April 10th: Went up to the location where the pontoon currently sits and cleaned out all the seat compartments. 10 life jackets, 2 anchors and a number of old sky ropes and other trash.
April 11th: Called marina to schedule pickup and scheduled a tune-up with them also on the outboard motor.
April 13th: Searched the internet for cabin siding material that was smooth, lightweight and cheap. I believe I found a Tile board that might work from Lowe's but I'll need to see it first hand so I know it will work. I plan on building the walls by using metal studs (14 GA. load-bearing type) for the side, front and rear walls and use aluminum square tubing for the corner post. The roof I plan on using aluminum square tubing to build the frame work and cover with marine plywood with a fiberglass overcoat, since I plan on using the upper deck for the wife to layout and get some sun. Sundeck foot-print area will be the same as the main cabin 8' x 10' but will have additional over-hangs front and back for shading on the main deck.
April 14th: Marina called to let me know that the pontoon is scheduled to be pickup on Thursday for the maintenance to be done on it.
April 15th: Drove up to the location of the pontoon and drained the old fuel out of the fuel tank and replaced with new fuel. Found some flooring that will need to be replaced and I looked over how to remove the seats so when the pontoon gets to the storage area, I'll be able to get right on the task of pulling the seats out. I'm going to call a metal company and price out aluminum sheets (just for giggles) and see how much it would cost me to cover the floor with aluminum instead of wood.
April 17th: Pontoon is scheduled to be picked up and taken into the marina for a tune-up.
Update: Marina has the pontoon at their shop and will be looking over the outboard and doing a PM on it. I'm hoping they don't find anything wrong with it.
Still researching what I'm going to do for the decking, everything rot-free, has a big price tag on it so far.
April 18th: Called to see if the mechanic had had a chance to look at it; was told that my boat was third in line and that it would be probably Tuesday of next week before they could get to it. Keepin' my fingers cross that everything checks out and I'm good to go with it.
April 22nd: Still waiting to hear word from the Marina on the outboard checkup. Plan to call them tomorrow and see what they've found out. Hopefully it's good news and it's ready to be moved to the storage area so I can start working on it.
April 29th:Got a call from the marina with an estimate on repairs $700.00 That includes carbs rebuilt, new water impeller, new lower unit grease, new plugs w/tune-up and compression test. Going to call them today and tell them to go ahead with the repairs. Hopefully I'll be getting the pontoon back by the beginning of next week.
Need to head down to Fish and Game and get the title put in my name and get the tags current for it. Also get my fishing license too, since it's due in May.
Not sure if I'll be able to afford the new flooring I want to install on the pontoon right now; got an estimate of 2,800.00 to replace of the deck with aluminum panels. I really want to use those panels since they'll last forever and I'll never have to deal with replacing wood decking. May have to hold off for an year or so and then look at purchasing the materials to install.
May 9th: Put down-payment on boat slip at RYB and requested a delivery date from the boat repair shop where the pontoon was being serviced. I'm hoping early next week that I should have the pontoon on the water and can start working on the repairs. I've opted to do the repairs on the water vs storing the pontoon on land and being charged another fee to move it again.
I will be working on cleaning up my other boat and getting it ready to sell. The funds will cover the cost of the pontoon and purchasing materials to do some of the repair work needed to the decking.
First thing will be to pull the front seats and some of the rear ones. Then pull the carpet up and see if I can prime and paint the surface to last me until the end of summer, while I figure out how to purchase the aluminum planks I want to buy for a replacement.
May 11th: Purchased a new gas grill for the pontoon. Will most likely not use the original base legs with it and will end up making my own base to use. Will need to build a lockable storage cabinet to mount on the pontoon right away, so I can store stuff on the pontoon and not worry about stuff walking away.
Need to remove the back seating and cover to get access to the rear of the pontoon for fishing. Currently there's a bench seat clear across the back with a sun tanning bed across the top, all of this will be removed. I'll need to build rod brackets in the rear area as soon as possible so I'll be able to catfish while working on the boat.
