Evolution of a shallow river boat

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by mcseal2, Jun 9, 2009.

  1. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    I bought a Lowe modified V 1648 3 years ago with a 25hp Johnson to start fishing rivers. I have since modified it several times over the past few years to equip it better for my needs. My modifications are pretty crude, mostly from things around the ranch, but they work. Here is a few of the things I have done in the process


    -On the trailer pic notice the lights are mounted on an overhead bar. This has been priceless in loading and unloading in river current and darkness. The bar gives you something to get ahold of when loading and the lights show you exactly where you need to get to
    -Installed 12 volt power in convenient locations, switched from the operators seat
    -Converted cigarette lighter accessories to the 2 wire plugs like ATV sprayers use, they cause many less problems
    -Turned the center seat compartment into a battery box & life jacket storage
    -Added a steel bar to the nose to tie to and use as a base for magnetic light bar for night driving
    -Added a 30ft chain to the front for tying the boat overnight, or in the event of trouble
    -Welded the eye to the boat the chain attaches too
    -Put a piece of baler belt over the front deck where the chain rides to eliminate noise
    -Installed a separate battery box (6 pack cooler) in the rear of the boat for the starting battery
    -Added LED lights to the back corners for running the long shaft motor or fishing off the back of the boat
    -Replaced the 25 horse outboard with a 13hp longtail mud motor to run shallow, it was like 4 low for a boat this size. You could go anywhere but not over 4-7mph
    -Replaced the 13hp longtail with a 31hp Mud buddy Hyperdrive. I have put 45hrs on it so far, and it has performed well. I am installing a new prop this week and will see how much speed I gain. Right now I get 18-22mph depending upon current and load. I can run in 3" of water on plane at 20mph, but if I slow down I am stuck. In sand like I run prop wear has been severe, but I am adding a rock guard with the new prop.
    -Added a motor shim to the Mud Buddy transom mount to get the prop to clear the water further for neutral
    -Added a 12 gallon fuel tank in the nose of the boat for weight distribution
    -Bought 2 Richter river anchors, they work great. Added Gatorade bottles on clips to the anchor ropes so I can have anchor rope floats if I need to get away and come back for my anchor

    I will add more pics and post speeds with the new prop next week
     

    Attached Files:

  2. TNfisherman

    TNfisherman New Member

    Messages:
    4
    State:
    Memphis, Tennessee
    It's cool to see how someone modifies their rig for their specific needs. Smart thinking about the gatorade bottle trick. You never know if river current or a big floating tree is going to bear down on you and you have to move quick!
     

  3. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    Got the speeds tested last night with the new prop

    The hull weighs 350 with seat & the motor weighs 210

    Boat was loaded with:
    2 guys, 230 & 320
    2 batteries 100lbs
    12 gallons of fuel 100lbs
    Misc fishing & boating gear 100lbs
    27lb flat & 40lb livewell
    20lb blue heeler

    Total weight is about 1497lbs

    Upstream ran 21-23mph
    Downstream ran 25-26mph

    Faster than I want to navigate the river I am on most times!
     

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  4. recordbreakin1

    recordbreakin1 New Member

    Messages:
    746
    State:
    texas
    Great job on the boat Heath.
     
  5. LiveWire

    LiveWire New Member

    Messages:
    107
    State:
    LaVergne, Tennessee
    Good lookin vessel my friend! Makes me want to spend some quality time with mine upgrading it...
     
  6. plainsman

    plainsman New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    7,187
    State:
    minnesota
    Lots of work done, but it should pay off. Thanks for posting ideas
     
  7. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    I did some more modifying to the boat I thought I would add, and got some current pictures. Here are the new additions

    -added a removable scoop shovel handle for operating the motor standing

    -added 4 RAM rod holders to the rear seat, if you buy these they are nice for their ability to fish at any angle but buy the 119D heavy duty series. I got 2 standard and 2 heavy duty when I bought mine and the heavy ones are much sturdier for big cat rods. They also fold out of the way for running the motor.
    -added a driver's seat on a board between the middle and rear bench.

