Weld-Craft 1652 MUV Sportsman Rebuild for Limited Mobility


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Oct 21, 2013
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Dandridge, TN
Former Marsh Runner to TVA Lake troller, Weld Craft 1652 Sportsman rebuild

What a great website and resource!

Seeking ideas as I rebuild my boat to accommodate my special needs to abuse the waters of TN.

A little introduction:
I purchased this rig Weld-Craft 1652 MUV Sportsman welded alum hull, 50hp TT Johnson Black Saltwater two stroke, on a Magic Tilt Galvanized trailer when OMC went belly up in 2001, with no warranty.
So, no surprises, I know rigs full history.
I used this for fishing in Coastal Louisiana for reds, specks, in the marshes and bays and any where there was a trace of water. I fished and bumped off many floating logs in the Pearl river system
chasing everything it had to offer, with many an alligator tour thrown in…Grandkids always loved it.

Standing on the extended casting deck and doing a lot of sight fishing was great, and the 743 Motorguide foot control was always a pain and was it seemed…almost what was needed.
The live well was and is a certified fish killer.
The rigging of the boat for weight distribution was and is down in the water on the right.
A good set of sea legs were always a mandatory requirement.

But, now things have changed. Yes, they have changed. I have limited mobility. I have limited stamina. I have limited funds…and the doc says….yes…time is limited.

This boat sat from 2007 until spring of 2013 unused, waiting for me to figure out which end was up.

I started the resurrection of my boat earlier this year and have done some fishing from it, making a few changes. I am now ready to dive in and make my boat really accessible for my limitations.

I have acquired a 70lb Minn Kota V2 with I-pilot (i-pilot has some issues).
Two new batteries for trolling motor, and a Minn Kota dual bank charger.
Lowrance Elite 4, combo chartgps/fish finder.
VHF, have a fixed unit that has problems, and a portable that is okay.
Some Driftmaster rod holders.
20 gallon Rex Air bait tank.
Alum scrap: angle, square, channel, old camper roof rack, old camper rear roof access ladder.

What do I want to do?

I want to change my boat so I fish the TVA lakes mainly trolling, staying down in the well of the boat, down on the floor, staying off of the casting decks.
I want to create some railings, grab handles, assists to help me stand from sitting, and to stay standing, and to stay in the boat.
I want my rod holders at a height where I do not need to bend over to remove them from the rod holders.
I want a most comfortable seat to sit while I am trolling.
I want shade.
I want to keep the floor of the boat uncluttered.
I need to find space for bait tank.
I need to find space for an ice chest.
I need space for rods and tackle.
I need a real dry storage space.
I do want and need more….another post…

Here is a pic of stock boat:


I will post some changes I have already made and in process of making.

This is what I started with this year:


Some dreaming before any major cutting:

Initial thoughts on new batteries placement and bait tank and trolling motor:


Full view with rod holders where I have been using them this year:


Transom area, thinking about making hatch/hatches for motor/aux battery/batteries, and six gallon gas tank. Also want to
raise rear rod holders to waist height and mount on alum stock:


Total useless fish killer/live well. Thinking about cutting top off at minimum, or cutting it down some and then place
ice chest in top, or place live bait tank on platform a few inches higher than existing drain, and incorporate drain into bait tank.
Or do something totally different, maybe dry storage:



Old camper roof rack for hand rails:



Old camper ladder used as railing on open side of boat:


Some thoughts before I do major cutting, I welcome all ideas, even those I will reject!
Time to commit:


Past the point of no return:



Where the bait tank might live one day:


Where the bait tank has been used so far:


New view from my new BowRider:


I have done a little more cutting an fabricating, I decided on a permanent location for the trolling motor, more in line
with where the original was. I cut a bigger hole in the deck to run wires inside pvc, from the trolling motor, under the
deck, a new hole in bulkhead, with pvc pass thru, then to the batteries.
I used the casting deck extension cut out metal to cover the base for the new trolling motor mount. I need to take pics.
I still have a little trimming and final fitting to do on this.

