When we set out to begin planning filming One Man's Trash, the most daunting task was figuring out our boat situation. Generally most of the parks in the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge have boats to rent, however they aren't necessarily the best suited for spending all day fishing and filming out of. Most of the jon boat rentals are simple aluminum, with no carpet, which gets extremely hot. They are also 12' boats, which are not very stable for filming or fishing. Also, at about $100/day, and needing 2, it seemed reasonable and most cost effective to start surfing craigslist for boats we could use for the trip and sell once it was over.
We secured a decent rig early in our planning, already equipped with a 9.9hp (highest allowed in the refuge), carpet, new paint, dry storage and at 15' it was just enough. But the second boat proved a little more challenging to find. So, I finally settled on a real piece of junk with a decent hull and trailer, and was determined to make it a worth while swamp rig.
Once upon a time, it was a 16' 1985 Lowe Bass Catcher, but somehow it had been reduced to a poorly camouflage painted train wreck with a Styrofoam bobber as a transom plug. But it cost less than what we expected in beer and gas expenses for trip. With only about a month left before we depart, I began hacking away. Decks and old carpet were torn out. The live-well was also removed to give us more room. The boat was completely stripped of adhesive with solvents and angle grinders. Roaches were exterminated (seriously it was unreal how many roaches were living in this boat).
After about 1 week of nightly 4 or 5 hour "after-the-day-job" shifts, it was time to put it all back together. I recruited the crew for a weekend beer, boat flipping and paint session. Who knew home depot sold paint specifically for jon boats online? It got 3 coats of marine Duralux in Duckboat Drab. Most all the other little switches, electronics and motor parts were ordered online as well (Thank the Lord for Amazon Prime). The motor came together better than expected after finding a decent schematic and fogging the carb. After new carpet, and a messy wheel bearing service, she was ready to rock.
Taking the leap of faith to rebuild this boat was a great idea. It took two weeks and although I'm handy, it seemed out of my comfort zone. But having a boat, if even a cheap one, opens up opportunities to fish and explore new water. I'm guilty of being a perfectionist, so buying a piece of junk and trying to turn it around in a short time frame was scary. But it really didn't take much money to get it looking like a respectable watercraft and the process was pretty satisfying. When the trip was done, I sold her for more than twice what I had paid.