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Thread: Mounting downriggers on an old aluminum Tracker

  1. #1
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    Default Mounting downriggers on an old aluminum Tracker

    (Off post). Thanks for all the great advice on rods and reels.

    I bought a 1987 16.5 ft aluminum side console Tracker boat to use in the Boise Idaho area. After chucking the old 2 stroke motor for a 30hp 4 stroke, I am now ready to start thinking about mounting a couple of downriggers for the upcoming season. My wife bought me a pair of Cannon Lake Trollers for Christmas and I am thinking about mounting them. The boat does not have any mounting rails but does have a couple of sealed compartments just before the motor area. I was thinking of re-enforcing those and mounting the down riggers on them, but not sure. Any advice on mounting DRs on an older aluminum boat?

  2. #2
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    The floatation boxes at the back is a decent option but I’d recommend building a couple of pedestals that mount to the boxes and then mount the downriggers to the pedestals. I think they will be too low mounted directly to the boxes.

    Just for grins, can you post a picture of the gunnel?
    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  3. #3
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    The boat is in my barn up in McCall Idaho, while I am in my “winter cabin” down in Hermosa Beach. Yes, I am a wimp for not liking to live in 5 feet of snow for 5 months. So no pictures for now.

    The two areas look like flotation containers and are located on each side and are about 3 feet long and maybe 10” wide. You are right in that they are about 5” down from the top edge of the boat. They are made out of 1/2 inch ply and covered with carpet. My plan was to take the top off, reinforce the area and cap it with 3/4 Marine ply with some sort of marine poly coating. I like the pedestals idea. Any suggestions on where I might get the parts?

    The boat also has an old bottom line fish finder, thinking about swapping that out also. Will be a fun project that requires lots of field testing.

  4. #4
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    Marine carpet or vinyl is super easy to come by. For ease of construction, I think I would just build another little box (pedestal) and screw it to the top of your other box.
    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  5. #5
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    Good idea, that was my going in position...until I took a close look at the condition of the plywood. It shows a lot of degradation due to being stored inside and outside since 1987. So no matter what I do, I need to tear it apart and rebuild it with some decent marine grade wood and seal it properly. I am afraid that if I snagged something with the down rigger, I would lose the whole kit and caboodle over the side of the boat. I will prolly ultimately recarpet the boat, but the top of the areas will be something other than carpet. I like your vinyl idea, that would give a good surface without snagging on hooks, etc.

    Any ideas on making a pedestal?

  6. #6
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    How about a triangle piece of plate aluminum screwed to the top of the gunnel on one corner and the top of the transom on the other? If there are any metal fab shops near you, a common style is much like a Z that screws to the gunnel at the top and the bench or box at the bottom.

    Last edited by SuperD; 03-09-2019 at 05:37 PM.
    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  7. #7
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    SuperD
    For some reason I can’t view your graphic. It asked me to join another website, which I did but still can’t see it.

  8. #8
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    How about now?
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    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  9. #9
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    That worked, thanks. Killer idea...I like that better than a pedestal. I still have to deal with the wood rot on the top of the floatation compartments, but this would work great. Did you do this yourself or have someone make it for you?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cybersnow View Post
    That worked, thanks. Killer idea...I like that better than a pedestal. I still have to deal with the wood rot on the top of the floatation compartments, but this would work great. Did you do this yourself or have someone make it for you?
    This was done by a member from another site and would be very easy to duplicate. A couple of short pieces of angle and a couple pieces of flat plate. I have also seen them done out of one piece where a fab shop bends a single piece.
    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  11. #11

    Default Question for Super D

    Super D, I am curious about how you mounted the bracket. It looks like you were able to bolt it to the seat? I assume that means you could get to the underside? I tried attaching my new downrigger with the rubber inserts that Cannon recommends when you cannot access the back side of the holes to install nuts on the bolts. The first time I ran the ball down, two of them pulled out. Luckily I was still holding on or I might have lost the downrigger with ball and my rod and reel with tackle. I am now very leery about using rivets or rubber inserts since the pull out strength is not very good. I am thinking of adding a plate to a bracket like you made that would attach to a vertical surface of the bench. That way the screws or rivets would not be pulled out by the force of the ball going down. They should be much stronger in shear mode than in a direct pull. Any suggestions?

  12. #12
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    Armondo, think two flat plates held together at the 90 by a piece of angle. At the bench, the vertical plate is bolted to another piece of angle on one leg of the angle and the other leg is bolted to the plywood seat top. Wood or lag screws would suffice at the seat connection assuming it is wood. Sheet metal screws if it is metal.
    Last edited by SuperD; 05-22-2019 at 07:47 PM.
    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  13. #13
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    Any suggestion as to the thickness of the plate? Is 1/4 inch overkill?

  14. #14
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    Minimum of 3/16 but I would personally prefer the 1/4”, assuming material is aluminum.
    Last edited by SuperD; 05-23-2019 at 06:13 PM.
    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  15. #15

    Default Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
    Armondo, think two flat plates held together at the 90 by a piece of angle. At the bench, the vertical plate is bolted to another piece of angle on one leg of the angle and the other leg is bolted to the plywood seat top. Wood or lag screws would suffice at the seat connection assuming it is wood. Sheet metal screws if it is metal.
    Thanks for feedback. I like your idea to get the downrigger up off the seat. My seat is 0.100" aluminum. A sheet metal screw only gets 2 or three threads in metal that thin, so I am concerned they will pull out, especially when lowering the ball. I think I will take your idea for a mounting bracket and modify it a bit. Always good to toss ideas around to refine the final design.

  16. #16
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    In order for the screws to pull out, wouldn’t the front of the bracket have to dip down? With the gunnel support, I don’t see that happening.
    2003 Jetcraft SK2125, Yamaha 150, Yamaha T8, 2006 Dodge Ram 3500 Dually

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperD View Post
    In order for the screws to pull out, wouldn’t the front of the bracket have to dip down? With the gunnel support, I don’t see that happening.
    My gunwale is slightly rounded, which would allow the bracket attached to the gunwale to rotate from the leverage applied by the ball hanging off the boom. I am really paranoid because I almost lost the whole shebang once.

  18. #18
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    Following!this seems like a very interesting thread
    Last edited by bertha; 05-28-2019 at 02:31 PM.

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