Jon Boat Paint – Tips & Suggestions

jon boat paint

Many people who purchase Jon Boats hunt with them. Therefore, it is important that the boats are painted so that they do not spook the wildlife or waterfowl. Thankfully, there are a few different options for jon boat paint and we’ll discuss them in this article.

Hide Your Boat!

Most of the Jon Boats today come from the manufacturers in a drab green or brown solid pattern. And, although, these boats do not shine like aluminum boats that aren’t painted, they still stand out when attempting to hide amongst vegetation.

For this reason, you can choose a paint pattern, or mats to place inside your boat, to camouflage your boat for any hunting or fishing environment.

Remove Old Paint

Before painting your boat, you need to make sure that it is clean and free of peeling paint from former paint jobs. You will need a scraper to scrape off any peeling paint before attempting to repaint.

Another method to take off old and peeling paint is to use a wire brush. A pressure washer can really help you to get your boat super clean for a new paint job. Use a product like Rustoleum’s Multi-Purpose Krud Kutter which will take care of mud, dirt, and grease.

The key to a successful paint job is to remember to get your boat as clean as possible before attempting to paint. Some people recommend cleaning your boat, sanding it, and then painting with primer.

Once your boat is clean and dry, you are ready for paint primer or a paint that does not require primer.

Jon Boat Primer

If you desire to paint your boat with oil-based paint, you should first primer it. A jon boat primer is sold by Cabela’s and is called, “Parker Duck Boat Primer.”

This primer is an excellent choice for aluminum boats as it protects the aluminum from corrosion and it prepares the boat to maximize the adhesion of oil-based paints.

Jon Boat Camo Paint

There are many camouflage paints for jon boats to choose from. Parker makes excellent paints for boats, or you can choose other paints like Hunter’s Specialties Camo, Aluma Hawk Green, or Duralux Camouflage.

Duralux boat paint is vinyl-based, and although it is fairly expensive, there is no need for a primer and it is also easy to clean.

Camouflage Kits for Jon Boats

Hunter’s Specialties makes a “Camouflage Kit”, that is ideal for painting Jon Boats if you desire to just use spray paint. The kit comes with four cans of spray paint each containing a different color.

The colors are: Flat Black, Mud Brown, Olive Drab, and Marsh Grass. The Hunter’s kit also includes stencils that look like ferns to further enhance the camouflage. Spray paints for Jon Boats are not expensive and you can purchase this kit for approximately $30.00.

Camouflage Mats

Many people refrain from painting their boat camouflage but instead use mats to cover the inside of the boat.

Camouflage mats are an excellent choice when waterfowling. The birds overhead cannot distinguish between the boat and the natural surroundings and, therefore, will oftentimes fly right over. It’s wise to color co-ordinate your boat mats with the exterior paint you have chosen.

You can find our page “Jon Boat Camouflage Mat” for more on this topic.


Here’s a video from youtube on painting your jon boat using some of the methods detailed in this article.

Converting Your Jon Boat Into A Bass Boat

Jon Boat Into A Bass Boat

Jon Boat Into A Bass Boat

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.

Tools Needed

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.

Purchase Materials

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.

Remove Seats

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.

Fasten Boards

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.

Further Modifications

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.

Flat Bottom Jon Boat vs V Hull

flat bottom jon boat

Today, there are basically three types of jon boats to choose from: flat bottom, v-hull, and utility; which is a combination of both.  You should choose a jon boat to best suit the water conditions that you plan on fishing or hunting.

All three types have their pros and cons, and we’ll discuss them in this article.

Flat Bottom Advantages

The main advantage of having a flat bottom jon boat is that they are easy to stand in and more stable in calm waters like ponds and small lakes.  A v-hull boat rocks back and forth more in calm waters when you are moving around in the boat.

If you are a river fisherman, the better choice is to go with a flat bottom boat also.  The current of the river can take you over boulders and shallows real quick and with the v-hull; you will hit more structure and can potentially damage your craft.  You can also park your flat bottom boat right alongside the river without running aground.

Better for Shallow Waters

Flat bottom jon boats can go into very shallow water without grounding. If you are fishing for bass in the shallows or if you are duck hunting and want to tuck into the weed, a flat bottom boat is a better choice.

Also, a flat bottom boat can be turned into a duck blind easier because the sides are not as high.

V Hull Advantages

V-hull boats are a better choice if the lakes that you fish are large and prone to wavy conditions.  The v- hull cuts through the waves better than a flat bottom boat and when the boat is stationary, the boat is more stable in waves.

