Comply with alongside as In-Fisherman’s Thomas Allen fully overhauls his older Ranger bass boat with fully fashionable Humminbird and Minn Kota electronics.

Welcome to Half 1 of an in depth 10-plus-part collection about turning an older boat into a contemporary fishing machine. The aim to this entire mission is as an instance you can, certainly, transition a ship with a number of years on it into rig that options probably the most technologically superior electronics that immediately’s anglers demand.

I’ll be fully trustworthy with you: When the highest bass anglers within the enterprise began operating three graphs on the entrance of their boat, I rolled my eyes. I keep in mind a meme that made its rounds that confirmed a bass boat rigged with a 50-inch TV shoddily mounted the place the entrance graphs normally go. I laughed, but it surely wasn’t far off from actuality.

bass boat breakdown part 1 boat and truck
Shopping for a bass boat is a big-time dedication and staying up to date with fashionable gear might be intimidating. However it’s a important instrument to success. Don’t neglect it!

I used to be skeptical till I spent a while within the entrance of a type of boats and skilled why that kind of contemporary rigging is critical if gathering as a lot info as doable is necessary to you. And it ought to be. The extra you realize concerning the fish you search, the extra profitable you can be.

Plus, with immediately’s quickly advancing technological fishing world, there are many choices value contemplating, together with the coveted dwell sonar.

When you’re like me, and I’m guessing you’re, you don’t have a brand new boat and don’t get a brand new boat yearly.

My rig is a 2007 Ranger Z20 bass boat. I’m very pleased with this boat, I scraped and saved for years to have the ability to buy a ship like that, and when it lastly occurred, I knew I would want to make some common upgrades to remain present. It’s been a dedication—and plenty of work—but it surely’s been a labor of affection.

I can’t over emphasize how necessary it’s to intimately understand how your boat features, and meaning doing tasks like these your self will show you how to troubleshoot shortly and successfully when points come up. And points will come up, depend on it. When you’re not snug doing all of the work your self, paying knowledgeable is an efficient name. I don’t thoughts turning a wrench or operating some wires, so I tackled all these upgrades myself.

Bass boat update parked boat
My 2007 Ranger Z20 wasn’t constructed to deal with the electronics system I put in on it a number of years in the past, however with some innovation and goals you may make it work. Keep versatile.

The boat was initially constructed to accommodate a 24-volt trolling motor system, not the 36 it’s rigged with now. And it wasn’t constructed to take 4 or 5 graphs and all of the wires essential to energy every unit—and I additionally added Minn Kota Talons. After I added a TH Marine hydraulic jackplate, it ran like a appeal. And it took some finagling to get a 36-volt Minn Kota Ultrex put in, however we obtained it completed.

You may see a few of my authentic tasks by visiting a few hyperlinks beneath.

I spent a number of years working with my buddies at Bassmaster out of Birmingham, Alabama, which is the place I first overhauled this rig to satisfy present bass-boat requirements. Or a minimum of that’s what I assumed. I’d recommend you begin with these to see the development of this boat to the place will probably be on the finish of this collection. It’s been enjoyable for positive.

Electronics Set up from 2018

TH Marine Atlas Hydraulic Jackplate and Minn Kota Talons Set up (2018)

My purpose with this collection is that can assist you see potential in your rig and share a few of my errors alongside the best way—I made loads. With somewhat creativity and elbow grease, and a keen thoughts, you may flip your rig into a completely fashionable fishing machine.

Let’s dig into Half 1.

For this effort I selected to put in the totally practical One-Boat Community from Humminbird and Minn Kota, together with Raptors, Mega 360 and Mega Dwell. Not solely is that system confirmed throughout all species, however additionally it is particularly productive to find bass and muskies—my two favourite species to chase.

The primary a part of any main replace required a tear down. This phase is as an instance among the mess I wanted to scrub out in preparation of the general improve.

Rear view of old layout

This can be a view from the rear deck of the previous setup. I had two G2N Helix 10s on the sprint for mapping, 2D Aspect and Down Imaging. I’ve obtained be straight with you as to why it seems this manner: I used to be on a good price range and there weren’t plenty of choices to successfully set this up the best way I wished to. Sadly, in consequence I drilled some gaudy holes within the driver’s console to accommodate the 2 items. That added work to the replace you’re about to stroll by way of. However I wished you to see the place this mission started.

