There has been some serious reflection this past month with the sale of the WarCanoe. So many memories, so many trips, so many fish, I can look back in my fifteen years of fishing journals and relive many great days in the freighter canoe.
But it was time to sell. It is not the boat for here in the south and I figured this day would come. Cedar strips, canvas, wood, it all needs to be wet more often, to stay damp and not dry to the bone in a field out back of the house. Each spring I would pull the tarp off, flip it over and notice new spots that needed work. Then it would often sit under the hot summer sun on it's trailer waiting for the half dozen to dozen times I'd use it some place before flipping it back over for the winter. Past few years I have hated seeing it deteriorate and felt the work and costs for upkeep just didn't align with it's use. Posted on Kijiji it sold in two days to a fella who has other cedar strip boats like those you'd see out east on the Miramachi or some river like that, and he also has other Northwest Canoes. Capable and experienced, his plan is to re-canvass and fully restore the WarCanoe so he and his Grandchildren can enjoy it. I couldn't have asked for a better ending for my boat, unless we maybe rode over Niagara Falls together and made the local news one way or another.
Knowing the sale was coming I had been half arsed keeping an eye out for a replacement. The needs were to have a smaller, lighter, simpler boat than the Lund. One that could better weather the sun in the yard and snow through the winter, and take the occasional pounding of dirt and back roads into some of the smaller, out of the way lakes I sometimes fish. The hope is it will be around a long time and used when a bigger boat isn't necessary, for the Lund will be upgraded in the next few years to something 18+ feet and fully rigged.
Buying a used boat didn't go as planned. Most sales for something decent included boat, motor and trailer, and if you viewed one online that was only the boat, it often appeared in rougher shape or a little too small. Because only the WarCanoe sold yet everything else with it remained, I only required a boat. Asking sellers to separate theirs from a package I was getting responses asking too much for just the shell alone. Of local dealers selling Lund, PrinceCraft, AlumaCraft and StarCraft I found pricing to range from $2750 to $3750 for new... Luckily, left over from when our Canadian dollar was stronger, Rideau Ferry Marine had one 2014 new Alumacraft V14 made for a short shaft motor. The only boat of all which had flooring installed, this find was the lowest priced yet most equipped choice available. The Marina threw in numbers and licensing and come end of the search I was happy with the replacement for the WarCanoe.
My trailer is still in good shape but to prepare it for the shorter boat a few things needing moving around. Once started with the tools, I ended up pulling everything off it to do nearly a full repaint before reinstalling things back into positions felt best for the coming boat. A busted tail light was repaired, the wheel wells went from dirty white to grey instead, and the bunk guides I turned around as they were a little longer at one end having been made for the 20-foot WarCanoe that once sat upon them.
The boat an empty canvass, I got to work at tweaking everything how I wanted. The plan was turn this into a solid pimped out fishing machine that had all parts detachable for storage and any long or rough trips on the road. Much of the materials and additions were kicking around the house and I was chomping at the bit to make shart happen. To the work...
Folks at Ottawa Fastener Supply cut four 6-inch pieces from a 3-foot 1 1/2 inch metal corner bracket. This was the best choice I could find for providing a solid mount for the bow platform. 1/4" stainless steel 1" screws, washers, etc were used to hold. Had to bend the brackets inward a little with vice grips. Was happy when drilling into the boat that I could do it where the aluminum is doubled up for the gunnel, (a little more sturdy) but to make that happen I did need to drill my own holes as high as I could into the corner bracket to still receive the washer and nut... Because it's spring, outdoor deck carpet seems in high demand. Couldn't get grey locally but was "OK" with this grey-blue which was the last of it at Rona. They didn't have outdoor carpet adhesive in Rona, and Home-Depot was out of the small tub too. Dood there gave me 50% off the big tub though, making it only $5 more than the small. Plenty to go around now for this platform and the casting deck, I was quite liberal tacking down the carpet to a well measured and cut 3/4" sheet of treated ply. Didn't want to see the screws on the underside from the motor mounting plate to come, so a 2X3 got carpeted as well to finish the look and maybe add a little strength.
Sits nice and flush with the gunnels, just maybe an 1/8 inch above. The Minn-Kota mounting plate came next, it kinda uglies it up but it serves a purpose.
