Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Show us your pictures and video here.
TXGW1698
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:22 pm
Location:

Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by TXGW1698 »

I got around to building a boat for running around on my little Rio Grande River and small Balmorhea Lake for running jugs, bowfishing, and duck hunting I do out here in the far West Texas Chihuahuan Desert.

The river is small and mostly rocky. It has sections that are deep enough for most boats but between these sections are many rocky rapids that not even a canoe could go through without having to get out and drag. So when I started to think about getting a boat to recreate on the hundreds of miles of river we have out here, I had to think about what would work. We have a 1450"ish" allweld boat with a 35hp jet motor the department got us to work the river but really it is too big and heavy unless the river is at dangerous flood levels. Jets are ideal due to the shallow hard rocky bottom but can be heavy and underpowered plus very expensive. Trying to build a boat on a budget, jets weren't an option. Standard prop motors weren't either unless you like to break props and lower units! That when I came across these Longtail motors.

I made calls to several companies that had decent looking kits. A couple got back with me, and we talked a bunch about what would work for me on a 12' aluminum Jon boat that I had decided was in my price range and would be light enough to run the river. Jon at SPS got my business. He was very personable, not that the other guy wasn't. The thing is that Jon has been in the Longtail business a lot longer than the competition. Also we both work in the same occupation, so not only do we have something in common, but I can pretty well assume he is a man of integrity and not going to screw me with a bad product. I will say he offered me a very generous discount, which I accepted, but I have tested this motor kit it some rough stuff before offering praise of his product.

So I received the kit. Boxed well and professionally. I ordered a cheap Harbor Freight Predator 6.5hp engine. $100 is hard to beat, blow it up and just buy another, no big deal. I assembled the kit and it is so easy a little girl can do it. I finally got over to an Academy Outdoors Store in El Paso that had the 1232 Alumacraft Jon Boat I'd been eyeballing and picked it up for $579. The Jon weighs 120lbs, and is light and small enough to be slid in a truck bed. I would recommend using a bed extender with the motor attached as it is 80 something pounds. So now I had a 200 pound skinny boat that could carry a couple good sized fellas and and some gear. Also it can be launched a lot of places anyone launching a trailered boat would be very troublesome if not impossible.

Now to testing this rig. I decided to go to this frog pond lake called Balmorhea where things were safer; not so remote, rugged, and less chase of running into a drunk Mexican. I put it on the lake and motored around. The thing would scoot pretty good! With my GPS, me, and a pretty much empty boat I got up to 15.4mph. I was running around with the 6.5" prop without the prop guard. I've stuck with the 6.5" after testing out different props 6", 6.25", and 7" with a prop guard. I chewed up a 6.5" prop pretty good at the river once I decided the rig wasn't going to leave me stranded miles from the truck with Mexico on one side. Surprisingly I hit a lot of rocks and the aluminum prop held up better than expected and it felt like I didn't lose much propulsion. Of course being a tinkerer and a little bit of HP junkie, I added a mud motor hop up kit from OMB Warehouse. It came with a opened up straight back header and muffler, a K&N style air filter, and a bigger carb jet to suit. It opened up the 6.5 pretty good, which I've read is terribly restricted stock. I also added a "hotter" racing spark plug, if anything it made it easier start which wasn't too hard in the first place.

A note about the prop guard. When I first tested it, with any prop size, I was having to lift very hard on the tiller handle to try to keep the prop at the ideal trim. After examining the reason why that was happening, I noticed that at the angle the shaft needed to be at there was a lot of flat metal acting as a trim tab in the un-needed direction. A crescent wrench and raw muscle fixed that by angling the two side supports downward at approximately 45 degrees. They are almost perfect, only under full throttle do I need to pull up slightly on the tiller handle to get my ideal trim. Not nearly the wrestling match I first experienced. I have not GPS'd the top speed since then, if seems to have the speed and prop protection I desire. I may tinker with it more if I get bored.

After several river trips and inspection of the hull, I noticed that the rocks were awfully hard on the boat. The bottom had a lot of dents and missing paint. Also, upon contact with a rock, the boat liked to stick pretty good. I began the search for a bottom coating. I settled upon a company called Wetlander. Scott seemed to be pretty straight with me, was honest about his product, and didn't try to push it on me. It was a little expensive, maybe $200 for a 2L kit which left a little left over for touch ups. I applied it with a paint roller, I tried with my cheap spray gun but I was having issues with the compressor and the gun didn't want to spray it well. Having a good bit mixed up, a water based silicon epoxy, I hurried and rolled it on before it set up. End result wasn't as smooth but it was definitely harder and slicker than painted aluminum. I'd recommend if you go roll on to smooth up the final coat with a paintbrush. The roller gave it an almost rhino lined texture, versus the brushed keels which were nice and slick when dry. After a couple outings the coating has held up well. It is scratched but not flaking off. The boat seems to not get stuck on rocks or gravel bars as bad. Though when it get rough or shallow enough, you just have to get out and pull it.

