Boat Makeover

Boat Makeover: The Red Wasp

After my first boat was totaled in a car accident, I was able to make a modest upgrade to a 16-foot Lund with 40 hp Johnson on the back.
Photo: Thomas Allen - After my first boat was totaled in a car accident, I was able to make a modest upgrade to a 16-foot Lund with 40 hp Johnson on the back.
This boat was pretty old, but had real potential. Right away I had a vision of what it could be.
Photo: Thomas Allen - This boat was pretty old, but had real potential. Right away I had a vision of what it could be.
The original layout was fisherman friendly, but not ideal for an active bass and muskie angler.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The original layout was fisherman friendly, but not ideal for an active bass and muskie angler.
The middle seat was turned into a storage compartment, which certainly had value.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The middle seat was turned into a storage compartment, which certainly had value.
The front of the boat had room, but I would need seats and a trolling motor.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The front of the boat had room, but I would need seats and a trolling motor.
The front plate was a piece of aluminum, which was perfect for a bow mount.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The front plate was a piece of aluminum, which was perfect for a bow mount.
Not a big boat, but perfect for the lakes I was fishing in those days.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Not a big boat, but perfect for the lakes I was fishing in those days.
Here's another look at the interior when I got it.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's another look at the interior when I got it.
The motor ran like a top. Those old Johnson motors were literally bulletproof. It had an electric, push-button start.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The motor ran like a top. Those old Johnson motors were literally bulletproof. It had an electric, push-button start.
It came with an old steel gas tank. I used it for a while but upgraded to a larger plastic tank.
Photo: Thomas Allen - It came with an old steel gas tank. I used it for a while but upgraded to a larger plastic tank.
Here's a look at the ignition switch.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's a look at the ignition switch.
At first I didn't like the red carpet, but it kind of grew on me after a while.
Photo: Thomas Allen - At first I didn't like the red carpet, but it kind of grew on me after a while.
In remembrance of the late Green Hornet, I named this one the Red Wasp.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In remembrance of the late Green Hornet, I named this one the Red Wasp.
I bought a 24-volt Minn Kota Power Drive trolling motor.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I bought a 24-volt Minn Kota Power Drive trolling motor.
You'd be surprised at how quickly this motor moved the boat.
Photo: Thomas Allen - You'd be surprised at how quickly this motor moved the boat.
She fit nicely in my small, single-car garage.
Photo: Thomas Allen - She fit nicely in my small, single-car garage.
Here the trolling motor is mounted, and in front of that you can see my ultra-slick razor cellphone.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here the trolling motor is mounted, and in front of that you can see my ultra-slick razor cellphone.
Here's a look under the front mounting bracket. I stored ropes under there initially. It eventually turned into another spot to pile up used plastics.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's a look under the front mounting bracket. I stored ropes under there initially. It eventually turned into another spot to pile up used plastics.
This thing was sure to be a project. I just needed to find the time.
Photo: Thomas Allen - This thing was sure to be a project. I just needed to find the time.
Rod holders along the side.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Rod holders along the side.
And, I liked the storage box in the middle.
Photo: Thomas Allen - And, I liked the storage box in the middle.
The trailer was in fine shape, and the underside of the boat showed some mild wear and tear, but nothing serious.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The trailer was in fine shape, and the underside of the boat showed some mild wear and tear, but nothing serious.
An old Humminbird 300TX came with the rig. Talk about old school, but I was excited to put it all to work.
Photo: Thomas Allen - An old Humminbird 300TX came with the rig. Talk about old school, but I was excited to put it all to work.
I put a 2-bank on-board charger and two deep cycle batteries under the front deck, thinking that was the best spot for them. We'll revisit this decision later as the placement affected the small boat's performance.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I put a 2-bank on-board charger and two deep cycle batteries under the front deck, thinking that was the best spot for them. We'll revisit this decision later as the placement affected the small boat's performance.
And, it barely fit in the garage. But that was enough!
Photo: Thomas Allen - And, it barely fit in the garage. But that was enough!
On to the remodel:
Photo: Thomas Allen - On to the remodel:
Here it is mostly gutted. I originally thought I'd leave the sides of the seat in there for structural integrity. I changed my mind shortly thereafter.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here it is mostly gutted. I originally thought I'd leave the sides of the seat in there for structural integrity. I changed my mind shortly thereafter.
In this picture, you can see that I removed the center seat completely.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In this picture, you can see that I removed the center seat completely.
Basically gutted, front to back.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Basically gutted, front to back.
I wanted as much standing room as I could manage, that meant a trap door on the back over the gas storage area.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I wanted as much standing room as I could manage, that meant a trap door on the back over the gas storage area.
I framed it in with a few 2x4s and 2x2s.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I framed it in with a few 2x4s and 2x2s.
I framed it in sturdy, but I knew I wasn't going to be standing on that specific spot for long periods of time.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I framed it in sturdy, but I knew I wasn't going to be standing on that specific spot for long periods of time.
The new floor with room for a livewell near the front.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The new floor with room for a livewell near the front.
