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Upgrading from my microskiff

Old 01-08-2020, 12:52 AM
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Default Upgrading from my microskiff

Hey all,

First post although I've been perusing the site for well over a year now, especially as of late. Current boat is a Gheenoe 15'6" Classic w/tiller 20hp Tohatsu outboard, it's all the budget would allow five years ago when I bought it. It has served it's purpose getting me on the water and getting some fish out of it, but for obvious reasons it has it's limitations and I'm getting tired of getting beat up and wet in just about anything other than glass flat conditions. That being the case, along with a bigger although modest budget, I am looking to upgrade.

One of my buddies had a 2006 Hewes Redfisher 18' w/115hp attached and we went out several times fishing on it. I was also good enough to offer to take care of it when he was overseas for 6 months by taking it out and running it for him, and that's when I fell in love. Yes I said "had", just before my budget was in a place to make an offer to take it off his hands he sold it and got a Hobie kayak (Crazy right? But that's another story all together). So that has lead me here.

I primarily fish inshore with occasional trips to some lakes, and would love to be able to get out of the inlets on the right days in pursuit of some near shore fishing (I have no plans to go offshore with the boat I'm looking for). I'd like to keep my purchase at $24k or less and am looking for something in the 18' to 22' range. I am usually solo on my fishing trips, however, I feel this may have something to do with my current boat not filling passengers with great confidence that we'll return to shore safely due to the small stature of the vessel. I have two sons, and at least one of them has a bit of the fishing bug.

I have been actively looking for boats for the past few weeks and admittedly have almost completely limited my searching to Hewes Redfishers and Pathfinder models. I know there have got to be some comparable boats out there that will meet my needs and budget that I just don't know about.

Would love to hear some of your thoughts on the comparison between the Hewes and the Pathfinder models, vs other brands, the capabilities of each, any limitations or known issues with certain models or years, or any other information that should be considered. I appreciate your time.

Matt
Old 01-08-2020, 05:02 AM
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Action Craft, Famous Craft, Flats and Bay, Baycraft

I think all would serve you well.
Old 01-08-2020, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by RebelYell007 View Post
Action Craft, Famous Craft, Flats and Bay, Baycraft

I think all would serve you well.
Thanks. Funny that you say Action Craft as my bother just moments ago sent me details on a 2000 Action Craft 2020 Flatsmaster for sale in his area. I am currently looking into the brand and my brother is going to look at this boat for me.
Old 01-08-2020, 05:35 AM
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Originally Posted by quest4reds View Post
am looking for something in the 18' to 22' range
That's quite a size range - you've already found the difference there is by going up just 2'6" - there's a big difference between an 18' boat and a 22' boat, not least in the amount of power required to push the larger boat to the same speeds (and therefore a requisite increase in fuel consumption).
Old 01-08-2020, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Clinker View Post
That's quite a size range - you've already found the difference there is by going up just 2'6" - there's a big difference between an 18' boat and a 22' boat, not least in the amount of power required to push the larger boat to the same speeds (and therefore a requisite increase in fuel consumption).
To be honest, I think the ideal size for me primarily fishing solo is an 18-19' but didn't want to pass on the right deal for a 20-22. I have considered the increased power requirements for the larger boats, along with needing more room for storage when not in use, and having to pass on some of the smaller creeks I was able to get into with my 15'6". That being the case, I'm chasing the 18-19' but keeping an eye out for a smokin deal if I see one on the larger boats.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:09 AM
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Action Craft is a great boat. OP, I mean no disrespect here, but I urge you to take your time. It sounds like you're just uncovering the world of flats and bay boats, and there are tons and tons of models. You need to narrow it down a bit. I know you are infatuated with the Hewes, and rightfully so. They are generally good boats. But there is a lot of difference in that boat and a 22' Pathfinder or similar. What kind of fishing will you do 90% of the time? Inshore? Live bait? Anchored? Trolling motor? Poling over flats?
Old 01-08-2020, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by briclark904 View Post
Action Craft is a great boat. OP, I mean no disrespect here, but I urge you to take your time. It sounds like you're just uncovering the world of flats and bay boats, and there are tons and tons of models. You need to narrow it down a bit. I know you are infatuated with the Hewes, and rightfully so. They are generally good boats. But there is a lot of difference in that boat and a 22' Pathfinder or similar. What kind of fishing will you do 90% of the time? Inshore? Live bait? Anchored? Trolling motor? Poling over flats?
Primarily I fish inshore using a trolling motor, no poling. I also hit some lakes occasionally and will anchor up on schools of crappie, but I think any of the boats I'm considering will do this without issue. I am not a crappie specialist tight-lining with 14 rods out. I'm not sure I would say "infatuated", I would say I have a healthy respect for the MBG boats and have had limited to no exposure to other brands. I am not by any means going to discount recommendations for other brands. My brother had a Ranger 23 bay boat and that thing was incredible, however a bit more boat both in size and $ than I'm looking for. By the way, my brother is going to check out an Action Craft 2020 Flatsmaster he found in his neck of the woods for me.