    -screwed a knife and pliers sheath into the board, also a flashlight holder so they are always handy

    -added a second old knife & sheath to the front left corner so you can reach one if you get hung up from anywhere in the boat

    -rigged a cooler with a 12v aerator for bait, also on the 2 wire plug
    -replaced the rear lawnmower battery for starting with a second big marine battery, 1 in the middle seat and 1 in the back, they run the aerator and all the lights great.

    The prop wear is greatly reduced now that I have the boat balanced right and have learned to run it correctly, which means fast and on plane where it is shallow. I may still go through a props, but not near as fast as I thought. The old prop was getting to worn to push me fast and I wasn't planing out with a big load and therefore was wearing it severely. The new prop has 20 hours on it and shows no wear despite hitting a couple logs and 1 sandbar. The boat is fully set up and working great, now I just need more time to use it. I included a picture of my fishing buddy Captain Idiot with the monster that broke his rod last friday.
     

    Attached Files:

  8. nanookofthenish

    nanookofthenish New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    sw iowa
    Hey Heath, I too run shallow with a 16ft Lowe up here in Iowa. I would love to post some photos of the mods I have done to mine to help getting around where others dont dare. I dont have a go devil (would like to try one, but how much does a 35 hp one set you back?). My old faithful is a '57 short shaft 35hp 'rude up on a raised transom plate, not real pretty but it sure does get us places. If I didnt have a 4ft X 18" livewell on board we would plane even higher and hit less stuff, but that's what shear pins are for, and you got to have good live bait, right? Haa! Seriously, what happens when you do hit a log or a rock with one of them go-devils? Do they have a shear pin set-up, or are they on a rubber insulated drive shaft? Talk at you later. The outdoors is ours...
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2009
  9. CatHunterSteve

    CatHunterSteve New Member

    Messages:
    456
    State:
    Snowville, Va
    Nice boat Heith, well thought out, thanks for the pics and information!
     
  10. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    I got the rockguard kit installed yesterday and ran with it last night. It seemed to work well, I kept the motor down and ran over some sandbars that I wouldn't have without it. It didn't seem to wear the prop any. Our river is very low right now. I beached 3 times running downstream with a heavy load of camping/fishing gear. I left the gear and my passenger under a road bridge this morning and ran back up to the ramp easily with no problems. If you are planning to run in less than 8" of water with one of these, they will do it fine but not overloaded. Keep weight to a minimum and you will run fine. Prop wear and aggravation increase exponentially with weight.
     
  11. nanookofthenish

    nanookofthenish New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    sw iowa
    Hey Heath, thanks a bunch for your response. Sometime could you post a pic of your new rock guard setup? Curious to see what it looks like. The last time I tried a rock guard deal for my 'rude, it seemed to shovel more rocks into the prop instead of deflecting away, but that's a different bucket of fish than your go-devil setup. Thanks for the links - believe me, whenever the money tree is ripe again, I will definately look into one of these things. As far as our livewell, yeah, it's a little big. We usually pump out all but about 3 inches of water whenever we're on the fly, otherwise it is a huge amount of weight to lug around. On the plus side, we no longer have to torture big cats on a stringer all day, dragging them in and out of the boat for a move. Two 30's will lay in there nose to tail just fine and not fight or fuss much at all!
    While on the subject of shallow runnin', I have done some things to my trailer to make off loading and gathering back on in waters as shallow as a foot that have really eased our outings. Curious what you may have done to your rig. Cheers!
     
  12. BajaCoop

    BajaCoop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,199
    State:
    Poplar Bluff,MO
    why do you run a motor like that instead of an outboard jet?

    Our outboard jet will run in just a few inches of water no problem.
     
  13. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Running skinny is not exclusive to jets. It's been done with props for ions.
    If you have a real flats boat with a real tunnel (not just a box that some folks call a tunnel) and a hydraulic jack plate you can run 30-40 MPH in ankle deep water. It's done all the time.
    Big secret. These flats boats aren't made of aluminum either.
    The whole purpose of a tunnel is to raise a water column high enough so that the prop clears the bottom of the hull.

