My new North River… and the endless projects.

The new boat projects are coming along…

To read this page in sequence, read from bottom to top.

October 1, 2009

The bow cover is finally done and here’s the finished look!

I didn’t get out fishing this week, but I did get the finishing touch on the windlass project done. This canvas cover gives the bow a nice, finished look. Next: I have to anchor the boat with this fancy new system – and when I do I hope it will be to do some sturgeon fishing at my Suisun honey hole. I hope it’s next week!

September 9, 2009

The Windlass Install Is Done!

Next, the chain is in place… 

Then the windlass is wired and mounted…


Here the rack is bolted in place…

It got too hot to climb into the cuddy behind the helm to connect the wires to the new windlass circuit, a simple job of a few minutes. But that’s next. Then I can apply some power to the windlass and that should bring that self launching bow roller up to its proper position. If not, I may have to add an idler to raise the chain a bit. For now, I’m going to hit the road for some motorhome traveling. When I’m back home, I’ll get that whole bow area covered in canvas and give it a nice, finished look!

September 5, 2009
The chain delay is finally over as it arrived Monday. Unfortunately, the chain will not drop properly into the little storage area below the point of the bow that I had hoped to use. So I will have to use the bait well as the chain locker. To do so, the windlass will have to sit above the bait well, and a rack is being made that will bolt into the open bow. Sometime next week the rack will be complete and this project will be near completion. I have some travel plans for the near future, so this project may not be done for a couple more weeks. So it goes, but when I’m done it will be done right!

Here the switch (left) and the circuit breaker (right) are wired and installed. I also ran the wires from the helm to the bow of the boat. Next, I will begin the installation of the windlass.

August 19, 2009

Here the steering wheel has been removed to make work easier.

The parts and pieces have arrived and I’ve been working during the cool hours of the morning to get the wiring done. I’ve got a hot and a ground 10 AWG wire to the helm from the batteries (those wires poking through are from the batteries). The two holes are where the switch and the circuit breaker will be installed. 

August 9, 2009

A Windlass for FishWisher III !

The Lewmar Pro-Sport 550 windlass has arrived! It’s a small, economically priced unit – just $490. Here it sits atop the point of the bow where I hope to install it. However, the small space below may not accommodate the 100′ of chain. If not, a small platform will have to be built above the open bow and I’ll use the un-plumbed bait well as the chain locker. It now is used as the anchor locker. It is visible in the photo below. The diamond plate door would have to be removed so the chain would drop into the locker. We’ll see…

A preview of where the windlass would not work. But I was not detered!

I was absolutely, positively going to install a windlass on my beautiful North River soon after I brought her home, but then decided manually anchoring and retrieving the anchor wasn’t so bad. I was wrong. The more I hand over handed that anchor back to the boat, the more I wanted the windlass. I had a windlass on the C-Dory and know firsthand what a great work-saver it was. So I’ve begun the process as of today…

The Simpson Lawrence 9# Delta anchor.

This is exactly the same as I had aboard the C-Dory; it holds very well.

And along with a windlass comes chain, a new anchor and an anchor roller. And wires and switch and… well, it’s quite a job. I have all those items on order now, and will soon have the windlass installed aboard the boat.


The anchor roller which extends over the bow like a bowsprit, holding the anchor in place. It pivots to a down position when rode tension is released, dropping the anchor off the roller. The windlass is a free-fall design, a type I’ve never used before. I expect it will be an improvement of the time consuming power-down Horizon windlasses I’ve had on prior boats.

As the parts and pieces arrive and work commences, I’ll be posting photos and comments here…

Stay tuned!

Transom-saver installed

June 11, 2009

I don’t think I could damage the heavy transom on this tank of a boat by towing with the motor upright and with all the weight on the transom, but I decided to remove all doubt. So I ordered the transom saver from Cabela’s and installed it this morning. It was under $70 delivered, and it’s very stout as well as spring loaded to keep the ride smooth. On California roads, a Sherman tank could come apart!

2nd try: The FishWisher lettering is done!