Flat bottom boats will slap the waves harder when you are relocating on a wavy lake, causing more water to enter the boat. For this reason, v-hull boats will keep you drier in wavy conditions and offer a smoother ride.

Better in Waves

Another advantage of choosing a v-hull over a flat bottom boat is that the v-hull has higher sides and can lean more when bobbing in wavy waters. Accidents can happen, and a v-hull is a better choice in wavy waters so that you don’t fall out of the boat.

Due to the fact that v-hulls can handle waves better; they can be driven faster and get you to and from fishing or hunting spots quicker. This is a big advantage if you want to cover a lot of water in a single outing or if you are in a fishing tournament where it is usually always a necessity to move around a lot.

Utility Jon Boat Advantages

If you wish to have the best of both worlds, you can choose a utility boat which has an extended keel that is formed in a v-hull design but has a flat bottom. The Crestliner CRV is one such model.

However, because a utility boat has the flat bottom, the only real advantage of going with it is that it will cut through small waves better than a regular flat bottom jon boat.

In Conclusion

If you’re mainly floating on calm, shallow waters, a flat bottom jon boat is best. They’re also just the ticket for river fisherman.

For fishing on larger bodies of water with waves, a v hull jon boat will probably be better.

If you think you’d like a bit of both, utility jon boats could be what you’re looking for.

Jon Boat Cart Tips & Options

jon boat cart

Jon boat carts are used to transport boats from the top of a vehicle to either the water or storage area. Some people purchase small canoe or kayak carts to transport their jon boat; however; the wide width of jon boats makes this a little difficult.

Advantages of a Jon Boat Cart

Jon boat carts are needed in certain circumstances. They can help you relocate your boat into or out of storage and they can make it much easier to portage.

They are essential when approaching a body of water that does not allow any motorized vehicles. In this case, you cannot back a trailer into the area to launch. It is necessary to either carry your boat or haul it with a cart.

Beware of Thin Carts

Most boat carts are made for thinner boats like canoes or kayaks and wide jon boats have the potential to slide and fall off during transport and need to be balanced by a couple people.

If you need a jon boat cart, make sure that it is wide and sturdy enough to safely carry your boat.

Check The Weight Limit

When purchasing a cart for moving your jon boat, make sure that you are within the weight limit.

Most of the carts made by manufacturers cannot carry over 300 pounds. This can be exceeded by a larger jon boat with fishing or hunting gear in it.

A Cart for Wider Jon Boats

One carrier that is built for wider jon boats is  the “Personal Watercraft PWC Dolly”. It is 48” long by 34” wide and made by C.E. Smith.

This dolly is recommended for transporting your boat into your garage or storage area, but not recommended for transporting your jon boat to the body of water, unless on pavement.

The reason for this is the wheels are too small for rough terrain. This is a problem that you’ll find with many jon boat carts and why many jon boaters choose to build their own.

DIY Jon Boat Cart

It’s not too difficult to build a cart that is able to securely transport a jon boat. For the $100 or so that you’d spend on a cart, you can buy a lot of parts to help.

One big advantage of building your own cart is that you can make it with sturdier metal and wheels that won’t damage or blow out due to the extra weight of gear. This can happen with many of the boat carts on sale today.

For example, you can buy ballon wheel axle kits for less than $50.

Use a Hand Truck

One method of building your own cart is to use a hand truck. Harbor freight tools sells hand trucks at an affordable price. Hand trucks are made to carry heavier weights and make excellent affordable jon boat carts.

Basically, all you need to do is cut the platform off of the bottom of the hand truck and use a ratchet strap to hold it to the bottom of your boat. You can then easily move your jon boat, even by yourself.

Another advantage to using a hand truck as a jon boat cart is that the top of the truck acts just like a stand so your boat will not rub against the ground when the boat is not lifted.

What are the Different Jon Boat Sizes?

jon boat sizes

There are different Jon Boat sizes to accommodate many different uses. It’s important to have the correct size boat for your intended use (i.e fishing, duck hunting) and the size of the body of water you’ll be floating it on.

Jon Boat Sizes

Jon Boats typically range from as little as 8 feet all the way up to over 20 feet. The smaller 8 foot boats are becoming harder to find as more people are opting for a little larger boat.

The common sizes are 10 to 15 feet, and there are quite a few Jon Boat manufacturers that target this size.

What Size Boat Do You Need?

One of the main factors to think of when choosing the correct boat size is the bodies of water that you plan on using it on.

