Inside Elite Boats

Inside Elite Boats: Alton Jones

Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas, took a little time to walk us through his 2016 Skeeter FX 20. Both his truck and boat are wrapped by Miracle Ear, a sponsorship that Alton displays free of charge.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas, took a little time to walk us through his 2016 Skeeter FX 20. Both his truck and boat are wrapped by Miracle Ear, a sponsorship that Alton displays free of charge.
Jones' boat is loaded to the hilt with everything he could possibly need during one of his Elite Series tournaments.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones' boat is loaded to the hilt with everything he could possibly need during one of his Elite Series tournaments.
Miracle Ear builds one of the top-rated hearing aids on the market. Part of the company's main objective of improving hearing loss, the Miracle Ear Foundation presents an opportunity to provide a hearing aid to those in need and can't afford an adequate hearing device. It's an honorable foundation that Jones strongly believes in.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Miracle Ear builds one of the top-rated hearing aids on the market. Part of the company's main objective of improving hearing loss, the Miracle Ear Foundation presents an opportunity to provide a hearing aid to those in need and can't afford an adequate hearing device. It's an honorable foundation that Jones strongly believes in.
Jones is a follower of Christ, and he has one of his favorite bible verses on the side of his boat. Mark 1:14-15, which reads: 14
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones is a follower of Christ, and he has one of his favorite bible verses on the side of his boat. Mark 1:14-15, which reads: 14 "Now after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.'”
At the bow, a flush-mounted HDS 9 provides valuable information while Jones is running his Minn Kota trolling motor.
Photo: Thomas Allen - At the bow, a flush-mounted HDS 9 provides valuable information while Jones is running his Minn Kota trolling motor.
Skeeter makes security a priority. By placing this steel bar and lock across the front deck of Jones' boat, the storage compartments cannot be opened.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Skeeter makes security a priority. By placing this steel bar and lock across the front deck of Jones' boat, the storage compartments cannot be opened.
When positioned a certain way, the lock also serves as an alarm. If the unit is touched or messed with, a loud alarm will sound.
Photo: Thomas Allen - When positioned a certain way, the lock also serves as an alarm. If the unit is touched or messed with, a loud alarm will sound.
On the end of the Minn Kota trolling motor prop is a TH Marine prop nut that reduces the noise and vibration created by the trolling motor.
Photo: Thomas Allen - On the end of the Minn Kota trolling motor prop is a TH Marine prop nut that reduces the noise and vibration created by the trolling motor.
Also an after-market part, the TH Marine G-Force Red Handle is a steel cable used to deploy and stow the bowmount trolling motor that will not break, ever.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Also an after-market part, the TH Marine G-Force Red Handle is a steel cable used to deploy and stow the bowmount trolling motor that will not break, ever.
Here is an aerial view of Alton's over-the-road office: the front deck of his Skeeter. He gets a lot of work done here.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here is an aerial view of Alton's over-the-road office: the front deck of his Skeeter. He gets a lot of work done here.
Starting in the center storage compartment, Jones keeps some very important items.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Starting in the center storage compartment, Jones keeps some very important items.
Can't go without his primary PFD and Yamaha rain suit.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Can't go without his primary PFD and Yamaha rain suit.
In his long starboard storage compartment, Jones keeps an extra rain suit, a push pole and a bag of line, hooks and other necessities.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In his long starboard storage compartment, Jones keeps an extra rain suit, a push pole and a bag of line, hooks and other necessities.
The bag of line and hooks is something every angler needs to keep on-hand. This is a good way to keep it all organized.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The bag of line and hooks is something every angler needs to keep on-hand. This is a good way to keep it all organized.
The push pole can be broken down into two pieces, it's lightweight and comes in very handy when dealing with ultra shallow water.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The push pole can be broken down into two pieces, it's lightweight and comes in very handy when dealing with ultra shallow water.
You just never know. Jones said that he doesn't go anywhere without it.
Photo: Thomas Allen - You just never know. Jones said that he doesn't go anywhere without it.
Jones digs into the bag to show us the contents.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones digs into the bag to show us the contents.
He keeps all his hooks in their original packages, and they get stored in a zip-lock bag. Not very scientific, but very effective. He says keeping things simple helps him make game-time decisions.
Photo: Thomas Allen - He keeps all his hooks in their original packages, and they get stored in a zip-lock bag. Not very scientific, but very effective. He says keeping things simple helps him make game-time decisions.
He keeps a big spool of braid handy.
Photo: Thomas Allen - He keeps a big spool of braid handy.
After he pulled the bag of line and hooks out, there was a small paddle behind it. If all your propulsion backup plans fail, you can always go the arm-strong route.
Photo: Thomas Allen - After he pulled the bag of line and hooks out, there was a small paddle behind it. If all your propulsion backup plans fail, you can always go the arm-strong route.
Jones also keeps treble hooks in the bag in case he needs to change crankbait hooks, or any other treble hooks.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones also keeps treble hooks in the bag in case he needs to change crankbait hooks, or any other treble hooks.
Next is the front/center storage compartment.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Next is the front/center storage compartment.
