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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I apologize ahead of time for the long winded post....
I've been a long time lurker here at BFC. Last year I started bowfishing with some friends in ditches and rivers around where I live. Like everyone else out there I caught the fever. I started out with a used compound and a cheap reel, later upgraded to an osprey. We used a small two-man boat until I upgraded to a 15'x42" Duracraft. The Duracraft had an old 45hp Classic Fifty Mercury and it ran like a top when I bought it and at the house. However, every time I hit the water it would run like garbage or wouldn't run at all. It eventually sprung a leak on the carburetor bowl and I had a small fire. I installed a 45lb thrust Minnkota Edge and used it all season as the primary propulsion source. I outfitted the boat with 6 50w - MoonshineXXX murk lights (Which are Garbage BTW). I used EMT conduit to hang them from and fished off of the front deck.

The boat wasn't wide enough to mount the trolling motor across the bow so I had to mount it along the left side. I had the light bars mounted on the inside of the boat with aluminum angle. It was all meant to be temporary to get on the water because i was planning a full rebuild this fall/winter.

Well fall and winter came and went, or is trying to go and the rebuild never happened. I couldn't find a good deal on a motor nor a mechanic to fix the one I had and the boat honestly wasn't wide enough. I wanted a massive 18x60 or 20x72 but realistically it wasn't going to work for me. It was too big to keep under my carport. My father is getting older and he used to love to crappie fish back in the day before we started racing dirt cars. He always wanted me to take him out fishing but never had the means to so this boat was going to be a dual purpose. I looked around and picked out at Tracker 17x54 MVXSC with a 60hp Mercury. I've read good and bad about the tracker series of boats but I think it will fit the bill just fine, it seems to be built well. The front deck is a decent size but I would like it to be a little bigger. I am also looking to have the light rails removable since I am taking dad fishing.
The new boat..


So the plans for this are to build a removable deck extension and light bars. For lights I am running 7-150 compact HPS lights from econolight and a Honda Eu2000i Genny.

My troller is a Minnkota 70lb Maxxum, I bought it from a buddy that pulled it off a new bassboat he bought...

Here is where I need everyone's help. I am trying to figure out the best method to mount the trolling motor, lights and have room for driving lights at the front. I ran a flood/spot combo light bar on the last boat but the trolling motor was mounted straight. This boat is setup to run the trolling motor across the bow from the factory. From what I have read is that the trolling motor needs to be near the center of the boat for best efficiency and tracking. I also would like to mount the lights using the Versatrack system from Tracker. Has anyone used the Versatrack system or another brands system for light rails? Or should I mount them individually? Tracker has a light rail setup on their boats but they don't sell the rails separately. The setup with the lights is over $2600..... No thanks...
I know all of this is completely subject to the users preference but I am looking for ideas. Below is a picture of my boat, The Dark green is where the trolling motor is meant to be. The light blue is where my old trolling motor on the previous boat was. The yellow lines are where I would like the removable deck and the red is where I am planning to have the lights or light bars.

I just need some advise and directions to go.
 

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Thats a good looking boat!
First off what part of the world are you located?
2nd.. This new deck you want to build... Flush or slightly raised?

If you build a deck and mount the deck on the rails to basically mimic the shape of the front of the boat it would give you a clean flat surface then you could mount the lights all the way around and mount the troller right on the middle.

Here is a picture of what I did. Just to show you what I am taking about.
IMG_2878.jpg
Like I said this is just showing you what I am suggesting as an easier route This is by no means the best way to do it.

Thats the great thing about this forum is there are a few of people on here with a lot of knowledge... versus facebook with a lot of people but little knowledge :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Location = BFE lol. North East Arkansas. Jonesboro, Arkansas to be exact.

As far as the deck, I was mainly looking to keep the factory deck height just extend it further back. I would like to build a removable section to drop in there just for bowfishing so me and a buddy or two could use the front deck. If it was removable I could just pull it out when I needed more room. I fished last year and the deck was similar and we had a good time. I would like a removable raised deck but I don't want to have to deal with moving the trolling motor off the deck to use it for fishing.
 

