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20' Bay boat in the Chesapeake?

Old 07-25-2018, 12:13 PM
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Default 20' Bay boat in the Chesapeake?

I've decided I'm going to get a boat. Now to figure out which kind to get. I'm leaning toward a 20' bay boat like a Carollina Skiff 218, Bayliner Element F21, Bulls Bay 2200. What other boats would you recommend for the Chesapeake? Also anyone with boating experience please feel free to chime in. Do you think a Bay Boat is the way to go? I'm looking to stay within the bay anywhere from Sandy Point to Point lookout and up the Potamac and possibly to Ocean City to do some near shore fishing. What are your thoughts on my plan? Do you thnk 20' is long enough?
Old 07-25-2018, 12:23 PM
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It can get pretty rough out in the bay at times. Mine CC is 20ft and I sure do wish it was bigger at times. You will have to pick your days and if you want to get beat up or not.

Also depends on hull design, power etc....

I know that's not exactly what you asked but figured I would chime in. People with more boating experience on different brands and such im sure will lend advice.
Old 07-25-2018, 12:27 PM
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20' is fine if you watch the weather. However a true bay boat has very low sides and can lend itself to limiting you more. If you want a shallow draft, yet higher freeboard for fishing choppy open water, especially when the fishing is best as the water cools. Look for boats like May-craft, c-hawk, Parker, Judge, Jones Brothers, etc. in the size and budget you have.

Last edited by iFishMD; 07-26-2018 at 06:55 AM.
Old 07-25-2018, 12:28 PM
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Out of those three I would think the Bulls Bay would allow you to go out on more not so perfect days and not get so beat up. You may want to look into Maycraft, C Hawk, Parker, Jones Brothers. You can usually find these used as well.
Old 07-25-2018, 01:07 PM
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I run a 20' seacraft. I have had it from eastern bay to Fishermans Island.
Do you have to pick your days? Yeah
Can you run it in sloppy bay conditions? Yeah
Are you gonna get soaked some days? Yeah

Flip side of that is I can fish in a foot of water and get damn near 4 mpg
Old 07-25-2018, 01:11 PM
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Great info thanks. The problem with me getting a bigger boat is that my minivan is limited to 3500lb towing... so a bay boat fits perfectly with it. Until I upgrade my car. Anyone else run a bay boat the the Chesapeake Bay? What's your experience?
Old 07-25-2018, 01:15 PM
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I've got a 17' cc with a yamaha 90 on it with the low free board its pretty much a bay boat. I run around out of sandy point up to rock hall and down to about shady side. As long as you check the forecast and keep an eye on the wind you'd be fine in those boats. I can go out most weekends and fish all day. Although my boat is more than fine 90% of the time out there, there are some afternoons where I wish I would have gotten a bit larger boat so I can fish and cruise more comfortably when the chop kicks up
Old 07-25-2018, 01:18 PM
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A Carolina skiff will loosen any fillings you might have in your teeth. Take a look at a used Key Largo/Palm Beach boats. They are no frills fishing/family boats. Not heavy at all and have a nice flair to cut the chop. A buddy had a Key Largo 18 and it was an awesome little boat. I used to pull it with my little 4 cyl Explorer sport. We even ran out 25 miles off Hatteras in it once.

This is what he had, but I'd go with a 20-22 footer.
https://www.boattrader.com/listing/2...180-103219407/
Old 07-25-2018, 04:10 PM
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I fish a SeaPro SV2100 and pick my days. Not as young and durable as I use to be but it gets me out there on most fishable days. Greg is right (IfishMD )and is correct regarding freeboard and a moderate to deep V boat
Old 07-25-2018, 04:15 PM
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I use a 18’ 2011 Parker. Very happy
Old 07-25-2018, 08:45 PM
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Bay boats typically aren’t seen around here, as they are made for calm salt flats. You would likely be much better suited with some of the suggestions above, like Parker, Maycraft, or Judge, for when things inevitably get a little sporty.
Old 07-25-2018, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by SquidsDusky View Post
A Carolina skiff will loosen any fillings you might have in your teeth. ...
All you have to do to stop that is just SLOW DOWN.
Likes:
Old 07-26-2018, 06:33 AM
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Right
to like 12mph. So it would only take you 2 hours to cross the mouth of the Potomac

small boats are for small
water and bluebird days

the Chesapeake Is NOT a small body.
Old 07-26-2018, 06:38 AM
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Carolina skiff makes a "semi-vee" hull that is much more tolerable than a flat bottom. Father in law had one.

