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New Bay Boat Purchase Advice/Opinions

Old 10-20-2020, 05:55 AM
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Default New Bay Boat Purchase Advice/Opinions

New to forum & I'm in the process of purchasing a new bay boat in the 24-25 range and have narrowed it down to these 4

Billfish 24
Yellowfin 24
Contender 25
Islamorada 24

I am east coast Florida based but will mostly fish pine island area but also want ride & the ability to head the few miles offshore and target bigger boys on a good day with out worry of it getting a little lumpy

thank you

Last edited by Shallowwatercartel; 10-20-2020 at 11:18 AM.
Old 10-20-2020, 07:21 AM
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I like the Islamorada or yellowfin I fish PIS as well and have a path 2300, it does great in the boat wakes, and travels well with 250 SHO.
I see YF and ISLA all the time, but never have fished either. My neighbors have them, if $$ isn't an object, go look at the Scheafers, IMO the best
Old 10-20-2020, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Shallowwatercartel View Post
New to forum & I'm in the process of purchasing a new bay boat in the 24-25 range and have narrowed it down to these 4

Billfish 24 not Familiar
Yellowfin 24 Old design, hardly any changes in the last 12 years, if itís loaded down with options the deck can get wet in the rear
Contender 25 A really fast hull, more family friendly, rides great, terrible bilge access
Islamorada 24 Nice boat but not that much storage space, all lockers are very shallow, I donít think you can get a 5 gallon bucket in any locker

I am east coast Florida based but will mostly fish pine island area but also want ride & the ability to head the few miles offshore and target bigger boys on a good day with out worry of it getting a little lumpy

thank you
see above
Old 10-20-2020, 01:18 PM
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OP, since 2011, I have owned 3 YFs (a 21/250 SHO and then 2x24s with 300 Yams) and 2 Moradas from IBW (a 22 / 300 Yam and a 24CF / 350 Verado). All were open boats, no tops.
Since you are looking at 24's, I will offer my observations after years of seat time...
Note: your mileage may vary.
Morada is noticeably drier in a quartering sea than the YF. YF lacks sufficient forward chine to block quartering spray very well.
Morada stays on plane at lower speeds than the YF - often desirable while running the beach or shallow flats. It will just 'canoe' through the sloppy stuff when you need it to.
YF is quicker with same power.
YF name recognition is well-known.
YF rear deck will get wet on quick shut downs without a splash plate under a 10 inch JP. Stern squats pretty fast without it even when live well are empty.
Some YFs have rear deck water intrusion, Moradas do not given the floor heights.

Layouts and dash are all a personal preference.I had no issues with storage on any of these rigs. Rigging is comparable with excellent plumbing & wiring runs and use of high end Gemlux hardware. I caught a pile of fish in the YFs and Moradas.

BTW, I now run a Blackjack 256 Coastal. I went with my 256 Coastal for improved big water performance offshore, higher bow & the hybrid layout. I still fish the same flats for redfish in the Coastal that I did in my YFs and Moradas. I have posted build threads on each of these rigs on THT over the years.
So do your research and go water-test the finalists. You are the judge and have the checkbook. : -)
PM me as needed.
Good luck.
Old 10-20-2020, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rocketman1 View Post
OP, since 2011, I have owned 3 YFs (a 21/250 SHO and then 2x24s with 300 Yams) and 2 Moradas from IBW (a 22 / 300 Yam and a 24CF / 350 Verado). All were open boats, no tops.
Since you are looking at 24's, I will offer my observations after years of seat time...
Note: your mileage may vary.
Morada is noticeably drier in a quartering sea than the YF. YF lacks sufficient forward chine to block quartering spray very well.
Morada stays on plane at lower speeds than the YF - often desirable while running the beach or shallow flats. It will just 'canoe' through the sloppy stuff when you need it to.
YF is quicker with same power.
YF name recognition is well-known.
YF rear deck will get wet on quick shut downs without a splash plate under a 10 inch JP. Stern squats pretty fast without it even when live well are empty.
Some YFs have rear deck water intrusion, Moradas do not given the floor heights.

Layouts and dash are all a personal preference.I had no issues with storage on any of these rigs. Rigging is comparable with excellent plumbing & wiring runs and use of high end Gemlux hardware. I caught a pile of fish in the YFs and Moradas.

