A familiar site to countless boaters, and fishermen, is the Candy Cane stacks of Trenton DTE Energy Plant.
It's a Perfect Night for Handlining on the Trenton Channel.
Sea Nymph Model 16R40 MFG. Date 1979
Length 16 feet 6 inches
Beam 72 inches
The wide beam and deep hull provides sufficient stability needed for the Detroit River channels. Everything on the trailer is original except the winch and dolly.
The outboard motor is a 2011 electric start Mercury 20 HP. Long Shaft. It has replaced its same make and model 1979 counterpart.
Gradually, over a period of time, several modifications have been made to the boat and trailer. A Guide-On pair was fabricated using 1 1/2" x 1/8" square steel tube, and covered with PVC. These were designed to conform to the angle of the boat, and greatly assist its removal from the water at the end of the day.
The Holsclaw Bros. manufactured this trailer in October of 1978. It employs a pair of coil springs, and shock absorbers for suspension. This company once manufactured top of the line trailers. Unfortunately they are no longer in the business.
Here are some pics of the deck modifications made to the Sea Nymph 16R: I began this mod in November of 2011 and finished on May 12th 2012.
I had two primary reasons for beginning this project. First, I needed a place to stow all of my gear, out of sight and out of mind. Second, I wanted to get the weight of batteries, gas tank, anchor etc. up forward. An empty, and featherweight bow gets pushed up into the air by every passing wave. It's analogous to a ping pong ball getting hit with a paddle.
Prior to fabrication, the entire hull inside was brushed, scrubbed, cleaned, primed and painted prior to fabricating, and installing the decks.
The front deck framework pictured below was fabricated and tig welded from 1/8" x 1 1/4" Aluminum sq. tube. This framework provided the overall structure for the 3/8" thick marine ply facing which is bolted to 23 mounting tabs welded to the framework. The framework is straight forward and easy to fabricate intuitively. The rear deck framework is not shown as it is identical in it's construction, only much smaller.
The next step was to attach the 3/8" marine ply facing. Prior to cutting the facing, a pattern was created by taking measurements from Sea Nymph 16R. These measurements were used with AutoCad to generate a full sized half pattern of the intended deck. Since the boat is symmetrical from starboard to port, only one half of the bow needed to be measured and patterned. The half pattern was printed with a 36"wide printer. The half mirrored pattern was used for both starboard, and port. The cost for the pattern was about $6.00.
The deck lids were cut with the use of a router, and 1/4" straight up bit. A compression bit would work well also. The 2" wide aluminum hinges were left over from another project. There was enough space in the upper forward deck for an 8" round deck plate. This is for storing anchor and all ropes.
The lower forward deck with two 18" x 19" hatches is for storing a bank of three batteries if needed, clothing, life jackets and other safety equipment needed. A swivel plate for a seat was also installed for those occasions when it's desirable to fish with a pole from the bow.
The 3/8" marine ply was covered with indoor outdoor plastic carpeting from Lowes. The total cost was under $80.00 for both decks.
The forward molding 1/8" aluminum, was formed to fit the deck, and also will be used as an escutcheon for switches and LED indicators for various electrical equipments. The hatch pulls are webbed fabric and will be replaced with handle releases that will lock with a key.
The rear deck contains two small hatches for storing lures. reels, and tools for general purpose and fishing. All d.c. electrical distribution and switching for pump, navigation lights, etc. is also mounted in the same space under the hatches. The depth finder mount with extension cord, is also stored in this location, as well as copies of fishing license, and boat registration information.
Both decks utilize 3/4" kingpin style seating hardware to facilitate the moving of seats from one location to another. The raised forward deck allows fishing from a pedestal that fits the deck plate.
A view from the front and rear of Sea Nymph 16R. The original Navigation Lighting was replaced with L.E.D. technology.
My Tow Vehicle:
Many details were left out of this project, but if you have any questions, please feel free to email me. I will be glad to fill in any blanks that I have left out.
Modifications for both, manual and power remote steering control for trolling, and a remote electronic speed control installation may also be found on this page.
I enjoy handlining for walleye, and below are some of the accessories used in catching these fish..
.......................... Hand Liners are AKA River Rats. My graphic impression printed to a marine decal.
Compared to the average jig or sinker used by fishermen, hand line weights are massive. In general, they weigh from one, to just over two pounds. That is a lot of toxic lead to leave on the bottom of lakes and rivers if lost due to snags. There are alternatives to using lead weights and sinkers.
The cost of fabricating these weights in stainless is approximately $6.00 for a one and a half pound and $4.00 for a one pound hand line weight. I just happen to have some stainless round bar scrap that I put in service, and would not consider purchasing same for handlining.