Front deck before update

Right here’s the view on the entrance. I rigged one G2N Helix 12 that linked to the first era Minn Kota Ultrex by way of the Common Sonar, which supplied 2D sonar with out attaching an extra transducer to the trolling motor head. This technique was efficient, however you may see why it wanted an replace.

Bass boat update, table of gear 1

Above is the primary a part of the gear I’ll be including to my boat laid out on a workbench in my store. On this image, there are a number of important items of kit that made this boat replace doable. Bass Boat Applied sciences makes graph gimbles for piles and piles of boats, previous and new, they seemingly have a customized mount for any configuration you may dream up.

I used to be very pleasantly shocked on the bow and sprint mount that they had particularly for my 2007 Ranger Z20. Go go to their web site and search your rig, you’ll discover simply what you want. The massive graph gimble on the left is to go on the bow of my boat and can maintain a Hummibird Helix 15 geared up with Mega Aspect Imaging and GPS on the high and two Helix 12s beneath. Sounds cluttered however wait till you see all of it put in. To the appropriate is the sprint mount that can maintain two Humminbird Helix 10s.

Above the BBT Triple Mount is the BigRig Bassin’ 360 Sonar Fast Disconnect Mount Equipment for Minn Kota Ultrex. This mount makes it straightforward to take away the 360 transducer throughout journey after which you may simply securely snap it again on while you get to the launch. This would possibly assist in accommodating your boat cowl, which is an instance of an older boat not being initially constructed to deal with a 360 system. The BigRig Bassin’ mount may be very sturdy and straightforward to make use of. I find it irresistible.


On this image, I’ve obtained a number of gadgets from TH Marine that won’t solely make my boat extra of a fishing machine however may also stabilize and clear up current gear. The Hydrowave is as near a fish name as you may get. It emits baitfish sounds, sounds of education and feeding fish and I’ve seen it work firsthand. The speaker will probably be connected to the trolling motor head and the pinnacle unit will probably be mounted close to the entrance graph gimble. You’ll additionally see a TH Marine G-Pressure Troll Excellent Trolling Motor Management Enhancer, TH Marine G-Pressure Eliminator Trolling Motor Prop Nut that eliminates vibration, the TH Marine Troll Jacket for organizing electronics and trolling motor cables, and a pair TH Marine Deck Plates to cowl current and irreparable holes that exist on the deck of the boat—we’ll handle that later.

Additionally discover the ThermaCell—the mosquitos throughout this mission have been insane. I ran as much as 4 ThermaCells in my storage and the bugs have been gone. Fairly unimaginable instrument for boat builds, and completely obligatory.

Updated boat project gear table 3

Within the above photograph you’ll see a Humminbird Mega 360 transducer, another graph equipment. There may be additionally one among two new Blue Sea 6006 m-Sequence grasp switches, a pair Blue Sea Programs fuse panels and two giant bundles of tinned 10- and 12-guage marine grade duplex wire.

The aim to every of those elements will turn into clear as we transfer alongside.

boat rebuild gear 4

Right here you’ll see a stack of Humminbird items, ethernet cables, after which some. There’s a new grasp valve for the livewell system, a brand new through-hull transducer that wants put in and some different requirements.

old boat seats

Earlier than we get into the boat inside tear down, let’s begin with a beauty change that wanted completed badly. Right here you may see the previous seats, nasty, torn and ugly. If I used to be to redo your entire boat, the seats wanted upgraded too. That is earlier than.

boat seats after, new covers

Right here is the upgraded completed boat seats. I didn’t get new seats, relatively I had a neighborhood firm reupholster them. You may determine this mission will value between $1,500 and $2,000—not low cost, however very value it, particularly when you plan to promote the boat down the street.

bottom of the hull

Here’s a shot of the underside of the hull. Down within the backside of that cavern is the livewell plumbing, which is the place the grasp valve is situated. There may be additionally the through-hull transducer that I wanted to switch. Sadly, I figured the transducer was positive after taking a look at it and elected to not swap it out. And that was my first mistake. Afterward, I found that it was damaged after I’d put every little thing again collectively. It’ll take a critical time funding to repair it, and I could dig into it this winter, a minimum of that’s what I ought to do. The rationale I want that tranducer is to mark depth at velocity, which is necessary to scouting lakes and preserving tabs on rapid depths.