BTW, I now run a Blackjack 256 Coastal. I went with my 256 Coastal for improved big water performance offshore, higher bow & the hybrid layout. I still fish the same flats for redfish in the Coastal that I did in my YFs and Moradas. I have posted build threads on each of these rigs on THT over the years.
So do your research and go water-test the finalists. You are the judge and have the checkbook. : -)
PM me as needed.
Good luck.
Great information I appreciate this
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:22 PM
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I fished a 24YF a ton before getting my 23 cape bay. Itís very very similar and honestly doesnít feel shorter at all. The Isla boats are pure sex! Amazing boats. The black jack is nice and a lot of guides run them all over the place. Other options with more features but they are a solid boat. My only gripes with the YF is the rear seating is lacking and itís a small space for people to sit. The bow is huge and is where the boat shines the best.The lockers leak and if your lift kept you just have to dry stuff or keep it empty. Huge lockers so plenty of space to get inside the bow or for rods to go in and out.
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Old 10-20-2020, 06:37 PM
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Contender boat runs great in calm offshore conditions...and I've had to come in through some slop on the way home several times. While it's not fun...it gets you home. Not allot of space in back of boat when offshore is primary complaint.
Old 10-21-2020, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by themossman View Post
Contender boat runs great in calm offshore conditions...and I've had to come in through some slop on the way home several times. While it's not fun...it gets you home. Not allot of space in back of boat when offshore is primary complaint.
Yeh coming back in inlet on a outgoing tide is a concern with this. Can be dead calm day offshore but inlet is rough as guts
Old 10-22-2020, 10:31 AM
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OP I will tell you the Sea Born FX-25 is a very unique bay boat and would run all day with the pack of nice boats you mentioned . Serious fishing platform and has a fully enclosed trundle transom for that tricky inlet, Go to the website and the boat is not overpriced..
Old 10-22-2020, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by kdenap View Post
OP I will tell you the Sea Born FX-25 is a very unique bay boat and would run all day with the pack of nice boats you mentioned . Serious fishing platform and has a fully enclosed trundle transom for that tricky inlet, Go to the website and the boat is not overpriced..
I did look at this option it just for a few reasons didnt make the short list for me
Old 10-22-2020, 04:35 PM
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When I shopped for my boat I considered performance, fit and finish, draft, storage, value and appearance and in my opinion the YF wins hands down. I'm 75% fishing & 25% pleasure so I don't mind if my feet get wet or if it's not the softest ride. I love my boat and wouldn't trade it for any other bay boat.

Just one man's opinion.
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Old 10-22-2020, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Tabasco21 View Post
When I shopped for my boat I considered performance, fit and finish, draft, storage, value and appearance and in my opinion the YF wins hands down. I'm 75% fishing & 25% pleasure so I don't mind if my feet get wet or if it's not the softest ride. I love my boat and wouldn't trade it for any other bay boat.