However, the mild steel can be had for about .50 cents per 12" x .75" weight, which costs far less than it's Lead counterpart.
Two hours of hand lining on the Trenton Channel
A two man limit of silver bass and four Walleyes pictured above, in less than two hours. This is not at all uncommon during the spring spawn. Although Silver bass may not be everyone's favorite, I find them excellent table fare, when smoked. The catch was made using only 2 1/2" trolling spoons, while hand lining.
A Simple Remote Steering System
Like most individuals, I am always looking for ideas that will provide me with a way to make improvements in a personal endeavor. It is for all of those times that I have needed to remove my hand from the tiller, while underway or trolling, that inspired me to build this easy add on.
In search for inexpensive ways to accomplish the task at hand, I read an article regarding a Remote Steering idea that allows the operator of a boat to control steering by foot. Ron Welch, a member of the Downriver Walleye Federation, wrote it. Ron has been hand lining for well over a half century.
I fabricated and assembled this simple, inexpensive, yet effective foot controlled steering system. The cost for all of the materials from Ace Hardware and Home depot combined is about $60.00. Some, or most of the materials may be found hiding in a favorite junk drawer.
After having assembled and utilized this system, I have decided to include some images suitable for anyone with minimal mechanical skills to recreate. Considering itís simplicity, it works very well. However, after having used this manual foot controlled system for two years, I decided to make an upgrade to something a bit faster and more streamlined.
A more contemporary alternative to this simple mechanism is PowrTran's electric steering system that uses a cable and electric foot control with a base price of $569.00 msp. After installing this electro mechanical steering system, I'm not only pleased, but impressed. For an additional cost, the PowrTran unit is expandable to accommodate wireless remote control. There are also other compatible units available.
Manual Cable And Foot Powered Steering Control
I needed 10 feet of 3/16" plastic coated cable
(1) Swivel pulley
(1) Stainless steel mtg. Bracket
(2) 5/16" eyebolts (for mounting pulley and surgical tubing to transom)
(2) S hooks
(1) 3/8" eyebolt, nuts and lock washer for mounting to the tiller steering mounting bracket.
(3-4) Cable nuts
Warning! Do not use this remote foot control for any other purpose than trolling. Attempting to use this adaptation at higher speeds could result in the operator and passenger(s) being catapulted from the boat.
One roll of 3/8" diameter surgical (latex) tubing purchased at Home Depot, and may be found in the plumbing department. Bungee Cord works just as well. Both will need adjusting every so often.
Two 11/16" bolts secure the mounting bracket that secures the tiller to my outboard motor(1st image). These two bolts secure your tiller or steering gear to your outboard. I removed my tiller and mounted the stainless bracket as shown on the tiller assembly, and the outboard frame.
The mounting bracket can be purchased to fit your own particular outboard motor (depending upon availability) or can be fabricated. Mine was fabricated from a 3/16" thick piece of stainless steel plate, but 1/8" would work for this application.
Install latex tubing around the eyebolt as you would a hand slingshot. A constrictor knot, tied with polyester string used in cable lacing, and a wire tie were added for security. See last image of surgical tubing for detail on securing the tubing ends. Notice that it is pulled through a small piece of tubing cut from the end of the roll. This must be done twice through the same small piece when you double the tubing back upon itself through the eyebolt. You will need to use rubbing alcohol or glass cleaner for a temporary lubricant, and a pair of snap ring pliers to expand the small piece of latex. Surgical Latex makes for a neat installation. A substitute for the latex tubing that I have found to work just as well. is ordinary bungee cord.
If the cost of a more streamlined power steering system is within the budget, then read on............................
After trolling with the previously described manual foot controlled cable /pulley system for two years, I decided it was time to make some changes in my well used, inexpensive, but reliable steering system. Although it was inexpensive, and worked fairly well, it was indeed inefficient. There were three primary drawbacks of this system. First, the cable and foot stirrup would occasionally interfere with my lures and mono leads. Second, after three or four hours of steering with my right foot, my upper leg would become a bit fatigued from holding course. The third deficiency of this system was that if you removed your foot for even an instant from the stirrup or foot control, the boat would severely veer off course. With foot removed from the stirrup, the boat would be propelled into a sharp, permanent right turn. The last two problems were ever present because of the constant opposing pressure being applied from the stretched elastic cord constantly pulling the motor head in the opposite direction with several foot pounds of force. My objective was to replace the manually foot operated pulleys and elastic bungee/surgical tubing on my present steering system with an electric motor and associated control linkages.
