This may be the year... - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 02-24-2007, 05:04 PM
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juro juro is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Steelhead country|striper coast|bonefish belt
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This may be the year...

For me and a flats boat to get to know each other

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...
IFFF Certified THCI @ 2005
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and Founder, Worldwide Flyfishing Forum
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Old 02-25-2007, 12:32 AM
wrke wrke is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Many. From NE salt, Russia, Canadian A Salmon, NW Steelhead, Bahamas, Keys. Live in Upstate NY
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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.
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Old 02-25-2007, 07:57 AM
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FredA FredA is offline
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I'd be willing to let you practice your poling skills with me on the bow.
Fred A.
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Old 02-25-2007, 08:16 AM
Redfisher Redfisher is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Monomoy
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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.

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Old 02-25-2007, 05:12 PM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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Location: Rhode Island
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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).


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Old 02-25-2007, 06:39 PM
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Nick Nick is offline
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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.

Well, I'm on the Downeaster Alexa, and I'm cruisin' through Block Island Sound.
I have chartered a course for the Vineyard, but tonight I am Nantucket bound.
-Billy Joel "Downeaster Alexa"
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Old 02-25-2007, 07:23 PM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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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.

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