    The masters of running skinny are found in Florida. Alot of those guys run props not jets. The good ones will motor right over a dry sandbar with a prop. It's all in the timing and the throttle.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2009
  14. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas
    I will try to hit all the questions here

    I don't run a jet because I think the maintenance would be major where I run. I haven't been around them any, so I may be wrong. I run in shallow sand a lot, with plenty of other things mixed in for the jet to suck up. I have heard stories about the jet sucking something up and dying, letting your boat come off plane and leaving you stuck in shallow water with deep water many yards away. Also my motor is balanced on the transom so when I hit underwater objects it just pops up easily and doesn't hurt anything. These things were designed in the swamps for running in really nasty conditions so I figured if they are tough enough for that they will handle my needs well. I have no experience with the jets, but I stayed away from buying one after hearing this.

    As far as my rockguard, I don't have a picture but look on Mud Buddy's site on page 2 of accessories and it will show it.

    My trailer is pretty much stock, most of the ramps I hit are on the main channel in heavy current. The one thing it has is a bar overhead with the trailer lights on it. I use the bar as a target loading at night, and to hang on to to push the boat on straight when the current is shoving me off the trailer. I would hate to go without it after having it for a while. What have you done to your trailer to help it run shallow?
     
  15. nanookofthenish

    nanookofthenish New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    sw iowa
    Hey Heath, glad for your response. As far as the trailer mods go, my main point is that the powers that be up here in Iowa seem to always put the dern ramps in the wrong spot in relation to channel, current, etc. Every signifigant rise in river levels will ensure a ramp covered with 1-2ft of mud once the level goes down for sure. Couple that with low-water times in late summer means most of the boats that I see around here with their 2-2.5ft boat to ground clearance don't stand a chance of launching without a great deal of difficulty. Let alone trailering the boat again after all the beer and ice is gone! Ha!
    What I did a couple of years ago was to modify my trailer some to deal with these problems by inverting the axle to the top of the leaf springs instead of on the bottom. That dropped the boat a whole lot right there. Granted, I only have 1" of spring travel till it would bottom itself out, but the springs are real stiff anyway, and the deployment benefit is definately worth it. My trailer is converted from a v-hull boat to a flat bottom, and with the afformentioned drop, the back of my boat is 11" from the ground.
     
  16. nanookofthenish

    nanookofthenish New Member

    Messages:
    29
    State:
    sw iowa
    The lights sound like a good idea, but we hardly ever try to deploy or comeback while it's still dark. I did make a large U-shaped tube some years ago that acts as a guide, with its white pvc pipe over the beams, to help get it back on, even in current. Debated a long while whether to put those guides in the back of the trailer, or at the 'shoulder', and settled on the latter. Seems to work the best for us that way.
    Heath, what river(s) in KA do you fish? You go on the Kaw? I was actually born in Kansas, but haven't fished there a day in my life. Have you ever heard of a Tommy Berns and his book 'King of the Kaw'? I need to get that book for some good winter reading.
    Looks like we are'nt going out the 25th after all to the big Mo, all of our intended guest list are busy doing something else. Boo! Weekend after that for sure.
    Keep the fires burning river buddy. Someday we may share the same water. Peace.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2009
  17. mcseal2

    mcseal2 Active Member

    Messages:
    503
    State:
    Kansas

    I fish the Kaw and also several creeks that feed into it. I just got the surface drive this spring, so I am still doing a lot of exploring and not concentrating on any one spot. I want to run the whole length of the Kaw by the end of next summer if I don't get it all done this year. I have a buddy in Brookfield MO so I have fished the Missouri river a couple times too, but that is bigger water so we have a lot to learn there. I am making a trip up to his place sometime this fall. I have heard of that book too, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere yet. From the quotes I have seen of his it would make for some very interesting reading. Good luck with the fishing, and if you ever make it to KS let me know, maybe I can work out a run in my boat so you can see how you like the Mud Buddy.