The Annual Scrubdown
The pontooner has a few years under its belt and showing some signs of wear. Late in the season I always try to put together an annual “spruce up” for the tooner before I put it back into storage for the season. Moisture, mold and other ailments may actually fester over the winter so that one last check is always good before stowing something away for long periods of time.
(Above: This is a shot of the tooner all barnacled up. Not the worst this thing has ever looked but could use a spruce up.)
This year I ran the boat through some heavy moss that ended up getting baked in the sun on the drive home. A trip through the car wash and a pocketful of quarters couldn’t get the stuff off. It limited me from rolling through the mudsnail inspection checkpoints and locked on a handful of smaller waters for the last part of the season. Before I could put things away for the winter, a good scrub was in order.
(Above: One side scrubbed down with the Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean. After using green scrubbers, sponges and possibly even a Shampow product. Other side scrub…looks brand new.)
Balancing out my fishing gear abuse with routine maintenance is the only chance I have at keeping things ready for the next trip. Even if I take it out late in the season…what have I got to lose?
Rod holder worked out
So I finally ordered the rod holder and as Josh from Bigerrfish and others pointed out, the straps are the ultimate downfall to this design. It is difficult to get these straps to stay perfectly adjusted with inflatable craft and falls into that “more trouble than good” category.
(Above: This is the original model with the straps. It took extra time to setup and something you had to watch as temperature fluctuated. After a few trips it was quickly abandoned. )
After some pondering and prototype work, I eventually came up with the answer. It was the same answer\problem with so many boat accessories that don’t have the 1.25” diameter pipe in mind. Modification brought it back around. All I needed was some U-bolts hardware and a little elbow grease.
Once I got the hardware fitted, the plastic area around where the screws are placed needed to be removed in order to cinch everything down. Then a soft adapter plate was put together with some Styrofoam and electrical tape. The adapter plate keeps everything snug without beating up the powder coated paint job.
(Above: Prototype installed needing only a few slight cosmetic touch ups like cutting down the threaded portion of the bolts and filing them smooth.)
When it comes to adding a lot of marine accessories to the pontooner scene, the biggest gap to bridge is often merely finding the right adaptation. Sometimes it requires a little fabrication, or maybe just some U-bolts. In some cases it may require a little of both worlds but can make the pontooner experience all that much better. Maybe this winter I can dust off a few ideas, designs and even prototypes that would make Kevin Kostner and the crew from Waterworld a bit jealous. Hey, a Mattsabasser can dream right?
Good luck and good fishing.