This 55lb thrust MinnKota PowerDrive V2 was the first trolling motor on the Lund. Glad I kept it because it'll be perfect for this boat. Bow platform with trolling motor complete!
The casting deck dried a couple nights on the top side before flipping it over to pull the remaining excess around the edges and tack it down using outdoor carpet adhesive and the staple gun. The partly carpeted cleat in the centre of the underside was added to prevent movement of the deck. This works amazingly to keep it in place and I have done similar with the cargo box on the ATV and casting decks for the Lund and WarCanoe. I carpeted the two pieces for three reasons. 1. It snugs into place better. 2. It helps prevent noise. 3. As said already, it stops movement of the deck once flipped and in place. The cleat fits perfectly against the edges of the two seats seen in the pic.
The deck in place... at this time I kinda started to wonder about the color though.
Below picture 1 the underside, and 2 topside. This is the base that will receive my sonar and GPS. Carpeted it will reduce vibration and help the wood and sonar last longer. The two carriage bolts facing up were hammered into the wood, the area epoxied, then all covered with some scrap carpet. Once flipped over and secured to the boat, a couple wing nuts, lock washers and washers will do nicely to hold the sonar... you'll see!!
Cannon base mount was added as well. Needed extra height and appreciate the extra thickness of having a very sturdy base. Four 4-inch wood screws pinned that in place. The sonar base was secured with nuts and bolts, just using what was around the house. Although more may get added later, the work station is complete.
Picture 1 is my sonar and GPS combo for travel and guiding. Years back my father gave me the perfect case and I eventually found a good use. Everything including the wiring, transducer, C-clamp, hardware, sonar and GPS can fold up into this protective hard case for travel. Another benefit is it can be removed and either screwed onto another boat or, as seen in picture 2, docked onto this new boat.
The Cannon base receives a swivel stand which I use on the Lund as well. The rigger, a standard Scotty rod holder (with GoPro) or the big nasty with the Salty for pointing the musky sticks right in the drink, this setup is all about portable, detachable options.
Hummed and hawed about seat mounting awhile but went this route. Lucky for me on my 40th I got a Canadian Tire gift card and that paid for the seat brackets and some odds and ends. A second time lucky, my employer surprised me with a $250 Costco gift card for some extra work well done while in Kugaaruk this past winter. So, when Costco advertised boat seats on sale that caught my eye, I picked up a couple... One thing known about this style seat bracket though is it's tendency to lift from position. Picture 1 and 2 was my remedy for that. Found a couple nuts and bolts the right size and once in place they tack the bracket on both sides and prevent movement. Pic #3 is the end result.
Mounting a motor is simple. The transom is 2-inches thick while the bracket for my old Honda can tightly receive up to 2 1/2 inches. Initially, I had cut a piece of 3/4" ply, painted it grey (see just left of motor) and planned to thicken the transom some but, that obviously made the transom too thick. 1/2" ply... meh, didn't bother! What I had kicking around though were two pieces of 1/4 inch thick and solid firm rubber that were cut off truck mud flaps. That rubber has come in handy for a couple other projects and repairs. Anyways, I cut a piece for the Honda here which I think will do great to help absorb some motor rattle and protect the transom a little. Also added a U-bolt which bungeed like that keeps the motor straight while trailering or, while using the MinnKota. The motor could lock to it as well.
My father some time back had no more use for his 44-lb thrust MinnKota pictured here so, he gave it to me. It's been on the WarCanoe the past 5 years. With the 55lb PowerDrive already up front, this option may or may not come in handy at the back if wanting to use it instead, I'll see. Both motors mounted here the initial ride is near.
Have six Scotty rod holders all which came with a base. Most bases are in use for the Lund so had to purchase one more. They are $3 cheaper at SAIL over CTC. After punching some holes and finding the right length bolts, two longer, two short for each holder, beam me up... two Scotty's on deck!