Inside are assorted trays that he needs the most often. This stash of lures will change at each event depending on the pattern he is fishing.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside are assorted trays that he needs the most often. This stash of lures will change at each event depending on the pattern he is fishing.
Inside one of his crankbait boxes is his favorite lure: Cotton Cordell Big O. The version of this lure is no longer in production, and it's seen a lot of action over the years. Jones said he's not superstitious, but this lure goes everywhere the boat does.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside one of his crankbait boxes is his favorite lure: Cotton Cordell Big O. The version of this lure is no longer in production, and it's seen a lot of action over the years. Jones said he's not superstitious, but this lure goes everywhere the boat does.
He keeps a box of lipless cranks on-hand, he has some favorite colors in this box.
Photo: Thomas Allen - He keeps a box of lipless cranks on-hand, he has some favorite colors in this box.
There is also a box of topwater frogs.
Photo: Thomas Allen - There is also a box of topwater frogs.
How about Yum finesse worms? He's got a box for that, too.
Photo: Thomas Allen - How about Yum finesse worms? He's got a box for that, too.
Can't have enough straight-tail finesse worms, he said.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Can't have enough straight-tail finesse worms, he said.
Any successful bass angler has a jig box handy.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Any successful bass angler has a jig box handy.
Inside his rod locker, he has Blue Water LEDs to help him see when rigging rods after dark or before takeoff.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Inside his rod locker, he has Blue Water LEDs to help him see when rigging rods after dark or before takeoff.
At any given time, there are 20 rods or better in the rod locker. It's best to be prepared for every technique.
Photo: Thomas Allen - At any given time, there are 20 rods or better in the rod locker. It's best to be prepared for every technique.
One of his favorites is a Kistler Argon frog rod.
Photo: Thomas Allen - One of his favorites is a Kistler Argon frog rod.
This smaller side compartment holds what he is using at that particular tournament. During this photo shoot, the box had his Winyah Bay selection.
Photo: Thomas Allen - This smaller side compartment holds what he is using at that particular tournament. During this photo shoot, the box had his Winyah Bay selection.
It's no surprise to find a Yum Dinger in there, one of Jones' favorite lures of all time.
Photo: Thomas Allen - It's no surprise to find a Yum Dinger in there, one of Jones' favorite lures of all time.
Here you'll see another compartment in the base of the step that leads you onto the front deck. You'll also notice the tool holders.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here you'll see another compartment in the base of the step that leads you onto the front deck. You'll also notice the tool holders.
Needlenose pliers and scissors are an angler's best friend.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Needlenose pliers and scissors are an angler's best friend.
A bump board is conveniently stashed in the sidewalls of the storage compartments.
Photo: Thomas Allen - A bump board is conveniently stashed in the sidewalls of the storage compartments.
In the bottom storage space you'll find culling floats, and other possibles.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In the bottom storage space you'll find culling floats, and other possibles.
The items include a flare gun. Can't be too careful!
Photo: Thomas Allen - The items include a flare gun. Can't be too careful!
Jones also keeps his navigation charts in the box as well. Navionics is his map of choice.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones also keeps his navigation charts in the box as well. Navionics is his map of choice.
In the next side compartment you'll find a Huk buff and extra sunglasses.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In the next side compartment you'll find a Huk buff and extra sunglasses.
And a lens wipe. Any time you're driving 60 mph and a bug hits your sunglasses, it's nice to have something handy to clean them with.
Photo: Thomas Allen - And a lens wipe. Any time you're driving 60 mph and a bug hits your sunglasses, it's nice to have something handy to clean them with.
Between the captains chair and the passenger seat is a cooler. This photo was shot an entire day after he put ice in it, and there's still ice. The Skeeter cooler is cooler.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Between the captains chair and the passenger seat is a cooler. This photo was shot an entire day after he put ice in it, and there's still ice. The Skeeter cooler is cooler.
If you've ever wondered what a fisherman has been using, just check in the cup holders. They seem to be a catch-all for bass boat owners, and they tell a story.
Photo: Thomas Allen - If you've ever wondered what a fisherman has been using, just check in the cup holders. They seem to be a catch-all for bass boat owners, and they tell a story.
Jones likes to stash a marker buoy beneath the cable that attaches the boat's throttle to the Hotfoot. It just one of those little things that helps Jones keep his boat organized and efficient.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones likes to stash a marker buoy beneath the cable that attaches the boat's throttle to the Hotfoot. It just one of those little things that helps Jones keep his boat organized and efficient.
At the console, you'll find two Lowrance HDS 12 units side-by-side. One is flush-mounted into the dash while the other is on a heavy-duty mount.
Photo: Thomas Allen - At the console, you'll find two Lowrance HDS 12 units side-by-side. One is flush-mounted into the dash while the other is on a heavy-duty mount.
The side unit is mounted on a TH Marine Kong mount. This thing is for real.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The side unit is mounted on a TH Marine Kong mount. This thing is for real.
He likes to run one of the units on Navionics while the other puts out pertinent data.
Photo: Thomas Allen - He likes to run one of the units on Navionics while the other puts out pertinent data.