rear exterior of hull

Here’s a close-up shot of the underside rear of the hull. The drain plug O-ring is shot and stopped sealing the boat, which meant a lot of water was seeping in. The 2 fiberglass chips are ugly and want repaired, however the boat was practical for a very long time with them there. Ugly, however they’re on the checklist of repairs to be made.

crank battery wire mess

This can be a large sizzling mess. Ug. After years of changes, errors and corrections, that is what my most important crank battery appeared like. It not solely powered the engine starter, Talons, livewell and bilge pumps, it additionally powered the three Helix items. Briefly, it was barely lasting half a day. It became an enormous drawback—I mentioned plenty of cusswords due to this mess. You may as well barely see the previous grasp energy swap within the backside left nook of this picture, that was low cost and confirmed plenty of signal of there being an excessive amount of juice operating by way of it. It wanted to be upgraded. This was an intimidating a part of the tear-down course of, however a obligatory change.

oil reservoir

The photograph above is a shot of the oil reservoir adjoining to the crank battery that’s such a multitude. The oil reservoir is a obligatory evil on this rig as my 225hp motor is a 2-stroke. Someday, I’d prefer to repower this rig with a brand new 4-stroke Yamaha SHO, which might make extra room obtainable within the power-plant space. For now, I’ll cope with it.

trolling motor battery location

Bear in mind after I talked about above that this boat wasn’t constructed to accommodate a 36-volt trolling motor? Right here is the spot the place two of the three batteries sit, and there was no technique to squeeze one other one in there. I had the third battery within the middle space of the ability plant, and it took up plenty of room. And since I used to be putting in Minn Kota Raptors, I wanted to make room for the hydraulic oil reservoirs that deployed and stowed the Raptors. Plus, I used to be upgrading the trolling motor batteries to X2 Lithiums to cut back weight within the rear and may enhance the boat’s total efficiency. We’ll dig into this half extra in a later half.

battery cable jumpers

I purchased and constructed new cable jumpers to attach in collection the 36-volt trolling motor system in. Go large on the cable gauge, I went with 4 gauge right here. The coloured zip ties have been a good suggestion, it was an unintended good transfer on my half. I additionally used that whole bottle of Clorox wipes cleansing this rig out. #messy

lable each cable

This wasn’t my first time completely rewiring a ship, and when you’ve obtained a ton of wires getting in a ton of instructions, you NEED to label every wire, so you realize the place it goes. This was a key a part of taking aside the previous crank battery and managing what went the place. This may increasingly seem to be a no brainer, however simply take the time to do it proper. You’ll be glad you probably did—so will whomever buys your boat from you if selected to promote it.


Once more, the ThermaCell for the win. And you’ll see what’s left of my boat wrap. The tattered and torn Seth Feider sticker nonetheless going robust.

ranger bow plates

Extra ugliness getting eliminated. These are the duvet plates on the entrance of the boat. The highest steel jacked-up-looking half obtained tossed within the rubbish, the grey plastic piece is required to mount the Bass Boat Applied sciences gimble. I needed to take away the small black swap panel on the appropriate as it might be reinstalled for use as soon as the mission was accomplished.

ranger z20 bow access

Right here’s the cavity that was behind the panels within the earlier photograph. There isn’t a lot room in there, however a pile of cables, a fuse panel, Humminbird Ethernet Hub and naturally, the trolling motor bracket bolts that must be eliminated.

trolling motor pedal

We eliminated the trolling motor pedal first.

removing trolling motor

The older 45-inch Minn Kota Ultrex wants eliminated to make room for a more moderen 52-inch mannequin. The longer shaft permits for sufficient room so as to add Mega Dwell. Extra on that later.


In fact, one of many bolts was seized and that meant grinder time.

grinding seized bols

No, the image isn’t the wrong way up. Somewhat that is the angle I wanted to attain to succeed in the seized bolt. As you’d anticipate, the bolt that was locked up was arduous to get to—heaven forbid it’s in an easy-to-reach place. But it surely labored.

removed trolling motor

My son Tommy was a tremendous assist all through this course of, plus he’s obtained lengthy arms and might attain a great distance up into the gunnel to run wires. Right here he’s pulling the trolling motor bracket off the boat as soon as and for all.

Half 2 will embody some repairs and upgrades earlier than we start mounting the brand new gimbles and items. Keep tuned!

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