I use to fish different lakes other than San Luis years ago. I finally realized the main reason for that shift was being cheap. Everytime I fish a different body of water with the Crestliner, I have to pay a fee to have it re-inspected for Quagga mussels. Even if I use it in waterways that flow into San Luis or have there own Quanga inspections. It’s always been a mystery to me why Calero reservoir (5 minutes from my house) inspects and reissues inspection seals that no other lake in the world will honor. The solution to this problem is owning a second smaller boat for local reservoir.
Half the fun of owning another fishing boat is shopping for a fishing boat. To get the most boat for the money, I researched restoring old fishing boats which led me to a youtube channel called the Tiny Boat Nation. Michael Lopez who host the channel is the premier DIY boat fabricator on the internet and lives surprisingly close to my friend Dan Dee. If you are going to attempt a project like this, I recommend you become a Paetron of his with a small subscription. Michael is a great reference if you have specific questions about your build. He builds a boat a week and has made and worked through a lifetime of mistakes to help the community avoid them. His builds are impressive and inspiring. Besides his great fishing skills on Lake Havasu in Arizona, and his glide bait building skills, he has an amazing collection of videos on how to take old aluminum boats and rebuilding them into world class Bass Fishing Boats. I’ve spent hours on his YouTube channel and scanning his amazon store researching his techniques, tools and experiences restoring old aluminum boats. It’s amazing how many great deals there are for old 16-18 foot aluminum boats on Craigs List and Nextdoor Neighborhood.
It took a couple months to figure out what I really wanted for Callero and local reservoirs. Gina gave me the ok for a boat that I could store on the side yard or in the smaller garage where I planned on modifying it. That meant I was looking for a boat less than 16 feet long with a swing tongue hitch. I really liked the idea of a center or side console like a Gheenoe a small flats boat. After much research, I started searching for a 14-16 ft Jon boat or Deep V with a center or side console for around 5K with a clean 4 stroke engine. What I finally found was a great deal on a Alumaweld 145 Escape- a 14.5 ft side console. I found a 2014 boat with an Evinrude 2 stroke 25 HP motor. The newer Evinrude EFI 2 strokes are impressive light engines with better fuel economy, cleaner emissions and power that the 4 strokes of equivalent HP. I had the been misinformed that ALL 2 strokes were banned from local waterways. Newer 2 stroke engines with clean emission stickers are legal on all lakes in California. The previous owner took great care of the boat and told me the top speed on the Delta was around 30mph.
To make the boat ready for fly fishing as well as bass fishing in Calero, I decided on some modifications. I wanted a larger casting deck on the rear, an upgrade in electronics, a Carpeted deck instead of vinyl, better battery and gas storage compartments, and more places to stow lures and flies. Also a higher casting platform on the bow and a stern poling platform on the rear. The boat came with a Powerline Ipilot enabled bow trolling motor. The trailer was in good condition but I changed out the tires, winch rope, rear tie downs, and added short bunk bumpers to help load the boat on the water.
Now that I am done with the Alumaweld Project, I want to modify the Crestliner next. Replace the old carpet, build more and better storage, re wire the electrical, and give it a face lift.
Here are some progress pics I took during the build.