V-bottom boats can be converted to bass boats by adding certain bass boat features. The V-bottom configuration offers room to install a deck with clearance below for a live well and bait well. Marine supply outlets carry bait pump kits and through-hull fittings that provide a fresh supply of lake water to the wells. An outboard motor steering system, wire harness, ignition switch and gauges are also carried by most marine supply outlets. You can convert a V-bottom boat to a bass boat using marine grade plywood and carpentry shop tools.
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Things you need
- 3/4-inch marine plywood
- Circular saw
- Cordless drill with screw tip
- 1-inch wood screws
- Fibreglass kit
- Silicone adhesive
- Silicone sealant
- Electric jigsaw
- Non-slip deck surfacing
Determine the size and locations of a live well and bait well that will install below the deck. Include a compartment well for dual 12-volt boat batteries. The wells should be 8 inches deep. Fabricate the sides and bottoms of the wells using 1/2-inch thick marine plywood, wood glue and wood screws.
Mix resin and catalyst per the instructions and fibreglass the inside of the wells and battery compartment. Allow the fibreglass to cure completely. Drill holes in the live wells for fresh water supply hoses that connect to bait pumps. Drill holes at one side of the battery compartment for a wire harness that connects between the batteries and the driver's console.
Apply silicone adhesive on the underside of each well and set each in place on the hull. Use a 4-foot level and small wood spacers if needed to ensure the top edges of all wells are uniform. Attach 2-inch wide strips of plywood around the tops of each well and battery compartment as backing for the plywood deck. Transfer level marks from the top of the wells to the walls of the hull.
Use silicone adhesive and 1-inch wood screws to attach 2-inch wide strips of marine plywood backing at these marks. Make sure the top edges of the strips create a uniform platform for the deck. Cut and install additional plywood strips to fill in areas of the platform that exceeds a span of 12 inches.
Install a bait pump below deck level near the live well and another near the bait well. Install a bilge pump. Connect the provided hoses to the drilled holes at the wells using the provided hose fittings. Attach the other end of the well hoses to the port on the pumps marked "Out" and secure the attachments with a stainless steel hose clamp.
Use an electric jigsaw to cut the plywood deck for the bass boat. Make precise cuts for the openings at the wells and battery compartment. Drill a hole for the wire harness near the area of the driver's console. Apply silicone adhesive to the top edges of the platform frame and attach the deck to the frame with wood screws.
Build a driver's console to your personal specifications using marine plywood and cover it with fibreglass. Install an electrical terminal block in the console and connect the battery wire harness, fresh water pump leads and bilge pump leads to the block. Install an ignition switch and any necessary gauges in the console.
Install a steering system in the console and string the steering cables along one side of the boat to the outboard motor mount. Fibreglass the bass boat deck. Cover the deck of the bass boat with a non-slip surfacing. Install boat seats near the console.
Tips and warnings
- Add an elevated casting deck with a swivel seat at the bow. Include a mount for a trolling motor.
- Install an overhead bar at the driver's console for rod holders.
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