If you would like to have the luxuries of a bass boat without the high expense, you can modify your Jon Boat into one.
Admittedly, converting a jon boat into a bass boat is not easy. You have to be skilled with the operation of several power tools. However, if you believe you can do it, here are the steps you can take.
The first step is to gather the tools that you will need and have them ready for the job at hand.
You are going to need a power drill to remove the bench seating, unless your seats are riveted. If your boat has riveted seats then a power grinder is a must to remove rivets.
You will also need a circular saw for cutting the lumber frame. A staple gun is needed to drive staples into the carpeting. Another tool that comes in handy is a hand jigsaw to cut the plywood flooring.
Once you gather up the tools, it is time to purchase your materials. For this modification, you will need 2 x 4’s, plywood, long screws, carpeting, and marine adhesive.
Begin by removing the front and then the middle seat. After the seats are out of the boat, it is time to build and insert the 2 x 4 frame.
It is very important that your frame securely braces both sides of your boat like the bench seats did. So take your time with measuring and cutting so that all pieces are exact.
Livewell / Storage Space
For your middle seat area, you want two 2 x 4’s where the seat used to be. Space the boards about the same width as your former seat. This area makes for a good livewell or cooler space.
After your boards are snugly fit, you have to fasten them securely to the boat sides. Use a power drill to drill holes in the sides of your boat where you will run the screws into the boards.
Use a good marine adhesive to waterproof any drilled holes and apply it liberally to any hole that has the potential to leak.
Flooring / Pedestal Seat
Now, it is time to build the flooring that you can stand on and mount a pedestal seat if you so desire.
Carefully measure and cut your plywood to fit snugly into the front of your boat. Your plywood should be thick enough to support quite a bit of weight so ¾ inch plywood is recommended.
Supporting the Flooring
You can cut out a live well and another hole for storage if you desire. Make sure that your flooring is supported on both sides and the front of the boat.
A good idea is to have at least four cross pieces supporting the sides of the boat.
Covers & Carpeting
Make covers for your live well and storage compartment also. Attach your covers with good door hinges so that they can be easily opened and closed.
Before you put the new flooring into your boat, attach your carpeting. You will need a good adhesive to glue the carpeting to the flooring and staples to hold the flooring in place.
Once this is done, you can mount a pedestal seat to the front standing board section or you can leave the seat out and have a nice standing area to move around on while you are fishing.
You can continue with your modification, or you can stop here. Depending on your skill and knowledge, you can install a steering wheel, support the transom for a larger bass boat outboard, and you can install a fish finder if desired.
Here’s a great video of converting a Jon Boat into a Bass Boat. You’ll find a lot more on youtube, too.