Well, I finally splashed the boat this past weekend to get some walleye fishing in! As soon as we get some nice weather I'll take comparison pictures of the paint job before & after. I put in a bunch of work to reinstall the interior and wiring to make it water-ready. I wasn't able to do any of the additional upgrades that are still planned, so I put the old rear bench sat back in. The two big remaining upgrades are the back seat/deck (not sure of my plans yet) and adding some interior utility LED lights. I'll pick away at those as time allows.
The jack plate worked great and is rock solid, but definitely required some tweaking for boat performance. I started it at maximum height for my first trip out. This put the cavitation plate in perfect alignment with the bottom of my hull. The nose ran a bit high at open throttle and it struggled to hit 17 mph (loss of ~2 mph from before jack plate). It also had some issues under moderate cornering where I lost stability (prop breach? cavitation?). After a day of hard fishing Saturday I opted to drop the jack plate by about 1" and also trimmed the motor in one notch (manual trim). This made a huge difference on Sunday. Boat planed better and ran much better at WOT, easily hitting 20-21 mph even headed upstream. Cornering issues were resolved. I think I found the sweet spot!
The only bad thing is that I put a nice large scrape in the brand new grey bottom paint first time up river Saturday. Every spring there is new junk to avoid, (submerged logs, etc.) so I'm always especially careful my first time out and maintain eagle eyes on surface disturbances, but I missed this sneaky submerged log and she got me. Oh well, it was bound to happen at some point. Got that out of the way.
Fish dinner was excellent, by the way