The jon boat is hands down one of the most versatile boats you'll ever have. These watercrafts tout a flat hull that can take the boat virtually anywhere - from hunting duck to fishing and everything in between. So it comes as no surprise that some jon boat owners practically live on their boats.
And with all the jon boat mods at your disposal, you'd be surprised just how comfortable these boats can become. Wondering what you can do to make your jon boat really feel like your own? Here's a list of the best jon boat mods and modification ideas worth trying.
The 30 Best Jon Boat Mods
1. Added Storage Compartments
The jon boat's open design is what makes it such a versatile boat. But at the same time, it's layout straight out of the showroom limits storage on deck. So if you feel a little clumsy hauling so many bags and gear on your boat, then you might want to consider adding more storage space. Additional storage also provides more space for duck and fish you might catch.
Some boat owners choose to build new storage straight into the benches by cutting holes into the seats and securing small hatches to access the storage. Others simply affix a storage box into the floor to keep it from moving around. These storage ideas could help make jon boats more functional especially when carrying fishing gear, food, and more.
We recommend the Try It Outdoors Waterproof Dry Box for Boating.
2. Bimini Top
Of all the flat bottom jon boat modifications ever suggested, the bimini top is perhaps the most popular. This allows boaters to enjoy reliable shade on deck, saving the need for layers upon layers of sunscreen and UV protective clothing while fishing.
You'll have to carefully consider the dimensions of your boat before you buy a bimini top. But there are available after sales accessories that can fit most jon boats. Just make sure to read the instructions and to keep the top collapsed and stowed away when your boat is underway or on a trailer.
We like the MSC 3 Bow 4 Bow Bimini Top with Rear Support Pole.
3. Fishing Platform
If you've ever tried bass fishing out of your jon boat, then you probably already know how challenging it can be to cast a line. The wobble of a jon boat as you stand and try to cast a line will compromise your stability and affect your form while fishing. Check out our guide on how to make a jon boat more stable.
That's why dedicated anglers build a bass fishing platform using ideas and mods from all over the web. The DIY project costs very little to execute and will probably only take a day to complete. Just make sure you watch enough tutorials to guarantee a safe and durable platform project. Check out our guide on how to build a casting deck in an aluminum boat and this Jon Boat Casting Deck Video:
4. Custom Seats
A custom seat guarantees all-day comfort for your tuchus while you go bass fishing. There are lots of different kinds of seats available as well as a variety of mounting choices to fix them in place. Choosing the right jon boat seat for you depends solely on your preferences.
Swivel jon boat seat mounts provide excellent versatility and mobility, allowing you to reach all around your bass boat without having to stand up. But of course, cushioned, contoured seats make for the most comfortable seat solution for any jon boat owner. Others still double as storage for duck hunting and fishing essentials. Before you settle on any ideas, check your options online to find out which seat you'd like best.
5. Flooring Mods
Fact: the hot metal surface of your jon boat deck will significantly increase ambient temperature on deck. That's why you might find yourself sweating buckets during your midday bass fishing session on your jon boat. So one of the ideas that most jon boat owners have is to change the flooring.
Changing the flooring could significantly improve temperature conditions on deck and improve your stance while casting your line. Marine-grade outdoor carpeting doesn't only defend against heat absorption, it also works to hide imperfections from seat and storage installation, and that tacky utilitarian jon boat aesthetic. And because it's marine grade flooring, you can rely that it won't give up on you even after taking on the brunt of the fishing experience.
6. Live Well
Nothing is quite as satisfying as bringing home a fresh catch - and we're talking fresh. If you want to keep the fish you catch alive until you get home, or if you want to catch fish and duck with live bait, you'd do well to get a live well. That's why this has become one of the most mentioned ideas for jon boat mods across the internet.
Although you can definitely buy one after market, you can also make a live well using things like a large tub, some hoses, and a pump. Again, there are lots of video tutorials online that explore how to do it, so you won't have to worry too much about messing it up.
This Frabill Magnum Bait Station might come in handy!
