Longshot's custom trailer build

Longshot270

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This little setup worked so well for fishing that I decided to trade my boat and longtail for some custom aluminum work.
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I’ve had the idea for a while now because my parents have a little 4x6 box trailer that has been incredibly handy over the years. I just wanted the dimensions a little bit bigger, mostly so that I could throw my kayak in the trailer, throw a lock on the gate and not worry about sticky fingers helping gear run away. So I reached out to some friends that do custom fab work and got someone interested in a trade.
Here was the first sketch
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No, that is not my handiwork. My sketch looked like it was done by a 3 year old.
Then he got his computer out and did some modeling to calculate materials.

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This was with the “box” partially welded up at his shop.
We were having some issues deciding on how to bolt it all together so I got him to just drop off the empty boat trailer and all the aluminum necessary to finish the project.

[FONT=&quot]Side note: Since it seems to confuse everyone who has never dealt with jon boat trailers, they typically consist of a long “spine” of 2x3 or 3x3 hot dipped, galvanized steel tubing with a 42x48” aluminum angle frame bolted to the end using some rectangular U bolts. The trailer is literally two significant pieces not counting mounting hardware and axle/leaf springs. Two U bolts and four lock nuts are all that keep the hitch and wheels together. This makes for an extremely light weight and CHEAP salt water safe trailer…it also provides a very malleable concept to start with.[/FONT]
 
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Longshot270

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Personally, I like how long trailers pull so for my trailer I didn’t want to chop things down like typical off road trailers. By deciding to keep the full 16’ length, the next issue was where to mount the leaf spring. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I made a trip a nearby RV dealership. From what I found, the typical split for the shorter 20 foot trailers was around 13 ft. I scaled it down to 16’ and it just so happened that the tires landed just behind the middle vertical member of the “box”. The holes were drilled and leaf springs bolted to the “box” while the center line was marked and drilled for the appropriate U bolts to attach the “spine” of the trailer.

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The result here was a nearly perfectly balanced trailer, which is fine for loaded trailers that do not approach the tow vehicle’s weight.

I’m not one to waste good material so I moved the aluminum square from the boat trailer forward for an open deck.

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By accident the spacing landed in such a way that I can jackknife the trailer almost a full 90 degrees without worrying about damage to the Patriot. This has really come in handy.

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Rigged up some lights and license plate to make it street legal and off to town for some lumber. I got a pile of 12’ deck boards and a half sheet of ply wood for the front.

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Longshot270

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In order to attach the cattle panel sides (galvanized steel) to the trailer (aluminum) I had to frame each side like a picture frame to clamp the panel in.

Also, before someone asks, I did not do a dually conversion, the spare was just getting in the way.

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Test fit the kayak…tight fit but it works.

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Started putting the lower deck boards in place. I was leaving from work the following day to make a run to the coast so I had to get those boards in place.

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For some reason I can’t find the progress pics after that but once the boards were in, I was ready for a trip to the beach.

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Longshot270

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I promise I did plan on getting up early…but with 100+ degree heat and 6 hours of sleep each night that week and 4 hrs the night before, I was kinda tired.

So I slept late (7 AM) and moseyed on out to the sand to see how well the rig works.

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Had a one really good run almost empty out my Penn 309 that has 400+ yds of line. Also caught every surf fish you could imagine.

As for the trailer, it worked better than expected. Unfortunately, it only took a few surge waves to make it all the way up the beach to have the little tires sink half way to the galvanized wheel. The jeep didn’t sink more than a fraction of an inch indicating it wasn’t sand or weight issues but a tire width issue.

Second morning I finished off the bait in the livewell catching hardhead catfish on an ultralight until I thought my arms would fall off.

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After getting home I went over the trailer noting changes that need to be made.

First were the tires, luckily galvanized wheels and tires are cheap online. For $115 I had a pair of 175/80-13 galvanized tire/wheel sets shipped to my porch. The old tires are now getting set aside as spares.

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I also got a 6x8 canvas tarp to cover it for hard shade.
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Rod holder made from 4” PVC pipe. Turns out, it is cheaper to over-engineer with PVC fittings than the rod tubes from retailors. I got lucky again that the square on the end cap gets locked when the gate is shut.

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Had to mount some fenders and none of the stores nearby had anything decent. So I made do with the little stock fenders but used 7” hay baler belt to extend them. For those that do not know, it is a 2 ply rubber similar to car tire sidewalls. I got a 5 ft roll for $30 but each fender only used 8 inches. If I wanted to, I could also make a full set of mud flaps for the jeep, but I don’t want to risk tearing up the inner fender.