Obviously, if you are planning on fishing a large lake that has the potential for big waves, you should opt for a larger boat so that you don’t capsize.

An 8 foot boat in the middle of a Great Lake is not a good idea, even if you are well below the recommended weight limit.

When You Need a Trailer

As boat size increases, they become more difficult to transport. If you don’t have a truck and boat trailer, you should probably go with a small boat that can be transported on the top of your vehicle.

Jon Boats are light when compared to other boats, however; a 12 foot jon boat without any gear can weigh 600 pounds.  It is unlikely that two people would be able to load a 12 foot boat on their vehicle.

An 8 foot aluminum boat only weighs approximately 100 pounds, while a 15 foot boat weighs nearly 300 pounds. For this reason, most boats over 10 feet long are trailered.

The Advantages of Larger Boats

Some people prefer to have a large jon boat and you can find boats over 20 feet. There are advantages to having a large boat.

Larger boats don’t get tossed as much in wavy conditions; they can utilize a larger horsepower motor; and they can hold more gear like duck decoys, fishing equipment, or coolers. Typically, the longer and wider a boat is – the more stable.

Bigger Boat…Bigger Engine!

When you increase the size of your boat, you increase the amount of space that you will have but you also increase the size of the motor that you will need to power the boat.

Here are the common jon boat sizes along with the size of the motor that is recommended for them. For this example, common sized Lund boats were referenced.

  • 10 foot – maximum 3 hp engine
  • 12 foot – maximum 10 hp engine
  • 14 foot – maximum 15 hp engine
  • 14 foot wide beam – maximum 25 hp engine
  • 16 foot – maximum 35 hp engine
  • 18 foot – maximum 65 hp engine

Wider = More Stable

Wider boats are generally more stable and you can use a greater horsepower with them.

The common beam widths of Jon Boats are approximately:

  • 48 inches for a 10 foot boat
  • 48 to 60 inches for a 12 foot boat
  • 57 to 70 inches for a 14 foot boat
  • 75 inches for an 18 foot boat.

How to Make a Casting Deck

jon boat casting deck

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:

Building a Jon Boat Duck Blind

duck blind

If you’re looking to turn your Jon Boat into a duck hunting boat, camouflage paint is a good start. However, ducks flying overhead will still spot it. That’s why many duck hunters choose to modify their boat with a duck blind.

There’s really two options. You can either purchase a kit or make a DIY Duck Blind.  For the latter, it helps if you have access to a welder or know how to weld. Then you can make your own frame.

Duck Blind Kits

A company named “Bust Em” has a really nice duck blind kit. It contains a custom made welded galvanized metal tubular frame that has door hinges in some areas so that the frame can be moved to allow hunters the ability to load gear, enter and exit the boat, and allow dogs to jump in and out.

The frame is painted flat black so that it does not easily rust and does not have areas of glare that waterfowl could see.  Wooden camouflaged panels cover the frame. If you desire, you can make your own panels and mount them to your own frame or you can just purchase the “Bust Em” kit.

Realistic Camouflage

The next part of the blind is important if you decide to use real vegetation for a more realistic camouflage. Wire mesh can be mounted to the wooden panels. You can then insert vegetation all through the mesh to deceive the smartest waterfowl. The vegetation you should use is the same type of vegetation surrounding your hunting area.

Large Cargo Doors

After the blind is mounted to the boat, you can open the cargo doors and store your decoys and other gear. Because your Jon Boat is now a closed in structure, you don’t have to worry about your gear blowing out of the boat. Bust Em makes these doors large so that you and your dogs can easily climb into and exit the boat.

If your decision is to make the duck blind yourself, it is a good idea to make doors large so that you don’t have trouble getting in and out.

Hinged & Movable Flaps

The last part of this type of Jon Boat duck blind is the middle top flaps. These flaps are similar to the side panels only they are present in the middle of the boat to further enhance camouflage from overhead flying waterfowl. If you make your own duck blind make sure to include flaps that are hinged and moveable.

Scissor-Style Duck Blind

Another type of Jon Boat duck blind is a scissors style duck blind. You can make it yourself or purchase a kit.

To make this type of blind, measure your boat from the rear of the back seat up to the rear of the front seat. This will be the area for your blind frame. For the frame you will need steel piping, electrical conduit, or pvc pipe.

Duck Bling Clamps

To mount the frame to your Jon Boat, you will need duck blind clamps. Sportsman Designs makes a real nice aluminum duck blind clamp that can hold ¾ inch conduit.

