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fishing/family boat for Tampa Bay

Old 09-06-2014, 03:54 AM
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Default fishing/family boat for Tampa Bay

Hello,
I am looking for a combination fishing boat/family boat (tubing, etc) in the 23-27 ft range. Price range 40-70K. I'm new to boating on saltwater. Currently thinking about the Sea Hunt 234 or 235, Scout 251 xs or similar CC. Also considering the new Hurricane 2690 deck boat with the deeper hull. I don't mind preowned as long as its still under warranty for 1-2 yrs.

It will mainly be for Tampa Bay but occasionally may go off shore. I just want to be able to take some chop without getting too beat up.

Do you think I'm better off with a CC that is adapted to ski/tube, or the new Hurricane that has a deeper hull that can also have a live well to fish with? Any thoughts on Scout vs Sea Hunt?

Thanks in advance.
-Jim
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Old 09-06-2014, 05:56 AM
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I went with a Sea Hunt 10 years ago because Scout was overpriced considering the build quality and design. Scout makes a pretty boat, but several models have issues with wet feet due to water coming in through the deck drains. They just seem too expensive for what you get. At those prices I would go with a Cape Horn (or the Sea Hunt and 5 years worth of fuel). I lived in the Tampa Bay area when I purchased my Sea Hunt 202 and now I'm in Sarasota, so my boating needs are still the same. I would buy a Sea Hunt again if I was moving up to a larger boat.

I think the Hurricane will pound more in a heavy chop due to the hull design. Tampa Bay and the Gulf can get rough quickly with a close set chop that will pound the crap out of you.

Other brands to consider:
Key West
Cobia
Tidewater
May Craft
Cape Horn
Sea Fox (only the new models)

Sea Hunt is hard value to beat. Solid construction at a reasonable price with outstanding customer service. I'm sure a few non Sea Hunt owning THT members will be around shortly to tell you that Sea Hunt sucks and you need a used Yellowfin, Contender or Grady White.

Good luck with your purchase.
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:10 AM
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We have a west coast live bait tower boat and a Mako 261b. We can do everything. If I had to pick one boat to do it all it would probably be a Calcutta 263 or a Barricuda 27 or other Gause/Andros 26 ( preowned to stay in budget).
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:11 AM
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Another vote for a deep-v Sea Hunt for your situation. Great, versatile boats, and easy on the eyes

Here is a good one to look at (no affiliation): http://www.boattrader.com/listing/20...-240-102315128
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Old 09-06-2014, 06:27 AM
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Keep in mind much of gulf inshore fishing is very shallow. I don't know Tampa Bay area waters but more than an 18" draft a bit further south cuts off a lot of fishing area.
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Old 09-06-2014, 07:18 AM
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Do not buy a hurricane deck boat. Crap resale not a good boat for the bay.
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Old 09-07-2014, 03:57 PM
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I'm a buy new kind of guy because IMO nobody would take as good of care for a boat as myself. I was in the same market back in June. I live in Jax so mostly bay fishing, sandbars, rafting and occasional trip offshore in the keys. I bought a new Epic 22sc with a suzuki 175 and fully loaded with all options and electronics was out the door for less then $45,000. Motor has a 6yr warranty as well. I was looking at blackjacks and yellowfins but settled on the epic and glad I did. Would like to have a $100k boat but is nice being able to let the kids run around on it, wash it off, put it away and not worry about it being a $100k boat. Just my opinion.

I did have it 30 miles offshore in the keys in 2-3' seas and did not get wet once.
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by XpatBubba View Post
We have a west coast live bait tower boat and a Mako 261b. We can do everything. If I had to pick one boat to do it all it would probably be a Calcutta 263 or a Barricuda 27 or other Gause/Andros 26 ( preowned to stay in budget).
My in-laws have a 261. Boat is a tank...awesome offshore center console.

If I could have any one boat in this area, I'd look at the Calcutta as well.
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:36 PM
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Sounds like the west coast bay boat style is for you. NEVER get a hurricane deck boat...
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Old 09-07-2014, 05:46 PM
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Take a look at Rabco. Www.rabcoboats.com. Nice 21' and 28'
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Old 09-07-2014, 06:28 PM
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Thanks for all the input - really appreciate it!
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Old 09-08-2014, 05:30 AM
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I've been running a Sea Hunt 232 in Tampa Bay for the past 5 years. It is what you are looking for.

I agree with other posters that the Calcutta would be ideal, but it's out of your price range and good luck finding one used. It would also be a bit of an odd boat for a first timer.

My 232 gets in the shallow stuff around Weedon and I run it up to 50 miles offshore. The moderate deadrise keeps it from rolling too much side to side and allows for fishing the mangroves. I have never felt unsafe when the seas have picked up offshore. The practical limit for offshore use is 3 feet. Anything larger and it's slow going. But given there are so many nice days to go out, I prefer not to fish the Gulf in >3ft chop anyways.

If you were only fishing offshore, I would say get something with more deadrise, but then you would be limiting your boating areas in the bay. I am very confident that you would be happy with the 234.
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:37 AM
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We bought a used Chaparral 242 deck boat a couple years ago. I have found it to be leaps and bounds better quality than the Hurricane boats of similar size and design we looked at. We immensely enjoy this boat on outings in the bay, to Egemont and Anclote keys.

That said, it's not much of a fishing vessel. No live well, no storage for your catch etc. I doubt any of the deck boats will suit your needs to be honest, but if you do decide on a deck boat, I highly recommend Chaparral and also Chris Craft.
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Old 09-08-2014, 06:54 PM
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After going to the Tampa Boat show, our top two choices were the Sportsman 251 CC and the Sailfish 240 CC. Also liked the Seahunt and Key West CC models.

Top contender so far is the Sportsman though.

After reading the various posts, one question is whether having a 25 ft CC vs a 23 ft CC would limit the fishing options in Tampa Bay (ie would it be too big to get to spots that a 23 CC had better access to?)

The draft runs 18 inches, deadrise is 21.

Has anyone had much experience with either the Sportsman251 or the Sailfish 240?
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Old 09-08-2014, 08:34 PM
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A good friend of mine recently purchased the Sportsman 231. He has been very happy with it, but he does have some constructive criticism which he shared with the owners of the company. First, the cleats are too small. Seems silly, but they put really small retractable cleats on the boat. Forget using 3/8 dock lines. I also don't care for the console layout. There is no drawer or cubby to keep your phone/wallet/keys/etc. If you're mainly cruising around the bay you are going to want quick access to those things. There were a few other things as well. That said, maybe the 251 is different. And, the build quality is very good. Not great (a few latch screws have worked loose in a couple months) but very good.

One other item of interest. I know you are looking at the next size up, but we took his 231 out fishing on a fairly rough day and it handled the bay chop very well. It rode differently than my Grady, but it didn't pound at all. I was impressed.
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Old 09-09-2014, 06:15 AM
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18" will keep you off the skinny flats inside the bay on all but the highest tides.

That said...sounds like a nice boat for the ICW, shipping channels, and bridges.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:16 AM
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You might want to check out dual consoles as they provide more comfort for the family.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:13 AM
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get a world cat. trust me, you won't be disappointed.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:20 AM
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There are some nice dual console options out there that look like good sand bar rigs that can also fish hard...
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:12 AM
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you arent catching reds in that boat, more than likely going to spook fish trying to motor to them.

Trout - sure.

Snook- depends on time of year..

Bottom fishin in the bay, all day long.
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