Either way I don't think its wise pulling anything bigger than a johnboat with a minivan. You are putting the cart ahead of the horse.

Ain't nothing wrong with a johnboat either if you don't plan on running out far
Old 07-26-2018, 07:49 AM
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Originally Posted by TurdFerguson View Post
Carolina skiff makes a "semi-vee" hull that is much more tolerable than a flat bottom. Father in law had one.

Either way I don't think its wise pulling anything bigger than a johnboat with a minivan. You are putting the cart ahead of the horse.

Ain't nothing wrong with a johnboat either if you don't plan on running out far
Yeah, whats the deal with people pulling big boats with mini vans? I saw a guy at Truxton Park a few weeks ago with a maybe 22' Mako cc behind a early 2000's caravan. I asked the guy about it and he said it pulls it fine.... but can you stop the damn thing? We've got a Century 1700CC and tow it behind a 2008 Highlander, rated to tow 5,000 pounds, but I don't think I'd tow anything more than a 19' cc.
Old 07-26-2018, 08:01 AM
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I've always said "bay boats" do not mean the Chesapeake Bay. Bay boats are built for back bays in OBX or behind OCMD or places like that. These bays are behind barrier islands and are protected bodies of water. The areas that OP is describing are big bodies of water, especially near the mouth of the Potomac and further south. Far north of the Bay Bridge you will probably have a better chance at more days on the water in a bay boat. I have had plenty of boats under 20' on the Chesapeake and yes I had to pick my days. Now that I have a boat over 20 ft I still have to pick my days. The bay gets rough and dangerous. I'll have to agree with some others in this thread that said to look at Parker, Jone's Bros, Maycraft, C-Hawk, etc. They make great, capable small boats.
Old 07-26-2018, 10:16 AM
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As others have mentioned, at a minimum I would get a 20' C-Hawk, May-Craft Etc..

You'll notice the "bay" boats have very low sides, as we call it "freeboard". These are designed for the inland water and bays of SC, GA, FL that are more protected. Its easy to get out in the chesapeake bay chasing rockfish and be 8-10 miles from any land. You don't want to be 8 miles out in one of those bay boats when a summer T storm pops up.

Get a 22 or 23' of the same make if you can afford/tow it (The 20' will be tough behind a minivan, you'll need an SUV or small pickup).
Old 07-26-2018, 10:22 AM
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I fish the lower bay in a 21’ Hydra Sports CC with a modified V Hull. I watch all the weather, wind and wave reports like a hawk, pick my days and then keep alert while I’m on the water for when it turns south, which can happen pretty quick. Some days are definitely wetter than others. A 20’ should be just fine as long as you your homework.
Old 07-26-2018, 12:25 PM
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Default 23’ Maycraft Cape Classic

I have only had it less than 2 months but has turned out to be the perfect boat for what you are talking about doing. For the money I could not find anything built as nice..and its only 2400lbs and drafts 13”
Old 07-27-2018, 07:34 AM
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Bay boats are just fine, you'll be out in the same stuff the 20' parkers and maycrafts are in, the difference is you will be wetter particularly when going slow as I often did to scan areas with sonar, that low bow will let a good bit of water over the deck if it's rough. As for running, if it's rough and windy you'll get just as wet as most other 20' boats in a cross wind, maybe a bit more depending on the hull you get.

I had a Key west bay reef 196 for many years. it rode great, even in the rough stuff. Guests always commented how well it rode for a bay boat and how dry it was. Easy to trailer and launch my self. Had it on just about every square mile of the bay and in the ocean as well. The key wests, sea pro's and the like get their hull and running surface from their larger cousins. They just have lower sides and casting decks.

I recall one day jigging off the mouth of the Choptank in some rough stuff, boat was fine, we were just getting wet as others were too. Decided to do something else and ended up running back a shallow marsh and fishing for trout in a foot of water using the casting decks and trolling motor. That kind of speaks to the versatility of a bay boat.

Get a bay boat if you like the shallow water inshore thing, kinda like bass fishing, but want the capability to run out into the bay or ocean when you want. if it's all bay/ocean, get the parker, JB, May-craft, Judge type ride with the higher bow and sides.

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