Converting A Jon Boat To A Bass Boat

Has anyone converted a Jon boat to a bass boat? Platform decks, removable swivel seats, live well, etc. let's see those setups. This is something I've always wanted to try and it looks like an affordable way for a shallow water fishing boat.


  • My friends and I actually converted a little 14' jon boat into a platform caster boat a couple years ago. This was before lumber prices jumped up so it was pretty affordable to do. We built in a few tackle storage boxes and a rod storage compartment. We picked up the boat that was previously used for duck hunting. We were able to trade the motor for a higher hp one and used marine grade plywood and treated 2x4's. We gave the boat a custom paint job and used green astro turf as the top. It was perfect! I cant find a picture of the finished boat but here's an in progress pic.

  • I would love to tackle this project with my son this winter so I'm also looking into converting a jon boat into a more fishing friendly boat. Ive found a lot of help from youtube and a lot of DIY bass boat project videos. Here is a video I found that is probably the nicest Jon boat conversion I've seen so far. He spent some money on the build but it turned out amazing.

  • This Jon Bass boat video is amazing lol! If I didn't have a fishing boat already, I would be planning a project just like this. I will pass it on to my son though. He's going to love it! The only change I would make are adding a couple swivel seats in the front and back of the boat. Great budget bass boat build though!

  • I found a lot of great ideas just by searching Jon Boat Conversion. Some awesome Jon Boat builds that are great for inspiration. I'm going for something simple like this one I found.

  • If you have a router and a little bit of tradesman skill you can actually make one incredible bass boat out of a jon boat. Take a look at this video I stumbled across while researching the same thing. These guys make it look like it came from a high end boat manufacturing factory. This is easily the best bass boat conversion I've found online yet.

  • @MitchInTheMangrove That is about the nicest Jon boat I think I've ever seen! My goal is build something more along the lines in the video here below. My biggest concern is that I want to do it out of wood rather than aluminum. Mainly because I don't have access to a rivet gun and I am more experienced with carpentry than I am with metal work. I understand the benefits of using aluminum on a jon boat conversion over wood. My ideal setup would end up looking something like this boat but with a tiller motor added to the back. Let me know if you have any thoughts.

  • You guys need to follow Tiny Boat Nation, Its a group of guys who are pros at converting jon boats into the ultimate lightweight fishing boat. Go through the video history and see where they started. They mainly did wood construction and ran into a lot of issues. They walk through the issues and show what worked and what you should avoid. Good luck with your build! They are super fun little projects.

  • @A_Salt_Weapon_76 dont be too intimidated with using aluminum as your main support structure. You'll find its actually easier to secure an aluminum frame to a jon boat than it is to secure a wood frame to a jon boat. You will have to invest in a rivet tool but the cost of these is minimal compared to the cost of marine grade wood or the time invested into sealers and stains as well as stainless hardware. You can use any good quality wood saw blade to cut the aluminum too which you probably already have. Tiny Boat Nation is an awesome source for the aluminum you'll need for your decking and any storage or live well tanks you want to incorporate into your build. The benefit with using aluminum is going to be the durability in all conditions as well as the ease of construction. If you are comfortable working with wood, you will be even more comfortable working with an aluminum frame. For the more specific stuff, like transducer mounts, and storage tanks, Tiny Boat Nation sells pre-made kits that you can use which are surprisingly affordable.

    Here is a link to the framing kits they sell.

    Aluminum Framing Kits

    Take a look at this DIY Jon Boat conversion a guy I know recently finished. It's a little more setup for bow fishing but he walks you through the entire process and how to rivet the structure together to create a lightweight and functional base. Once you install your first support brace of aluminum, you'll realize just how easy it is to frame with aluminum. Wood works fine at first but after 1-2 years of hard use, (which is what most Jon boats see) you'll wish you had started off using aluminum from the get go.

  • I just came across this video and immediately knew it had to be shared here. This covers DIY wiring your jon boat. The guy does an awesome job and explains it so even I can understand how to do it. This is especially crucial if you plan on taking your boat out before sunrise (most of us do). Having operational navigation lights is the law if you plan on going out before the sunrise or after dark. He covered the difference of using regular automotive wire vs. marine grade wiring and the characteristics of each. Something I never knew. Sure you can use regular copper wire to wire a boat however the zinc coated marine grade wire will help to eliminate any corrosion. Something I am constantly dealing with on older boats. The switch panel installation is probably the most convenient thing. This allows for additional accessories to be added easily in the future. Things like bilge pumps, live wells, electronics and lights can easily be wired straight to the switch panel. This helped me a lot and hopefully it helps one of you dock liners!

    This is the switch panel that worked best for my little console equipped jon boat. If anyone is interested in a full parts list, let me know but each jon boat is going to be different with different needs.

  • Some of these are freaking amazing! At what point do you just buy a bass boat and call the jon boat your inspiration hahah.

  • I love this idea, especially for getting into those tighter spots. Can anyone give me any information on what size jon boat would work best for fishing? There are a lot for sale around me and Im not sure even where to start. Everything from 12-16 feet in length. Some are tiller steer, some have a side console. Some are flat bottom and some have a slight V-hull. I'm assuming wider is better with a Jon boat. I would like to keep a front deck to fish off of and enough room for a friend to join and maybe me small dogs. Any Input would be appreciated. I would like something I can tinker with and customize like you guys are posting above. Pic below for attention. How cool is this!?

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