I didn't take pictures, but I ran plumbing for the livewell beneath the floor. And had intentions to also run wiring along the same area.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I didn't take pictures, but I ran plumbing for the livewell beneath the floor. And had intentions to also run wiring along the same area.
Here's another look at the floor from the reverse angle.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's another look at the floor from the reverse angle.
The front deck would need additional support, but I would be able to take advantage of the storage area by moving the trolling motor batteries.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The front deck would need additional support, but I would be able to take advantage of the storage area by moving the trolling motor batteries.
Which I put beneath the seat in the back. I had found that the boat didn't plane off very well with the charger and two batteries up front, it plowed a lot of water and got me real wet when the wind was blowing. Moving the batts back would greatly improve overall performance.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Which I put beneath the seat in the back. I had found that the boat didn't plane off very well with the charger and two batteries up front, it plowed a lot of water and got me real wet when the wind was blowing. Moving the batts back would greatly improve overall performance.
Here's another look at the rear-deck extension.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's another look at the rear-deck extension.
I also planned to put storage boxes along the side. That meant I had to brace the frame through the side of the boat. I drilled holes and plugged them with bolts covered in marine-grade silicone.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I also planned to put storage boxes along the side. That meant I had to brace the frame through the side of the boat. I drilled holes and plugged them with bolts covered in marine-grade silicone.
Here you can see it bridging the gap.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here you can see it bridging the gap.
It's a mess, but it's starting to take shape.
Photo: Thomas Allen - It's a mess, but it's starting to take shape.
I put heavy-duty hinges on the battery compartment knowing it would have to support my heavy butt and still need to be accessed daily.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I put heavy-duty hinges on the battery compartment knowing it would have to support my heavy butt and still need to be accessed daily.
It really worked well, if I can compliment myself.
Photo: Thomas Allen - It really worked well, if I can compliment myself.
Moving to the front, you can see the slot I had for the livewell. I had a custom tank built to fit these measurements, and it extended the front deck backwards by 12 inches or so.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Moving to the front, you can see the slot I had for the livewell. I had a custom tank built to fit these measurements, and it extended the front deck backwards by 12 inches or so.
Here the side compartments began to take shape.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here the side compartments began to take shape.
It's still a giant hot mess, but progress is being made. An there is an occasional Coors Light can in the mix.
Photo: Thomas Allen - It's still a giant hot mess, but progress is being made. An there is an occasional Coors Light can in the mix.
Sorry, not sorry. Stay hydrated my friends.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Sorry, not sorry. Stay hydrated my friends.
Here's a look to the rear as the framework on front and back is coming along nicely.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's a look to the rear as the framework on front and back is coming along nicely.
I had to custom cut a full sheet of plywood to match the new front deck and livewell configuration. But it only covered about half of the front.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I had to custom cut a full sheet of plywood to match the new front deck and livewell configuration. But it only covered about half of the front.
Here's the livewell installed, but not finished.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's the livewell installed, but not finished.
Finished livewell.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Finished livewell.
I had to cut another full sheet of plywood to get this bow piece cut to size.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I had to cut another full sheet of plywood to get this bow piece cut to size.
Once each piece was in the front, it started to look like my original vision. I mixed up the carpet colors because the store didn't have enough for me to do it all in one color. I wasn't patient enough to wait for more to arrive, so I went with the dual-tone theme.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Once each piece was in the front, it started to look like my original vision. I mixed up the carpet colors because the store didn't have enough for me to do it all in one color. I wasn't patient enough to wait for more to arrive, so I went with the dual-tone theme.
Here's the finished remodel ready to fish.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's the finished remodel ready to fish.
Before and after.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Before and after.
I had this rig for several years and caught lots of fish from her custom front deck. I even fished a few tournaments, and the Red Wasp worked perfectly!
Photo: Thomas Allen - I had this rig for several years and caught lots of fish from her custom front deck. I even fished a few tournaments, and the Red Wasp worked perfectly!
I made a lot of memories with my then young kids. My son caught his first bass on his own from this thing.
Photo: Thomas Allen - I made a lot of memories with my then young kids. My son caught his first bass on his own from this thing.
Here are both my babies enjoying an afternoon out together. Both of them cut their fishing teeth from this boat. I'll never forget it.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here are both my babies enjoying an afternoon out together. Both of them cut their fishing teeth from this boat. I'll never forget it.
But the time comes when you have to upgrade. A few days after this picture was taken, I let her go to her new owner. And for far less than I had in it, but I'll never forget the adventures I had. In fact, I often wish I still had it for those small, hard-to-reach lakes in my native Northland. Lots of blood, sweat and tears in that thing. But on to bigger and better things.
Photo: Thomas Allen - But the time comes when you have to upgrade. A few days after this picture was taken, I let her go to her new owner. And for far less than I had in it, but I'll never forget the adventures I had. In fact, I often wish I still had it for those small, hard-to-reach lakes in my native Northland. Lots of blood, sweat and tears in that thing. But on to bigger and better things.