May 14th: The pontoon arrives at the boat ramp around 10:00 am tomorrow morning.....finally!!! Need to put the license tags on the sides, install a new battery, setup tie-off ropes and a few other things and then motor it down to the boat slip. It's been a long time coming......but I'm finally going to be able to start work on it.
May 15th: The pontoon showed up right on time and I loaded up my gear and fired it up and motored down to the RYB. Ran the motor for a short run, wide-open to see how it would perform. It did alright, but I've noticed a fair amount of spray next to the engine and I'm not sure if it's from the transom box or what. I'll have to look into it and see if I can resolve that issue. Also noticed that the steering was stiff so I'm going to try to grease it and see if that helps it out. The previous owner put a new starter on the outboard but I don't think he shimmed it up correctly. When I try to start it, I get a weird sound coming from the starter so I'll be checking that out this weekend.
It took me about 45 minutes to tie the pontoon up and feel that it was done correctly so it won't have issues with the tide. I've never dealt with tidal water before as far as securing the pontoon to a slip . I think I figured it out and hopefully tomorrow afternoon my pontoon will still be there in 1 piece.
Going to bring the trailer down Sunday and start pulling the furniture off the front and back of the pontoon. Sue's calling to call around and see if she can locate a business that will recover the seat cheap. I'll most likely only be putting 2 of the 4 back on the boat since I want to build a cabin in the center and will need as much space as possible at the rear of the pontoon for catfishin'.
May 16th: Will be taking my trailer down to the boat slip to load up 2 of the benches I will be removing after work today. Also plan on mixing 2 tanks of gas and pumping those into the fuel cell today so I have some fuel in the tank. Picked up a small gang-box that I'm going to bolt down to the floor and storage my tools and supplies in so I don't have to drag them with me every time I go down to work on the pontoon.
This weekend I will be doing some wiring work on the pontoon and getting the Nav. lights and docking lights working correctly. Will be installing a fuse block and a few switches to the captain's helm.
Will take some photos to upload this weekend on the progress of the remodeling of the pontoon boat.
UPDATE: Went down to the slip after work and removed the two front bench seats, installed a gang box, filled the fuel tank and did a few other little projects on it. Once I removed the front seats and pontoon rose in the front by 2 inches, so those seat weigh quite a bit. Once I remove the rear ones and the sun tanning bed, the rear should rise also.
I purchased a gas grill for the pontoon but I found another grill that I like better so I'll probably return the one I have now and get the smaller stainless steel one.
OK, I started off thinking I'd build an 8' x 10' cabin in the center of the pontoon, after considering what space I would have left ( 14' ) I've decided that it probably should be 8' x 8', which will give me 8' in the rear and 8' in the front that's open.
May 18th: Clean most of my stuff out of my other boat and hauled it down to the pontoon today. Yesterday after helping my neighbor build a gate to his back yard, we were talking about how I just purchased a gas grill that I was planning on taking back to Lowe's because I found a different one which I thought would work better for my pontoon. He said that he had one that I could have if I wanted it; so I took a like at it and decided to use it. It's a commercial grade cook store that folds up and burns propane. It will work perfect for the pontoon, so I saved $100.00 right there.
Pulled the sundeck off the back of the pontoon today and the I sat back and thought of how I wanted to set up the back for cat fishing. I think I have a good plan that I came up with so next trip down to the pontoon, I'll be pulling the remaining bench seats out that are located right in front of the outboard.
There's enough room between the aluminum brace bar behind the bench seats and the outboard to build a live-well with a cutting board for a lid. I'll probably mount 3 rod holders on either side of the outboard. I'm still trying to work-out a plan to build a platform behind the outboard that I can step down to and be closer to the water surface to pull the cats out of the water since I don't use a net. I'm considering making a hinged platform that can be swung down while fishing and then pulled up (swing over the top of the outboard motor) and lock in an up-right position when not in use.
Installed a fire extinguisher and stored my dry-box with my fishing license, cast net license and boat registration.
Had lunch on the pontoon and met a few other slip owners today.
May 25th: Was planning on working on the wiring underneath the pontoon today to get the navigation lights working but I ran into trouble....the starter went out on the outboard. I was lucky enough to have a pull rope to start the engine and get back to the marina with the pontoon boat. I ended up pulling the starter out and doing a few odd and end jobs on the pontoon while I fished out of the back of it in the boat slip. Took some photos this weekend and have added them to the right.
