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Jan 23rd, 2013
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New Guy with Boat Question #13157156 05/17/19 12:54 PM
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drysideshooter Offline OP
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New guy here. My wife and I live in eastern Washington. For the past several years we have been going to the Pensacola area to charter redfish trips a couple times a year. Starting this year we would like to start spending a month or two somewhere down south, and we both like Texas, especially the Port O'Connor area.

We fish about 5 days a week at home and have a typical NW heavy welded aluminum boat. We are interested in getting a boat to leave stored down south. Our primary interest is being able to target redfish year around, especially in the winter when we would spend the most time there. Because we like the RV park there, and the area overall, we will probably base out of Port O'Connor. We also like that area as there seems to be a good opportunity for redfish year round.

I would genuinely appreciate boat suggestions. New or late model used. Right now I'm leaning towards a Hewes Redfisher 18. We do enjoy fly fishing in addition to light tackle, and the Redfisher is well set up for that. Not really worried about poling ability or getting quite that skinny. I've looked at boat like Haynie's, Shallowsports, Majek, Shoalwater, etc. as well and realize some of them are made specifically for the Texas Gulf inshore fishing. It will just be the wife and I. I would prefer to spend no more than 50k. It's been years since we have done any fishing at Port O'Connor, but from what I recall, there is plenty of fairly protected shallower water areas to fish. Would prefer something that can handle some chop and remain somewhat dry and comfortable for bay crossings. Don't want to go as small and light as something like a technical poling skiff. Thinking much more flats type boat, but wonder if a bay boat would be more versatile and still have the ability to go shallow enough? One boat that I have always liked that is only available used is the Maverick Master Angler 21.

Any thoughts and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157205 05/17/19 01:27 PM
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The endless boat debate. Especially when you're discussing POC.
First thing, everything on a boat is a compromise, you'll get A but give up B.
Winter fishing here is when the back lakes catch fire.
It's also when the water levels are their lowest.
So your first compromise:
You can run shallow, or you can run smooth. Both is really not the option.
Poling skiffs look just dandy. Few people own one for very long here, they just aren't practical. Why? The wind blows. Hard.
Most of the fishing is really done two ways: you drift areas, you wade spots. Why low sided scooter hulls are so popular, they have two advantages: low profile so the wind doesn't push you like a empty chip bag, and no sides makes it much easier to drag your carcass in and out after a wade.
I run an aluminum scooter, I'll never run a fiberglass hull here, for a couple reasons, the first is oyster reefs, we're covered up with them, and they'll shred a glass hull, I just bash them and head on down the road.
My advice, don't buy anything until you try some different things out first. Until you know, you'll never understand.


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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157211 05/17/19 01:32 PM
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The Redfisher 18 is a nice polling skiff, but take it from someone who fishes with his wife a lot, I think she would be happier in a 20-24 foot bay boat. A bay boat is definitely more versatile than a flats skiff and more stable in rough water. This Mako ( https://www.makoboats.com/boat/?boat=4662 ) is built on the tried and true Kenner hull and would be a great choice coming in under your budget. Other boats you could look at are Sea Hunt, Pathfinder, Sportsman or Edgewater (and many others). You can get a lot more boat if you are willing to look at used.

I like versatility and much prefer a Carolina flair on a bay boat. Boats with this style hull take waves better. My first bay boat was the Nitro 21.5' bay boat, which was the first boat branded differently after Tracker Marine purchased Kenner. It's almost the same boat as the Mako linked above. I fished it all over the Texas coast and all over the Florida Keys. It did very well on the flats, in the bay, and I often took it 20 miles offshore in the Atlantic.

Also consider staying under budget so you can allow for Power-Poles and a trolling motor.


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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157251 05/17/19 01:58 PM
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I fish an Xpress H20Bay with Yamaha 115, 70lb 24v trolling. I fish the SouthEast Texas area Sabine, Keith, Johnson Lakes and Galveston Bay area. I chose Xpress because all weld Aluminum and like other gent said oyster beds etc.... Wind is issue and on larger bays wind can produce serious chop reason for bay style boat. I have been really happy with it only thing I did not add that I am getting ready to is a hydraulic jack plate to allow for shallow water running and take off to plane in shallow water. It will never go a shallow as I would like but I is currently getting job done. I can fish jetties, few miles off shore or along sand bars on really calm offshore. I can fish bays, I can fish the marshes, rivers and also take it bass fishing up to Rayburn or Toledo Bend. No glass to buff and polish scrub brush and bucket soapy water and good to go on cleaning.

Another boat type i really like is ShoalWater and Shallow Sport (ShoalWater is made in Port O'Conner) due to hull style they can run really shallow offer huge casting decks and do ok in rough water in Bays. I did not get one due to price, more than I wanted to spend but if I had the money I would have gone with ShoalWater.