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OldCracker29

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Nice work and it appears that it will serve you well. :thumbs:
 

Longshot270

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Things got really busy and I didn't have time to get the pictures uploaded.

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End of August some friends and I wanted to give Matagorda a try for sharks and such. We all left from work on Friday. My buddy in the black jeep had a little utility trailer with gear, generator, lights, canopies and some coolers of ice. They got there near the end of the day and picked the camp site and started setting up camp. I got there just after sunset with the bulk of the fishing gear, kayak, etc.

There was some bait running in the surf but most of it was too quick for the cast net. The deeper water and faster rip currents did not help.
We were able to get some stuff like a little pancake sized stingray and a big mullet but those baits didn't last long because within 30 minutes we saw our lines get slack and wash to shore. I don't know what they were cut by, shells or fish, but they all had spiraling slice cut into the line preceded the sharp point of the terminal end where the tackle used to be. We didn't see this again for the rest of trip so I'm thinking it was a school of fish catching the lines by accident. On a lighter note, we did eventually catch the tackle back, empty hooks of course.

Since I also didn't know how high the tide came in at night I stayed up to keep an eye on the water. I have heard some horror stories of friends waking up with their truck cabs full of water. It was worth it because we had to move the vehicles twice and camp once. In the span of moving chairs and rod holders, the little utility trailer my buddy brought sunk to the axle which then got 2wd Renegade stuck also.
Side note: If you guys don't have the straps that roll themselves up yet, get one, they are handy because they maintain enough tension to hang above the sand/dirt/mud, and the one I got has an alleged 5,000# working limit.

Eventually, Saturday morning peaked through the clouds and my buddy went back to town for a pair of beach permits, squid and better shrimp. That is when things got interesting. Before the eggs and sausage was cooked, every line sitting on the second sand bar had something on it. Back to back we brought in 5 little sharks and one good redfish. The sharks were returned but the redfish got buried in ice. Once the sun was above the clouds, the bite died until lunch time when I got a shiny little blacktip.

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Aside from a few hardhead and one or two gafftop catfish, the bite was pretty slow until the afternoon when we reeled in a little bitty hammer head

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At that point, I unrolled my chair cushion to catch a nap before the sunset bite picked up. About two hours later I was woken up by some commotion and someone hollering that I needed to wake up and help. I peaked under my hat brim and saw one of the stiff rods bent all the way over and the braid loaded spinning reel turning some RPMs as the heavy drag was doing little to slow down the critter on the other end. I pulled my jeep around and said to throw the rod in the bumper. That fish wasn't going to win a tug-o-war with a 3,000 pound 4x4. I asked where the bait was at and my buddy said it was a bad cast that nose dived into the first sand bar and was immediately picked up with something that could pull. Yep, a decent sized sting ray. We got it in after a pretty good struggle. Anticipating the possibility of one, I had brought a gig to make disarming critter a bit more safe. I've never eaten one before but apparently they aren't bad so it got rolled up and packed in ice.

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Yes, that is an herbicide sprayer, no it has never been used for poisoning. It is pressurized water without the need for electricity.

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Everyone is afraid of sharks which are pretty low on the list of biting humans. Meanwhile, this bugger was 50 feet from the water line and every inch of that spine is barbed.

Saturday night wasn't very good for fishing, caught a few more hard heads but nothing worth noting.

By Sunday morning, the surf was flat and the water cool. The shells on the beach had all disappeared and it could be the fish went with them, I've heard the two are loosely related.

After this trip I realized the 400# leaf springs would not be adequate for this trailer. Luckily there is a nearby Northern Tool that had 1000# leaf springs for $20/each.
This is after I put the heavier springs on. I noticed it sits about an inch higher and tows much better with reduced trailer sway.
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Longshot270

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This weekend on Mustang Island. We had high tides, full moon, and wind pushing water up the shore from the gulf.

I recently upgraded to a 4000 peak watt dual fuel generator from Walmart for $300ish. It works great. Next time we are camping on the sand we can run the camper from the generator and won't require a camp site. I also put the hand winch back on the trailer with 100 ft of 3mm cable, glad I did. It worked well for lights.

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Pretty water this trip
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The first night we stayed up late but only caught hard head catfish, whiting and a small sting ray.
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