Lambordinghy III (2013)
This was my third jon boat I had worked with, and by this point I had figured out exactly what was useful on boats in the everglade, what made for a more comfortable experience, and what were simply just gimmicks that weren’t worth the time/ space on boats these sizes.
The original aluminum hull.
One of the major additions that are great for boats when fishing in shallow freshwater and saltwater are a front deck. By utilizing aluminum sheets of hurricane shutter grade metal and steel cross bars, I was able to achieve a sturdy deck that could support a persons weight without flexing, while additionally remaining light enough to not inhibit locomotion of the vessel. While many utilize marine carpeted wood to create decks, I’ve found through experience and looking at other older vessels that in the climate of the everglades wood will inevitably rot.
After the deck was installed, a forward electric motor was bought off craigslist for cheap installed to be controlled with a foot pedal, for hand’s free direction. The center console was created to house a secondary battery, radio, marine speakers, and a depth finder for locating fish. Fishing rod mounts were installed in the back for ease of trolling.
The boat was given a fresh coat of black paint with white for the interior (while beautiful, a short-sited and not maintanence friendly decision). A 9.9HP 1979 Johnson Outboard motor was found on craigslist for around 220$. The issue was bad gaskets within the exhaust manifold, a faulty lower unit, and poor water cooling. The motor was in runnable condition, but could only go for about a 45 seconds before overheating and giving out. The gaskets were easy to replace as the 9.9 is a very small modular engine.
The lower unit has an issue with the “drive shaft” connecting the head to the prop having sheered of some of the splines of the gear at the bottom and now being freely spinning. Luckily I found another donor engine to take it’s lower unit off of and replace on this one. This was actually a blessing in disguise as the original lower unit had an extension designed for a sailboat, which made the engine unnecessarily long. The new lower unit helped remove the extensions.
My favorite (or most frustrating) repair was the engine cooling system. Outboard engines bring in water with a water impeller that is often made of rubber, and then moved up and around piped close to the engine block and spit out a hold near the top. Once again, Florida climate loves to degrade material, especially rubber, and had broken the impeller down into tiny bits which were then shot up into the cooling pipes, creating a blockage and severely inhibiting cooling. I designed a reverse cooling system that basically utilized hose couplings to run water from a pressure washer into the small hole the water is supposed to run out of. I removed the lower unit, and then slowly increased the water pressure until the bits of rubber slowly were pushed out of the cooling system, which helped me avoid a whole tear down and dealing with ghost rubber bits. Since then engine never ran too hot again.
Once I had the engine working I couldn’t leave it alone. I widened any fuel inlets in hopes that the engine would never struggle to pull more fuel in, and found a 15HP Johnson Outboard from a junkyard, and took it’s carburetor off. I replaced the 9.9HP carburetor with the 15HP one in hopes that this would allow more air to mix with the fuel, creating more power. I personally think it did, but I have never quantified the difference.
One of the most fun parts of fishing is going out at night. Through outdoor LED strips that ran about 20$ per 12ft I was able to solder a circuit of them together that would run under the lips of the benches and under the boat itself. It was fun to play with, and probably the only “gimmick” I made sure to include with this build.
Here are some pictures of the boat below, and a video I had created when I finally decided to sell it.