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The Tracker Sportsman has two bench seats: one in the center with a livewell and another in the stern. First, I carefully measured every dimension of the Tracker and drew top and side views using a computer drafting program. One problem with previous jon boat upgrades I’d helped with was limited access to under-deck storage.
In an earlier jon boat conversion project, I had used 2 x 4 wood bracing, but it added too much weight to the boat while reducing storage space. My middle bench seat was three inches lower than the short, front deck on my Tracker jon boat. After I had sealed the plywood with a couple coats of Bondo® polyester fiberglass resin, I cut and glued marine carpet on the three panels as well as the middle bench seat and front deck.
In order to make the brace at the same height across the back surface of the front deck, I measured down, marked my level line, and then riveted the aluminum L-frame brace in place as a right-side up L. With the front and back transverse braces in place, I then turned my attention to the four longitudinal braces. To add rigidity, I cut four short studs from my aluminum stock, trimmed the ends, and then riveted them to ribs at the bottom and to the two braces already in place. Last, I laid my carpeted, three-panel deck in place, drilled holes though the center panel and through the two middle braces, squirted some epoxy into the drilled holes to seal the raw wood edges, and then bolted it down with stainless steel nuts and bolts. This configuration has worked out very well, but if I were to do the job differently, I might consider attaching it so I could remove the center bracing and panels as a single unit. For the back hatch, I decided to use the back inch of the bench as support for the plywood hatch.
As with the front sections, I sealed the plywood with resin and attached carpet before bolting everything in place. With all the carpentry completed, I ran trolling motor and lights wiring up the port channel and sonar wiring up the starboard channel. The red dot you see and the black receptacle underneath that are 12-volt accessory outlets for my spot light and UV light. Finishing touches were addition of a circulating pump in the livewell and a bilge pump next to the drain plug.
I also used short sections of closed-cell pipe wrap to cover the metal edges around the rod locker to protect my rods’ lacquered finishes.
The trolling motor brace I fabricated is made of scrap steel bracing, a few stainless steel connectors (for attaching it to the deck), and three steel bolts (to attach a short section of pressure-treated 2 x 4), which I found rummaging around in the workshop.
I also cobbled together a spring-loaded version from spare parts in my workshop — two heavy-duty springs, an exterior door hinge, some steel plate and blocks of wood.
Ty Wall’s Jon Boat Conversion photo journal takes you from bare boat to finished project.
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2015 Lowe Boats L1448MT 14 foot Big Jon Mod-V Bow 20 inch TransomEconomical to own and easy to power Lowe Jons have been serving anglers hunters and commercial clients since 1972. 2015 Lowe Boats L1436 14 foot Lake Jon Flat Bow 15 inch TransomEconomical to own and easy to power Lowe Jons have been serving anglers hunters and commercial clients since 1972. Jon boats are an almost compulsory item for anyone interested in bass fishing, whether he’s an amateur or a pro. Before you do anything else, first haul the boat out of the water and place it on the trailer. Most people who go online in an attempt to find their perfect boat look at very specific criteria. People search for the standard length of such a boat around 14 feet as most have used this in the past.


A common policy of most boat manufacturers is to prohibit dealers from publishing any price other than MSRP. Before you leave, learn about the Secret Weapon Innobait™ Tackle System and customize a kit that provides you with virtually unlimited options. There is also a small elevated deck in the bow, which is too small to serve as a casting platform. That turned out to be a huge benefit, since I was able to add and refine several ideas without ever touching a piece of wood or hand tool.
My solution was to make the front deck from three plywood panels, arranged so that two of them could serve as large hatches, enabling me to easily store and retrieve gear. When I swing open the hatches, rods and gear roll into the center of the boat rather than over the gunwales and into the lake. I wanted to span between them with plywood decking to create a large casting platform with two hatches that could be opened to access the storage space below deck, and I wanted it flush with the middle bench seat. I measured that far down from the top of the bench seat, marked the level, and riveted an inverted aluminum L-frame brace across the entire front of the bench seat. I needed two parallel ones in the center, spaced the width of the center deck panel, and two more to attach to the gunwales.
That done, a 350-pound man could safely walk across my deck without it sagging under his weight.
That would mean using eight wing nuts — four to attach the vertical braces to the ribs, and four to attach the two center braces to the transverse braces riveted to the bench and casting deck.
I screwed aluminum L-frame brackets to the wooden transom and trimmed the plywood panel to fit. The hinges are stainless steel, and the lift handle for the rear hatch is a low-profile aluminum gate handle.
I also have a receptacle at the stern so I can run two black lights when fishing with a partner at night.
Toggle switches for them are mounted under one of the rear corner deck braces where they won’t be kicked but are easy to reach. I decided to use a stern-mount 36-pound thrust trolling motor and attach it to the front to free up casting deck space. The advantage of this design is that is swivels when you run the trolling motor into stumps, saving wear and tear on the motor (and keeping you in the boat).
Some are wide enough to be suitable for elevated decking, but most are too narrow and tend to roll dangerously if the occupants’ center of gravity is too high. Since every model of jon boat is different and what you want to do with the boat after you’ve finished modifying it is unique to you, then you need to dream, measure, plan, and draft or sketch the modifications that are right for you. They will be glad to sell you their book and plans, and the results are entirely satisfying. And if you’re the kind of angler who likes to modify and improve his equipment to get the most out of every moment on the water, be sure to stop by the Secret Weapon Lures site to learn of the biggest change in spinnerbaits in the last 50 years. Contact NR Motors at 250-563-8891Included Options:Economical to own and easy to power Lowe Jons have been serving anglers, hunters and commercial clients since 1972. They show a specific design that is usually characterized by a low hull, sleek design and captain’s chair on the front end of the bow, and they operate outboard motors that power them silently through low trailing fishing grounds, thanks to a trolling motor mount. But if you want to put your Jon boats for sale, there is some information you need to digest first in order to get the best deal possible.
To find an accurate estimation of what you can expect for your Jon boat, go online to websites such as Kelley Blue Book or the NADA and search there.
Ensure that you place references to your engine, trolling motor, boat year, as well as the overall condition of the boat and the pictures you took.
A particular point of interest for those looking at Jon boats is whether it has been rigged to go into salt waters.
Bigger builds will also sell but not as fast as they are not always in demand, while smaller boats in the 10 to 12 feet range are not really all that profitable to resell. If there is no price listed for a new boat, it is because we are complying with the manufacturer's requirements. Modify your spinnerbaits and buzzbaits right on the casting deck in seconds, without tools. I have fished out of many jon boats with partial or full decks, and I wanted a design that improved on storage space, ease of access, and usable deck space.
I was also able to identify all the components I would require to do the job, and I purchased or scrounged everything I needed before I started drilling and sawing.