I would appreciate any ideas I could use on any the pics I posted or ideas I wrote down, or any you might think of.
Time for progress...

Sizing up the trolling motor mount, I used the original mount used with the old Motorguide screwed in its original holes, then sized up a piece of the bow deck that I previously cut over the top of it:


Rough fit the new base plate by screwing it into the original mount, it is not trimmed flush with gunwale, nor is it level with gunwale:


Lining up the trolling motor with long axis of the boat, I extended the plate to fill totally under the trolling motor mounting tray:


Notched out the bow rails, this gives some vertical area to mount accessories, LEDs, etc…


Mounted all in place, trimmed to boat lines, leveled with a piece of angle, and fastened with SS:


A little finish grinding and some painting to do, I also extended the angle to the same length as the original T-M mount, figure out what to do with it later:


Nice big casting deck with T-M, and new home for bait tank with a alien on top of it (filter prototype)…



Clean, open, boat well….


That open area between gunwale and original T-M mount is perfect for stashing rod tips (still on the rods), and you can see I recessed the T-M plug and added a 12 socket (going to do some more 12V distribution up here…)


I am pondering building a rod locker on the open side of the boat with pvc tube inserts along the boat side wall under the casting deck, but I don't have enough length between rear seat area and bow unless I put long rods on top of deck in little cubby hole,
either way or both ways, rods are going to have home.

I have given up on going on any longer without a bait tank filter…maybe by spring I will buy me a real bait tank, if my health holds up and finances magically fall from heaven…but until then…homemade filter, here is the prototype:



Plenty more ideas and work to go…

I did get boat out last Saturday with the two new T-M batteries under the front the deck, and the bait tank in the new cut out hole, boat is more stable when sitting in water and seems to plane better, not rising out of the water so high when throttle up…

Appreciate your ideas.

thanks, its a good sturdy boat, hope to make it better.

Its idea time, I scored some alum pieces today. A truck slotted track rack.
One piece is hanging above the rear rod holders and other is along the open side of the boat at the gunwale.


Pretty hefty stuff, has a running slot track on top side and along one vertical side, pictured to stern in this pic.
I am thinking raising this a little more than where it is resting. Building 3 pedestals to mount it to the rear of my rear casting deck.
This would allow rod holders to be placed all across the back from the topside track, and as a bonus, the rear track could have drink holders, pliers, and vertical rod storage tubes,
all adjustable for position.



I am thinking real hard now about a rod locker, with this track rod holder mounted as part of the lid, maybe I can spider rig sideways?


I still need to frame the open bow, I have some 1" tube, I am torn between leaving open and closing in and putting hatches to access batteries…
I will put a door to the front of the open bow, with the dual bank charger just in front of it...
will tackle slowly, see what feels best, and move on with more features, and try to tie them all together.

Saturdays' shad were fed to the stray cats, four legged models. I had lost a few, came home with twenty, lost 4, but no red noses…thursday….chemicals are right, round tank is right,
nothing inside the round tank….right too…and staying that way, constant aeration works too.
I didn't put the filter together till yesterday….it will work as prototyped….nothing glued together, so can adjust it as I go.

I am liking how its coming together, at least in my mind, getting it cut and put together…would be priceless...
That is one sturdy looking boat! So many possibilities, I can't wait to see what you end up doing to it. And let me say... that bait well you've got means serious business... Never thought I'd see something that big in a John.

thanks for the comments, I wish I had the time to do the detail that you are doing, but if I did that I wouldn't live long enough to do any more fishing…
so, its put in as many features as possible to add to my fishing time, now, and pretty it up later…maybe…if there is enough time.

It is a very sturdy boat. Like an anvil with an outboard.


this was the best Katrina could do…had a good sized pine tree drop right here…I had the boat and trailer tied to it and 3 others when I ran from Katrina.

I can't wait either…its cutting into my fishing
Progress today, shoulda went fishing, I am going into withdrawals...

