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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well just got a great deal on a 21 ft tracker party barge. It is going to be a complete rebuild as it was left out in the sun. I was going to remove all of the furniture because I like to drift, and it seems to me the furniture would just be a sail not to mention drag going down the highway. Would love some advice if that thinking is true. In also going to remove all of the sheet metal from the railing for the same reason. Anyone know if the stock rails are strong enough to support rod holders for big blues? I'm going to have to custom build the rail across the back the 25 horse Merc big foot 4 stroke will have to get me by for a while, but will be upgrading to a 75-90 horse something?????? Any suggestions? I primarily run in deep lakes, but need to be able to idle up into less than 2 feet, that's where the channels are in central KS. Is a Jack plate worth it? How much adjustment is needed for it to help? Will a manual Jack plate work? How hard are the to quickly adjust?

Thanks for the help.

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Steve from Mississippi
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I like that lower railing sheet metal that's on there now. The sheet is a sail but it also functional. You would be surprised how that sheet can stabilize a frame and as stated before it will keep things in the boat. I have a 25ft tritoon for play and leave the front door open when towing. It may not help but I think it does.
 

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I had a 21ft tracker Fishin Barge. It only had a 40hp motor so would do around 20mph.

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It had a solid aluminum floor which I thought was great. I used it to fish in local reservoirs and the Ohio River.

All I added above a standard pontoon of this model was fish finder, rod holders and a decent trolling motor. All good additions in my opinion.

I kept mine as shown with the rail shielding and pontoon furniture but it was a constant battle in the mind about making changes.

They are bad about catching wind both when fishing and when towing. For the most part that is the nature of the beast. They are a wonderful platform to fish from in the waters I fish. (No serious current, just a gentle flow)

Things I thought I would have liked to do.

1. Remove stuffed furniture.

2. Change to a center console.

3. Move the front railing back so thee is room on the front without a railing and the back railing forward for the same purpose.

4. Decide if I wanted to keep the outdoor carpet or go with a no slip hard floor.

I did not make any of these changes and eventually sold the pontoon after getting a Lowe, Roughneck, 2070, tiller model.

Lots of possibilities with your pontoon boat for you to think about though.

As with most boats, go with a good sized motor but keep rear weight in mind.

Just some thoughts.
 

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The rail on my 86 Bass Buggy seems pretty strong, I stood on them to clean my rain gutters last week.

I've been considering removing the material on my sides and using netting used for handrails. It would keep the Asian carp out and my dog in, plus keep the drag from the wind down and give me a better view of the water from my lawn chair.
 

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looks awesome.

I had my front couches out for a while but ended up putting them back in
 
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The front of my pontoon which was a Fishin Barge model had a wide open front. Great for a couple of lawn chairs with plant of room for maneuvering. I wanted to remove all the fluff furniture and open the whole thing up.

The railing was strong but made getting a fish in a little tougher and of course the wind problems on occasion. Just an open deck area on front and rear would have been nice. Something like a hunting blind to hold in some heat would be good for winter fishing.

tight lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Instead of completely removing sheetmetal maybe go with some wire or such around platform. Things can get bumped and roll off into water.

Midsouth outdoors on utube builds his toons. Think he runs on Mississippi.
Thanks, had not considered things going overboard. My first plan was an exact copy of Quinton's rail, but can't believe I can't figure out a way to use some of what's already there. As windy as flat Kansas is, the sail has to go. Tight lines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks much for the comments. Eventually the steering console is moving to the middle, just front of center. I have an 18 gallon tank from an old sky boat that will become the gas tank. Is it safe to build a shelf above the gas tank for the batteries? Front of the console will be carpet. Rear will be spray on bed liner. I'm blessed that the floor is all aluminum, so no rot issues. Eventually I want a solid top that adjusts up and down. When it is down, it will be just over the console, with the front sloping down to deflect highway drag. If I'm not offered good money for the furniture, I will keep one couch, centered in front of the console. I have to keep the lady happy. Should still be plenty of space to fish and throw the cast net from front and rear.

The biggest questions are motor upgrade and Jack plate.

Thanks for the suggestions, keep them coming.
 

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I've had a pontoon for several years now. It has the furniture removed and steering console moved to the center. It has a 70 hp 2cycle engine. The rails were cut and it has every bit of floor space inside available. The sheet metal around the rails is still in place, and i wouldn't change it.
Many years ago at santee cooper, i was sitting in the canal and it was a windy day. Here comes a pontoon going out to the lower lake and about the time it entered it had a wave that came over the front deck and washed tackle boxes, rod and reels and gas tanks off the other side. They had no railing or sheet metal or anything to suppress the wave. It almost washed the 3 men off too.
I would think about that if you encounter any possible waves that can get up much.
I like the idea of a open space inside. Regular folding lawn chairs replace missing the original factory furniture. It is costly to move but thats kind the nature of the beast. It will run 21 mph with a full load.
I don't know if a jackplate would help much. Maybe someone with experience with a jackplate will weigh in. It is not very fuel efficient, but neither was a cadillac either. It is easy to load, but tough to unload if you are by yourself. It does well catfishing or crappie trolling.
 

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The rails when they were cut were moved all the way front. The railing was patched and the sheet metal cut to fill in the gap. The front gate is removed and now is where the trolling motor is. With 2 group 31 batteries and a 80 lb minn kota trolling motor it will crappie troll all day long. It is a 24 foot bass pro model. Don't let dull logs discourage you. Any janitor supply place has aluma brite. One gallon will do many times. It is a mild acid. Just follow instructions carefully. They can be buffed out with aluminum paste available from any truckstop. It will make your logs shine just like the tanks on big trucks do.
 

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I admit Im spoiled with my pontoon

basically anything I wanna take I got room

I hate my winch post though. I want a nice one with steps and handrail.

thats the deal with a pontoon. wanna load something in the boat you gotta climb up and in.
thats somewhat of a pain but oh well
 
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Got the steps and rail with a small porch too. Not all this stuff came to quickly, but was a work in progress. Last year i installed inside carpeted boards on the frame, to be able to drive on, in windy conditions. It had rollers but they never worked right. Going to upgrade my wiring before long. It looks ragged and has a short in it. Better just to get rid of it all rather than patch. Need to change my front axle now. The tires are wearing quickly. It doesn't take long for 70 dollar a pop tires to buy a new axle.
 

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Mines isn't a toon but a deckboat. When I got mine 9 years ago it wasn't in the condition of yours. My furniture was shot as well and I knew that it was only going to be a cat boat so I removed all the furniture and bought a bunch of rod holders. Rails hold big fish without breaking a sweat. I did get racks built for the rear. The wind isn't bad but once again I dont have toons. Mine is very heavy being fiberglass but the old 175hp still gets 35-38mph. Adding the 3rd Toon allows for faster speeds with bigger engines but that may add weight.
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So many options. I just used a 2 x 6 across the back to mount rod holders on. At the railing, on each side, I just made a clamping system do there were no holes to drill in the boat. That was temporary but did a great job while I pondered a more permanent solution. It would seem a floor mounted rack that attached to the railing might be a good solution.

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This is how I rigged the front which saved some $$$ by not having to buy several bases for holders and required no drilling on boat. All could be removed in 15 minutes.
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Just some more ideas
 
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