Shipoke Custom Boatworks has been around since 1973, producing functional skiffs that offer anglers a smooth ride. In 2011, the company made several modifications to its 18-foot model. The result is a skiff that can quickly transport you to the flats even when conditions are less than favorable. Once you reach skinny waters, the boat becomes the perfect platform from which to stalk just about any shallow-water species you can think of. The Shipoke 18 provides the versatility that modern fly-anglers demand.
Design and Construction
The original Shipoke 18-foot hull weighed 1,300 pounds, but with 1708 biaxial cloth laminate, it now weighs only 900 pounds. This weight loss drastically reduced the draft of the boat and made it much easier to pole. In addition, the original wood stringer was swapped with a fiberglass stringer grid that’s bonded to the hull, double taped with 1708 biaxial tape and then injected with foam.
In the bow, a sealed compartment built to hold four batteries was added. This area not only keeps your batteries out of the bilge but also offsets the weight of heavier contemporary engines and rigging items such as jack plates and stick poles. Under the gunwale, rod holders can accommodate eight fly rods, including ones up to 13 feet in the tubes built below the deck.
Fly-fishermen will be pleased to see that Shipoke incorporated a flip-up bow light and payed close attention to components like pop-up cleats to prevent snags. The company also machined its push-pole holders specifically to prevent fly lines from getting hung up.
Running and Fishing
Shipoke builders recognized that picture-perfect sea conditions aren’t realistic every day of the year, so they made a conscious effort to construct a boat that would incorporate 20 degrees of deadrise in the hull. This design allows you to operate the skiff comfortably and safely in calm and choppy conditions. Run this skiff once, and you’ll realize that this boat not only has the ability to get up and go but is also very responsive at the wheel. Once you reach the fishing grounds and take to the poling platform, you’ll be able to quietly pole in water as shallow as 10 inches. Casters will love the Roost, a casting platform on the bow featuring an articulating stripping basket for line management. And the deck is treated with Awlgrip and Griptex nonskid so you can remain sure-footed while doing battle with large fish.
WEIGHT: 900 lbs.
FUEL: 29 gals.
MAX HP: 150
Shipoke Custom Boatworks / Safety Harbor, Florida / 727-560-7688 / www.shipokeboats.com