Many fishermen like to make a casting deck so that they can move around unrestricted and fish more water in a shorter amount of time. Removing the front two seats in a Jon Boat is a necessity if you would like to make a casting deck.
Tools For The Job
To make a casting deck in the front of your boat, the very first thing you should do is gather the tools that you will need for the job. Depending on the make of your boat, some bench seats are riveted while others are screwed in.
If your seats are just screwed in, you will need a power drill with the appropriate phillips or flat screw bit. However, if your seats are riveted in, you should also have a hole punch. If you lack the hole punch, you can use a phillips head drill bit that will fit just inside the rivet.
Punch A Hole
The first step is to punch out the center hole of the rivet. Use your hole punch to accomplish this, or hit a Philips head screwdriver through it by hitting it with a hammer.
After you have a hole in the center of the rivet, all you need to do is dip your drill bit in some oil and drill out the rivet. The rivet will pop out onto your drill bit and you should now have a clean hole for when you drill into the frame of your new standing platform.
Removing the Seats
After repeating this process and extracting all of the rivets that are holding your bench seats in, you can now remove the front seats of your boat.
Underneath the bench seats on most boats you will notice insulation that helps the boat to float in the event of an accident. It is suggested that when you install the frame for your casting deck that you also pack some form of lightweight insulation to replace the insulation that you have taken out.
Casting Deck Frame- Wood or Metal?
Once the bench seats are out of your boat, it is time to decide which material you are going to install for your casting deck. Most people make the frame out of 2 x 4’s, however; some people that know how to weld or are willing to pay a welding company, choose steel or aluminum framing.
The important thing is to make sure the front of the boat is as stable as it was with the bench seats. The frame should be drilled to the sides of your boat so that the boat sides do not flex with the added weight of the fisherman. Depending on the size of your Jon Boat, you might need a center brace in the frame to support the middle of your casting deck.
Making The Platform
After completing the frame, the next step is to make the platform. The platform should be made with ¾ inch plywood precisely cut to fit over the frame. Some people with larger boats cut a hole in the deck to serve as space for boat safety essentials or a live well.
Keep in mind, that a hole in the casting deck can weaken it so if you decide to go this route it is a good idea to modify and strengthen the frame around the hole.
Sealing The Plywood
Next, it is time to water seal the plywood so that it does not take on water and prematurely rot. A good choice is Thompson’s MultiSurface Waterproofer.
Thompson’s water seal usually does not have to be applied more than once but do allow it to dry thoroughly before “splash testing” it. After the water seal has dried, splash a little water on it and it should bead and roll right off. If the water sticks to the wood, you will need to apply a second coat.
Choosing a Good Cover
Perhaps the most important part of installing a standing platform is to choose the right type of material to cover and protect the wood.
A good marine carpet is recommended, although, some people do use rubber sheeting which also serves the purpose and is waterproof.
Corinthian makes a high quality marine carpet that is excellent to use on your standing platform. Their carpets come in twenty one different colors ranging from $1.25 per square foot all the way up to $3.33 per square foot.
Corinthian carpets are well-suited to fit Jon Boat standing platforms due to the fact that they can be pulled and stretched around the cut out piece of plywood and then stapled to the bottom. Their carpeting also has a special backing that can be glued to your plywood for long lasting life.
Here’s a great video on how to make a casting deck on a budget: