to run the wires. We took a sheet of scrap MDF and traced the
contour of the boat rail, cut it and then secured it to a sheet of
plywood. We secured the conduit in place with scrap 2x2’s and
used the MDF to bend the conduit to match the rail. Once this was
complete we cut the tube to size and bent a rear section to mount
to the floor. We welded supports and used electrical plate covers
to mount the supports to the deck. Prior to painting the rail we drilled
the holes to secure the lights and to run the wiring. Once the rail
was painted, we ran all of the wires putting 2 lights on each set
of wires. We used 12g wire, we were able to get this wire for free
from a friend, so we used brown and yellow since it was free. Once
we had the rail wired, we drilled holes in the deck and ran the wires
through before mounting the railing. Each positive was wired to an
in-line fuse before attaching to the switch. We then connected wires
from the switch to a post mount, this will allow quick disconnect.
On a side note, if you plan to use EMT Conduit for a light rail, you
will probably want to use at least 1”. I wish that it was a
little larger and that I had drilled larger holes then 3/8”
to run the wires.
Product - As you can see by this report it took a
lot of hard work by the Muck Boy Mizzou Crew but we finally have a
good looking and functional BOWFISHING BOAT. We hope the report helps
anyone thinking of getting into this sport and mignt not have the
extra funds that starting out with a small out lay of cash and a little
elbow grease you too can have a very functioal outfit that won't break
Down Cruise - Other than a few loose
rivits the boat worked as expected and everyone had a great time.
Come back soon to follow more up-grades.
Hunting Dog Finder, Waterfowl
Hunting Reports, Great
Lakes Fishing Reports, Public
Shooting Ranges, Travel
Outdoor Game Recipes,
Boy Gear, Contact
2005-2014, Muck-Boy.com LLC (All rights reserved)