I appreciate the response and input. I will try to keep an open mind and learn as much as I can along the way so I end up with a solid rig that meets my needs.
Old 01-08-2020, 07:36 AM
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I think you'll like that ActionCraft. It has tons of storage, two if not three livewells, its big, wide, and still drafts reasonably shallow but it's still a 20 foot flats boat. It will handle a chop okay and be way dryer than what you're used to that's for sure.
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Old 01-08-2020, 07:56 AM
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Look at key west, sea pro, pro line, key largo, etc.

Also consider a small bay boat versus a flats skiff. Will have higher gunnels for nearshore and keeping the boys in the boat and will draft basically the same as the older heavy flats boats you're looking at. For example my KW1720 drafts shallow enough that my trolling motor prop will hit the bottom before the hull does.
Old 01-11-2020, 07:22 AM
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My sons are a bit older, 12 and 14, so not too concerned about them going overboard. I really like the idea of a large flat fishing deck up front, and continuous wide gunnels I can walk around without having to step down and then back up going from bow to stern of the boat or vice versa. I'd like a shallow draft, but am willing to give up a few inches of draft for a better ride in the chop. I've seen a couple boats that seem to fit the bill, the Hewes Redfisher and the Maverick Master Angler with it's increased entry angle seem to be raved about by their owners as boats that can get skinny but handle the chop well. I rarely see less than 18 inches while fishing, and even though my Gheenoe floats in as little as 5", anything less than 18" I have to lift the main motor (by hand) and sometimes even the trolling motor so I'm not kicking up a bunch of silt off the bottom or hitting oysters with the plastic prop. I know just about any 18' boat is going to be a better ride than my current set up, but I am really trying to find something that will keep me happy for a long time, rather than having to upgrade in a couple years. I don't see myself running large bays with 5 passengers or going 20 miles offshore so I think the right flats boat that can handle the rare trip through the inlet on the right day to fish nearshore will fit what I want.
Old 01-11-2020, 07:41 AM
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The best boat
is the one youll use the most

With size comes increased abilities for bigger waters
But at same time, it becomes more of a hassle to use if have to trailer to launch. More time consuming to prep.
Costs more to use too.

Simple, small boats definitely have their place
And can catch as many fish as larger often.

Which is many people have 2 or 3 boats.....
Old 01-11-2020, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mbb View Post
The best boat
is the one youll use the most

With size comes increased abilities for bigger waters
But at same time, it becomes more of a hassle to use if have to trailer to launch. More time consuming to prep.
Costs more to use too.

Simple, small boats definitely have their place
And can catch as many fish as larger often.

Which is many people have 2 or 3 boats.....
Makes a whole lot of sense. I just wish 2 or 3 boats was in my budget.
Old 01-11-2020, 08:00 AM
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I would rather have a regular CC that will handle chop better than a flats boat. You may not be able to get quite as shallow with a regular CC but the difference in ride when it gets bumpy will be huge. A CC also opens up the nearshore game much better than a flats boat. We had a 191 Mako that I fished 2’ flats to 25 mi off in. Didn’t do anything great but did everything well enough.