February 20, 2009

Whadayathink? I’m pleased with the finished look. I tried to match the style of the registration (CF) numbers on the bow, and I got it pretty close. I tried this some time ago, and completely ruined the decal as I didn’t use the soapy water method. This time, I sprayed soapy water on the hull before applying the decal. With the slick surface, the decal can be moved around as needed to get it just right. At $20 each, I didn’t want to waste another.

Here’s the sign in progress. For a “how-to” video about vinyl lettering, check out this video. This was my first try a month ago – before I learned the soapy water technique.

Ugh… a pretty lousy job! And it was promptly removed.

How do I keep the new aluminum “tank” looking new?

I’ve had a couple of aluminum boats in the past, but never one that I’d worry about keeping shiny and bright as they were used when I bought them. But with my new North River, a brand new beauty, I really do want to keep that hull looking good. It was recommended by the boat dealer that I apply some Sharkhide – and so I did. It was $66 per quart and I used about half of the quart! But it will keep the boat looking new for a couple of years – or so I’m told by others who have used it. Here’s an ad for Sharkhide:

About all I’ve got left to do is to mount the rod holders, gas up and go fishing! And that day is soon approaching!

The downriggers are mounted:

The downriggers installed and ready to fish!

The downriggers are mounted higher than on any boat I’ve owned in the past, but they are just right so far as easily reaching them while trolling. Note that there are two downrigger mounting brackets on each side – a North River option that was included on my boat. I’d never order the quad-mounts, but I got ’em anyway! The downriggers are easily removed for easy storage indoors. Things are coming along and soon I’ll be wetting my new bottom! Next I’ll apply Sharkhide to the hull, and then I’m about done with the rigging! I’m getting excited about the coming maiden voyage!

The helm electronics are installed!

January 19, 2009

There they are!  From the speaker at the left rear to the XM radio at the far right of the photo, all the electronics are installed, wired, bolted down and ready to go fishing! I figure I’ve got something over 20 hours invested in the job – but I can’t quite call it work as I am simply playing with my new toy. Next, I’ll get the downrigger mounts and electrical connections installed. Then the FishWisher decal which is ready to be placed on the hull. Then…  well, I may actually get this new baby’s bottom wet one day soon! I’m more than ready for the maiden voyage – if the weather is right.

Here are some details of the wiring jobs I’m plugging away on…

When adding so many circuits (fishfinder, am/fm radio, VHF radio, etc.), it makes the installation a lot safer and easier to have a subpanel near the helm where the electronics will be placed. To run a separate circuit for each device clear back to the battery near the transom would be a bit ridiculous. So I ran one hot and one ground to a subpanel near the helm. As goofy as this seems, wifey’s little storage bowl makes a great little “electric vault” from which to run the several circuits:

Here’s wifey’s “Lock ‘n Lock” refrigerator storage bowl, liberated for the good of my project.

The little bowl is about 6″ by 5″ and locks on all four sides to keep it dry. I placed a small block of wood at the bottom and screwed an inexpensive automotive fuse panel through the bottom to secure it. I ran the hot wire to the panel and the ground wire to a bolt through the bowl. I now can attach up to six circuits to the panel, each with the appropriate fuse.

I needed four circuits and here they are safely secured to the panel and the ground bolt (lower left).

When I get the wiring all wrapped and routed as I plan, I will mount the little “vault” near the helm for easy access. This system was first installed in the little Klamath 15 and worked just fine. I’m hoping for the same performance on the new North River.

The small VHF antenna and XM radio antenna are to the left. The AM/FM antenna is a plastic strip stuck to the top of the window. The AM/FM antenna is amplified and works very well. I have yet to check the VHF antenna but it worked fine on the little Klamath. It is a very short antenna designed for use atop a sailboat mast.

Here the helm is taking shape. Note the XM radio at the far right.  The AM/FM radio is above the instrument panel. The VHF radio sits above the AM/FM and the GPS antenna is at the top. Note the Humminbird fishfinder/GPS/chartplotter to the right of the radio. And of course, wires running every which way as the jobs are not yet complete. All of the electronics are easily removed for safe keeping.

The transducer is mounted on the transom and wired to the fishfinder. This job is one of pretty exact tolerances, I’m glad it’s done!

A new ride for ol’ FishWisher…

My new ride, a slightly used 2006 Chevy half ton pickup.

