Finally. My career boat, a brand new 1992 Bathtub Mako 17 is finally ready to splash - except for the registration. Might as well start with an early on picture after I dug out the gas and water filled foam and rotten tank.
Today, "Standing Room Only" is ready just in time for sailfish.
In fact, I made those transom mounted baitwells specifically with ballyhoo for sailfish teasers in mind.
The rod compartment was too short to hold an assembled 9' fly rod so I extended it. It will now hold two 9 footers and two up to about 11' fully assembled - along with two gaffs and a boat brush handle. There are 3 nine footers and a 10 footer in there now. They are supported on each end, and in the middle with a horizontally adjustable holder that slides to avoid rod guides. The brown looking rectangles are cork glued to dive suit foam to prevent rods from banging and rattling around while running.
The gunwhale fly rod holders hold two rods on each gunwhale if wanted. There is plenty of room to handle fish aft of them. they are intended to be used for fully rigged rods when trolling teasers in deep water, never knowing what you will raise or how big.
When I was doing plumbing and glass work in the tank coffin, I inset steel plates into the gunwhales under where the rod holders are. The oak that the rubber holders are screwed to have large rare earth magnets inlaid, glassed in and covered with dive suit foam with cork over that.
Originally, I was going to do it the opposite way, but luckily I checked my compass with the magnets sitting on the gunwhales, and the compass lost its mind and its composure. So they are in the wood instead and I can put them up in the anchor locker and the compass likes that much better. I am frequently well out of sight of land and if the GPS went out, I'd really like the compass to work right.
Those magnets are very dangerous to work with by the way, and I have been attacked by them repeatedly. They also sucked the brains out of my car key door opener when they jumped off the workbench and attacked a screwdriver in my pocket. At night no less and it scared the bejesus out of me. I'm lucky I remembered my blood pressure pills that day or I might have had the big one.
I have an old 1/8th inch cast net that I will eventually stretch across that niche in front of the big black slinky that the motor sucks all that gas through and attach with velcro. Even though that looks pretty clean back there, fly lines can find dozens of do dads in there to grab hold of right after a bite or during a cast to a lit up fish.
I spent a lot of time figuring as well as welding and grinding on those bait wells and the valving and flow system, so I hope they work as planned. The corners are clipped on the inside so that all the angles are obtuse. Water comes in through a clam shell scoop on the bottom and up through a chanel milled on the inside of two pieces of 1/2" plexiglass, through the valve made of delrin, back down the other side, and out 5 channels horizontally from the bottom to the top of the water column.
This should cause continuous freash water to rotate when running between drifts. The valve will regulate that flow when running (if I can just remember to adjust it) so it doesn't beat all the ballyhoo to death, but gives them plenty of fresh oxygenated water. Ballyhoo are not very smart, no smarter, in fact, than mankind as far as I can tell, so I've taken considerable pains with these things.
The front deck has pop up bow light, line chocks and lift ring. The cleats aft are also pop ups. That lift ring is not screwed to the deck and I can remove it without any tools within a minute or so. A 5/8 stainless rod screws into it from the anchor locker and that rod, in turn is attached to both the keel and the bow ring by heavy stainless fastners.
The bizzare looking contraption I made from my scrap pile is shown below. It's purpose is to stiffen the deck and enable the lift ring's quick removal and replacement by a sturdy casting post on the deck, and vice versa.
But that is a project for the winter's howling windy days, and not worth wasting a good fishing day over.
Would I ever undertake a project like this again? No. Was it fun. No!
But I did get rid of a bunch of "stuff". If it sounds like I am rabidly paranoid and lunatical about " stuff" that my fly line will find -well I am. I hate losing fish because of "stuff". Fly line finds all "stuff" in a boat. Fly line is really all made by Murphy and only marketed by SA and Rio and the rest of them. Stuff materializes through spontaneous generation all by itself, so I've tried my best to get rid of all I could of what was actually bolted onto the boat everywhere by a non- fly fishing manufacturer and previous owner.
So now the fun starts - right after the registration letters are attached that is.