How to Set up a Jon Boat for Bass Fishing

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A bass boat works well when you go out to the lake to fish for bass, however, a Jon boat can be a great way to get into the water. Anglers can easily learn how to set up a Jon boat for bass fishing to enjoy the numerous benefits and a good chance to succeed!

How to Set up a Jon Boat for Bass Fishing

Anglers may believe that for bass fishing, only a bass boat can work. However, a Jon boat can be set up in easy ways to create the right kind of boat for all your bass fishing adventures. What is a Jon boat? It is a flat-bottomed boat made of fiberglass, aluminum, or any lightweight material.

An image of Jon boat

A bass boat has swivel chairs to allow anglers to turn in any direction to cast, and it also has enough space to adjust the creel, fishing rods, and a well where fresh water circulates to keep the fish fresh. As long as you have a simple floating boat, you can turn it into a bass boat with some easy changes.

Things to Consider for Jon Boat Setup

When you are selecting the right Jon boat for setting it up, there are many things to consider so that you can set it up to make it a good fishing boat for bass. These factors range from the selection of boats to the small fixtures that go in them.

  • Breadth of the boat,
  • Type of wood structure for the boat,
  • Choosing hardware and electric work.

Breadth of the Boat

When you decide to convert a Jon boat to a bass boat, select a wide one so that you have ample space for the various things you install in it. The final result will be according to your plan if you choose a wider Jon boat rather than a narrow one.

A Jon boat as broad as four feet will be an excellent way to get the bass fishing boat that can carry everything you will require on the lake. Using a narrow boat will be unstable, and it may lose balance when you place the dock inside.

However, a broader boat will keep all worries away and you will be able to concentrate on catching bass. This kind of boat is available in various materials, and picking a Jon boat for converting it to a fishing boat will be an easy choice as you can make any of them the right boat for you.

Keep Close to Nature

Jon boats available nowadays are made with treated wood, which means they are chemical-treated. These boats are not compatible with many aluminum parts that you need for fitting into the boat. Chemically-treated wood is not going to be easy on the aluminum you fit in the boat.

A Jon boat is just a flat boat with a sitting bench. You will have to add a lot of small fixtures that make the boat more suitable for anglers. These fixtures will need aluminum framing, which can hold the various fixtures in place and it will be lightweight as well.

An image of boat on body of water

Creating the Casting Deck

Like a bass boat, the Jon boat should have a casting deck, from where anglers can stand and fish for hours. The height of this deck has to be right so that the boat remains stable. If you make the deck too high, it will be unbalanced, and if it is too low, you will not be able to fish properly.

When you are setting up the Jon boat for bass fishing, the width plays a crucial role in deciding the height of the deck. If the Jon boat is four feet wide, the deck should be as high as the seats, however, if it is more than four feet wide, the deck can be higher.

Hardware for the Boat

There are numerous fixtures for a fishing boat. You can say that the Jon boat is the frame in which you fill in everything according to what you will be needing when you go fishing. You will need a place to store your rod and place the tackle. Anglers also need to place everything in a way that it is available at an arm’s length so the right hardware is essential.

It is recommended that you select heavy, rust-free, and corrosion-free hardware that goes a long way. Finding cheap alternatives may be easy, however, they will need replacements repeatedly and that can be uncomfortable.

Adding Small Fixtures

A Jon boat does not have swivel chairs fixed for anglers’ comfort. This boat has a small bench at the end only. However, if you want to turn a Jon Boat into a bass boat, start by adding fixed rod holders to the side of the boat.

The casting deck can be created with storage units placed at the head of the boat. This storage unit can be made by simply stowing units together, and covering with a plank, which is optional. A livewell can be created in this unit as well.

Anglers fish for bass in reduced lighting so navigation lights on the boat will be helpful, and will also make your Jon boat get closer to the ideal bass fishing boat that you had in mind. Of course, you can add pedestal seats, fish finders, and even an ice box if you want!

Electrical Work

There is not a lot of electric work needed on the Jon boat to make it a bass fishing boat. You can look for a professional electrician for the small electric work, which includes setting up navigation lights, GPS, fish finder, and a trolling system.

It is better to remain minimalistic with electronics. Some anglers overload their boats with all kinds of fishing equipment and electronics, however, it is always best to use the fishing equipment that will be useful for catching bass.

Bass fishing is an enjoyable sport and since there are many kinds of equipment that can get you some big catches, choosing the right electronics that will help you locate bass will be all that you need on the boat.

An image of red boat


A storage space under the deck, or under the seating bench can be a good idea, and there can be many things that you can keep in there. A medical kit, life jackets, and maybe a few things that will be helpful in making your fishing adventure safe, and more comfortable.

The Advantage of Setting up a Jon Boat for Bass Fishing

Converting a Jon boat into a bass boat is a better option for many anglers because of various reasons. It is a common belief that angling can be an expensive hobby or sport. However, there are ways to make all your sports or hobbies more economical. Using a Jon boat for fishing will make it more enjoyable in many ways:

  • Jon boat is a cheaper option than a fully-equipped bass boat,
  • This kind of boat is flat and therefore better in shallow water,
  • Jon boats are lighter and easier for a single person to load and unload,
  • You can make adjustments according to your needs and preferences.
  • A lightweight boat means access to numerous areas in the lake that a bass boat may not reach.


Anglers can enjoy catching fish without spending a lot of money on various types of fishing boats including bass boats. By following easy steps on how to set up a Jon boat for bass fishing, anglers can create a boat according to their needs and desires and have a great time on the lake.