May 28th: Plan on going down to the boat and doing some work on it after I get off work today. First thing is to vacuum the floor and try to get it cleaned up some. I also have vinyl cleaner so I can see if I can clean the seats and then put some vinyl conditioner on them so they look better. Going to measure the outboard opening and order some aluminum square tubing to box in that section closer to the outboard and install a livewell just in front of the outboard. All of this has to be removable for access to work on the outboard in the future, so I've got to design it around that.
Going to see if I can measure the steering cable and throttle cable for length to find out if I have enough extra cables to move the console forward and to the center of the pontoon. I'm also going to have to build another console from scratch too. It won't have to be waterproof since it's going to be located inside the cabin area but I'd like to have it designed so the instruments are in nice groups, easy to read and the switches are accessible. VHF radio, depth finder, Water temperature gauge, stereo and the standard outboard gauges will all be located by the helm.
May 31: Went house shopping in the morning and then swung by the pontoon to spend the rest of the day on the boat. Worked on the wiring issues (what a mess) after spending a couple of hours on it and not getting too far, I finally gave up on it for the day and just relaxed and did some fishin'.
June 1: Went down around 11:00 am to work on the wiring some more, this time I found that the anchor light wiring was bad inside the aluminum tubing of the hard-top , so I had to pull new wiring and make new connections. Once I was done with it, the light now works correctly, so I just need to fix the front Nav. lights and docking lights which don't work either.
I really need to start working on building a new helm/console so I can start mounting the switches, VHF radio, stereo, gauges but to do that correctly I need to know just where the front wall will be on the cabin section.
June 3rd: Need to make some anchors today at work that will be big enough to hold the pontoon in place. I need at least three anchors, 1 for each side and 1 for the front. I'd like to keep them as lite as possible but still hold the pontoon in place, since I'll be lifting them by hand every time I want to move the pontoon to a new fishing spot.
June 4th: Ordered my replacement starter for the outboard this morning and had it 2 day air shipped so I can install it this weekend.
Also decided to change the name of my pontoon to River Lizard II instead of River Lizard's Lounge.
Had a storm come in last night and it looked like it was heading straight for the marina so I drove down to check on the pontoon at 9:45 pm and found that everything was fine. While I was down there I noticed that the marina crew is replacing a support board on the walkway next to my pontoon that was broke and making the walkway lean to one side. Hopefully by this weekend they'll have the electrical panel fixed also, so I can start setting up my electrical cords for running power to my pontoon while it's parked in the slip.
Main projects for this weekend is the wiring for the Navigation lights, dock lights and the starter being installed. I really need to get the boat prepped to night fish this summer and can't do that until at least the Navigation lights are fixed.
June 7th: Spent the entire day ( despite the 100 degree temperatures) on the pontoon doing projects. First thing was to install the new starter; while bolting it up, I noticed that it needed shimming so most likely that's why the other starter went out so quickly. Once I finished the starter, I moved on to re-wiring the front navigation lights. The first thing I did was blow up an air mattress so I could lay on it and float underneath the pontoon to work. It worked out great!! Was super easy to move along the under-side of the pontoon and get the wiring done. Ran 2 new "hot" lines up to the front for the navigation lights and the docking lights. I also installed a new 6 fuse breaker box inside the helm and a ground base. The inside of the helm is a electrical nightmare, what a mess!! So I attempted to clean up the wiring some and still have another day's worth of work at completing that.
The heat finally got so extreme by 5:00 pm that I decided to call it a day on the work and just kick back and drank some sweet tea.
June 8th: It looked like it was going to be another hot one today so I wasn't motivated to get going early, I finally got down to the pontoon by around 9:00 am.
I've added a switch plate to the helm to operate the following items: navigation lights, dock lights and the anchor light. (I forgot to take photos but will sometime this week). I also picked up an interior light so I can mount it on the ceiling of the hard top for some additional lighting during the night. By the time I had finished the light switch install and put more fuel in the fuel tank, I was done working for the day (temperature was climbing fast towards 100 degrees). So I cruised around some, did some fishin' and just relaxed the rest of the day. Next project is to move the front railing section forward by 2.5 feet and start working on the cabin section.