After a great deal of reading, and thought, I selected the PowrTran remote steering system for trolling/hand lining based upon customer reviews, conversations with manufacturers, and quality of product components. Finally, after speaking with Jane in Sales, and their technical department head (Jeff) at PowrTran, I was sold on their PS205SS power steering unit. This unit is made for kicker motors up to twenty horse power. Since my main propulsion motor is also my trolling motor, the model PS205SS is ideal for my intended purpose. Actually, I was pre sold on this product when I first saw it. "Form Follows Function" Although this is not architecture, this product does have a certain aesthetic appeal.
In my first conversation with the technical department at PowrTran, I was told that the company had recently made some product engineering changes in the PS205SS for 2013, and it was suggested that I hold off on ordering the current unit until early March 2013, when changes to the new steering linkage would be completed. I appreciate a seller truly thinking in the interest of two parties. Thanks Jeff, and I sincerely hope your employer thanks you as well.
After a brief discussion regarding the current steering linkage, it was discovered that the current part would better suit my particular application/installation. I moved forward with the PS205SS purchase. Prior to purchase, I had two other phone conversations with Jeff. Each time I called, I received a courteous greeting, and was promptly addressed. I also found emails are answered swiftly. They also provide product installation manuals as a download from their website.
The install of this device on my 2011 Merc 20hp. 4 stroke took less than two hours in real time. The four page PowrTran PS205SS installation manual is pure simplicity. All components are either Stainless Steel or Aluminum. This product carries a one year conditional warranty.
Please heed the warning that PowrTran has included with their PS205SS steering unit. This equipment is designed for trolling speeds at 5mph or less, and for outboard motors rated at twenty horsepower (20hp.) or less.
Because this product is so basic, I will not go into great detail for the installation. Included below, are a few step by step pictures of my particular installation as well as a continuation of my review of PS205SS:
Step 1. Remove the plastic tilt tube end caps, thoroughly clean inside of tilt tube, and grease the inside of the tilt tube with marine grease. I used mineral spirits to clean the inside of the tilt tube. I used paper towel folded to fit inside the tube, and used a 5/8" round rod to push the the grease laden paper towel through the tube several times.
Step 2. Insert the inner tube into the steering tilt tube. The inner tube will stop when the brass fitting on inner tube is flush with the end of the outer tilt tube.
Step 3. Screw Motor Mount on to steering tube/tilt tube (end with the brass bushing) until it stops and it is tight. Next loosen the plated steering/tilt tube nut and tighten it to the motor mount. You will have to hold the motor mount while you tighten the large Nut to the motor mount, else it will loosen the motor mount, and you'll have to start over again.
Step 4. Place the wiper seal (wiper nut shown in Step 5. picture) over the eyebolt (on left side of inner tube) and screw tight by hand. When the inner tube is in motion, this small part appears to hold the grease in the outer tube and wipes excess grease from the inner tube as it exits and enters the outer tilt tube.
Step 5 & 6. Place motor gasket on motor housing.
Step 7 & 8. Mount the Steering Arm Assy. Follow instructions in the manual. The turning radius will increase as the ball head is moved closer to the engine power head. My disconnect ballhead is 1 3/4" from the power head, and my motor head stops about 3/16" short on full turns, starboard and port. This is close enough for making turns at 5mph. or less.
This setup is simple, and there are different methods of adjusting for travel. I measured the entire length of the inner tube in it's farthest extended position on the starboard side. I then retracted the inner tube to the port side, and then measured the remaining inner tube protruding from the outer tube on the starboard side. This allowed me to find the center of the inner tube, and adjust the linkages so that the outboard is centered or in synch with the inner tube at the same time. If this doesn't make sense, then you'll have to find your own method of alignment. While running the motor back and forth, my prime concern was binding. I had no problems whatsoever with the step. The ball release is important in this installation as the motor is used for main propulsion as well as trolling.
Also, if you do not have a steering bracket to attach your steering arm, then one must be fabricated or purchased from Mercury. A very basic mounting bracket is included with this kit from PowrTran, but is not suitable for this particular Mercury outboard motor. A steering bracket for this motor is available from Mercury motors or you can fabricate one from aluminum as I have which is shown in the picture below.
I've tested this unit several times and am satisfied that it is fully operational. I'm surprised at the speed which it travels. Of course, the real test will come in early spring when the Walleye spawn. I'm looking forward to observing the actual operation of the unit while trolling. Another very important feature that I want to mention is the Ball Release mechanism. It allows a quick disconnect of the entire steering system for operating the motor from the tiller. If you are also going to use your motor for main propulsion, you will find this release to be invaluable.
