: This may be the year...
For me and a flats boat to get to know each other :smokin:
I figure the poling is a good ab workout and it helps me work on the tan at the same time. Oh and then there are those fishy things out there to play with. Or maybe just go out and have a relaxing day on the water with friends.
Anyway I think I will investigate it whether I spring for it or not, couldn't hurt to know what the choices are.
Feel free to 'jade' me with your experiences with flats boats...
Well, the first time I poled a flats boat I think Larry got dizzy. I had a hard time keeping in sight of the fish. But I'm really getting better . . . even successfully tracking some of those fast moving, aggressive Keys bones. Great fun if you have a sense of humor and a little patience.
02-25-2007, 08:57 AM
I'd be willing to let you practice your poling skills with me on the bow.
02-25-2007, 09:16 AM
I'd be happy to share my thoughts with you on the advantages and disadvantages of flats boats. I've owned an 18' Hewes Redfisher for 10 seasons. The last 4 years the boat has been moored in Stage Harbor, Chatham Ma., and before that it was docked in Westport Connecticut. After I retired I worked weekends for a couple of years at the marina in Westport and sold Hewes/ Maverick /Pathfinder boats.
Flats boats have advantages and disadvantages. They are great for shallow water fishing but their shallow draft and low freeboard make them a poor choice for fishing in rough conditions. Having said that I once had a guide take me a mile outside of the Southway in his 18' Hewes Redfisher in 6' seas. The waves were breaking a mile offshore.Every boat is a compromise and flats boats are no exception.
If you still think a flats boat is what you want here are some issues to think about. Some pole better than others. Some handle rough water better than others. Some have less draft than others and some can carry more passengers than others.
The first thing you need to do is identify your requirements:
-Where will you use the boat? If you use the boat on the Cape you probably need a boat that can handle a 2 or 3 foot chop and not drown you with spray. I often fish the open beach and you need a boat that can handle the ride back if it starts to get rough. If you want to fish the rips you need a boat that can handle rougher water.
- How many passengers do you plan on carrying? The more passengers the bigger the boat you need. Since people tend to bring a lot of gear you need to make sure the boat has enough storage. I don't like anything left on deck because loose fly line will find it and it will always happen at some critical point.
-Will you do a lot of poling? If you plan on much poling a lighter, a smaller boat is desireable or you will get a really good ab workout . The lighter smaller boats also usually have shallower drafts. Trolling motors are an alternative to poling but I don't like them on the flats.
There are many other factors to consider such as range, trailering issues, etc. but I think the items listed above are a good start.
A boat like my 18' Redfisher is a good compromise for the Cape. I suggest you check out Maverick's user forum as they have very open discussions about the company's boats and also thier competitors boat's and there is much discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of flats boats. And no I don't sell boats any more and the dealer I worked for got out of the boating business a couple of years ago.
I'll be happy to answer any specific questions you may have. Just thinking about a new boat is lots of fun. Enjoy the process.
02-25-2007, 06:12 PM
Exciting stuff. There is certainly no lack of choices. Dan certainly laid it out that in the NE everything is a comprimise and you need to choose the boat that will do what you want most of the time. The latest FFSW has a pretty exhaustive list for a great starting point.
Personally I am looking to use my boat less this season during the summer. Last few seasons the boat was new and I spent a lot of great summer days searching the water when I could have been standing knee deep doing what intially attracted me to this sport. Not saying I am looking to stop boating as I love chasing tunoids, fishing structure and those great predawn runs that really clear the brain. But IMO NE sightfishing can be achieved pretty well on foot and choosing a flats boat that wouldn't do those other things well wouldn't be the choice for me. However, I like Fred would gladly offer up guniea pig status and would even offer to try some time on the platform. That may be the only way I ever pick up a fish before you do!
Curious to hear your thoughts on the trolling motors. I was very close to adding troll n' tabs to my boat this year but didn't like the bill that would have come with them. I have seen a few guys using bow mounts in CCB that appeared to be getting the job done. Poling my rig is not an option (20' Jones).
I'm really hoping to put a trolling motor on my boat this year. I'm hoping to use it both tracking rocky shorelines casting as well as moving across flats. If you don't get a response here, hopefully I'll be able to give you some real world feedback this summer.