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I gotcha. If you made a flush one tho you would have to take it on or off. It would literally be the same thing as what you want but a couple inches higher then you would have a level surface for the troller
 

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The light railss could still be removable
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Are you talking about building a deck to cover all of the existing deck? I don't want to cover that hatch if possible, that is where the batteries from the trolling motor are wired too.
 

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Ah that does make sense..
 

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Welcome to the forum!! I'm sure someone will mention it but if there's room to move the batteries to the back I'd do that, it's nice having the weight in the back, especially if you're going with hps (I'm assuming that those sodiums have the ballasts in the housings). It gets slightly frustrating but you could do an elevated over the troller, that's how i used to have my deck on my dad's boat, deploy it the first time then any time you've gotta run pull it up to the deck and bungee cord it up out of the water to the deck
Screenshot_2017-03-16-20-30-45.jpg
As far as light rails wen we had rails on his boat ut was 2" thin wall stainless tubing with flat plates at the bottom of each leg with each having 2 holes and 2 rivnuts in the gunnels of the boat, about 5 minutes and you could have the deck and lights off the boat with one person. The deck was 2 parts bolted together so you could take it apart and have 2 easier to handle halves.
 

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I extended the factory deck on my boat back by building basically a custom fit tool box that slides into place. I put a watertight hatch lid in the front of it and it doubles as dry storage for my lifejackets. I had intentions of removing it for normal boating and duck season but it matches perfect and adds storage. I never take it out.
 

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Not telling you what to do by any means, but get on trackers website and have a look at how they mounted the light rails on their 1760 sportsman. Maybe an idea to help build yours removable?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Not telling you what to do by any means, but get on trackers website and have a look at how they mounted the light rails on their 1760 sportsman. Maybe an idea to help build yours removable?
I took a look at the rails from Tracker. It is a nice setup for sure, basically exactly what I need. I'm just not paying $2600 for light rails. I'm trying to find a local fabricator to build some currently.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's been a little bit since I've updated anything here. Of course this is nothing like some of the builds on here nor do I have the skills of most of the fabricators. I got some parts in and decided to get to work. I added a Kenwood Amp W/ Bluetooth controls and 4- 6.5" Kenwood speakers. I pulled all marine grade wiring, marine switch panel and fuse block. I decided on 1" EMT for the lights rails because it's cheap and easy to work with. I used a manual bender and a cordless drill and holesaw to cut the saddles in the pioe. Hardly the correct tops but it's what I had. The last picture is as the boat sits today. I should be painting the bars, mounting the lights and finishing the wiring this week. It's been a long slow process since I have no time or room to work.





 

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Looking good!
 

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Yeah i just got the 1760 sportsman and im pretty sure tracker sells a light rail kit that attaches to your versa track .... even tho you already have it done now just in case it doesn't work out. my boat front end is very similar to yours so you could also mount your trolling motor at the front like mine is. here is my thread http://bow.fishingcountry.com/forums/showthread.php?163169-I-Got-A-Boat!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Yeah i just got the 1760 sportsman and im pretty sure tracker sells a light rail kit that attaches to your versa track .... even tho you already have it done now just in case it doesn't work out. my boat front end is very similar to yours so you could also mount your trolling motor at the front like mine is. here is my thread http://bow.fishingcountry.com/forums/showthread.php?163169-I-Got-A-Boat!!!!
That was my original goal but they wanted $2600 bucks for the light rails and lights. I didn't need the lights only the rails. I am running HPS lights. Your boat is nice and that was the route I was going to go as well. I wish I had more deck space up front similar to yours. This boat is multi purpose and Dad wants to do his Crappie fishing. It's the least I can do for the old man.
 

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yeah thats pretty steep if you don't need the lights ...
 
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