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Best boat for Tampa Bay?

Old 05-31-2011, 06:56 PM
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Default Best boat for Tampa Bay?

Hello all,

Just curious what those familiar with the waters would suggest. 21' to 25'. Single outboard. 50/50 fishing and cruising.
Need to be able to run through 2' without concern and cross that 30' cabin cruiser wake without slowing down.
Does such a boat exist?

Thanks,
Serge
Old 05-31-2011, 07:12 PM
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That's a tough call. There are quite a few boats that can run in 3 feet without concern, cross significant wakes, be very fishable and still be comfortable to cruise in (including mine), but the 2 foot thing will be tough.

You're probably looking at a center console like a Grady White, Sea Hunt, Sailfish etc that cater to families that fish instead of hard core fisherman brands like Guase, Schaffer, Dorado, Contender, etc.

It will definitely be an outboard though, because you WILL run aground out here somewhere.
Old 05-31-2011, 07:24 PM
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If you were an inshore fisherman I would lean towards the bayboats (Gause, Pathfinder, Hewes), but since you mention 50/50 and mention more about waves, wakes, cruising I would lean more towards the small CC with seating (so many to chose from).

Personally I think the Gause type of boat is the perfect all around boat for Tampa if you like to fish offshore and inshore and cruise with the family. You can go offshore (near offshore) with its taller bow and sharp entry. You can Tarpon fish the beaches and passes. You can fish the flats. You can put the dodger up and have kids up in the front with forward seating and out of the sun. Exc boat for a family to cruise to Egmont and picnic. It can cruise the 2' shallows, cross the wakes, cut through 2' seas, and has seating for the family.

If you don't do the flats, a 25 Contender FS is pretty good for Tampa gulf as well (but it has twins). I had a Pathfinder 22 and it was great for the Bay/Inshore, ok for for the Gulf, but lacked good seating for the family (and low /no gunwhales). Great for Tampa if you stayed in the bays more.
Old 05-31-2011, 07:25 PM
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That's going to be tough, I've fished Tampa Bay many times, you are probably looking at a bay boat in the 22' range at a minimum, something like a Pathfinder 2200, Ranger Bay 2200 or similar, especially if you're serious about going in 2'. I'm sure there are some bay boats that cater more to family or cruising...


Originally Posted by sergestorms View Post
Hello all,

Just curious what those familiar with the waters would suggest. 21' to 25'. Single outboard. 50/50 fishing and cruising.
Need to be able to run through 2' without concern and cross that 30' cabin cruiser wake without slowing down.
Does such a boat exist?

Thanks,
Serge
Old 05-31-2011, 07:32 PM
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Any of the 22.2 Aquasport ripoffs will do great in Tampa Bay. Fish the flats or go offshore...
Old 05-31-2011, 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by blindmullet View Post
Any of the 22.2 Aquasport ripoffs will do great in Tampa Bay. Fish the flats or go offshore...
x2 classic aquasport and their more modern renditions are perfect.
Old 05-31-2011, 08:12 PM
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i think the contender 25 would be great!
http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...tender-fs.html

If you would consider a twin (i would want one if i ever wanted to go offshore) These are the two boats i would look at. I love the yellowfin
http://www.thehulltruth.com/boating-...contender.html
Old 05-31-2011, 08:28 PM
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xhowevermanyneeded for the aquasport ripoff.
Closed Transom
Three Piece construction
Effecient

Find a gause/dorado if not look at privateer, parker, or other NC builder.

Tampa has a great mid depth fishing (4ft or more). all seasons.
Old 05-31-2011, 08:37 PM
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and dare i say that the sheaffer, avenger, threadfin, bonefish, and martin mfg all make a similar school of thought boat, differnet price points. shop them all, see which ones for you.
Old 05-31-2011, 09:06 PM
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Gause Built would do the trick
Old 05-31-2011, 10:05 PM
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There ain't nothin that will ride nice in Tampa Bay, crappiest water ever - pick anything - maybe a big ass hatteras might LOL
Old 05-31-2011, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by reeeljob View Post
Gause Built would do the trick
I guess we need to know if your budget is over or under $70,000.
Old 05-31-2011, 10:44 PM
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Good luck with your search. I would go with a larger center console. 24' +. Anything smaller and you just can't get across the chop in the bay, especially if your running out to Egmont or beyond. We came back from Sarasota this past weekend and we got beat up pretty good and we have one of those 30' that doesn't slow down!