June 9th: Work on the pontoon will be put on hold for awhile due to buying a house today. The next 2 months will be spent 100% on moving and doing remodel work on the new home. I'll have very little time to deal with the pontoon or to go fishing for that matter.
Sept. 25th: Well it's been awhile since I posted up any reports on the website and I apologize for that; I guess with purchasing a new house and having that all too famous "Honey Do List" there never seems to be enough time to do the more enjoyable things, like fishin' or working on my boat.
What I have done so far on my pontoon is the following: Installed a 727 Humminbird depth finder, my VHF radio and antenna, a fuse box, removed more seating in the back area, modified the square tubing around the outboard so I can get to my rod holders better. There's still a boat load of work to be done to it but it's going to be slow work since I'm working on remodeling two houses also.
I am putting on a cookout for fellow catfishin' friends this weekend so other than eating, meeting up with fellow catfishermen and fishin', there won't be much done on the pontoon or the houses. Please check out this last Spring's Cookout from the link at the main webpage. I will be updating it with this Fall's Cookout after this weekend.
Dec. 24th: Well it's been awhile.....definitely too long since I last updated my website. Just been way too busy with house projects to get any fishing or any work done on the pontoon. I do however have some updated news about my pontoon that I wanted to post up. Been shopping around for a pontoon trailer for several months not desperate to purchase one, just looking for the right deal, while with the news that the marina was going to up the monthly fee to my marina slip, the issue of finding a trailer become important. So the search intensified to find a cheap trailer for my 24 ft. pontoon and by chance I ran across one on a government auction site and the location was in Virginia. I contacted the Park Service where the trailer was located at and drove down one weekend to view the condition before I placed my bid on it. The overall condition was good as long as the bidding didn't go too high, so I set the price I was willing to purchase the trailer for and waited until the day the auction was going to end and I put my bid in and won it for under $500.00 (see photos to right).
It's a 30 ft. Tracker Marine dual axle bunk system trailer that was in need of some axle and bunk repairs. I drove down the following weekend to inspect the axles and to see what else I might need to get it towed home (104 miles 1 way). I decided to purchase a new axle, new hubs (since the P.O. drove the trailer until it eat the bearings up and the spindle was sitting on the wheel hub). I cut both sets of U-bolts and pulled both axles from under the trailer and hauled them home with me. I took measurements and went to a local Ag supply and purchased a replacement axle, hubs, bearings, seals and new U-bolts. I decided to just purchase 1 axle for now and just tow the trailer home on 1 axle since there wasn't going to be any weight on the trailer. So the next weekend I drove back down to the trailer to install the axle and new hubs. Everything was going great, it took me no time to get the axle bolted up and the new hub assembly installed BUT when I went to bolt the tire/rims on.....the bolt pattern was different!! Come to find out, the bolt pattern on the 10" rims were not the normal trailer bolt pattern of 5 on 4.5 but 5 on 5.25....go figure. OK...I'm 104 miles away from home and it's 10:00 am on a Saturday....and I HAVE to have this trailer removed from the park today! Lucky for me I had the old wheel hubs in my Jeep still, so I packed up the tire/rim and hauled off to the closest town to find a NAPA dealer. I found one and they measured the bolt pattern on the rims and said they didn't have anything in stock for that but they did have the bearings and seals for the old hubs. I purchased 2 sets of them and some sandpaper to clean up the bearing races as best I could and drove back to the park to install them. Slapped everything together and bolted it up....hooked the trailer to the Jeep and headed home hoping I didn't have any more trouble along the way. Made it home just fine without any problems and called it a day....I was worn-out from all the stress.
Since then I've purchased 4 new tires and rims (12" dia.) to increase the wheel diameter and reduce the rpms put on the wheel bearings (do some research on rpms on 12" vs 10" tires, I think you'll be surprised) this will in turn reduce the risk of a bearing going out while you're traveling down the road.