Loaded up now!! The boat looks big but really isn't. 14'3" I think it is. A dry weight of 240lbs. Depth is 28.5" with a 62" beam. Capacity is for about 900llbs but once my fat arse sits in it we're eliminating payload quick... Couple years back I pulled the gel-cell 12V battery out of the emergency generator at home to replace it with a 12V cranking battery. (wasn't getting the cranking amps needed or for long enough in the winter to turn over the genny) So, this smaller battery kicking around and still live, I have put it to use for my sonar. A second 12V deep cycle on it's last legs will be used up managing the trolling motor(s). If ever needed, for extra rod holders I'll probably just throw on my Saltys, this said, with three choice holders now I can't see there being need for more. (it's not going to be a Great Lakes boat by and means) The Captain's chair I'll need to re-position as far back as it can go where it's mounted now because, that tiller handle is so stupid short it's a stretch for me left arm.
Bare bones to dressed. The transducer board I probably will paint grey in time. It has to stay long as some boats used up north are 20" transoms not 15" like this boat. The main motor has full range of motion without hitting it or the stern mounted MinnKota...
Almost everything on this boat is detachable except the Cannon base and obviously the bow deck which has the MinnKota base plate. Come winter it should make storing things inside the shed easy, allowing for longer life of parts.
That prop on the 99 Honda is the original. It and the skeg have truly taken a pounding, bouncing off rocks on the Moose, French and Cheepas Rivers countless times. Although worn it's still unbelievably balanced. A lower pitch meant for work over speed and it's built thick. In time I may take that off and store it as a back-up (store spared props in a sealable bag, trust me) because it would be nice to have a new one a little higher pitched for speed. The motor itself still runs like a top and will idle all day long if need be.
Not so sure about the color (not blue/grey so much as it looked under the dim lights at Rona) but it was either this or green or black. It may just be a one of a kind color scheme though.
The End Result!!! Other than needing to extend the 8 guage wire for the MinnKota up front and mount the second seat, the rig is fully pimped out to fish.
The water test...
First opened it up and wasn't achieving plane. Stuck at 9mph max speed with the wind. There was plenty on the transom bogging it down too. Back to the launch I reset the trim pin as low and forward as it would go. Back out again I worried a couple times as the cowling was in the water and the exhaust often bubbling while submerged. This said, it jumped easy to plane and got up to 18.5mph. Back to the launch I reset that trim just up one more and that seemed to be the best solution to keep the exhaust out of the water and find me a top speed of 17.5 to 18 mph. When alone I need to get more weight forward too, and what really helped was when the 12V deep cycle was hooked to the MinnK-PD up front and not the stern mounted MinnKota. If a second person comes along there won't be any issue jumping to plane but it will slow as this motor is 10hp under full power. Both MinnKotas worked fine but I actually found the one on the stern cumbersome and annoying so it'll go unless really needed. The foot pedal on the bow mount motor has plenty wire to reach me in the back if need be anyways. One thing I found a little spooky is how low a 15" transom really is. I didn't notice as much in the WarCanoe as the transom is so narrow and you sit more deeply into the boat. It cautions me to think twice about being caught out there in big water as one good wave could swamp ya no issue. One thing I noticed and really like is how the outer runners displace any splash outward. I went looking for chop on the lake and tried carving into waves to see what kind of water I could get over the gunnel to splash me but, I couldn't even make this boat do it. I'll have to try this again in bigger waves in the future and see what happens, yet for now this little boat rides seemingly nice and dry. Finally I wanted to stand on the deck and cast. The 55lb-thrust MinnKota has more than enough balls to hammer this boat around, so no ish there. Side-to-side just as it rides, there was little rock while standing high on the bow. Happy with it's sturdiness and notably less tippy than what I was used to with the WarCanoe, so far it's making me happy... and no leaky rivets yet anyways.
So that's it! Built up from just a boat and into a "Fishin' Boat!" Since this photo I've caught a few small lakers and pike but because they were runts I wouldn't let their slime touch the boat. Bren joined me for a short evening of muskie trolling too, and made herself comfortable. This boat will have its advantages.
Been stuck on a name. Ghost, Grey Ghost, Smokey... just not sure yet. It's first fish was a "grey" trout though, and the online FB vote did favor Ghost. One thing is for certain, it has a long way to go to create the kind of personal history and connection the WarCanoe has. But, there's no plans to stop fishing anytime soon so it'll get that chance.
And about that clear and clean summer slate, it's fully packed up now and ready to begin. As always, thanks for reading.
Edited by Moosebunk, 12 June 2016 - 09:38 AM.