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Mark's Mailbag - Rigging up the Starcraft Freedom 180

Mark's Mailbag are occasional posts to the blog in response to questions people submit on the Fishing 411 website.  Mark personally responds to the question and when relevant, we repost his answer here.  If you have a question you would like to ask Mark, please visit us at
The Freedom 180 is a lot of boat for not a lot of money.

On January 20th, Kevin wrote -  
Hi Mark. I'm having to reorganize my fleet of boats(different size lakes some electric only etc.) due to my age and hand troubles so I'm selling 3 boats and I replaced them with a Starcraft Freedom 180 tiller that I just ordered two days ago. I came across your 411 videos and studied how you have your Freedom 180 rigged and I have a few questions. 

I noticed on your bow it appears you have some kind of black pad under your Minnkota on the deck; why and what is it? I also noticed you have your bow sonar unit mounted on the face of the deck instead of on top and wonder why you did that. I also noticed that there are silver metal rods sticking out from your Evinrude Motor and wondered if those are to be attached to a kicker if not what are they? 

I will use my Freedom 180 primarily to cast for Muskies and Bass and now and then for bow hunting and water foul hunting. I will be putting a 24 volt Terrova I-plot link on the bow along with a Humminbird 959ci DI combo and will sometimes have a 9.9 Evinrude kicker and or a Motor Guide 24 volt electric on the transom. I will put a Humminbird 797 back near the transom. Any other recommendations or ideas you could give me in rigging my Freedom 180 would really be appreciated. Thank you.

The author uses his Freedom 180 by Starcraft for a wealth of fishing
 and hunting chores. Here he is crappie trolling using in-line boards.
Mark replies - Kevin:

Congratulations on your Freedom 180 purchase. You’re going to get a lot of service from this boat. I’ve owned 36 different boats in my life and the Freedom 180 is one of my favorites.

To your questions…. 1) The black pad on the bow of my Freedom is a piece of 5/8 inch starboard. I cut it to fit the shape of the bow and used a router to round over the edges. This is bolted to the top deck. I wanted to mount a quick disconnect bracket so I can put the electric motor on or remove it and replace it with a Anchor Wizard as the fishing dictates. To mount the quick disconnect bracket I needed a spacer so the quick disconnect bracket would slide off without hitting the extruded gunnel. The set up works nice and looks like it was OEM standard on the boat.

2) I mounted my sonar on a Cisco bracket and put it on the facing bulkhead in the bow. My cover buttons to the edge of the flat surface on the bow and if I mounted my sonar on the top it would have to be removed every time I trailer. Mounted on the bulk head, I simply tilt the sonar down so the cover will fit and I’m good to go. The cover doesn’t fit over the electric motor, but because I use both an electric motor and Anchor Wizard on the bow, there was no way to make a cover do both. This set up works great.

3) The silver rods on the Evinrude are for steering the 75 HP Tiller. My boat doesn’t have a kicker or an electric transom mount motor.

Ideal for the guy who hunts and fishes, the Freedom 180 handles big
 water nicely and yet can still navigate the shallows.
4) The 24 volt Terrova will work fine. I had one and eventually replaced it with a MotorGuide Xi5. You will need at least a 60 inch shaft for that boat. I also suggest you go with gel style deep cycle batteries. The battery storage compartment is small and normal lead acid batteries are difficult to mount in this space. Gel batteries can be mounted on their side making for more room to mount two 27 group batteries and an on board charger in the battery storage compartment.

5) If you opt to mount rod holder or electronics using track like I did, you will have to remove the deck panels to through bolt the track in place, then replace the decking panels. There are no observation holes that would otherwise allow you gain access to the underside of the decking.

Again Kevin the Freedom 180 is an awesome boat rigged either as a tiller like mine or a side console if you prefer. Thanks again for taking the time to write and also for following Fishing 411.

Best fishes,

Mark Romanack