March 09, 2012
By Ned Kehde
Brian Waldman is a talented multispecies angler from Coatesville, Indiana.
His wizardry at locating and catching crappie and his dexterity at wielding a tiny hair jig to inveigle thousands of bass were explained and explored in previous blogs.
In this blog, Waldman provides us with details about the boat that he uses in his multispecies endeavors.
Waldman said, "For the past four years, and since I stopped fishing bass tournaments, I've been running a small boat that I modified and rigged for smaller waters. In Indiana, we have several 10-horsepower-and-under lakes, as well as a regulation that makes all bodies of water owned by the state less than 300 acres in size electric-motor-only lakes. In addition, I live close to four other bodies of water that are less than 700 acres each. This rig can easily traverse just inches of shallow water on these smaller impoundments. That's where this little boat fits in."
It's a Lowe 1648 Modified V jon boat. It's 15 feet, 10 inches in length with a 70-inch beam, 48-inch bottom and a transom depth of 15 inches. On the transom, there is a Mercury 9.9-horsepower, four-stroke, short-shaft engine with a tiller handle. The fastest this boat can run is about 16 mph. When it's loaded with two anglers, the top speed is 13 mph.
A hand-controlled Minn Kota MK50 Endura trolling motor with a 42-inch shaft is mounted on the bow of the boat. The trolling motor is affixed to a simple stainless steel plate that is reinforced with aluminum arms to help prevent excess play and vibration when it's working at its highest speed.
The trolling motor is hardwired straight to the battery, employing a good butt connector on each wire, which is topped with a water-proof, heat-shrink cover. Two Interstate Mega-Tron Group 27 batteries run the trolling motor. To balance the boat, one of these batteries sits on the starboard side and the other is on the port side of the boat's main floor. Both are housed in non-corrosive and high-strength plastic battery boxes that are strapped to the floor. The batteries are parallel connected, which doubles the amp hours while maintaining the voltage of one battery. Six-gage wires connects the trolling motor to the batteries; the wires are encased in conduit and snaked through the boat's side channels. The positive wire is fitted with a 60-amp Minn Kota circuit breaker. There are no foot switches to activate the trolling motor; the on-and-off switch is on the handle of the trolling motor. A third battery sits in a battery case under the back deck; this battery is for the starter motor on the outboard engine and for all of the electronic equipment, livewell pumps, bilge pump and lights. A three-bank Minn Kota On-board Charger is situated between the two trolling motor batteries and attached to the aluminum frame of the bench seat in the middle of the boat, and it recharges all three batteries.
The entire boat is wired to accommodate bow and transom lights, a 500-gallon-per-hour bilge pump, three sonar units, as well as a fill pump and recirculation pump for the 20-gallon livewell that is built into the bench seat in the middle of the boat.
All the decking is built with either 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch pressure-treated plywood that was also sealed with urethane. A marine-grade gray carpet covers the floor and decks. There is a front and rear storage area. All screws and bolts used on the boat are heavy stainless for durability and rust prevention. A series of aluminum L-angles are used for extra support of all decking and lids throughout the boat.
A Gator Grip Tackle Rac is attached to the front deck riser; it has three slots for holding scissors and pliers, and 12 slots for holding lures. On the left side of the front deck, there is the RodBuckle Hold-Down System to secure rods and reels. An Eagle Fishmark 320 sonar unit is also mounted on the deck with the transducer mounted to the trolling motor.
The front deck also encompasses a storage area with a lid and a flat floor that is carpeted. It's large enough to store two life jackets, a throwable life preserver, a fire extinguisher, a portable GPS unit, a drift sock, an anchor and other miscellaneous gear, such as a rain suit and cold-weather bibs. The front deck has two levels, and it spans from the middle bench seat to the bow. The storage compartment lies between the front of the middle bench seat and the front deck riser. The front deck is devoid of a seat, which allows adequate space for an angler to fish and maneuver the trolling motor.
There is a carpeted extension on the port side of the rear deck, which encompasses tackle storage racks made from aluminum L-angles, and it holds four 3600 and two 3700Plano storage boxes. Affixed to the side of this storage unit is a Rocker 4-Gang Switch Plate, which controls the navigation lights, bilge pump and livewell pumps. There is also a 12-volt outlet that a handheld GPS unit can tap into. A Lowrance LMX-15MT and a Humminbird 798Ci HD SI are affixed to the top of this storage unit, which Waldman calls his command center.
A foldable drink holder sits at the base of the rear bench seat, which can be easily reached while an angler sits in a plush offset Triton swivel seat and runs the outboard engine.
For pursuing crappie with a spider rig, there are in-deck rod holders that are flush mounted on the front right corner of the front deck. They are basically out of the way and unobtrusive. For chasing walleye with trolling rigs, two rod holders are mounted at each side of the boat's midpoint. When the rod holders are not in use, they are folded up and placed in the boat's front storage compartment.
The boat sits on a small Yacht Club trailer.
Waldman said, "The boat has been a pleasure to fish from the past several years. I don't even realize it's behind me when towing. Its four-stroke outboard engine is a bird when it comes to sipping gas. I use a remote three-gallon tank and can usually go several weeks between top-offs. The highest bill at the pump all last year never reached more than $7.50, and I never have to add oil. And, it doesn't hinder me from catching fish, as witnessed by the 2,305 bass brought to hand last year, not to mention the scads of white bass and crappie I also caught. That said, I still have one more boat left in me at some point in the future, perhaps a 16-foot or 17-foot deep-V aluminum, probably a Lund, Crestliner or Alumacraft."
In future blogs, we will examine the boats that other serious and talented recreational anglers use.
(Here are three links to earlier blogs about Brian Weldman: http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/02/08/the-art-and-science-of-catching-cold-water-crappie-according-to-brian-waldman/; http://www.in-fisherman.com/2012/01/01/a-summary-of-bass-fishing-in-central-indiana-in-2011-from-the-perspective-of-brian-waldman/; http://www.in-fisherman.com/2011/11/17/the-manifold-virtues-of-the-small-hair-jig-according-to-brian-waldman/