Skip to main content

Walleye Boat Rebuild Part 2: Recessed Foot Pedal Tray

Ross Robertson walks you adding a recessed foot pedal tray in Part 2 an extensive boat rebuild on his Ranger 618 tiller.

Walleye Boat Rebuild Part 2: Recessed Foot Pedal Tray

Part 2 of Ross Robertson's boat rebuild.

A majority of bass boats have some type of recessed area for the trolling motor foot pedal. For whatever reason, many multi-species boats do not have this feature. On the 20-year-old project boat, it became clear very quickly that this boat’s front deck was much smaller than what I was used to. Plus, when this boat was originally manufactured, anglers weren’t using multiple large-screen electronics.

The decision was easy to add a recessed foot-pedal tray as it would add more space on the top of the front deck—plus it adds comfort and ease of use—works on larger boats, too. To me, without this accessory, running the trolling motor is kind of like putting a big ole wallet in your back pocket and then sitting on it. The lowered platform is easier on your back and balance.

Foot-pedal place footprint
Determining exactly how much space the tray will take up is step one.
Marking deck for foot pedal tray
Measure three times to make sure you’re cutting correctly.
create a pattern before cutting
Be extra careful to accurately mark the cutting path.

While I’m no stranger to drilling holes in boats, I had no experience with installing foot pedal trays, or for that matter cutting a giant hole into the deck of a fiberglass boat. If there ever was a time to measure three times and cut once, this was it.


Start by turning the tray upside down so you can see the full foot print of space that will be needed. Next, open every access point that is in close proximity to the mounting area and check to see what’s below. I decided to offset the tray to accommodate my style of driving a bow-mount trolling motor—I typically using my right foot. If you do the same, don’t go too far outside of center. Even with careful planning and measuring, I was still too close for comfort to the rigging tubes that extended from a nearby compartment. While the tray I purchased claimed it came with a template, it did not. I made a simple version from carboard as another precautionary step to make sure nothing was missed and the layout was just right.

Know where to cut
Being confident you’re cutting exactly correctly is extremely important in this project.


After marking the cutting area from the template, the next step was to drill a hole in each corner to make it easier to not overcut the exact mark. I used a jigsaw and an oscillating tool to cut the hole accurately. Ranger boats are completely foam filled and even though the panel was cut free, it was still attached solidly due to the foam. Cutting an access hole in the center of the panel I was removing was meant to not damage any of the boat’s deck, which allowed me to insert a pry bar in and quickly pop out the piece.

use a jigsaw to cut the hole
A jigsaw is a critical tool for this project. They are inexpensive and very much worth owning.
removing the plate
Removing the remaining plate was difficult because it was stuck to the foam. But we broke it free with a prybar.
cutting away foam
I had to cut away the foam with several tools, but eventually the job was done.

Next, a carpet cutter, pry bar, chisel and razor knife all played a part in removing the foam so the tray could lay flush. The tray that was purchased came standard with a weep hole in it to accommodate a drain tube of some sort, which needed to prevent water from running into unwanted areas. I would suggest purchasing a tray that has that hardware included, as it was time-consuming and expensive to find a flush mounted drain to fit the tray. Using the same tools, an additional channel was cut out for the drain tube to fit into and ultimately run water towards the bilge.


Before securing the tray, I took advantage of the wide-open workspace and removed some additional foam on side of the tray in order to add a through-bolt for a mounting backing plate for my electronics mounts. The use of Bert’s Custom Tackle 6-inch track makes for a clean flush look that is very durable, secure and makes it easy to remove the units.

cutting out more foam
The foam is harder than you’d think. It took some elbow grease to get it fully removed.
add electronics mount backer
While I was into the subsurface of the front deck, I added a backing plate for the electronics mount to increase rigidity for the graphs. I had to scrape away more foam from under the deck, but it worked out.
dry fit foot pedal tray
After some carving and cutting, the recessed foot-pedal tray was ready to install.

Once the electronics mounts were installed, I simply dry fit everything to make sure that the drain hose and channel worked properly. The final step was to secure the tray with a bead of silicone and screws.

completed project
The finished product of the recessed foot pedal tray.

This project, by most standards was a simple one, but as a newbie when it comes to installing a foot-pedal tray, and with so many unknowns, it took more time and calculations to make sure no large mistakes were made.

Capt. Ross Robertson

Bigwater Fishing


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

Recent Videos

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

Old Town Sportsman AutoPilot 120 UNBOXING

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

GENIUS Planer Board Modification Tip with Ross Robertson

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

In-Fisherman's Old Town Sportsman PDL 120 Walk-Through with Thomas Allen

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

Old Town Salty PDL 120 Kayak Walk-Through

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

NEW In-Fisherman TV River Jet Boat: Yamaha Powered SmokerCraft Pro Sportsman 1866

Why Mark Courts LOVES the NEW Minn Kota QUEST Trolling Motors

DECKED OUT 2023 Starcraft STX 2050: New In-Fisherman TV Boat

In-Fisherman Magazine Covers Print and Tablet Versions

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


Buy Digital Single Issues

Magazine App Logo

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the In-Fisherman App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top In-Fisherman stories delivered right to your inbox.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All In-Fisherman subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Enjoying What You're Reading?

Get a Full Year
of Guns & Ammo
& Digital Access.

Offer only for new subscribers.

Subscribe Now