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Boat Modding | Small Boat Modifications

| Marine Blog | July 14, 2011

Small Boat Modifications
I like to employ some low cost neat little tricks to make either of my two bass fishing vessels more efficient fishing machines. You would be suprised how a little ingenuity goes a long way. Please understand that I live on Long Island and although we have somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 lakes, ponds, rivers and streams, we are limited to electric motors only in all except one. This hardly makes the pleasure of owning a gas outboard worth it unless one wants to frequently travel upstate to fish. My Bass Fishing Platforms 

Float Cat 65
As I stated, I own two different types of watercraft that I use for bass fishing. The first is a Hobie Float Cat. This is a type of catamaran that features plastic preformed non inflatable hulls and an aluminum frame that keeps me above and out of the water. I have a small deck on the back of it that I use for storing a battery, small cooler and even smaller duffle bag that I keep stocked with Snoozers baits, Yamamotos, and Northern Handpoured creations. The deck has an aluminun block welded dead center on the outside pipe that serves as a rock solid motor mount. I run a 36lb. Motorguide Stealth trolling motor on the back end. The whole set up wieghs about 33lbs. and no doubt is the fastest watercraft out on the lake on any given day. Seriously, I think that if I upped the power to 65 or 70lb. thrust, I could ski off of it. The top sides of the pontoons have rectangle sunken in areas for tackle storage. I fit a Plano 760 or 660 in there with ease. I normally travel light, but anyone who wants to bring larger boxes would have little problem. I do not use a finder or graph on the Float Cat, although it would be simple to set up. I would recommend one of those Fishin’ Buddy one piece LCD’s that you see people clamping on to a dock or john boat.

The Float Cat came to me totally fishable. I though of a few simple low cost mods that could make it even better. I noticed right off that it had pre-drilled holes on the immediate front and rear tips of each pontoon. I stretched a bungee cord from front tip to front tip. This allows me to stand up out of the boat in shallow water without having the boat drift away. I fish in current often with this little boat and that is a great way to prevent the boat from getting away from me…total cost about 90 cents. Next, I added a fixed rudder to the bottom of each pontoon. I fashioned them out of hard plastic and mounted them with super deadly grip epoxy. The rudders extend about two inches deep by two inches long past the tip of the pontoon. They don’t hang up and allow me to turn the boat on a dime. I feel the also help me travel against the current easier than if I ran the boat without them. Total cost about five bucks. I added a bungee cord to the front of each pontoon and they serve as rod holders during travel and while fishing. These wrap totally around the pontoon. I normally run 4 rods and they store neatly out of the way on the opposite side of the boat than I am fishing. Again, total cost about two bucks.

I experimented with several types of anchors. I used a 5lb. mushroom, 3lb. metal dragger, and even a windshield wiper fluid bottle full of sand. They all sucked!!! Either they didn’t hold or were too bulky. That is when I got an idea. I realized I needed a flat, easily stowable device. I chose a rubber coated 5lb. weight plate from my workout bench. I rigged nylon-coated anchor rope through the middle. The anchor holds well and never gets in the way. I sometimes forget it is even in the boat and have to avoid getting smacked in the head with it as I take the boat of the roof of my car. Although I haven’t done anything tremendous, I have successfully increased the performance of the Float Cat. It runs like a bass catching battleship and gets me into places other guys can’t reach. I store the boat suspended to the ceiling in my garage with a clever little rope and pulley system. Total cost of Float Cat Mods….about $20.00

Tracker 10.2 Bantam
My “big” boat is a Bass Pro Shops Bantam that I picked up at a good discount last summer. I used to own a 12 footer that I totally rigged out as a bass boat, so I thought this would be a natural. The Bantam is the type of boat you can stick in the back of a pick up. It has two flat bottomed pontoons to keep it stable and an actual deck that allows the angler to stand. I didn’t even have to build a raised casting deck so I was ahead of the game. My only real dilemnas were setting up a tow package and mounting electronics. I used to tow my 12 footer on a jet ski trailer which I still use today. I simply changed the wood side frames and extended them to a full ten feet. Next, I built a box by capping the ends and adding support beams. Finally, I put some marine-quality plywood on top and laquered it up and covered it with outdoor carpet. The final product was similiar to a common flatbed type trailer. Now I didn’t have to worry about the hulls getting damaged. I added a large eye to the bow so I could winch the boat on to the trailer with ease. I added several strong eye bolts to the frame to serve as tie downs.

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Maintenance Tips for Yamaha Outboard Engines

| Marine Blog | July 11, 2011

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All owners of Yamaha outboards should learn to check oil. Your tachometer’s oil level indicator might be digital or analog. Turn to find out if the 3 blocks (digital) or the 3 lights (analog) are glowing green. This signifies that there’s lots of oil within the primary and reserve tanks.

If you notice a yellow light, you will want to include more Yamaha outboard oil. On yellow, your engine oil tank might be full, but odds are your reserve is empty. You do not want your tachometer to exhibit a red light that signifies a fill-up is required immediately. To defend against accidents, make certain to keep extra oil available on lengthy trips.  BuyMarine recommends always over-doing maintenance. Saltwater is ultra-corrosive and can challenge even the most cautious engine owner.

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Fishing and Diving | Florida Keys – a sporting paradise

| Marine Blog | June 9, 2011

Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and North America’s only living coral reef, Key West and the Lower Florida Keys are amazing destinations for scuba diving adventures. Dive and snorkel in the azure waters and practically endless coral reefs surrounding the Florida Keys and experience the magical sub-surface world of  marine life and historic shipwrecks, or maybe some lobstering in the mangrove channel islands of Florida Bay.  Whatever tickles your aquatic fancy, chances are, the Florida Keys can fulfill some of your desires. There are numerous opportunities within the  Florida Keys offering natural and cultural experiences. Take a guided nature trek along the mangrove trail. One trek will take you through tropical vegetation, home to small mammals and birds, while another will take you through the mangrove swamp where you’ll see all sorts of water birds, including cormorants, egrets, and  herons.

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