While some boatbuilders have scaled back new-model introductions in recent months, Hell’s Bay Boatworks recently unveiled its latest creation, the Neptune. The skiff ranks as the largest built to date by Hell’s Bay, and it rounds out a full complement of 10 shallow-water offerings now available from the company.
The Neptune is a big-water flats boat designed for serious fishing. It stretches to 18 feet, 8 inches in length and has a 78-inch beam. Yet even with a 150-HO hp Evinrude E-Tech outboard and a full tank of gas, it draws only 10 inches of water on the flats.
Design and Construction
Hell’s Bay’s lead designer and sales director Tom Gordon has been working on the Neptune for 2½ years and says the boat should prove popular among a number of anglers, including hardcore tarpon fishermen and tournament anglers competing in the big redfish events. “It’s the first Hell’s Bay designed around speed,” Gordon says.
Indeed, this boat will move. Featuring vacuum-bagged Core-Cell construction, along with a carbon-fiber stringer system and vinylester resins, the Neptune’s hull checks in at only 795 pounds. When matched with either a 115 or 150 hp outboard, that means only one thing: serious mph.
Rigged and wired to ABYC standards, the Neptune is available in a wide variety of hull and deck colors and features carpeted sides, rod racks and Lenco trim tabs. Also standard is an easy-clean, nonskid deck, heavy-duty rub rails and a custom aluminum trailer with a spare tire, LED lights and a 12-inch-wide custom walk board.
Inside, the boat provides anglers tons of dry storage as well, with all hatches equipped with rubber gaskets and spring-loaded Moonlite springs.
Running and Fishing
But how does the boat run and fish? As with any Hell’s Bay, it’ll stack up well against any competitor. And with a 38-gallon aluminum-baffled powder-coated gas tank, it has the ability to take on large expanses of water.
The Neptune’s spray rails are incorporated directly into the hull, which helps generate a smooth ride even in rough conditions while being pushed at high levels of speed by the powerful outboard options. Yet maneuver this boat onto the flats, and it turns into a nimble fishing machine.
Equipped with Stiffy push-pole holders, the Neptune also features under-gunwale rod tubes capable of holding 10 fly rods. An anodized polling platform with SeaDek coating offers great traction and stability for slinking around in the shallows, and anglers on the bow will appreciate its wide beam and walkaround gunwales. The Neptune even has a 30-gallon livewell plumbed with two pumps that cycle 800 gallons of water per hour.
This boat is built for serious inshore anglers. It’s certainly big and fast – but it’s also quiet and discreet. That’s a tough combination to beat.
Draft……10″ (w/ fuel and 150 hp OB)
Weight……795 lbs. (dry)
Max HP……150 hp OB
**(w/ Evinrude 150-HO E-Tech OB)
Hell’s Bay Boatworks / Titusville, Florida / 321-383-8223 / www.hellsbayboatworks.com