Today I welded up the spring plate mounts to the second axle and plan on installing it tomorrow morning and bolting up the other 2 tires. I also made some new bunk mounts today and will be finishing up those on Friday and then installing the new carpeted bunk boards on Saturday morning. Other than wanting to replace the wiring and giving the whole trailer a good cleaning, priming and 2 coat finish paint, it should be ready to haul my pontoon by Saturday afternoon or Sunday.
I had my pontoon hauled to a marine shop 3 weeks ago for some repairs and a tune-up and I got it back last Thursday and it runs great; can't wait to get back out there fishing again. I was hoping to sneak out Saturday but the trailer is my priority right now so I can get my pontoon out of the marina before I have to pay the increase charges for January. If I do make it out I'll post up a fishing report as soon as I can.....I need 1 more 30+ lb cat to end the season with 10 Citation Catfish (Virginia Fish and Game gives out awards (citations) to fishermen that catch a catfish that's either a certain poundage or a certain length. I didn't make my goal this year of a 70 lb catfish........but I did catch some nice sized cats this year and I had a great time on the river and that's what really counts!
Jan. 2nd: Well I was unable to catch the 10th citation cat in 2008 so I finished the year with 9 citations. It's no biggie, I had a great time fishing last year and look forward to this year's fishing season.
I went out on Jan. 1st and I can honestly say......it was freakin' COLD. You know it's cold when your anchor is frozen to the floor of your boat, your gill net rope is in a block of ice at the bottom of the gill net bucket and there's a sheet of ice in your cutter bucket! The wind was blowing out of the north/northeast/east at 5-10 mph making it hard to anchor in most locations that I wanted to fish and of course I needed to be anchor'd some place where the sun was hitting me so it could help keep me warm. 5 hours later.....not a single bite other than frost-bite!! I hope this isn't a sign for 2009 !!
Update on the pontoon's home: The plan was to pull the toon out of the marina slip and tow it home for storage by the first of the year; well that didn't happen due to vehicle problems. My Jeep's water pump went out on Tuesday and I had it towed into the dealer for repairs. The dealer informed me that they would have to order the part and it might be Friday before they receive it for installation. So without my tow-vehicle I can't pull my pontoon trailer down to the boat ramp to pickup my pontoon, which means we'll be paying another month's rent on the boat slip.
I did finish carpeting the bunks on the trailer and will post up the final photos as soon as I can pull the trailer out of our carport area. The trailer still needs the wiring done, fenders removed, guide posts removed and a couple coats of paint over everything (when it warms up). This weekend I plan on removing the fenders and guide posts, installing the buddy bearing caps on the last axle and greasing up both sets of axles.
Not sure if I'll be going fishing this weekend or not....I need to run down to Petersburg and get my gill net license for 2009 yet. If I get it, there's a good chance I'll go fishing either Saturday or Sunday.
Jan. 4th: Cut the log guides off the trailer today and used a grinder to clean up the weld areas on the cross bracing on the trailer where the guides were welded on at. Had to cut them off due to not being located in the correct location to allow my pontoon logs to glide onto the trailer bunks. I'll re-design the mounting for them and re-install them once the pontoon is loaded on the trailer.
I installed the other 2 buddy bearings on the front axle and greased everything up, so the trailer should be ready to a trial run with loading the pontoon on it. Since I had to pay for another month's rent at the marina, we're not in a hurry to get the pontoon hauled to the house now. I do however want to have a test run hauling it this next weekend so I know it will be ready at the end of the month to haul my pontoon home.
Jan. 9th: Plan to cut the fenders of the trailer this afternoon to make sure there's enough clearance around the tires. The plan is to try to load the pontoon on Saturday and see how everything lines up and to repair my transducer bracket that got broke 2 weeks ago. I've got a replacement bracket that I need to install on the back of one of the logs so I can use my depth-finder again. I also should be getting a GPS receiver today in the mail and plan on installing that also and testing it if possible. I felt there was a need to purchase a GPS unit so I could text my wife my location each time I moved some place out on the river; that way if I don't show up at home after fishing and she can't contact me via cell phone, she'll have the location so law enforcement know where to look. I'll be adding a separate page on my 727 Humminbird w/GPS which will include install photos and instructions, use photos and settings and several other items from it. I'll also be adding a VHF radio page and discuss my VHF radio, the install and the settings on it.