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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157407 05/17/19 04:31 PM
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Thanks for the information and advice, it's greatly appreciated. We have been on a lot of bay boats, and run our welded aluminum boat in fresh and salt. My concern with most bay boats is the draft. My wife is tough, and loves to fish. We fish in some pretty horrible weather for winter steelhead, and she never complains. Of course we have a heated enclosed cabin she can escape in to. We fish, on average, about 5 days a week in the NW. She giggles like a school girl when she is fighting redfish in Florida.

It's interesting you mentioned the Xpress ST1300. That's another line I think looks very interesting, especially their 20 or 22 shallow bay. I spent 33 years in Alaska and all of my boats there were welded aluminum, mostly jets, and all but one boat we've owned in the NW has been welded aluminum. I do like the idea that if you hit something like an oyster bar with an aluminum boat it's less of a bid deal than with a glass boat. We fish Hells Canyon a lot for salmon and steelhead with a friend in his Duckworth jet. It's banged some rocks pretty good. I do like that aspect of aluminum.

Especially based on what Pat Goff said about the back lake fishing being good in winter when water is most shallow, we are certainly willing to give up some comfort to get where the fish are. How shallow does a boat need to run to get to a reasonable number of fish? What months are typically considered the best during winter? After some winter steelhead fishing, winter is when we most want to spend some time down south. Can anyone recommend a good shallow water guide?

ST1300, I'm guessing your screen name is a reference to a Honda ST1300? I'm a big distance and adventure riding guy. Mostly BMW GS's the past several years. I have a GS Adventure I'm planning to ride to a friends in Tyler Texas and leave there for a while.

Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157427 05/17/19 04:55 PM
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I am in Round Rock north of Austin. I keep my boat at my Dad's place between Beaumont and Port Arthur. Yes I own a 2012 ST1300 and had a ST1100 before that. I am familiar with Tyler I fished Bass and Crappie on Lake Fork just North of their. I am going to be on Keith Lake and Johnson Lake tomorrow looking for Reds, Specs, and Flounder.

Last edited by ST1300; 05/17/19 04:56 PM.

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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: ST1300] #13157469 05/17/19 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by ST1300
I am in Round Rock north of Austin. I keep my boat at my Dad's place between Beaumont and Port Arthur. Yes I own a 2012 ST1300 and had a ST1100 before that. I am familiar with Tyler I fished Bass and Crappie on Lake Fork just North of their. I am going to be on Keith Lake and Johnson Lake tomorrow looking for Reds, Specs, and Flounder.



I stopped in Beaumont on my way to ride the Great River Road from NOLA to Minnesota a couple years ago. I really like that area. I remember some folks in a cafť in Beaumont telling me that I wouldn't need to see the Welcome to Louisiana sign because I would know I was there because the road maintenance would stop at the Texas border. They weren't kidding.

The Shoalwater 19 is sure a cool looking boat for a couple. If we felt like exploring up and down the coast a bit, is there decent water for a boat like that?

We are taking off Sunday for a few day bass and walleye fishing trip. The spawn is over locally, so we're heading north a bit where the bass spawn is just starting to take off and lasts longer. Will probably take crappie gear too. A friend caught a 16" slab crappie yesterday. Probably the biggest I've ever seen. We had some great days during the more local bass spawn. Quite a few 30+ fish days, with a good number of 5lb+ smallies.

I can really see the advantage of a boat like the Shoalwaters in the wind, not a lot of freeboard to act like a sail and get pushed around. How are they about shedding water that ends up in the cockpit? I assume forward momentum get's it up enough for the water to drain?

Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157477 05/17/19 05:33 PM
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Hate to be the buzz kill of this party but you guys fishing Galveston and east just have a way different needs than poc and south. Not having True shallow abilities will keep you out of 70% of the water you want to get in.

Nobody is going to catch anything in 4Ē of water but if you canít run through four you canít get to the eighteenth thatís holding.


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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: Pat Goff] #13157497 05/17/19 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat Goff
Hate to be the buzz kill of this party but you guys fishing Galveston and east just have a way different needs than poc and south. Not having True shallow abilities will keep you out of 70% of the water you want to get in.

Nobody is going to catch anything in 4” of water but if you can’t run through four you can’t get to the eighteenth that’s holding.


That's what my friend in Tyler said. He said you typically have to get through more shallow water than what you will actually be fishing in. Not much different than river jets around here.

Pat Goff, do you think something like a Shoalwater 19 will run shallow enough to get to a fair number of fish in the POC area? My buddy from Tyler has said he thinks there is enough skinny water around POC and close by to keep someone busy exploring for several years? Is there a good POC guide you can suggest for a skinny water fishing trip? I really appreciate the help.

Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157520 05/17/19 05:56 PM
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Shoalwater makes a capable hull for sure.
Chris at Bay Flats lodge is your man in charge, or Nathan who posts on the inshore page here.

Here's satellite of what you're looking at, most of the passes between the lakes are micro thin, you're not getting into them without at least a proper setup tunnel hull.

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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157537 05/17/19 06:08 PM
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I have a CC Wellcraft, Deep V hull and it's built strong. I personally do not care for flat bottom boats,altho have their own purpose. To each his own.
I bay fish here, Galveston area and tend to get into some rough water at times. Some hull designs will just beat you to pieces in rough water and everything in the fron of the boat will wind up in back of the boat. Not for me at all. But that's just me. Got to thinking...why target just Redfish? The Gulf Coast has a lot to offer ya know. What ever you decide to get...stay safe and good luck. Oh, one more thing. How are you planning to store your sled down there? In a warehouse up high or in a sling? During Hurricane season the waters tend to get real high. A boat getting squashed up in the roof is not good. Rants over!! BTW: Reds are all over the place, not just in skinny water.


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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: V-Bottom] #13157557 05/17/19 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by V-Bottom
I have a CC Wellcraft, Deep V hull and it's built strong. I personally do not care for flat bottom boats,altho have their own purpose. To each his own.
I bay fish here, Galveston area and tend to get into some rough water at times. Some hull designs will just beat you to pieces in rough water and everything in the fron of the boat will wind up in back of the boat. Not for me at all. But that's just me. Got to thinking...why target just Redfish? The Gulf Coast has a lot to offer ya know. What ever you decide to get...stay safe and good luck. Oh, one more thing. How are you planning to store your sled down there? In a warehouse up high or in a sling? During Hurricane season the waters tend to get real high. A boat getting squashed up in the roof is not good. Rants over!! BTW: Reds are all over the place, not just in skinny water.


Thanks for the satellite image. Very cool.

V-bottom we fish for salmon, especially King (Chinook) a lot, both in the salt and fresh during their spawn migrations. We really enjoy the fight of salmon and steelhead, as well as bass with the right tackle, though that's much less exhilarating than salmon or steelhead. We typically go offshore tuna fishing a time or two a year in the NW as well, and though we enjoy eating them, it's about the fun of the fight. Redfish provides that same type of fun for us. Great takedowns and a good fight. We've enjoyed catching Sheepshead, Snapper and other saltwater fish, but we both just really enjoy fishing for the reds. Part of the appeal of POC, other than we like the size and the area, is several folks have told us it's some of the best year around fishing for reds. Any other suggestions would be most appreciated.


Planning to store any boat we get indoors at a friends place in Texas.

Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: Pat Goff] #13157568 05/17/19 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Pat Goff
Hate to be the buzz kill of this party but you guys fishing Galveston and east just have a way different needs than poc and south. Not having True shallow abilities will keep you out of 70% of the water you want to get in.

Nobody is going to catch anything in 4Ē of water but if you canít run through four you canít get to the eighteenth thatís holding.

Good advice is not a buzzkill. My advice was based on my style of fishing and fishing a lot with the wife. Elizabeth is tough, but she still needs more comfort than I do in a boat. We primarily fish out of Rockport, and yes, Galveston. Only time I have fished POC was out of Bay Flats Lodge.


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Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157579 05/17/19 06:45 PM
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I forgot to mention Sturgeon. We really enjoy fishing for oversize Sturgeon. We enjoy keep sized for eating, but nothing like the fight of a big one.

I'm looking at my Navionics charts of the POC area online. I can see a lot of 7' and deeper water. Are redfish available year around in the deeper water though? A bay boat would have some appeal, but not at the expense of not being able to enjoy as good of fishing. We have fished from a friends Sportsman 247 Bay a few times, and a Pathfinder he had prior to that. In rougher water or in big swells around jetties I personally don't enjoy being on a shallow casting deck on a bay boat. For those kind of conditions my preference would be a CC with more freeboard, though they get pushed around more in the wind. Of course with anchor lock on the right troller and boat positioning can overcome some of that. We have an troller with iPilot on our boat at home and I've been surprised how well it can hold in some pretty adverse conditions. Is a deeper V CC capable of getting on fish most of the year though? I know the right boat could open up the possibility to head out to some of the rigs and such on decent days. My buddy in Tyler has just been adamant about the shallow back lakes being the place for year round fishing, but it sounds like maybe there is ample other opportunity? As tough as my wife is, something with a bit more comfort and freeboard certainly wouldn't break her heart.

Re: New Guy with Boat Question [Re: drysideshooter] #13157588 05/17/19 06:56 PM
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I can go deep.
You canít go shallow.
One day sight fishing reds will usually change opinions.


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