7. Electric Anchor Winch
If you're saving your arm power for when you cast your line, then you might benefit from an electric anchor winch. Perfectly compact and easy to mount, these winches let you draw back your anchor without so much as lifting a finger. Most older boaters find that having an automatic anchor winch proves to be one of the best jon boat upgrades money can buy.
Make sure to consider placement however. On some jon boats, you might have to consider a prerequisite project first by installing a platform first to provide a space for the winch that can accommodate its size and weight.
We like the Camco Trac Outdoors Electric Anchor Winch.
Who wouldn't want to crack a cold one in the middle of a relaxing bass fishing trip? You can find lots of cooler options on the market, many of which offer appropriate storage to keep your drinks cold for several hours and even days depending on the model you choose.
Before buying one, see to it that you consider how much space you have on deck. Larger ones can hold several cases of beer and drinks to accommodate all of your passengers. Other cooler designs are much smaller and work best for groups of two or three fishermen.
9. Boat Grill
Since we're on the topic of sitting back and relaxing, might as well talk about grilling on your jon boat. Although it sounds like a stretch, you'd be surprised to find that a lot of people actually install grills on their boats so they can cook up their catch right after fishing or hunting.
Don't worry - these aren't modified, DIY grills. These are actual grills designed for installation and use on boats. But before you get one, check with your local laws and regulations to see if they'll allow the use of a grill on the waves.
We recommend the Magma Marine Kettle Gas Grill with Adjustable Control Valve.
10. Bait Table
Whether you're cleaning up a fresh catch or preparing your bait, getting a bait table works like a charm. It can mount to the side wall of your vessel without the need for drilling, and dismounts just as easily when you don't need it.
This mods entire purpose is to provide you a separate place for cleaning and preparing fish and bait so you won't have to dirty up your seats. They're also pretty inexpensive, making them a wonderful addition to any fishing vessel.
Check out the Magma T10-311B Econo Mate Bait and Filet Table.
11. Fish Finder
Of all the gear you'll ever use, the fish finder might approach the top of the list as the most functional in terms of fishing accessories. Considered an electronics essential on an angler's boat, the bass tracker lets you track fish within its range.
Lots of different fish finder devices exist on the market. But since you're going to use it often, you might want to spend on a quality tracker device that's more accurate and reliable than the affordable, cost-effective picks on the shelf.
We like the Garmin 010-01550-00 Striker 4 with Transducer.
12. Solar Panels
Although they have yet to catch on as a mainstream power source for vessel owners, there's a growing population of boaters who use solar panels to power up their electronics on board their fishing boat. This can include anything from smart phones to lights to live well pumps and more.
Installing solar panels however might require slightly more technical know how. If you're still confused after watching DIY tutorials, you might want to hire a professional instead to bring your ideas to life.
13. Rock Proofing
The jon boat's flat bottom is what allows it to traverse such shallow waters, but there is a catch. That same flat bottom makes the boat susceptible to rocks at the bottom of the water. Constantly cruising over these rocks can cause damage to the aluminum.
Rock proofing the bottom of the boat can help improve its resistance to that sort of damage. To do that, you'd have to apply a few coats of the same rock proofing paint they use on truck beds on the aluminum bottom of your jon boat. This increases your fishing and hunting scope, letting you traverse waters that would otherwise be inaccessible.
14. Rod Holders
Once you achieve that perfect cast, it's going to take a few minutes before you actually get a nibble. To increase your chances of securing a catch, you can set your rods into a set of rod holders to keep the bait in the water without your hand one the rod.
Several rod holders let you catch more at a time making this one of the most popular jon boat mods for dedicated anglers. Some boaters even secure several rods to their rod holders at a time and then move slowly through the water to replicate the appearance of a small school of fish and attract bigger catch.
Check out these Monster Rod Holders.
The jon boat's frame doesn't really make it the best choice for choppy waters. But if the sea is calling your name, you can probably try installing outriggers to your jon boat. Adding extra stability, outriggers make up for the fact that a jon boat doesn't have a v-shaped hull. But it can complicate hauling your vessel into a jon boat trailer.