The Gause built is a sweet sweet ride if you can swing it. I have heard Gradys handle the chop well. My buddy has a 24 Tidewater and that is a real nice ride too... Lots to choose from in that range.
Old 05-31-2011, 11:47 PM
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Panga 22 is made for that area....easily pushed with a 115ft, easily towed and handled..nice wide gunnels....I run a pangamarine 22 and it should suit you well for tampa bay.....you will have to slow down for wakes unless you are in a 26ft cat of something...don't need a deep vee or really anything larger....
Old 06-01-2011, 04:55 AM
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I just bought a Scout 245 XSF for the exact purpose you describe. My Panga Marine 18' Skiff was probably one of the best riding 18' boats on the planet, but the Tampa Bay chop, as mentioned above, is nasty. Steep, sharp, and present more often than not.

I wanted something with a single engine, plenty of seating, a head, some fishability, and enough size to prevent getting sent back to port because of the chop.
Old 06-01-2011, 09:03 AM
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What is the price range? New or used? I live on the bay and I have a Sea Cat that has no problems with any of your criteria except for 1......it has twin engines. I can run in less than 2' of water, have no problems crossing boat wakes at speed and it eats up the bay chop, goes 50 miles offshore and cruises well. Seating is not the best, Katherine loves her E Sea Rider tear drop bean bag though. A cooler seat in front of the center console is another option.

As other have said, any of the Aqua Sport replicas with a single will work well and you can find one to fit any price range.
Old 06-01-2011, 09:27 AM
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I've got an a '74 22-2. Pretty good fit for the area, but you do have to slow down a bit on blustery days. A boat that intrigues me is the 26' Calcutta catamaran. Its built in Tampa and has a very open and flexible layout. I've heard they ride well too.

http://www.calcuttaboats.com/
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Old 06-01-2011, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Necessary Evil View Post
I've got an a '74 22-2. Pretty good fit for the area, but you do have to slow down a bit on blustery days. A boat that intrigues me is the 26' Calcutta catamaran. Its built in Tampa and has a very open and flexible layout. I've heard they ride well too.

http://www.calcuttaboats.com/
The Calcutta is built on the south side of Tampa Bay, you can see their facility as you go south on 275 as you cross over 41. They boat comes in either a single or double....I didn't mention it because it was longer (26') than the OP's 21-15 ft parameter. Great boat that does exceptionally well in the bay. Not that many 26' boats can operate in less than 2' and do well offshore or in the bay chop.
Old 06-01-2011, 10:21 AM
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Thanks for the responses.

I currently have a 22' panga and it's prefect with a light to moderate chop and great for the shallows. But, once a bit more than moderate hits I'd like something that can handle the waves a bit better.

I'm willing to sacrifice some draft for better sea handling.

I'm in no rush, just in the info gathering stage.

Budget would be around $50k - $60k, cheaper is always better. New or slightly used.

I guess the decision is the Gause / Avenger / Aeon / etc. type boat vs the Sea Hunt / Grady / Pro Line / Robalo / etc. type boat. Just examples listed there.

I'll ride in both when the time comes but wondering on any real world experience.

Probably get a traditional center console and throw a jackplate on it and be done with it.

Welcome any additional comments.

Thanks,
Serge

Last edited by sergestorms; 06-01-2011 at 12:32 PM.
Old 06-01-2011, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by runabout View Post
The Calcutta is built on the south side of Tampa Bay, you can see their facility as you go south on 275 as you cross over 41. They boat comes in either a single or double....I didn't mention it because it was longer (26') than the OP's 21-15 ft parameter. Great boat that does exceptionally well in the bay. Not that many 26' boats can operate in less than 2' and do well offshore or in the bay chop.
Great Boat! A friend has one and if I was going to get something that size in a center console it would be at the top of my list.

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