You will need two clamps, one for the right front side and one for the right rear side. One of your long side pieces will slide through these clamps and then the clamps are tightened so this section of frame does not move.

Rectangular Frame

Make sure you measure your conduit properly before cutting it. You should have three solid long pieces that stretch from the back of the rear seat all the way up to the rear of the front seat on each side of the boat.

Two of these pieces form the sides of the rectangular frame on both sides of the boat. The other long piece is used for the top of the scissors duck blind frame.

Then you need two pieces of the same length that will serve as your rear cross frame and a middle piece that stands straight up behind your rear seat and connects with the top long piece. A 90 degree elbow is used to form the top and vertical parts of the blind.

Front-of-the-Frame

To make the front of the frame, you will need a piece that lies across the front of the boat and a piece that stands vertically when the frame is up and connects by a 90 degree elbow to the top frame piece.

All four of these pieces should have holes drilled in them exactly in the middle because what you want to achieve is a scissors style duck blind that will lie flat until needed. You form the scissors by attaching a bolt, washer, and nut in each of the drilled holes.

Add Material

After your frame is constructed and all hardware is tightened, you should be able to fold the frame down flat. You can now add material of your choosing to cover the frame. You can use either natural or man-made materials or you can combine the two.

Now when the blind is up, the birds will not see you hiding in the middle of your Jon Boat until it is too late!

And finally, you can find a lot of Jon Boat duck blind videos on youtube. This one in particular is very good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir0WJsbXqA8

The Best Outboard Motors For Your Jon Boat in 2019

Jon Boat Outboard

Electric trolling motors are great and we discussed them here, but for a primary motor on a Jon Boat, many go with an outboard motor.

Why Get an Outboard Motor?

Jon Boat Outboard
A 15 hp is suitable for bigger Jon Boats.

If you’re fishing bigger bodies of water, flooded rivers or have additional gear, you’re going to need the extra power outboard motors provide.

What Size Outboard?

There should be an aluminum plate in the transom area that gives the maximum weight and HP rating for your Jon Boat. Now, quite a few people go overweight (seemingly without incident but it’s there for a reason!). One thing you definitely don’t want to do is buy a motor larger than is specified.

Price of Jon Boat Outboards

Jon Boat outboards typically retail from $925.00 to just under $3,500.00. The price varies according to the specific model and features, with the most important factor being horsepower.

Planing Speeds

Something that is essential is that your outboard has enough rpms to get to “planing” speeds. This is where the boat is lifted “on a plane” in the water. It’s desirable because it’s more stable and handles better.

Of course, the heavier the boat, gear and people, the more HP you’re going to need. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overload a Jon Boat so this is one area you really do need need to take care with.

Advantages of an Outboard Motor

Most folk know that an outboard may be louder than an electric motor but it doesn’t rely on batteries. Here are some advantages of an outboard motor you may not have considered:

Outboards are Lighter

Outboards are much lighter than electric motors. This is mainly due to the hefty battery which can weigh up to 40lbs.

Even if you get a lighter trolling motor of say 25 lbs, you’re still looking at 65lbs of motor. Some of the lighter outboards are just 20lbs. So you can really save a lot of weight for something else with an outboard.

Range & Distance

If you’re going to go ten miles there and back – get an outboard motor. You can go all day on a gallon of gas. Although battery powered motors are improving, they usually have a much shorter range and distance.

Easier to Plane

As discussed above, once you get to planing speed, the speed and handling of a Jon Boat is easier to maintain. Electric motors rarely pack enough punch to plane.

Better In Flooded Rivers & Creeks

If you plan in taking your Jon Boat out in a flooded-river or anywhere with a strong current, you’ll really appreciate the extra HP an outboard motor provides.

You’ll need a lot of motor to navigate the junk that washes up like trees, refrigerators and even catttle. That’s why many people like to go with the maximum specified HP. It’s better to pay a bit extra rather than risk you and your passengers safety.

Great in Big Lakes / Rivers

Your intended use will also affect the optimal size of motor your jon boat needs. If you’re out on rivers or lakes 1,000 acres across it’s good to go big.

However, if you’re on smaller bodies of water with a lot of “prop busters” like tree stumps, it’s probably a better idea to get a 9.9 hp and use the savings for more gear.


Recommended Jon Boat Outboards – Honda

Honda makes Jon Boat outboards in the 2 to 20 horsepower range. These outboards are light and portable.