Casting your line in choppy waters or shooting a gun while hunting on a boat becomes much more feasible with a set of outriggers. Again, there are lots of tutorials and ideas online that can teach you how to complete the project. With the right materials and tools, you could probably get the whole thing done within a day. But if you're new to jon boat mods, installing outriggers might be a project you should reserve for the pros.
You might be interested in the Glide Gear Dual Offset Outriggers.
16. Bilge Pump
Taking your jon boat into choppy water significantly increases the amount of water that will splash on deck. When this happens, you'll find yourself sloshing around in a partially flooded boat that isn't only inconvenient, but also hazardous.
To prevent water from pooling in your boat, get a bilge pump. This nifty little machine will siphon water out and off of the deck floor and will toss it back into the water so you can continue boating in relatively dry on-deck conditions.
We like the MAXZONE Automatic Submersible Boat Bilge Water Pump.
17. Magnetic Strips
How often have you removed a hook from a line and set it next to you just to find it tossed up and away from your reach? In some cases, you might even find your hooks missing all together.
If this sounds like something you typically deal with, then you can benefit from a few magnetic strips. These come with an adhesive strip that you can use to stick the magnetic piece to the walls of your boat. Then you can simply toss your hooks against the magnetic strip to keep them from getting lost.
Check out the Master Magnetics - Roll-N-Cut Flexible Magnetic Tape.
18. Electric Panel
If you went out of your way to install things like lights, electrical components, and other electronically powered gadgets for fishing and hunting, then your boat might seem flooded with cords and cables. Aside from being an aesthetic issue, this can also become a very serious hazard.
An electrical panel is an awesome jon boat modification that provide easy controls over all of the different electrical components on board. Having one installed also helps tidy up whatever cables you've got on deck so you can enjoy freedom of movement.
Your jon boat battery can only power so much. If you decide to install loads of lights and radios, then you might want to consider adding a generator. That's if you decide against installing solar panels, of course.
Lots of compact generator designs exist on the market today. These light weight options provide a stable power source for all of your gadgets and let you maintain full operations even in dire conditions.
We highly recommend the WEN 56380i Super Quiet 3800 Watt Portable Inverter Generator.
20. Audio System
It's common for jon boat owners to literally spend their whole day on board their boat. So it's really no surprise that many of them have come up with creative fun jon boat modifications to make their jon boats more comfortable for extended afternoons and even evenings.
One awesome DIY project showcased how a jon boat owner managed to install a whole sound system into their boat underneath a modified casting deck. But if you're not that invested, you could always just find a bluetooth speaker like this one and bring it along with you during your boating trips.
We like this JBL FLIP 5 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker.
21. Deck and Bow Lighting
When dusk starts to settle and you're still on your boat, a bunch of lights can help improve visibility on deck. A lot of jon boat owners seem to prefer installing light fixtures that they can control via switches on deck.
For an easy fix though, you can buy waterproof lights. You can keep it simple with tap-activated puck lights or get creative with color changing LED lights. Just make sure to check local laws however since light colors for different parts of the boat like the bow and stern are regulated in most places to guarantee everyone's safety on the water.
22. Cup Holders
Whether you're boating alone or with a few friends, there's no going wrong with a set of cup holders. Let's admit that cups and drink cans make up the biggest chunk of deck clutter. So designating a cup holder for every guy or girl on the boat can help keep the seats and surfaces clear of the clutter.
Cup holders can mount to the sides of your boat with a simple mounting mechanism that doesn't require drilling holes or screwing things in place. They're also fairly inexpensive, so you can buy a bunch without putting a dent in your wallet.
These ROBOCUP Multi-purpose Cup Holders works like a treat.
23. Dining Table
A jon boat modification that most of us could use comes in the form of a dining table. Some tables mount directly to your floor and provide a compact yet spacious surface for you to eat your lunch. For most of us, this eliminates the need to scrunch up your lap and rest your sandwich on your thighs in the most uncomfortable posture know to man.