Also don’t get too concerned about size when it comes to fishing solo, you’ll adjust quickly. I regularly fish a 30 WA solo.

Last edited by Polapea; 01-11-2020 at 08:06 AM.
Old 01-11-2020, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by quest4reds View Post
Makes a whole lot of sense. I just wish 2 or 3 boats was in my budget.
​​​​​​I could buy 3 boats for $20k. But you want nice boats i guess. Im a fan of functional boats. Grinded hull against submerged barnacle crusted rock while drift fishing last monday.....doesnt faze me.....much. Ill fix it when get around to it. Most operating a bank-owned boat would $hit themselves. When it gets down to it....boats are tools. They get banged up with use.
Old 01-11-2020, 08:27 AM
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Famouscraft 18 is nice. Brother has one. We've taken it to the Abacos from SW FL twice, with its 2 stroke Merc 150...Not a lot of them around.
Old 01-11-2020, 09:36 AM
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I was in your position a year ago, but decided to keep the microskiff bc i can’t give up shallow water fishing. I’d be tempted to keep the gheenoe so your boys have something beat on if/when they get the urge to go boating on their own.

I’d look at the Pathfinder 19ft-22ft and the Sportsman 20. I believe Blazer Bay has the molds of a few of the old smaller Pathfinders, so that could be an option too. That Pioneer Cape Island 186 is a badass little rig too. They pop up used from time to time.

I went with a Blackjack, and it’s a breeze solo...and the ride is night and day compared to the zero deadrise flats skiff (imagine that).

Last edited by _TidewateR_; 01-11-2020 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 01-11-2020, 09:54 AM
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Yup
id keep the gheenoe too, have 2 boats
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:09 AM
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Previous boats were a 16.5 Grand Slam Skiff (Silverking clone) and a 22 Pathfinder. Current is a 22 Privateer with a 26 Dusky in the wings.

The Skiff was great. Used it a bunch in the 10,000 Islands. Put in full days of running and trolling shorelines. Easy to operate, easy to own. Great compact package for 2 anglers.
The Pathfinder was a big step up. T top, Yamaha 150 that pushed it to 40mph. More room. Still could troll the shorelines. Still easy but slightly bigger. The 150 was not a huge difference in fuel cost compared to the 88Special on the Skiff.
Privateer is more bayboat. Heavier. Probably not what you are looking for.

I think you are looking in the right range. Keep in mind, in 2 years you'll want something bigger. Maybe a 20 (Pathfinder makes a 20, just like the 22, but you know...a 20) now will help skip one "2 foot-itis". I ran/run all the above boats by myself, no problems.
Old 01-11-2020, 10:46 AM
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Head on over to the MBC web sight, there are lots of threads about the various sized Hewes and Mavericks. From price stand point Hewes is going to be more friendly. There are many choices from 16 to 22ft flats skiffs. I own a small Maverick for the back Everglades country SWFL and a 20 ft Hewes LT tackle for up north striper fishing. Both do the job. A 10-15 yr old Hewes will be in your price range I think.
Old 01-11-2020, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by polliwog 42 View Post
Head on over to the MBC web sight, there are lots of threads about the various sized Hewes and Mavericks. From price stand point Hewes is going to be more friendly. There are many choices from 16 to 22ft flats skiffs. I own a small Maverick for the back Everglades country SWFL and a 20 ft Hewes LT tackle for up north striper fishing. Both do the job. A 10-15 yr old Hewes will be in your price range I think.
Did you mean MBG? I am over there and have had a thread going very similar to this one for about a week now. Getting lots of good input, but you know all MBG boats. I wanted to post here to get an opinion outside of MBG just cause, well for lack of a better term, some are drinking the Kool-aid. It's almost a cult following at times and loyalty to the brand is incredible. In a way, that speaks volumes for those boats, but I would imagine there are owners here that will swear by whatever brand they currently or previously owned that worked for them. I am trying to keep an open mind.

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