The vast majority of small Jon Boat motors are four-stroke and Honda’s are no exception. Honda’s applicable motors are their 2.3 hp, 5 hp, and 8 hp. The 2.3 hp is cooled by “forced air cooling” while the larger sizes are water cooled.

The 2.3 hp motor has many features that make it ideal for Jon Boats. First of all, no oil mixing is required. It weighs less than 30 lbs so it is easy to move around. It also has a “Precise Throttle Control” to aid in varying speed. The forced air cooling is a good feature as you don’t have to worry about clogging your water pump.

The 2.3 hp motor is recommended for 8 to 10 foot boats that can get by with 40 lbs of thrust or less. This motor can propel a small Jon Boat 5 to 10 mph unless the boat’s cargo is very heavy.

If you desire more power, choose a 5 to 20 hp motor. The recommended size for most Jon Boats is a 4 to 6 hp motor. This amount of horsepower will typically provide 40 to 60 lbs of thrust.

Other Recommended Outboards

There are several more outboard motor manufacturers that you can choose from.

Evinrude has portable engines in the 3.5 hp to 15 hp range, Mercury has engines in the 2.5 to 20 hp range, and Tohatsu also has motors in the 2.5 hp to 20 hp range.

Suzuki also offers Jon Boat outboards and their model DF-6 is a good choice if you are looking for a 6 hp engine.

 

Avoiding Boat Collisions

Recreational boaters should always be looking out for other boaters in order to avoid boat collisions.avoiding boat collisions

All boats of every size should be equipped with devices that can alert others of your presence. One or more of the following devices should be in every boat.

  • Whistles – A good whistle can alert other boaters to your presence because the high pitch generated from blowing a whistle is like no other sound on the water. The noise also carries a far distance so that other boaters are given warning far in advance of a collision.
  • Horns – Jon Boats can usually get by with a hand-held air horn like a Falcon Commander horn. There are many different hand-held air horns to choose from. The main downfall of using a hand-held air horn is that they periodically run out. However, due to their low price most boaters can afford to have a spare or two in their boats at all times. Larger boats usually opt for horns that are hooked up electrically to their 12 volt power supply.
  • Bells – Another signaling device that is mostly used by larger boats are bells. Bells can be hooked up to ring at all times when the boat is moving or bouncing in waves or they can be stationary and only rung when the captain rings the bell to alert other boaters of their presence.
  • Gongs- Gongs are usually only employed on larger vessels but small gongs can be used on small boats to alert others of their presence in unsafe conditions.

How To Avoid Boat Collisions

If boating at night or during low light conditions, lights are essential for avoiding boat collisions.

If you are caught in a situation where a boat is approaching and you do not believe they see you, let them know of your presence far in advance by blowing on your whistle or using your horn.

It is possible that they will hear your signaling device but still not veer out of your path because they cannot locate you. In this case, shine a bright torchlight at them until they move aside and you feel safe. Always be ready as a last resort to move your boat in order to avoid a collision with another boat.

It is very important during low light conditions to drive your boat slowly and always be on the lookout for watercraft that can be in front of you. If need be, periodically shine a torchlight in front of you to clear the path.

Observe Right-of-Way

To avoid collisions with other boats, there are standard “right of way” rules. These rules dictate what should happen when two boats are going to meet and occupy the same area of water.

When this happens, and it does happen quite often on busy waters, one boat “stands on” course while the other boat “gives way” and lets the other boat pass.

Commercial fishing boats always have the right of way when they are operating their nets. Sailboats always have the right of way when they are operating with only their sails. It is very important to look out for these boats as to avoid collisions with them.

When two boats under power are going to meet, the boat on the right has the right of way and the other boat should yield so there is no collision.

Another thing to consider is that when you are about to pass a boat in a narrow waterway like rivers or channels, they have the right of way and can deny you the opportunity to pass if they think the passing is unsafe.

When In Doubt…Yield!

One final note: when in doubt, yield the right of way to avoid a collision by signaling the other boat to take the right of way.

Fishing from a Jon Boat

fishing jon boat

Fishing from a jon boat is an excellent way to catch fish that many other fisherman cannot reach.

Jon Boat Fishing
Fishing from a heavily-laden jon boat

In this article, we will take a look at the benefits of fishing from a jon boat and how they can help you catch more fish.

Stealth Mode!

