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Bay boats

Old 01-14-2019, 10:27 AM
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Default Bay boats

I'm thinking real hard on selling my boat and getting a bay boat style. I don't fish a lot, but do want to start fishing inside and inshore more. I've done some reading up here on THT on bay boats, so at least know some of the main name brands thrown around on here. But am looking for some particular recommendations from you guys that know that market.

Criteria:
Used only
Prefer something 1-6 years old
Under $40k, and preferably under $30k
Ttop
IPilot trolling motor (I like the Ulterra)
Family friendly with good seating. Able to carry and seat 6 comfortably.
Capable of fishing pretty skinny water, but safe for 10-15 miles out on good days
Good space behind the leaning post. Some that I see have almost no room there at all.
Option to add bow seat for fishing

I've got a list of around 25 brands right now. But suspect many of those will be outside my price range once I start to look at used ones for sale. So likely need more brand options to look at. What I don't know is the actual draft of the various options. That is critical. Is there any website that offers that information on bay style boats? Would I be safe to take the mfg's draft spec and add 2" to that? Keeping in mind a trolling motor and two batteries and a Ttop are must haves. I'd love to find something that can fish in a foot or less of water, but still be safe 10-15 miles out on nicer days, without beating me to death. Does that even exist??
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:31 AM
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22 Pathfinder. The seating for 6 is a bit of a stretch for your budget. However rear bench seating on the 22 Pathfinder, leaning post seat and front cooler seat will get you five.
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Old 01-14-2019, 10:40 AM
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Under $40k, and preferably under $30k
Family friendly with good seating. Able to carry and seat 6 comfortably.
I'd love to find something that can fish in a foot or less of water
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Seat 6 comfortably: Running in chop or hangin at the sand bar? 1 in front of console, 2 on leaning post, 2 in seats in deck behind leaning post. Seems like you should be looking for a 24 footer minimum but you have a 22ft budget.
Fish in a foot or less of water and be 'safe' 10-15 miles offshore North Carolina? Many people ask, nobody finds.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by JB2C View Post
Family friendly with good seating. Able to carry and seat 6 comfortably.
Capable of fishing pretty skinny water, ?
Those two things don't go together. I'm sure many will disagree but although bay boats are awesome boats and the best choice for most people because of their versatility they are not shallow water boats. They are just to big and heavy to fish the shallows. Don't get me wrong you can catch just as much fish but not in the shallows. And the comment about fishing a foot or less of water must be a joke.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:04 AM
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Lots of folks seem to recc the Pathfinder. I'll be looking at that one for sure. My concern with it is the low gunnels for outside the inlet.

I could live with seating for 5. A cushion on a 5gal bucket can always accommodate the younger folks.

That Tidewater is on my 'brand' list.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:20 AM
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Fish in a foot or less of water and be 'safe' 10-15 miles offshore North Carolina? Many people ask, nobody finds.
You most certainly can find a boat that will fish in a foot of water and safely go 10-15 miles offshore—as long as you're not looking to go fast when the seas get rough. At that point, you're looking for a (mostly) flat-bottomed boat with high gunwales or a catamaran. The latter will ride better when it gets nasty offshore, but cost more.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:29 AM
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Many have searched for your request.
Few have ever found it w/o compromise.
If you buy a 22 footer and take out 6 people very often, you will soon be in the market for a 24 footer.
Don't be in a hurry. Take your time and have the $CASH$ to jump if the right one comes along.
Good luck.



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Old 01-14-2019, 11:31 AM
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Any brands/models you'd recommend? If I'm only going 10-15 miles out, I could care less about speed. I'll go as slow as I need to go to be comfortable. But I do want to be sure it's safe.