This is something you will need to remember when ordering your power steering unit, as PowrTran also sells power steering linkages that are bolted directly to the steering bracket. I have been informed that this bolt on type of bracket will work fine if you are not going to use your motor for main propulsion when you are done trolling, and have a larger horsepower motor that is used specifically for main propulsion to get you to and from fishing sites.
The next and last part of this review/tutorial deals with the electrical hook up.
Step 9. You will need to download the electrical pdf at PowrTran. Mounting of electrical components are dependant upon the type of boat and battery location, and the type of trolling you are involved with. When I said that I completed this install in two hours, I didn't include the mounting of the single pole double throw momentary switch used to energize the forward and reverse relay module. See the following pics......
In my particular installation, the forward reverse module is mounted under a forward deck next to a battery storage rack. This allowed direct wiring of the power input directly to my battery. The dual momentary switch configuration poses a challenging problem, in that there is so little distance or separation between the forward and reverse switch contacts. This poses a challenge for foot operation on the floor of the boat while fishing after dark, and perhaps for some, the same situation will apply for fishing in full daylight as well. I suppose that with a bit of practice, I could find the separate switch buttons with my foot at night, but it would be a lot easier if these two switch buttons were spaced farther apart on their mounting block. It's akin to scratching an itch on someone else's back. It's difficult getting good feedback. On the other hand, the switch is ideally configured for those that will actuate the switch by hand. The SPDT momentary open switch assy. is wired with approximately 15 feet of 3 wire coated cable. This distance enables me to move the foot/hand switch assembly to any location inside my boat without having to replace or splice in more wire.
The build of the associated components are a very pleasant reminder of how electro - mechanical devices were manufactured circa 1960, long before big business created the disposable world we live in today. What a pleasure to see true quality from beginning to end. The fit and feel of all the components are typical of a well thought out design. I also feel that the 2012 M.R.P of $569.00 is commensurate with the described product.
The brief instruction manual(s) included with this product were also well thought out, and easy to digest. The simplicity of the device itself, is such that it could be installed intuitively, if necessary.
A minimum of tools are required to complete the installation, and all hardware is pre-assembled to the mechanical components to be installed. The electrical components are also pre-wired with all connectors and wiring completely secured to their respective components. The electrical diagram is pictorial, and depicts a plug and play layout. This extra step in pre-wiring was a wise move for PowrTran, as well as their prospective customers. "Plug and Play" is the only way to go for a public that cannot or should not attempt wiring even the simplest circuitry. This step alone also saves a great deal of time, particularly for the installer employed for marine service work.
Before affixing electrical components, the motor drive and associated components may be tested on the bench, right out of the box, by simply plugging together a few connectors, and adding a battery.
On a scale from 1-5, I rate the PowrTran PS205SS steering unit at 4.5 stars. I feel more thought should have been given to the size of the switch block, or at least another more suitable foot controlled switching option for guys with big feet, like me. Given time perhaps PowrTran will address this issue.
I doubt that there is a vendor for a custom foot actuator designed to work with this particular switch component. It's also doubtful that Powrtran will ever add this type of item to their inventory.
Therefore, I decided to fabricate an all aluminum, joy stick style switch actuator for the PowrTran dual momentary switch assembly. The unit is comprised of a machined 1" barrel and pin assembly which rotate on the same axis. When either joy stick lever is depressed, it actuates the respective switch that is mounted on the end mounting plate. All that is needed to turn the boat is to gently tap either joy stick to turn right or left. Although the assembly is all aluminum, the actuator is completely silent in operation.
The complete assembly was made from scrap aluminum except for the machined 1" solid aluminum Barrel and Pin stock, which was approx. $6.00 purchased locally.
I spliced a male/female three pin electrical connector between the Switch assembly and the relay module. This enables a quick disconnect of the switch assembly for storage and/or relocation for use on the forward deck. It also prevents switch activation when not in use.
Another plus of having this actuator controlled switch, is that it can be operated on either side of the boat while fishing. This allows easy access to navigating by more than one person while trolling.
I would also like to say that the information I have written was done so in all personal earnestness, and that I receive no benefits or compensation from PowrTran or their distributors.
PowrTran also has several other marine products that I found worth viewing. I also wish PowrTran continued success in their future marine product endeavors
I hope this information helps, and if you have any questions or find fault with the information I have provided, please email and we'll talk about it.
Good luck on your installation.
I've also installed a Troll Master PRO2 servo controlled speed control on the Mercury 20hp. The install and review will be written in the near future.
Go Fishing, It Creates New Memories!
All graphics and images on this page are copyrighted and watermarked by Richard Flake
© Richard Flake 2013
Date Last Revisesd: 04/27/2014