Walleye-Boat-Project-2012


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Walleye Boat Project
Last summer we decided to get back into walleye fishing, but first we need to a find a nice, used boat. Our criteria for choosing a boat were:

1. A solid aluminum hull,

2. An outboard motor,

3. Plenty of room to fish,

4. A fairly unmodified boat that would allow us to set it up the way we wanted.

Our search didn't last long. The second boat we viewed turned out to be just what we were looking for. We found an 18-foot Starcraft Mainer with a 85 horse Johnson outboard. The boat was amazingly clean and stored inside with no add-ons. It came with a working Marine Radio, an Eagle LCD fish finder, a live well and a trolling board that attaches to the boat with Eagle Feet.

Before we made any decisions on rigging the boat for the 2012 season, we decided to do a couple of test trips on Saginaw Bay. To do this we added four in-line planners as well as a couple of rod holders and four, six-foot, medium-action, one-piece rods with line counter reels. After these two trips we had a better understanding of how we would want to fish this boat.
3-17-12 - List of upcoming projects include, replacing the Marine Radio antenna mound with a rail mounted stainless steel mount. Adding a planer board mast that we pick up off of Craig's List. Adding tracks on the gunnels to mount rod holders. Replace the existing graph with a updated unit that includes GPS mapping. Replace the existing rod holders on the console with smaller units that will hold the rods when running at top speed. Future projects will include upgrading the trolling board and adding a pair of downriggers.
Project #1 Install Tracks of the gunnels.

There are many tracks of the market and they can be purchased at larger tackle or boating retailers or the internet. We choose this brand because we have some of this manufacturers product on our salmon fishing boat and like the quality and it is readily available in Mid-Michigan.
The gunnels on this boat are so long we choose the longest stock units we could find, four footers, this will give us the ability to adjust rod holders to where they are required and more space for other accessories as needed.
The gunnels on this boat are thin and flexible, to get the solid mounting that we required we added a backer at each set of attachment points. For the backer we just used extra plywood that was in the shop. Each was painted with a coat of exterior primer and exterior paint.
We then located where the tracks where to be mounted length ways on the gunnels. Drilled a set of holes at one end of the track, mounted the backer board with stainless steel screws, ny loc nuts and fender washers and tightened, while making sure that the track stayed in alignment along the gunnels. When we were satisfied that the alignment was correct we then finished installing the rest of the hardware and backer boards. The tracks are solid and should hold all the rod holders that we are planning on using.

Project #2 Install Planner Board Mast.
As you know making sure a boat has all the correct equipment on it when going out after the big ones can get expensive, so we are always searching Graig's List to pick up good equipment at a reasonable cost. That is how we got this planner board mast, saving about hundred dollars over a new unit. The seller even threw in a couple extra spools of line.
Just like the gunnels the aluminum of the bow is thin and flexible. The manufacturer did install three stringers to reinforce this area. The mast was mounted by adding a backer made of extra painted plywood that spanned the stringers and bolting the mast's mounting plate through both the center stinger and backer using stainless steel screws, ny loc nuts and fender washers.

Our next project was to clean up the sides of the center console. From the pictures you can see that the old rod holders were large and the ability to hold rods was gone. During our tests fishing trips last summer the rods kept falling out of the holders on the center console. Also the marine antenna bracket was week and had trouble holding the antenna in position. The first step was to determine where to mount the antenna bracket, because the old one was mounted right where rods and rod holders should be, we decided to purchase a stainless steel unit that mounted to the rail, this was very easy to install. We also purchase smaller rubber rod holders off the internet, these fit the new rods that we purchased to fish walleyes and perch much better. Of course we had to do something about all the holes that were left in the console. A couple pieces of white oak trim cut and routered to fit the angles of the console covered all the holes. We also finished these with Silkens.



Boat decals provided by Thumb Area Sign and Design



5-20-2012 - We put the walleye boat on the water for the first time today.
We had a couple of extra hours this morning to see how the additions we had put on it this past winter work. As expected everything worked as planned. The mounting process we used for the mast and tracks is solid and positioned correctly. The rod holders proved to be easy to adjust to the conditions.


Come back soon to follow more up-grades.