On the Water
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Extreme Boat Makeover: Because Guys Will be Guys

By Dan Armitage
Published: June 1, 2007
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We converted a PWC to a PFC (Personal Fishing Craft). The project PFC was large enough to accommodate two anglers, even if neither got a whole lot of extra elbow room. Note the portable, suction-cup-mounted navigation light on the bow and the angled, flush-mounted rod holders aft.
Like many great ideas that go somewhat astray, this one was spawned when two guys with too much time and beer on their hands got to brainstorming.
   
My friend Doug is as serious about fishing as an angler can be. One sweltering August afternoon, we were talking about boating, fishing and all things water while cutting the dog days heat with a few cold Coronas on the porch of his cabin. I mentioned that Yamaha had offered me use of a Waverunner personal watercraft (PWC) for a month or two for research and writing purposes.
   
Normally, merely mentioning the acronym “PWC” around an angler as avid as Doug would provide due cause for sending me packing back to my own cabin for blasphemy. But since I had brought the beer, I had time to blurt out, “Let’s try to rig it for fishing!” before he could give me the boot.    
   
That’s when the light bulb went on. Doug’s interest was piqued.
   
“Right,” he said. “Adding a rod holder and a stringer ain’t gonna do it.”
   
“So let’s go all the way,” I replied. “Let’s do an ‘extreme makeover’ and go over the top. Let’s see just how much fishing stuff we can put on a PWC. I mean, rig it with all the accessories that anglers add to their fishing boats these days and then try to fish from it!”
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Shown are the accessories, along with the common hand and power tools that were used to rig the Yamaha Waverunner during a single afternoon.
That’s when the hops- infused brainstorming began. Doug ran inside and returned with a dog-eared Cabela’s catalog. I grabbed a pen and paper and started a list, as he thumbed through the pages and called out accessories we would need.
   
Because I intended to use the completed project in a variety of fishing situations, we elected to install equipment necessary to morph the PWC into a fully functional, multi-species PFC (Personal Fishing Craft). That included basic items like rod holders, anchor, fish finder with GPS, and navigation lights commonly found on fishing boats.
   
And I wanted to see if a PWC could be rigged with even more serious angling accessories like a baitwell and a livewell, a downrigger and splashguards. We went all out and added spring-loaded dock lines with retractable cleats.
   
One of the few rules we placed on ourselves was that everything we added had to work for its intended purpose. We also wanted the items to be removeable, as much as possible, to allow the PWC to be used as a recreational watercraft when it wasn’t employed as a hardcore fishing craft. Items that wouldn’t be removeable – such as the flush-mount rod holders, retractable dock line and anchor tether – would need to be pretty much out of the way.
   
Are all the items we added to our project PFC practical for everyday use aboard a PWC? Not by a long shot. In the name of “let’s just see if we can do it,” we went way overboard when we started installing accessories like live wells, downriggers and splashguards. But by demonstrating the extreme rigging, we showcased how you can adapt your PWC into a fast and fun fishing machine. Because, after all, guys will be guys!

When he’s not morphing watercraft, Dan Armitage delivers fishing and outdoor photography seminars across the U.S., works as an outdoors writer and radio host in Ohio and enjoys time at his cabin on the Kokosing River.


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