I sold my little HHR which I had purchased just over a year ago for towing the Klamath. I also set it up for towing behind the motorhome, although I never actually towed it! But the little HHR could never tow the new North River boat. And for once, I actually sold the current vehicle before jumping into the new one and having an extra vehicle sitting around ’til I sold it. I just  won’t trade in a car, it’s against my religion, I guess, to give up that much money.

So there’s my new ride posted (above), just as pretty as can be! During my twenty some business years – and even the years since, I bought many new vehicles for personal and business use. Now, however, in my old age, I just can’t justify spending that much money for  something that spends 80% of the time in the garage. Other than a day or two of fishing most weeks, my car just sits most of the time.

So I started shopping online for a late model used truck. I’m partial as can be to GM vehicles, and after a couple of weeks of online tire kicking, I found three Chevy 1/2 ton extended cab pickups to check out in person. I drove to one car lot in Modesto to see an ’06 Chevy 4WD – and don’t really need 4WD. It was $18K. Too much. Today I drove to Plummer Cadillac-GMC in Lodi to check out another ’06 Chevy extended cab 2WD. Upon seeing the little beauty, I knew my shopping was over. With only 18K miles and only $14K, I had to jump on the deal. She was like new inside and out! I couldn’t hope to buy a more perfect truck. And this was a GM Certified vehicle, meaning that a one-year bumper to bumper warranty was included along with a 5 year or 10K mile powertrain warranty! At this time I am feeling pretty smug having found such a great deal.

This computer shopping for cars cannot be beat! I was particularly pleased with Plummer’s facility, built just four years ago. They had about 12K sq feet of service space including a full body and paint shop – and every service bay seemed to be occupied! They were very busy. I have never seen a larger shop area at a car dealership. If the slowdown in auto sales continues, I’m pretty sure Plummer will weather the storm because they do so much service work. And it’s a good feeling to know I have a really service oriented dealer to take my new baby for service or repair. (I’m not much of a prophet; a few months later the Plummer dealership was closed.)

December 5, 2008

My brand new North River BayHawk!

My new baby upon arrival at home!

I have admired those husky aluminum North River boats for quite awhile now, probably ever since I realized that my little Klamath, which is a fine lake boat for one or two people, just wasn’t going to make it as a Delta fishing boat. (I haven’t run downriver to my Suisun honey hole since I sold the C-Dory.)

Three weeks ago when a friend and I were on the same side of the little Klamath, measuring a sturgeon, we darn near capsized it.  I knew then that I needed something bigger and safer and capable of making it home through the rolling four foot waves of the Delta someday.

At North River Marine in Sacramento, Ca upon delivery on December 5, 2008. That motor is a 90 HP Suzuki.

My fishing buddy, John, who recently bought a 22′ Hewescraft, looked at North River boats with me at their Sacramento showroom several months ago. He told me then that I should get one, but I just couldn’t let myself pay a new boat price – certainly not one costing more money than I got for my beloved C-Dory. I should have listened to ol’ John as I’ve had two 15 ft. boats in the past year; I sold one and now I have to sell the other!

My new ride is a 17′ 6″ BayHawk model, the smallest that North River sells. She is a huge seventeen footer! She has a beam of 88″ and just her hull weighs 1500 pounds. She’s powered with a Suzuki 90 HP engine, the same brand as I had on the C-Dory. A brand that I was very pleased with.

Detail photo of the helm on my new North River BayHawk.

Transom aluminum welding detail – there must be a mile of welding on this “tank” of a boat.

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
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2 Responses to My new North River… and the endless projects.

  1. Andre Fontenot says:

    I recently purchased this boat and this was great reading. I do have one question, as the previous owner wasn’t sure, is the PC connect cable already mounted for the GPS to work on this Hummingbird GPS/Fishfinder? Feel free to call me if easier then typing out a reply. Thank you, Andre’ 415-307-8325 or email;

    • FishWisher says:

      Andre – Sorry for the late reply but we’ve been traveling and just got back from Arkansas. I must plead forgetfulness as my 75 year old brain just doesn’t remember that detail of a project I did almost 10 years ago now. I’d think you could find the answer by Googling the question. It seems that someone would have made a video of it by now.

      Thanks for the visit – they come few and far between these days!

      – Dale

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