New fishing boat project

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Jan 14, 2013
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Hey guys!

Look time reader but first time poster. I have had a small pond boat for years and fished a ton out of it but my 5 year old has become passionate about going fishing. I set out to find a small fishing boat that he and I can fish off of at out local lake.

Last week I found a guy who was selling this boat for 1000. Boat is a 73 Orlando Skipper and it is 14 foot fiberglass. Has a 2006 homemade trailer in great shape and has a 2000 15 hp Johnson. Needs a paint job bad and had a new deep cycle battery and trolling motor. Johnson didn’t run when we cranked it but had good compression. Best thing was he had titles for both trailer and boat. I have some pics below of what it looked like when I picked it up.

I offered 800 and brought it home. Stripped everything off of it (pics below). Changed the plugs in the Johnson and put some fresh gas and sea foam in tank and ran her in tank for an hour in backyard. Runs like a top!

Took it to the lake today for first water test. Really impressed with stability. Front is wider than back and it’s very stable in front. I had no problem walking around. Ran into a few issues that I need some advice from the board about.

1. I’m a bigger guy and weight distribution will be a big deal on this boat. Had me in back with motor and battery and trolling motor plus six gallon gas tank. My 5 year old in front. Lol. Not bright on my part. Moved trolling motor and battery to front and it was better. I’d like to put gas tank in front as well. Do they sell longer gas lines for tanks and what are pros and cons of doing that?

2. Biggest issue I had was gunnels. Boat seemed very water tight but I was having water come in by coming down gunnels and getting in over transom. I ran a quarter mile up lake and back and had an inch of water in back of boat before I knew it. Water definitely came in more when turning. Seemed like the corners of the gunnel were funneling it in over transom. What can I do to fix this issue?

Can anyone help me with these issues? I read you guys daily and you are the best!

I’ll update the build as I go along here. Plan on putting a deck on the front, grab bar built into deck to get me further forward, and wiring whole boat for lights. Definitely won’t be the skill or professionalism that I’ve seen on here but it will be perfect for me and my son!


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For moving the fuel tank, I bought a length of fuel hose from a local marina. I took the motor fitting off the original hose and used an inline fuel filter to splice them together and put the motor fitting on the end. So now I have a hose long enough to put the tank further forward and guaranteed clean fuel to the motor. No issues.

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Any advice on what to do about the gunnels?

Fitting a grab bar today and ordering aluminum square tubing for the deck framing today...

Trying find a dry day in NC where the wife hasn't got a million honey do chores!
Silicone a piece of plastic under the gunnel right before the corner at the transom. This may deflect water down and keep it from turning the corner and splashing into the boat? Cheap to try and if it doesn't work you can pull it out

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Weldorthemagnificent said:
Silicone a piece of plastic under the gunnel right before the corner at the transom. This may deflect water down and keep it from turning the corner and splashing into the boat? Cheap to try and if it doesn't work you can pull it out

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To elaborate on this.. a cut up piece of windshield washer jug may work in a pinch.. you can cut the middle section of the jug out and get a flat piece about 8 or 9" wide by about 18-20" long

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Alright guys... Been able to find a little free time and started working on boat. Thanks for the tips for gunnels! I put in dowel rods and it fixed issue!

Stripped everything off and started from scratch. Boat is in good shape but she is ugly. I saw some of the great paint jobs you guys do but Im too anxious to get on water with it this summer that I'm not going to mess with her. My wife has begun referring to the boat as my ugly girlfriend :lol:

I installed a grab bar and tiller extension. Getting weight balanced in boat was a big deal and this helped to get me further forward. Plus, I mounted fish finder to the top. It swivels on a ram mount so I can use it in front or back.

This week my goal is to knock out front deck. I picked up some aluminum square tubing that I found for a steal on Craigslist. 1/8 thick 6063 by 1 1/2 inches. Got close to 60 feet for 150$. Also picked up two 48 by 48 aluminum road signs to use as a deck. Buddy had them in garage and gave them to me! Nothing better than free!

Here is where I need the expertise of the board. Going to build on top of my existing benches. You can see how I have them laid out below. I will add cross members between the runs to strengthen it up. My question is my run from bench to bench is 28 inches. Do I need to add bottom supports (feet) to provide stability? I'm a bigger guy and want to be well supported but it feels really solid standing on it now. Plus I don't want to drill into the bottom of the boat so any added feet would be resting on bottom and not screwed in to bottom.

What do you guys think?


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So finally got a free week to work on the boat... Finishing framing and now ready to lay down some of my road sign decking! Splurged last week and ordered some hydro turf to lay down on top but didn't realize it didn't come with the adhesive backing until it got here. Bought some dap contact cement (recommended on hydro turf website). Anyone with experience using it can give me any tips for using it?

Also this week installed a milk crate to serve as home for electronics battery and base for new bilge pump. Didn't want to drill into floor so I mounted everything to crate and mounted crate to seat.

Trailer wise, installed a transom saver and redid my lights.

This weekend my mellenium Marine seats come and I will get those mounted! Excited about that!

One of my favorite accessories that I've mounted is my new Bluetooth wireless speaker. Picked up an Aimos sport II speaker on Amazon based on good reviews and fact that is was water resistant. Didn't realize it until it showed up but it has a 1/4 inch threaded hole at bottom to mount it anywhere. I mounted it just under the front cap and it is loud!!! Love the fact I can have some tunes on water or hopefully listen to some college football this fall (hopefully 🙏🙏🙏) whilE fishing.

Hopefully have some more pics for y'all this week!


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Mounted my mellenium Marine seats and I love them!!! So comfortable and so much lighter than the waterlogged seats that came with the boat. Started laying some hydro turf and tonight I cut my first piece of road sign for the decking. My 5 year old and I will be on the water soon!


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Looking good! Love the deck!

Thanks for keeping us updated.

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Nice! I would LOVE to find an old fiberglass V-hull like that for my use in saltwater - as in - NO rivets! But they only makes those flat-bottom-pound-the-kidneys-out-of-you Carolina-type skiffs in the length nowadays ...

In retrospect, I would have put channel along the seat tops to the square channel sat flush with the seat tops, as always trying to keep the weight as lows as possible is good in a boat. But you did good!