More donor alum, good strong tube, some pre bent angles, and two adjustable brackets:


Prototype time, for rod holder racks:



I don't have my triangles in the mix yet for bracing support, I am not prototyping with cardboard, more like a jigsaw and bungee cords:


The horizontal bar is system one ladder rack, and the vertical bar is part of RV awning system.
Both have slotted tracks on the leading edge the way I have them put together.
This means I will be able to put accessories on the tracks, horizontally or vertically on the leading edge…
…cup holders, pliers, dehookers, vertical rod tubes, endless possibilities…
added to the top surface is a slotted track...



Gunwale rack, for rods, and can also use track to mount a couple of T-bars or similar guard rails for open side of boat,
add that to incorporate into top of future rod locker, and can use side slotted track for sliding cup holders, pliers, etc.
First rod holder will be in reach of seated passenger:



Rear rack height ? I am still considering what to do? I kinda like this height, can reach rod on either side from running seats while seated (almost),
but, most important can reach rod while standing up by simply putting hand of rod:



Good picture of what I am working with:


too many wing nuts in that picture

But, you can see the tracks, looking back 3 different ways.

Ideas? see something I am missing?
Got some drilling, screwing and riveting done:


Installed a couple of galvanized pipe guide ons with a PVC cover, will add lights to posts at some later time.


Removed old wood rod rack from back casting deck and temporary mount of new rod rack.
Posts are newly found alum posts, mounting brackets are a mix of the axle mount from old deer cart, and
ripped brackets from the ends of the posts. Top rack is just resting in place, the posts are only held in place
with one screw in an existing hole in the rear deck, still deciding just where to place posts.





Have a lot of boat cleaning to do, one day.
Well, its been awhile, I haven't done a lot to the boat…

But, I have have a little with it…


that was a little field testing of the new rod rack…

I managed to hang some reds and specks down in La. on it. I am back in TN, and now for some crappie.

Getting ready to start working on boat in a big way, have accumulated more stuff, time to put the tools to it.

I just got some 1/16 alum sheet to build a rod locker, and I am thinking of raising a fairing off the side of the console to shed water off of me.

I actually cleaned the boat a little, and thinking about painting the inside, after I finish whatever I wind up doing.

Then its time to get to the railings and grab bars, ETA is spring fishing.
Way too hot to be working on a boat….but even so, the show must go on...

Some recent use of almost latest improvements:


Started on a rod locker, drilled into bulkhead on front casting deck and install six golf club tubes to slide rod tips into. Then prototyped rod butt holders, with a bungee strap for now. Worked on last fishing trip, now to figure out how to improve, whether or not to enclose rods fully….make a semi full cover….hard cover….or just a soft cover….something that locks or not. But, it any case already a big improvement over rods all over the floor of the boat.



The next big improvement is the almost total obliteration of the original fish killing live well. I cut out enough of the top to slip my big marine igloo in the hole. First setting in a milk crate to support the ice chest. The ice chest drops in there about 4 or 5 inches and the top of the ice chest is about level with the top of my console….great improvement….while fishing ice chest is out of the way and a nice height to reach in for a cool one…or he right height to make a measurement on the ruler on top and drop in a soon to not be live one.


this still leaves some storage under the ice chest…..good place for bait tank chemicals.

Added some rocket launchers….vertical rod storage while moving between fishing spots….added three to the back rod rack support posts….couldn't find the fourth one….it will find its way there…also not shown, reinstalled double tubes to front casting deck bulkhead on opposite side of golf tubes.



Another project is going to be to make this comfortable seat work….


plenty more to do….

Also, moved rear casting deck seat mount….down to the rear seats platform….when trolling and rear seat placed there…..perfect spot to leave enough room between elevated seat and rear rod rack….
Hey Bayou, if you don't mind me asking, just how long were those guide ons that you installed on your trailer? I kinda like that idea and was looking for a place to start, other than buying a trailer :)

I think they were 4 foot stock 3/4 inch from big box, used 10 or 11 inch nipples down at flange to trailer, then cut pvc length plus a inch or so to cover with caps slid on.

Picture above doesn't show how I have temporary ratchet straps holding guide ons in place, as I didn't weld them in place. Found out one needs horizontal bracing of some type to hold them vertical and stop them from unscrewing.

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