Update on the 9th: Cut one fender off the trailer (the one with the clearance issue). Going to have to redesign the fenders on both sides.
Jan. 10th: Parked the trailer down at OL early in the morning and had the wife drive me over to the marina where the pontoon is stored. I motored the pontoon over to OL and loaded it on the trailer to test the bunks out and to repair the transducer bracket that I broke a week and a half ago. The pontoon fit great on the bunks, I'm please with the outcome. I do have to move the front bump-stop bracket back about 2 ft. to shift the weight back on the trailer since I have an extra 2 ft. of trailer vs pontoon.
I went out fishing for awhile after I was done testing the trailer and setup on a wind-dam to put my lines out and then start working on installing my new GPS receiver for my 727 sonar unit. The install was straight forward, just mount it as high as possible (mine's located on the back top edge of my hardtop) and then install the plug into the sonar mounting base and snap the sonar on the base, then turn it on. It only took a few minutes for the unit to lock on to the satellites before it started giving me information. This unit does not show land areas, it only tracks your route so if you're looking for one that shows the shoreline and your location to it, this unit would not be your choice. This unit does let you store waypoints, show your speed and plot's your course. I'm still checking out all the functions on it but I have saved a number of waypoints and next weekend I'll pull them up and see if it can take me back to where they are and I'll report on the results.
After I was done with the install of the GPS and testing it, I decided to just go ahead and load up the pontoon and tow it home for this week. I called my wife to come down to OL and following me on to make sure there wasn't any problems towing the trailer and pontoon home. Everything went great except I'll need to get extended mirrors for my Jeep, I can't see anything on the sides due to the pontoon blocking my view. Once I got home with it, I found out that it would not fit under our carport so I had to park it on the side, so I ran out and picked up a large tarp to cover it so it wouldn't be exposed to the rain. It's not a pretty site in our yard but it will work for now, I'll have to figure something else out so it doesn't look so bad sitting there.
Jan. 26th: My final pull-out from the Richmond Yacht Club Basin was yesterday, I will no longer be renting a slip there since I have a trailer now. When I pulled my pontoon out yesterday to load it up on the trailer, I decided to load it about 2 feet back on the pads this time since it seemed to be a little front heavy the last time I loaded it on the trailer. I need in the near future to either move my bump-stops back 2 feet or come up with something else to stop the front of the pontoon from going on the trailer any farther in the future. I also believe I'll need to make some kind of roller system to slide the pontoon off my trailer during low tide situations, especially down at Deep Bottom ramp. If I don't figure something out, I believe my trailer will go off the end of the ramp at DB during low tide, there's just not enough water between the shoreline and the end of the ramp to launch my pontoon safely. Another idea I had was to attach to air float tanks that I can control air flow to so I can float the trailer when needed or allow it to ride on the ramp when I don't. My concern with floating the trailer would be that it might cause the trailer to "jack-knife" on the ramp making it difficult to pull the trailer back out again. That's if I don't add stabilizer cables to both sides of the trailer and then attach those cables to the rear of my vehicle to keep the trailer straight while floating.
May 14th: As you can tell by the date, I haven't done much updating to the pontoon in the last 4 months; I've either been working on the house, yard or fishing so there's just not enough time to do much to it. I have been dropping the top down when I'm pulling the pontoon to and from the boat ramp, it's made it a lot nicer with less worries about hitting overhanging trees on the road. My plan is to replace the bolts and nuts with safety quick-disconnect pins so it's easier to remove the pins to drop the top.
I'm also looking at changing my cabin location on the pontoon and moving it towards the back instead and then setup my rod holders at the front of the pontoon. My only concern is when I have the pontoon backwards in the current will the flat ends of the pontoon logs be a problem with the current running into them and make it difficult to hold the pontoon in a fishin' spot? Having the cabin in the back would save a lot of money and time since I wouldn't have to purchase new steering and throttle cables if I had the cabin located farther up front on the pontoon. Also, since the hard top is already located in the back, all I'd need to do is build from that.