The end of August means two things. A new season of College Football. And another Waterfowl hunting season. As the boys hit the field, I hit Cabela’s to refresh the decoy spread and ammo supply. I also fine tune the boat to make sure she’s ready for the best months of the year.
Cabela’s hosted another Waterfowl hunting event on Aug. 22nd. I got some good deals on ammo: Kent FastSteels ($15/box) and Remington’s new Hypersonic ($20/box). Professionals from the field host seminars with tips on calling and decoy placement. I learned a lot from Fred Zink, goose hunting legend, in an awesome 1 hour session. Cabela’s offers a ‘early bird’ special, free give-away item. Yesterday I stood in line at the door for two hours to get this free sweatshirt.
Besides the expensive diversion to Cabela’s, I’ve been spending time on the boat. This is our first season in a 16 ft Lowe Big Jon, Semi-Vee, with a 48” beam. It’s outfitted with a 15 hp Johnson and a Cabela’s Northern Flight boat blind covered in fast-grass. Here’s the step-by-step process of re-carpeting and wiring running lights on your Duck Hunting Rig.
The first step, remove the old carpet and fixture from the deck . Then drill a hole for the base of the bow light using a 1 ½” hole saw. Initially I didn’t account for the depth of the base in relation to the depth of the hull and drilled too close to the tip of the bow. The base hit the hull preventing a flush fit. Not an ideal way to start the project.
The base fit in the second hole perfectly. I patched the wrong hole with a fiberglass kit from the local auto supply store. I sanded it down after it dried for two full days.
Cutting the carpet to match the angle in the bow was easy. Use paper grocery bags to create a template. Cut the bags down a seam along the side then trim off the square bottom. Spread them out as a sheet on the deck and tape the seams to create one large piece of paper. Trim along the edge with a utility knife.
Transfer the template to a piece of outdoor carpeting. Use a straight-edge and sharpie to mark an outline on back of the carpet, then trim with scissors. Make sure to use a carpet that includes a rubber marine grade backing. I bought this piece at Lowe’s for about $15.
Next, glue the carpet to the deck. Using two putty knives, one about 1 ½ inches wide and one about 4 inches wide, spread a liberal amount of Outdoor Carpet adhesive to the deck. Avoid putting too much glue near the edges. Fit the carpet on top of the glue. Then roll it flat to remove the bumps with a Formica roller. If you don’t have those fancy tools use a can of baked-beans and rolling-pin covered in Reynolds Wrap. Now that’s redneck-fabulous.
Let the glue set for about an hour before attempting to wrap the carpet around the vertical edges on the back of the deck. Use a lot of glue on vertical surfaces. Make sure to cut the carpet much wider than the posts. Wrap the carpet behind the up-rights, roll it out and clamp it down if necessary to prevent bumps.
Plastic 5″ conduit will protect the wires from the bow back to the switch plate near the stern. With some black, green, brown and tan spray paint I camo’d up the conduit to hide it from wary waterfowl. Start with a Krylon black matte finish paint. Spray large black spots. Then use Parker’s Duck Boat kit (ordered mine from Cabelas.com) to spray shorter brown patches until the entire surface is covered. Let dry for about ½ an hour. Then blend the edges between the black and brown by spraying the green and tan paint to create dimension. Finally, I’ll use a golden-tan colored paint and cattail stencil to finish off the look and match the rest of the boat.
Next step, install the switch plate. Mark a square to fit the plate with a pencil and a straight-edge. Start the hole with the 1 ½” hole saw then carve it out with a saws-all. Scrape the Styrofoam out from behind the switch board with a flat-head screw driver and shop-vac.
Keep trimming a little bit at a time with the saws-all until the switch plate fits flush to the front of the bench. Cutting the hole too big would totally suck. So cut slowly and keep trying to fit the plate into the bench a little bit at a time.
Part two of this post will include the final steps of installing the stern light base and conduit, running the wires to the switch plate then wiring the switches to the battery.