The three panels are hinged at the two joints so that the hatches swing inward, like gull-wings. If I hinged along the outside, I would have probably attached the hatches to two tapering plywood decking strips, which would have reduced their width.
I had to decide if I wanted to slope the plywood up to the level of the front casting deck or make it parallel to the built-in surfaces, and I settled on the latter. I cut the two center ones to length, trimmed the ends, and riveted them to the transverse braces. One of the best features of this design is ease of access to all the under-deck storage while the boat is on the trailer. Simply unbolting and lifting off the panels and bracing would restore the boat to its original configuration if I decided to crouch down low in the boat for duck hunting. After studying on it awhile, I decided to take on some extra weight and added another plywood panel on top of the rear bench seat. Still on my to-do list is to add three locking latches to protect my storage compartment contents while the boat is unattended.
Gray electric PVC tubing was a snug fit, but it makes a neat job and keeps the wires protected and out of sight.
I never got around to mounting it on the boat or trying it out, but in the shop it performed well.
Do not add a casting deck with pedestal seating if the boat is not at least five feet wide. The Minnow Bucket offers fabrication details and photos of this first-rate conversion project. Once you’ve gotten rid of the dirt, start rubbing the curbside using wax and chamois to make it shine.
Enter the year of manufacture along with the engine make and condition of the boat to get an approximation of the price. Take this ad and place it on websites that cater to your region (as the buyer will, in most cases, have to come and pick up the boat by himself).
I ordered a boat carpet kit from Bass Pro Shop, but most of the other supplies were already in my workshop or could be found at the Home Depot and a marine supply store. I then made sure I positioned the outside pair on the same plane as the center longitudinal braces and then riveted them at both ends and to the ribs that extended up the sides of the boat.
When afloat, I just reach in from the center bench or fold the hatch flat on the center panel, get what I need, and then close it back. Also, some jon boats already have limited freeboard (the sidewall area that’s out of the water), and adding heavy plywood decking makes them ride too low in the water to be safe.
And to really upgrade your capabilities, take a look at our Recoil Rig — new for 2009.
To put all the chances on your side, also place Sale signs on your boat when it is in a trailer, so that passer-bys who are interested may also inquire about your Jon boat.
The ideal size to sell online is a 15-footer, as an extra inch allows folks to lie down and rest rather easily. That ensured the rear deck was flush all the way across both panels, and it also resulted in a much more secure surface to later anchor my seat pedestal receiver. Even though I had a few parts and materials lying around already, and I bought others at discount, I still had to shell out some money for this project. However, even if you have a narrow jon boat and need to stand on the floor or sit on seats attached directly to the benches, there are still plenty of things you can do to improve comfort as well as functionality. Make sure to vary the angles as to catch the whole boat, without forgetting about the sides and the hull underside. But if you want to reach a wider audience and don’t necessarily care to sell to someone in your area, you can add eBay to your list.
However, 14-footer Jon boats for sale are mostly preferred because of the price and easy availability of parts. That turned out to not be a problem; I just trimmed the aluminum so it fit into place and then riveted everything together. Some exceptions may apply to oversized and overweight items, as well as tires and hazardous materials.



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