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Is there a boat that can fish Florida bay and flats fish?

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Is there a boat that can fish Florida bay and flats fish?

Old 08-03-2020, 05:59 PM
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Default Is there a boat that can fish Florida bay and flats fish?

I realize a hybrid won't get into 8 inches water
Old 08-03-2020, 06:04 PM
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Cape bay
Old 08-03-2020, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ebuck1 View Post
Cape bay
Cape Bay is nice beautiful boat you're not fishing real flats in a Cape Bay unless you're using it as mothership for a paddleboard.

There is nothing in FL Bay that a 17-18' 12 degree poling skiff can't handle. Real world draft on a HB Marquesa is about 9-10". You can get down to about 5-8" in a smaller 0 or 2 degree poling skiff but it's less versatile. We're talking draft with fuel, batteries, ice, drinks, and 2 guys not the advertised BS.

If you're trolling motor fishing you have a lot of options and more versatile options and are limited to the water the trolling motor needs to work. If you're going to be poling, then you can go a few inches more shallow in a poling skiff. If you're insterested in a poling skiff, head over to microskiff.com

For larger flats boats that can drift an honest 12" flat and are more versatile than a poling skiff, look at a 18-21' flats boat like an Action Craft, East Cape Vantage, Young Gulfshore, Egret Moccasin, etc but you're not going to be poling 8" of water.

Last edited by On the Half Shell; 08-03-2020 at 07:00 PM.
Old 08-03-2020, 06:58 PM
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Pathfinder 1900, Maverick Master Angler 18.5, Action Craft 1820, Skeeter 2000
Old 08-03-2020, 07:17 PM
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Have you seen the boats used in TX? To literally run in several inches. Usually a tunnel boat. Googke texas flats boats




Last edited by mbb; 08-03-2020 at 07:22 PM.
Old 08-03-2020, 07:35 PM
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Originally Posted by mbb View Post
Have you seen the boats used in TX? To literally run in several inches. Usually a tunnel boat. Googke texas flats boats.
Those are awesome for the laguna madre but not what I would want to run the outside of FL Bay in a west wind. Running on plane is one thing but you're not going to be poling many of the TX style boats and you're definitely not going to be wading in Flamingo when you get there like you do in TX.
Old 08-03-2020, 07:44 PM
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Your budget is very important here.
Old 08-04-2020, 02:08 AM
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The fish don't know what kind of boat your in, and if they do know, they don't care. 90% marketing hype.

Old 08-04-2020, 05:42 AM
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Any flats boat will fish Florida Bay and the flats. I ran my 22’ Sterling (Drafts 12” measured with avg load) all over Marathon and Islamorada. Offshore, inshore, nearshore ran up to the park a couple of times from Islamorada. If you want something a little smaller the 18’ Egret will get it done as well.
Old 08-04-2020, 06:12 AM
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21 Chittum Skiff super versatile and ultra-lite 8" of water not a problem
Old 08-04-2020, 06:27 AM
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I wouldn't want to pole it, but a Lake and Bay will get it done. Put a reasonable motor on it and it'll draft 10". Put the batteries in the console and shift the weight around. A 150 Merc 4-stroke would be perfect and sip fuel. I was running a 150 optimax on mine and ran 100 miles and burned 20 gallons of fuel. It will ride really well for the everglades and florida bay chop when the wind picks up.
Old 08-04-2020, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by 305seahunter View Post
I wouldn't want to pole it, but a Lake and Bay will get it done. Put a reasonable motor on it and it'll draft 10". Put the batteries in the console and shift the weight around. A 150 Merc 4-stroke would be perfect and sip fuel. I was running a 150 optimax on mine and ran 100 miles and burned 20 gallons of fuel. It will ride really well for the everglades and florida bay chop when the wind picks up.

Not being a wise ass here....can I really pole a boat and fish too? How many guys flats fish/ pole alone?
Old 08-04-2020, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by FishHarder View Post
Not being a wise ass here....can I really pole a boat and fish too? How many guys flats fish/ pole alone?
Yes, I pole and fish alone, but the weight distribution with just me on the poling platform of the transom of the boat makes my boat squat and not track as well.

For boats to meet your requirement, the SeaHunter 18 was designed to do what you're asking. The Maverick 18 HPX-V would do it nicely as well.
Old 08-04-2020, 11:30 AM
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Just go hire Mark when you want to catch something inshore! haha

It is really tough to pole and fish yourself. I did it with my 16 ft hewes when I was younger but I spooked a lot of fish in the process. Really need to find a buddy that is willing to both fish and pole (hard to find). If you have never poled it will be a learning experience and work a lot of muscles you don't use regularly. Find a younger guide that likes to fish and have him come on your boat but let him fish the entire day and help you learn how to pole. I know a lot of the hard core guys poo poo trolling motors but they are really helpful if you are solo.

For long runs in the bay you want at least a small vee like the maverick HPX-V or the HB Marquesa. That will make the run much more comfortable if the wind picks up.

Everything has compromises.

Larger boat with vee will not pole as shallow.
Larger boats are harder to pole and more sensitive to wind.
Boats with tee top like pathfinder are nice to hide from sun but tough tougher to fish in.

Find a few guides that run different boats and charter for a day before you commit.

I'll eventually get back to fishing inshore but taking a few years break until my kids are older and have more patience.
Old 08-04-2020, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ChannelTwo View Post
Just go hire Mark when you want to catch something inshore! haha.
When I want to catch, of course I'll walk across the street and hire Mark...but sometimes I just want to fish.

Mark has the 17 hpx-v and he knows how to run that boat and I never felt uncomfortable....Something a little bigger would be more about going the short way to Flamingo then behind the islands.

Everyone has giving me some good thoughts. Thank you
Old 08-04-2020, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by FishHarder View Post
Not being a wise ass here....can I really pole a boat and fish too? How many guys flats fish/ pole alone?
I wasn't sure if you would be poling or not. But other people had mentioned it so I thought I would too.

I stand by my recommendation of a Lake and Bay Boca Grande 20. It is a well rounded boat that works perfectly for the keys and inshore fishing. Put a nice trolling motor on it and it'll make fishing alone a breeze.
Old 08-04-2020, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by njballa View Post
21 Chittum Skiff super versatile and ultra-lite 8" of water not a problem
that’s a good $120k option. Floyd 10wt would be a great option for less than half the money.
Old 08-04-2020, 05:37 PM
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How shallow are you needing to go?
Old 08-04-2020, 07:22 PM
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my idea of Florida bay is that you gotta do what you gotta do. I've cruised across there from marathon to flamingo pushing 50mph with it as slick as glass and gotten my A$$ handed to me on the way back that afternoon. Get the boat that does the fishing that you want to do and know you are going to pay the piper every now and then, or have to run inside the islands to save yourself from getting beat up. Florida bay seems to always have the wind coming from the east or the west which is always a beam sea when you are running up from the keys. I will say that I never wanted to fish in shallower water than I was able to get into. So, I fished all the flats I wanted to. I will also say that I had several times I wished I was in a 65 ft viking, never felt unsafe, but that 3-4 ft sea can make it a long run across there no mater what boat you are in.
Old 08-05-2020, 02:03 PM
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Thanks a lot...kind of confirmed my thoughts....I think I am going to do the flats boat route and take the long way when I have too. thanks Goldman...it was my apiffany. I will be retired at that point..and will be able to pick and choose my days also. I am too old to pole off from getting stuck.


Is there any wade fishing for bonefish around Islamorada? If there was ample wade fishing I might go the bay boat and wade route

Last edited by FishHarder; 08-05-2020 at 06:08 PM.

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