Tables come in all shapes and sizes. A lot of them also have built-in cup holders so you can enjoy your meal in full comfort. If you're not invested enough to drill in a table, consider a folding table that you can set up near your seat for easy access.
24. Paint Job
One of the most common jon boat mods you can try (and perhaps one of the most satisfying) is a paint job. A fresh coat of paint can freshen up a tired boat and give you a truly custom look that matches your personality and style. The simple project could also significantly improve the outcomes of hunting duck.
For a basic paint job (as in just a change of color), you can try to do the project yourself. Again, tutorials and ideas online will teach you how to clean, prep, and paint the surface to get the job done right. You can also hire a professional for patterns like camouflage in case you were hoping to use your watercraft for hunting duck and other small game.
25. Trolling Motor
An outboard trolling motor lets you cruise at the perfect pace so that your bait moves in a natural swim pattern. This can attract all sorts of underwater creatures and increase your chances of getting a catch. The slow pace also works well for hunting duck.
You can get an outboard trolling motor for a fairly low price, but keep your boat's specifications in mind. The thrust of your outboard trolling motor should match your jon boat's size and weight especially when it's loaded with all of your things and passengers.
26. Emergency Paddle
When gas runs out or when water conditions render your motor useless, you're going to thank yourself for having an emergency paddle on board. A telescoping oar doesn't take up too much space on board, but still provides the kind of performance you could expect out of a full length paddle.
These oars are built to float in water and may even work as an emergency float in dire situations. But for that specific purpose, it's still recommended that you get yourself a life vest or flotation device.
We recommend the Seachoice Emergency Multi-Purpose Telescoping Boat Hook and Paddle.
27. Grab Bar
It's tough enough to maintain stable footing on a boat that's wobbling to and fro. But it becomes near impossible when you try to keep upright as you battle it out with a monstrous trawl. So to stay balanced, you might want to consider a grab bar as a jon boat modification.
These bars extend up to around waist or chest height and give you something to hold on to and to support you while you reel in your catch. Although they're sold as a boating accessory, you can also get a grab bar customized for your boat.
Check out the Aluminum Handrail Safety Grab Bar for Jon Boats.
28. Raised Deck
The raised deck trend is one of many jon boat modifications that has caught on throughout recent years. The whole purpose is that it lets you enjoy better stability and reduces the chances of having water pool on the decks. A raised deck also provides more storage and space for seats and seat mounts.
Installing a raised deck may require the help of a professional. But if you're confident in your DIY project prowess, then a raise deck might be something you can do on your own.
29. Center Console
For more advanced and dedicated jon boat owners, the center console is one of the must-have jon boat mods. This mimics the appearance of what you would see on a boat like a pontoon. Complete with a steering wheel and switches and levers to control your boat centrally, the console provides maximum convenience.
As a jon boat modification, the center console will probably cost the most since it's not exactly something that jon boats were designed to have. Nevertheless, if you've got the budget for it, a center console can seriously increase the value of your jon boat all together.
30. Enclosed Cabin
With an enclosed cabin, you can comfortably spend the night on your jon boat. Made from a plastic cover that shrouds over a set of rib-like metal frames that hold the cover up. these jon boat modifications provide excellent protection against the elements while fishing. You can also opt for the best jon boat covers with zippers so you can close the structure in case of rain.
The enclosed cabin can protect you against heat and storms, and may even give you a bit of privacy if you decide to take a snooze on your boat seat. But since they're not available as a universal fit type of accessory, you might have to check with a service that can customize them to fit your boat.
Boat Sweet Home
Customized boat set ups make it possible for boat owners to enjoy their vessel like never before. So if you were hoping to really make your jon boat your own, these best jon boat mods and ideas can help you achieve just that.
Although some of these jon boat modifications could teeter on the edge of expensive, there are cost-effective, DIY alternatives you can try for each one. So make sure to do your research so you can alter your deck to fit exactly what you need before setting out to get started on any of these jon boat modifications.