When the text came through, I thought a tornado had hit my boat. My next-door neighbor, Paul Moody, and I share ownership of an old center console that we use for both bass outings and saltwater fishing. The photo he texted me showed the boat in two pieces … the hull splayed open with the top cap flopped over on a trailer. The outboard was nowhere to be seen.
“Please tell me we have insurance!” I texted back, adding the emoticon with the giant eyes followed by the one puking.
Come to find out, he had split our boat in half on purpose. He had read a boat-building hack story on rebuilding a transom and wanted to give it a try. I used the puking emoticon again.
With the top cap off, he found countless other problems and projects. A new gas tank was high on the priority list. And we might as well add fuel hoses while we were at it. The internal stringers that support the hull were cracked and in need of repair. The boat had almost no foam to assist in floatation if it were to take on water. The wiring needed to be completely redone. Wasted space beneath the floor could be built into extra storage. Of course, we’d need to cut new holes in the floor for this to work. And seeing the entire floor needed to be replaced and refiberglassed because of wood rot, this was no big deal.
The old console wouldn’t work, either. We needed a bigger one to contain the two extra batteries he hoped to house. One for the new 36-volt trolling motor (upgraded from a 24-volt version), and one for insurance in case one died on the water … because that happens often.
And seeing we had the motor off, we should go ahead and add hydraulic steering.
So, Moody’s transom hack turned into a complete rebuild. What he assumed was going to save us money had a total cost of somewhere north of $4,000 by the time we were finished. The man-hours were in the several hundreds, typically running from a p.m. start to an a.m. finish. And replacing the clothing that became splotched with epoxy or splintered with fiberglass probably added a few more bills to the tally. (I’ll not even consider the psychiatrist payments to overcome the emotional trauma of the project.)
To my great surprise, the boat floated once we put it all back together. The new transom was rock solid and the added storage was worth its weight in high-dollar marine plywood. The floor was no longer soft and the hydraulic steering was butter-smooth. The extra battery even came in handy, as I forgot to plug in the on-board charger before our first test trip. I’m pretty sure the boat is now unsinkable, as we added enough foam to float the Titanic.
The only problem now is that the boat looks like we did the work. It’s ugly. I mean, the community association has asked us to remove the “wreck” from the premises. There is little doubt Moody is Googling “how to paint a boat” as I write this. I need to give my psychiatrist the heads-up.
I hope for the sake of you and your family that our cover story about bass fishing hacks does not inspire such an extreme response. I do believe that many of the tips and tricks shared by Elite Series pros will make for a more enjoyable day on the water. Please feel free to share some hacks of your own by emailing them to email@example.com. I’d love to do a follow-up piece of great ideas from B.A.S.S. members to improve fishing success. But be warned, if you submit a hack that has anything to do with rebuilding a transom, the only response you will get is an emoticon, puking.