02-25-2007, 08:23 PM
Sounds good Nick. I have a friend that has a nice 101lb thrust bow mount on his 18ft Lund and it is very effective for working structure, shorelines and even sneaking up on busting fish in the bay. I haven't had the opportunity to see it in action on the flats. I am starting to see them more and more on the fishing shows including a few recent shows with Permit and Bones. Hard to tell if that is the sponsorship dollars from Minn Kota or actual benefits in performance.
Just take my Riptide on a trial or two and let me know if you'd like to hang on to it. On a business trip but on return let's hook up down your way... Redbones or S&S deli for breakfast etc. I'll bring it down.
Sounds like a plan to me. No real rush, but I'd like to get it on this spring some time. We can hook up next time your in the area.
Did you make it to the NE boat show?
02-26-2007, 08:42 AM
My comment regarding trolling motors was my "opinion" based on comments from my friends and my experience "poling" on the flats. But I have never used a trolling motor on my boat because I don't want to add another piece of machinery and lose storage to a couple of more batteries.
I think trolling motors are great when you are in more than 3' of water. In fact my experience has been that my outboard does not spook fish in 4' of water. The fish move away from the boat but once you turn the engine off the fish will move back and start hitting a fly. How ever when I get in very shallow water the fish get much more skitterish. It can be very hard to get near them even when poling and I just think the noise of a trolling motor will cause problems. Personally I love to stalk the shallows and some how poling makes it seem more exciting because you are moving the boat yourself.
However in your case because of the weight of your boat I would recommend a trolling motor because I think it would give you the mobility you need in shallow water. Even if you scare some fish in shallow water it will still catch you more fish in the long run. One of the guides I know down in Chatham installed a trolling motor last year. Next time I see him I'll ask him how it's worked out on the flats.
When ever I give someone my opinion I'm always reminded of a day on a local pond when I told my younger brother to stop wasting his time casting into 10" of water. Two seconds after those words were out of my mouth he hooked and landed a 6 pound largemouth bass. Sometimes we think we know more then we actually do. Ive been fishing for over 60 years and still have a lot to learn.
02-26-2007, 11:19 AM
When I lived in La. I had a 14 ft. Weld Craft with a 30 Mercury. I used to fish the shallow marshes with a trolling motor. It was awesome! I could get up on the wake in a foot of water with the soft bottom marsh. I nerver used a push pole, just the bow mounted trolling motor. That Mercury motor nerver missed a beat and started right up on the first crank every time. Man, I miss that boat.
02-26-2007, 11:22 AM
Here is one thing to keep in mind.
You can run a trolling motor and fish at the same time.
You can't poll and fish at the same time. You are doing one or the other.
02-27-2007, 09:29 PM
I have fished from a wide range of skiffs over the years. In terms of shallow-water capability vs. sea-kindliness the boats that people call flats skiffs cover a pretty wide range. For several years I had, and loved, a tunnel hulled skiff (Pathfinder 17T) down in the 10,000 Islands. When conditions allow, I feel no other type of boat approaches them for pure fishing joy. I think a good anaology is motorcycle vs. car: when things are right, they are in a class way by themselves; mother nature can collect her dues at a moments notice; at times/places, they are not an option.
My impressions from your posts: you should have a flats skiff. Make sure it has trim tabs ( in a chop you can crank it over and make it pretend it has an entry); 12 V tolling motor is plenty for ajusting casting angle or re-positioning drift; fishing alone from a poling platform doesn't work out very often; get good foul-wx gear and put in oversize bilge pumps.
02-28-2007, 10:39 AM
Hmmm, I think that in the NE waters, if you have any kind of run out to the fishing grounds, the option of standing for both the Capt. and the passengers is a must. A center console takes up space, but 3" of foam doesn't help in 3' of chop. This would be my main concern about a poling skiff. Most captains stand while running most passengers suffer in silence.
"Bay" boats really aren't technical poling skiffs....can't have everything. For NE, I thing a 20' bay boat with a trolling motor would work well.
Since use can be limited but the benefits can be greatly appreciated, I find the cost benefit ratio for a flats skiff for Cape Cod is acceptable for the following in order.
Florida Sportsman also has a Shallow Water Angler magazine & forum with great info.
03-24-2007, 07:11 AM
Finally bumped into the captain with the trolling motor. He indicated he was pretty happy with the motor. He has a bow mount on a 21' boat. He can not get as shallow as he did when he was poling a flats boat, but said that as long as he runs the motor slow he has been very succesful working the shallow water around Monomoy. Hope that helps.