Not opposed to cat boats, or aluminum either. Right now, the field of possibilities is wide open, other than the criteria I listed.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:34 AM
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Oh trust me, I've used the search function. That's why I have a pretty full list of brands to consider. Gets pretty confusing the more one reads. But even after all the reading, I still need a boat that fishes in a foot of water and is safe for inshore!
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:38 AM
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You definitely want to get a 24' if you want any room in the back.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:42 AM
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Any brands/models you'd recommend? If I'm only going 10-15 miles out, I could care less about speed.
Judge Yachts makes a 24 and 26 foot center console that are very favorably reviewed here on THT and elsewhere, and are priced well. They draft 10". Hard to find one used and in your price range, but you could contact them directly to see if they have any connections. The Parker 2500 SE is a flatter-bottomed boat that will be easier to find a used one in your price range (though it drafts more than the Judge). Sea Ox makes a 24 that's more flat-bottomed, not sure about the draft. If you can find an old Aquasport or Proline flatback or classic Mako 23 that's been restored, those are flat-bottomed with a sharp entry.

I'm less familiar with the cats out there that would fit your needs. Tideline makes a nice looking cat that could fit your needs, but would be well out of your price range. Anyone else have recommendations there?
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:44 AM
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Look for a Hydrasport BayBolt 23. An early model with original power can be had around that price 30 to 40.

Here is one around my neck of the woods for example.

https://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/boa...785780305.html
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:46 AM
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One for sale on here right in your range

https://www.thehulltruth.com/boats-s...=#post12134719
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:47 AM
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I think what everybody is trying to tell you is that a 22 bay boat (at least a modified V hull, which are the overwhelming majority of bay boats) that can fish in a foot of water simply does not exist. I am not sure what something like a big Carolina Skiff flat bottom drafts, but even if it floats in one foot, I wouldn't want to be in it when you head offshore! As close as I can tell, you are going to need 2, but maybe 3, boats to satisfy you requirements. And your budget and year models won't support that! Good luck with your search.
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Old 01-14-2019, 11:56 AM
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My friend has a 22 sea hunt bay boat. 6 people is fine on it cruising to the sand bar, just throw a bean bag or two on the front. Its a good all around boat for the price and quality. Offshore capable on calm days on the gulf coast, you're not going to get super skinny but it'll fish the bays in south west florida just fine. Haven't been on the 24 first hand but if you're looking to cram 6 people that is the way to go, the 22 its much better suited for 4 people. If you're looking for the next step up in quality from there I would recommend pathfinder.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:21 PM
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Heading offshore in NC is very different from heading offshore in the Gulf. The tides there alone create enough issues without the weather. I think the advice that a typical bay boat won't safely do what you want is good advice—however there are many builders on the E/NE coast that know how to make a boat for those areas. While they may not get marketed as bay boats, many of them are lower draft, and therefore would work well fishing skinnier water when its snotty offshore.

The challenge for the OP won't be finding something that is safe offshore and low-draft. It will be finding something like that that is also 1-6 years old with the electronics they want and $30-40k.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:51 PM
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Best bet is an older Pathfinder
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Gottarpon View Post
Best bet is an older Pathfinder
And a kayak for the flats.
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Old 01-14-2019, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JB2C View Post
Oh trust me, I've used the search function. That's why I have a pretty full list of brands to consider. Gets pretty confusing the more one reads. But even after all the reading, I still need a boat that fishes in a foot of water and is safe for inshore!
Did you mean, safe for offshore?


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Old 01-14-2019, 02:04 PM
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Yep. Just inshore. I have no intention of taking any boat like this offshore. I want something that I can fish inside most of the time. So the skinny water capability is most important. But I do want something I can, on nicer days, run out a few miles to bottom fish the AR's. Or run over to the Cape. And do so safely.

I like the look of that HS Bay Bolt 2300. But looks like a newer model is out of my price range. From what I saw (just a quick look), they redesigned it some in the 2008/2009 period. So I'd want at least a 2010 model.

The Judge has what looks to be a small cabin in front. Not the layout I'm looking for. Plus it's pretty bare bones unless I found a used one that someone had tricked out.

The Sea Hunt bay boats do seem to be popular. It's on my list to consider further.

ban mentioned the Parkers. I'll look closer at them, but I don't think they have anything that fits the bill here. He also mentioned Aquasport. My first saltwater boat was that hull. It's really popular with the guides in Florida due to it's shallow draft and decent ride. But I'm looking for something a bit newer and nicer.
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