Beneath the dash you'll find a red button. Never push this red button, it is the ejector switch to fire Jones into the air in his seat. The seat is equipped with a parachute so he can safely float back to earth. Actually, that's not true. That button turns on his Blue Water LEDs that light up his boat's interior.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Beneath the dash you'll find a red button. Never push this red button, it is the ejector switch to fire Jones into the air in his seat. The seat is equipped with a parachute so he can safely float back to earth. Actually, that's not true. That button turns on his Blue Water LEDs that light up his boat's interior.
When it's dark, the Blue Water LEDs help him see while rigging, but they also make his boat glow blue!
Photo: Thomas Allen - When it's dark, the Blue Water LEDs help him see while rigging, but they also make his boat glow blue!
This knob can be turned to adjust the intensity of the lights. Sometimes dimming it is easier on the eyes.
Photo: Thomas Allen - This knob can be turned to adjust the intensity of the lights. Sometimes dimming it is easier on the eyes.
Jones keeps a Power-Pole switch on the dash, he keeps finger and foot switches up front, and he always carries a fob-style remote on his person. This helps if he is backing his boat into his garage at home and the poles need to be slightly lowered before going under the door. It's all very handy.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones keeps a Power-Pole switch on the dash, he keeps finger and foot switches up front, and he always carries a fob-style remote on his person. This helps if he is backing his boat into his garage at home and the poles need to be slightly lowered before going under the door. It's all very handy.
Here's a front look at Jones' Skeeter console.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here's a front look at Jones' Skeeter console.
Underneath the console you'll find the HotFoot and a small bottle of sunscreen.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Underneath the console you'll find the HotFoot and a small bottle of sunscreen.
The driver's seat has a side pocket that comes in handy for phones or anything else small that you don't want blowing around during transit.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The driver's seat has a side pocket that comes in handy for phones or anything else small that you don't want blowing around during transit.
Also on the starboard side between the captains chair and the boat gunnel are a few more components: Cup holder, on-board battery charger cord, and livewell valve switches.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Also on the starboard side between the captains chair and the boat gunnel are a few more components: Cup holder, on-board battery charger cord, and livewell valve switches.
In the storage compartment directly behind the console, Jones keeps another few important items. The switch is to select between which gas tank you'd like to draw from.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In the storage compartment directly behind the console, Jones keeps another few important items. The switch is to select between which gas tank you'd like to draw from.
Especially some Scooby Snacks. He loves these things...
Photo: Thomas Allen - Especially some Scooby Snacks. He loves these things...
This needs no explanation, but every boat owner worth his salt keeps a fresh roll of TP handy. One can never be too safe!
Photo: Thomas Allen - This needs no explanation, but every boat owner worth his salt keeps a fresh roll of TP handy. One can never be too safe!
In the port side, rear-deck storage compartment, you'll find it's full of plastics. Jones said there is probably over 100 pounds in this box, and it's important to your boat's performance to keep these things in the back.
Photo: Thomas Allen - In the port side, rear-deck storage compartment, you'll find it's full of plastics. Jones said there is probably over 100 pounds in this box, and it's important to your boat's performance to keep these things in the back.
One of the greatest ways to determine what the fish WERE biting on is to look inside the livewell. Bass have a tendency to regurgitate their last meal when in the livewell. Looks like crawfish in Jones' boat.
Photo: Thomas Allen - One of the greatest ways to determine what the fish WERE biting on is to look inside the livewell. Bass have a tendency to regurgitate their last meal when in the livewell. Looks like crawfish in Jones' boat.
The Skeeter livewells are deep, here you can see just how deep as Jones reaches into the livewell to remove the crawfish parts.
Photo: Thomas Allen - The Skeeter livewells are deep, here you can see just how deep as Jones reaches into the livewell to remove the crawfish parts.
Moving to the rear of the boat we see the compartment that stores all of the necessary batteries, charger and pumps.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Moving to the rear of the boat we see the compartment that stores all of the necessary batteries, charger and pumps.
Jones runs lithium batteries from The Lithium Battery Company. He loves these batteries because they are only about 30 pounds each, which is about 70 pounds lighter than a standard marine-grade deep cycle battery. And that makes his boat faster!
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones runs lithium batteries from The Lithium Battery Company. He loves these batteries because they are only about 30 pounds each, which is about 70 pounds lighter than a standard marine-grade deep cycle battery. And that makes his boat faster!
Here is the on-board charger, which Jones has numbered to correlate to which battery each line is connected to. This just makes on-the-fly adjustments easier.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Here is the on-board charger, which Jones has numbered to correlate to which battery each line is connected to. This just makes on-the-fly adjustments easier.
Above the charger is the main power switch.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Above the charger is the main power switch.
On either side of the Yamaha 250 VMax are twin 10-foot Power-Pole Blades.
Photo: Thomas Allen - On either side of the Yamaha 250 VMax are twin 10-foot Power-Pole Blades.
Jones' rig is one pretty boat, and a very efficient fishing machine.
Photo: Thomas Allen - Jones' rig is one pretty boat, and a very efficient fishing machine.
Back to work, thanks for the tour Alton!
Photo: Thomas Allen - Back to work, thanks for the tour Alton!