Transform Your Jon Boat into the Ultimate Fishing Machine with These Upgrades

The timeless aluminum jon boats boast numerous advantages as fishing platforms – stability, durability, spaciousness, shallow drafting, fuel efficiency, affordability, and ease of transport. What sets them apart is their versatility, inviting DIY enthusiasts to customize them according to their fishing needs. While modifying them can enhance their fishability, it’s essential to strike a balance, preserving the simplicity and cost-effectiveness that define these boats. Consider the following upgrades to make your jon boat more angler-friendly without compromising its fundamental characteristics:

1. Add Fishing Rod Storage: Laying rods across a thwart is a recipe for trouble. Instead, incorporate dedicated vertical and/or horizontal rod storage to keep your rods organized, easily accessible, and safe from damage. Opt for fold-away options if space is a concern. Ensure the installation of rod holders does not impede movement within the boat.

2. Build a Casting Deck: Enhance fishability by adding a raised bow casting deck. This feature provides better footing, improved visibility, and a space to install a bow-mount trolling motor. Consider the boat’s unique characteristics when designing the deck, focusing on its length, height about gunwales, and whether to enclose the aft end partially or completely. Keep the deck and frame lightweight yet robust by choosing appropriate materials like marine-friendly wood or aluminum angle stock.

3. Install Tackle and Gear Storage: Jon boats often lack enclosed storage, leaving gear scattered on the floor. Utilize the space inside metal thwarts by adding access doors or hatches for bulk storage of PFDs, gear bags, and more. For dedicated tackle storage, consider compartments designed to hold Plano-style trays inside thwarts or surface-mount options if you prefer to avoid cutting into the boat’s structure.

Remember, these upgrades aim to enhance your fishing experience without compromising the inherent simplicity and affordability of jon boats. Be mindful of the boat’s weight, balance, and overall functionality as you tailor it to meet your fishing preferences.

Images/Source: BoatOutfitters

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