Jon boats can be paddled quietly over shallow water and this practice does not spook fish. Larger boats are incapable of doing this due to the fact that they have large engines. In contrast, there’s many electric trolling motors available for Jon Boats that can put them in “Stealth Mode”.
Access All Areas

Submerged vegetation and other structures, like logs, prevent larger boats from accessing certain areas because they could damage their motors. Jon boats can easily be trolled or paddled into areas with thick vegetation where many fish locate such as bass, trout, crappies, bluegills, walleyes, northern pike, and muskellunge.

No Rock n Roll Fishing

Due to the fact that jon boats are wide and usually have a flat bottom, they are very stable. For this reason, it is very easy to stand in the boat while fishing. By standing in the boat, the fisherman can cover a greater amount of water in a shorter time period while casting lures.

Other boats like canoes present challenges, as you cannot stand in them. Jon boats, however, are the perfect boat to choose if you want to stand and fish.

If you do decide to stand and fish while in your jon boat, make sure that you are wearing a floatation device in case you lose your balance in the boat and accidentally fall in the water. If you are fishing with a buddy or two, you can just leave the floatation devices in the boat but make sure all fishermen know exactly where they are at, in case of an accident.

Swivel Seats

Unlike canoes and kayaks, jon boats can be equipped with swivel seats. The swivel seats allow the jon boater to fish as fast as if he were standing and generally when you are fishing for gamefish, you will catch more fish if you cover more water.

Go Trolling!

One of the big advantages of fishing from a jon boat is that you can troll very slowly. It is easy to cast a couple rods out over the stern, turn the trolling motor on, and slowly cover a large amount of water. You can also troll by manually paddling the boat which is very hard to do with other types of boats.

Fly Fishing Capabilities

Not only can you troll slowly with a jon boat, you can also fly fish out of a jon boat. You can reach areas with very little fishing pressure and cast poppers and flies to hungry panfish and bass that are feeding on the surface.

The chief advantage of fly fishing from a jon boat is that there usually are no problems with the back cast. Fisherman from shore run into difficulties due to trees and vegetation that lies behind them. You can maneuver a jon boat so that you can fly fish without snagging anything on your back cast.

Great Stationary Fishing

Jon boats also make a great choice for stationary fishing. They are very light so a lighter anchor holds them firmly in one spot. And, you can purchase rod holders to hold your rods while you are waiting for the fish to bite.

You can purchase cheap rod holders for around $4.00 or $5.00, however; the nicer one’s like Eagle Claw’s Deluxe Clamp-on Rod Holder cost around $25.00. This is a nice rod holder for stationary boat fishing because you only need to hand turn a knob to attach it to the side of the boat.

Drift Fishing

Rod holders also really help if you drift fish. Drift fishing is when you just let the wind, waves, or current of a river take you wherever it takes you.

With trolling, you can regulate your speed, but oftentimes, when drift fishing you cannot. If it is real windy, you can lower an anchor down into the water to slow your drift. When you do this, the anchor can get caught up in structure. It is best to do this in deeper water that lacks trees, logs, and large rocks.

Due to the light weight of jon boats, they are an excellent choice if you like to drift fish. It does not take much wind or water movement to move a jon boat.

Bigger is Always Better

Many fishermen choose a jon boat that is too small for the amount of gear and number of fishermen that they take in the boat. This creates a situation that can result in accidents when fishermen are moving around in the boat.

Try not to do this, or else eventually somebody is going to hook a nice fish and trip over something in the boat and either break a rod or worse yet, end up in the water. When fishing from a jon boat, you want to make sure that you do not exceed the weight limit of the boat also, or else the boat can ride too low.

Essential Gear for Jon Boat Fishing

When fishing from a jon boat, you want to have all of the gear that will make your fishing trip enjoyable.

Don’t forget to have face nets and/or bug spray because often, out on the water, the mosquitoes, gnats, and no-see-ums can be pretty thick.

You should also have sunscreen because the sun bouncing off of the water can produce sunburns very quickly. A fishing hat with a wide brim is always a good idea also for everyone in the boat. Hats and sunglasses reduce the glare off of the water and result in less eye strain.

Many bass fisherman use baitcasting reels and flip lures. But in a jon boat, you can use any type of rod or reel that you prefer. You can decide to use spinning rods and reels with spinners as your fishing lures or you can also choose spincast reels that are best suited for casting bobbers with live bait or dropping sinkers with live bait.

Increased Coverage

With a jon boat, you can usually cover a small lake in a day. The major benefit to this is that if you find yourself fishing in one area of the lake and you’re not catching anything, you can easily move around until you find fish.

Before you go on your next fishing trip consider how a jon boat can improve your fishing experience.