Other things I've added are a extended aluminum seat mount that allows for full range of motion of the tiller handle. It also puts my weight more center in the boat and I "plane" out better with only me in the boat. If you call 10-15mph planed out. I added an ATV double gun rack to the front bench. It actually holds an M4 and two shotguns nicely and securely. I installed some cleats, oar holders, and ropes for tying up. I carry a milk crate for random things in the back, along with a tool box with just about every tool to keep the motor running while out and about.

That's just about all I can think to say on my boat. It's a pretty neat toy to play around with I think. If there are any questions, suggestions, or comments feel free to reply. Here is YouTube video from duck hunting this morning, fetching a couple ducks my 12 year old son got a double on. I will add some more pictures if the rig in a reply. Thanks for reading!
Texas Game Wardens - Law enforcement off the pavement since 1895
1232 Alumacraft Jon, 212cc Predator Small Kit, Wetlander mud boat bottom coating.

TXGW1698
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:22 pm
Location:

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by TXGW1698 »

image.jpeg
Not all our ducks! Group of 4 hunters.
image.jpeg
This mornings birds, as always should have limited out if it weren't for poor shooting!
image.jpeg
A big weir dam I found, the river was really low then.
image.jpeg
A nice big stretch of good river to run the boat on.
image.jpeg
Makin' wake!
image.jpeg
View of custom seat bracket and gun rack.
image.jpeg
Running a perch trap, dang Mexicans stole that nice 24"x24" cloverleaf trap I made.
Texas Game Wardens - Law enforcement off the pavement since 1895
1232 Alumacraft Jon, 212cc Predator Small Kit, Wetlander mud boat bottom coating.

SourMash
Posts: 602
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:24 am
Location: Covington, GA
Location: Covington, GA

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by SourMash »

Looks like a cool place to hunt, water in the desert = good place to duck hunt. Congrats on the build, and welcome from GA
13' Gheenoe - 212 Predator
1436 G3 - 420 Predator

TXGW1698
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:22 pm
Location:

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by TXGW1698 »

Thanks for the welcome. Glad someone enjoyed my post. Not a huge forum poster. We've killed a couple ducks in my 3 years living in West Texas.




image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
This was last weekend, almost like hell freezing over it snowing on the border down here. Ducks were better than our shooting. We're in a slump this year on our shooting skills.
This was last weekend, almost like hell freezing over it snowing on the border down here. Ducks were better than our shooting. We're in a slump this year on our shooting skills.
Back when he was 10!
Back when he was 10!
Texas Game Wardens - Law enforcement off the pavement since 1895
1232 Alumacraft Jon, 212cc Predator Small Kit, Wetlander mud boat bottom coating.

TXGW1698
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:22 pm
Location:

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by TXGW1698 »

And a few more birds,
image.jpeg
image.jpeg
That's all for now, don't always do so good, or don't always take a picture.
Texas Game Wardens - Law enforcement off the pavement since 1895
1232 Alumacraft Jon, 212cc Predator Small Kit, Wetlander mud boat bottom coating.

Aknative
Posts: 500
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 3:28 am
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
Location: Fairbanks AK

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by Aknative »

Thanks for sharing!
Rumors of my assimilation have been greatly exaggerated.

SourMash
Posts: 602
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:24 am
Location: Covington, GA
Location: Covington, GA

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by SourMash »

That drake cinnamon teal is beautiful, and I'd have never guessed that y'all kill woodies out there! You're season is far better than mine this year, it's been too warm in Dixie for shooting ducks.
13' Gheenoe - 212 Predator
1436 G3 - 420 Predator

durandbagwell86
Posts: 756
Joined: Sat Apr 11, 2015 5:51 pm
Location: gaffney

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by durandbagwell86 »

SourMash wrote:That drake cinnamon teal is beautiful, and I'd have never guessed that y'all kill woodies out there! You're season is far better than mine this year, it's been too warm in Dixie for shooting ducks.
Been too hot in SC to hunt anything this year. I'd like to try duck hunting next year and this pics make me want to go more.

Longshot270
Posts: 465
Joined: Sun Jun 22, 2014 8:09 am
Location: San Marcos, TX

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by Longshot270 »

I love the Balmorhea area. I need to take my boat out there for some bowfishing!

TXGW1698
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:22 pm
Location:

Re: Rio Grande River Boat Build, 1232 Jon, SPS 6.5 Longtail

Post by TXGW1698 »

Hit me up if you head out there. Carp are a dime a dozen and I've shot some monster shad up there in the inlet. Haven't gone at night in the boat. Got a neat clamp on light from Attwood that's sold in Walmart. Has white, red, and a UV color light. I need two more for the port and starboard sides. They are pretty bright, don't weigh much, and are LED so battery life should be good.
Texas Game Wardens - Law enforcement off the pavement since 1895
1232 Alumacraft Jon, 212cc Predator Small Kit, Wetlander mud boat bottom coating.

Post Reply