Just one man's opinion.
do you have the carbon edition or standard?
Old 10-22-2020, 06:55 PM
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As has been said already spend time in as many conditions as possible. I will add another “test”.... Docking the boat in the area, marina, and ramp where you are most likely to be. Personally I’m of the belief that bay boats are more challenging at low speed-docking than traditional center console boats. Didn’t stop me from owning one (Robalo Cayman) but I felt like a newbie all over again with this boat around the marina. FWIW.
Old 10-22-2020, 07:05 PM
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I’ve been on all the boats mentioned besides the sea born (which I’m sorry not in the same league!). Blackjack is not there with fit and finish. Choices for me would be the Islamorada 24 (L&B) or yf 24. I would give the Islamorada the nod on better ride. Yf is wet, faster, higher resale! If your not worried about resale determine what’s a better boat for your boating/fishing. I would be happy to own either yf 24CE or Islamorada 24. Both good boats I would give the nod to yf only for resale. Both boats capable of 60+ mph, 12-14” draft, 4+- mpg cruise speeds. That being said I’m biased and own a L&B 24. Best of luck test drive them all.
Old 10-22-2020, 07:42 PM
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I have a 24í YF with a tower and Iíd classify it as a giant flats boat. Fishing the bow it is great, anywhere else itís cramped and the rear seat/bilge access is silly - a solid hatch matching the deck would be a better alternative. The boat is fun to drive, fast and has ample bait wells. It handles a tight chop well but hates a little swell and being low to the water it can be wet. It needs trim tabs - I donít care what anyone says I added them and the ride is better and can pop up on plane faster esp when the wells are full.
Old 10-22-2020, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Buttapollock1010 View Post
Iíve been on all the boats mentioned besides the sea born (which Iím sorry not in the same league!). Blackjack is not there with fit and finish. Choices for me would be the Islamorada 24 (L&B) or yf 24. I would give the Islamorada the nod on better ride. Yf is wet, faster, higher resale! If your not worried about resale determine whatís a better boat for your boating/fishing. I would be happy to own either yf 24CE or Islamorada 24. Both good boats I would give the nod to yf only for resale. Both boats capable of 60+ mph, 12-14Ē draft, 4+- mpg cruise speeds. That being said Iím biased and own a L&B 24. Best of luck test drive them all.
Gonna split a Ďtiny hairí with you BP, even though I agree with much of your views.
Hard to beat the Morada 24. No doubt the best riding 24 out there. My 24 CF, was truly excellent.
Remember, I have actually owned all 3 rides and tend to buy new boats every 18 months on average, at least since 2005.
My 256 Coastal has rigging and fit / finish on par with the YFs and Moradas that I have owned.
Anyhow, if you, or anyone, fished my boat, you would be hard pressed to find anything of significance that was inferior to the YF or the Moradas that I owned.
I went with the 256 Coastal after observing that, plus the excellent hybrid layout and big boat ride that lets me run the beach and fish the near rigs, on days the YFs and Moradas need to stay inshore.
Just my 2 cents, with lots of seat time.
Best of luck.

Old 10-23-2020, 03:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Buttapollock1010 View Post
Iíve been on all the boats mentioned besides the sea born (which Iím sorry not in the same league!). Blackjack is not there with fit and finish. Choices for me would be the Islamorada 24 (L&B) or yf 24. I would give the Islamorada the nod on better ride. Yf is wet, faster, higher resale! If your not worried about resale determine whatís a better boat for your boating/fishing. I would be happy to own either yf 24CE or Islamorada 24. Both good boats I would give the nod to yf only for resale. Both boats capable of 60+ mph, 12-14Ē draft, 4+- mpg cruise speeds. That being said Iím biased and own a L&B 24. Best of luck test drive them all.
Black Jack is not one the short list I think you may have thought Billfish was black jack. The Fit & finish on billfish is actually the best of them all. It's down to three now the contender got bumped
Old 10-23-2020, 04:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Shallowwatercartel View Post
Black Jack is not one the short list I think you may have thought Billfish was black jack. The Fit & finish on billfish is actually the best of them all. It's down to three now the contender got bumped
my mistake. I have not been on the billfish. Seem like beautiful boats and well made. If I recall a build thread on THT. A few years ago I followed it. If I remember correctly he sold the boat soon after it was built. As Iím sure youíve heard. No perfect boat. Test drive them all and decide what works best for your application. All good boat choices and I would be happy to own any of them. Best of luck.
Old 10-23-2020, 04:53 AM
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It doesn't have to be on your short list to be discussed in your thread. Stick around here for more than a minute and you'll see that any thread on any type of boat will get us touting our favorite boat.

I seldom push Blackjack, as I like it being an unusual selection, but the word seems to be getting out despite my efforts.

Best of luck with your purchase, I'm sure all of those will catch fish and make you proud.
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Old 10-23-2020, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Shallowwatercartel View Post
New to forum & I'm in the process of purchasing a new bay boat in the 24-25 range and have narrowed it down to these 4

Billfish 24
Yellowfin 24
Contender 25
Islamorada 24

I am east coast Florida based but will mostly fish pine island area but also want ride & the ability to head the few miles offshore and target bigger boys on a good day with out worry of it getting a little lumpy

thank you
Enjoy the process. Shopping is 1/2 the fun! May I ask what lead you to these 4 being on your short list? Out of the 4 listed the Islamorada 24 would be my go to.
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