Top Flats Fishing Boats | Salt Water Sportsman

Top Flats Boats

Parade of outstanding shallow-water fishing machines.

The EVO was built to dominate South Florida’s flats fishing scene.

East Cape's latest big-water skiff, the new EVO.

Courtesy East Cape Skiffs

East Cape EVO

According to the folks at East Cape Skiffs, this flats boat was built to dominate South Florida’s flats fishing scene, much of which centers around the wide-open oceanside shallows of Biscayne Bay and the Keys, where stiff winds and a moderate chop are commonplace. Built to take sizeable waves while still providing a soft, comfortable ride, with its massive built-in spray rails keeping spray to an absolute minimum, the EVO is also fast, extremely maneuverable, and it floats and poles shallow enough to chase tailers pushing up the skinniest of waters. Dry storage is extensive, and the massive round livewell, conveniently located in the middle of the aft deck, enables anglers to carry a substantial supply of baitfish for live-baiting mangrove shorelines or inlets and passes. As with all East Cape Skiff models, every EVO is a custom build, and the layout may include anything from a side console to a tower with elevated helm, to the classic center console with bench-style seating or a removable leaning post.

Specifications

Length: 17’9”
Beam: 6’7”
Draft: 7" - 9”
Weight: Not disclosed
Fuel: 35 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

Action Craft’s Pocket Drive allows the 1820 to take off and run in very shallow water.

Action Craft offers its 1820 Flatsmaster with either a fiberglass or Kevlar-Carbon Fiber hull.

Courtesy Action Craft

Action Craft 1820 Flatsmaster

Action Craft has long touted its high performance, modified-V hull, which the builder designed with 17 degrees of deadrise to provide a stable, comfortable, and dry ride even while crossing choppy bay waters. Action Craft’s Pocket Drive allows the 1820 to take off and run in very shallow water. The gunwales are 12 inches wide to easily follow a hooked fish around the boat and, just like the casting decks fore and aft, they boast a modified diamond nonslip finish for sure footing even in rough water or rainy weather. In addition, the spacious cockpit is self-draining, and the ergonomic center console incorporates an insulated cooler under the forward seat. Other key features include sizeable livewell and dry storage capacity, undergunwale rod racks with tubes to protect the tips of eight rods as long as 10 feet, and a rear bench that affords seating for three, with a backrest that folds down flush with the aft deck, expanding the raised casting area and adding extra fishing room in back of the boat.

Specifications

Length: 18’2”
Beam: 7’
Draft: 8" - 10”
Weight: 975 lb. (fiberglass) - 775 lb. (Kevlar/Carbon Fiber)
Fuel: 36 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

The Dragonfly’s sensuous curves evoke memories of classic yacht design.

The Dragonfly 17 is the perfect blend of today's modern construction and materials with the classic lines of yesterday.

Courtesy Dragonfly Boatworks

Dragonfly 17

The Dragonfly’s sensuous curves evoke memories of classic yacht design, like the mahogany sportfishers of yesteryear. Only this flats skiff is constructed of tough, modern materials in a perfect blend of tradition and the latest technology. The long list of standard features includes safe-tee steering, Lenco trim tabs, plumbed livewell with quick change pump, poling platform, recessed push-pole holders and hand holds, and rod storage below the gunwales.

SPECIFICATIONS

Length: 17’
Beam: 6’8"
Draft: 8"
Weight: 700 lb.
Fuel: 24 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: $27,000 (base boat)

Beavertail Skiffs considers the 17 BT Strike the Swiss Army Knife of its boat lineup.

With its unique semi-tunnel hull, and rated for up to 90hp, the 17 BT Strike jumps up quickly and races across the skinniest flats.

Courtesy Beavertail Skiffs

Beavertail 17 BT Strike

Beavertail considers this the Swiss Army Knife of its boat lineup. The builder claims it can take the rough oceanside conditions often encountered when targeting tarpon in Florida during the annual migration, and also run and pole easily on shallow, backcountry flats to stalk tailing redfish and bonefish. Stealth is a major virtue of the Strike, which Beavertail built to enable anglers to pole silently into position and cast to wary game fish with two to three anglers aboard. This third generation Beavertail was designed to deliver tons of storage and a truly dry ride, thanks to the huge flared bow inspired by Carolina sport fishing yachts. With a unique semi-tunnel hull, and rated for up to 90hp, the builder promises this boat will jump up and race across the skinniest flats without leaving you high-and-dry. Rod racks under both gunwales, trim tabs, jack plate with 4-inch setback, custom poling platform, and an 8-gallon crustacean well with clear lid to keep tabs on the bait are among the boat’s many features.

SPECIFICATIONS

Length: 17’6"
Beam: 6’1"
Draft: 6"- 8"
Weight: 550 lb.
Fuel: 20 gal.
Max HP: 90
Price: $30,000 (base boat)

Stealth and shallow draft are the cornerstones of the Chittum 18 Legacy.

Chittum's Islamorada 18 Legacy is a full size skiff that weighs a mere 400 pounds.

Courtesy Chittum Skiffs

Chittum Islamorada 18 Legacy

Stealth and shallow draft are the cornerstones of this full size skiff, built on a patented hull that weighs a mere 400 pounds before rigging and incorporates massive built-in spray rails for a super dry ride, a staggered split chine below the waterline for silent poling, and a radius transom (with no sponsons) to prevent rebound waves that may spook fish. The 18 Legacy is offered in two hull forms: the S with 12-degree deadrise and the SS with 2-degree deadrise, both loaded with features like a "floating" center console with 360-degree toe kick and forward seat with a large insulated ice chest, hydraulic steering, trim tabs, two large aft dry storage lockers, aft anchor/dry storage compartment, 14-rod racks under the gunnels with rod tubes fore and aft, 30-gallon baitwell/release well, carbon-fiber poling platform with with SeaDek, LED lighting in all compartments, wells, console and under gunnels, custom stainless steel and aluminum trailer with walk boards, and more.

Specifications

Length: 18’
Beam: 6’8"
Draft: 6"- 8"
Weight: 400 lb.
Fuel: 31 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

The Dolphin 18 Backcountry Pro's deep-V hull cuts through a chop, and requires only 10-inches of water to float.

Powered by a 150hp outboard, the Dolphin 18 Backcountry Pro reaches speeds of up to 55 mph.

Courtesy Dolphin Boats

Dolphin 18 Backcountry Pro

Tarpon and backcountry guides from Jupiter to Key West have been fishing aboard the 18 Backcountry Pro for over twenty years and brag about its stability in open bays and inlets, the way the deep-V hull cuts through a chop, and the 10-inches of water it only requires to float. With a maximum horsepower rating of 150, this boat tops at around 55 mph, so it’s easy to reach hot spots deep in the backcountry in time for the morning bite, and pick up the family to water ski or dive the patch reefs in the afternoon. Extensive standard features include waterproof switches with circuit breakers, hydraulic steering, trim tabs, cockpit lighting under gunnels and inside livewell and aft storage compartment, in-floor cast net compartment, large dry storage compartments fore and aft, 2 oval livewells (39 gallons combined) with high-speed pickup, storage racks with tubes for 10 rods under the gunnels, poling Platform, recessed push-pole holders, and more.

Specifications

Length: 17’10"
Beam: 7’7"
Draft: 10"
Weight: 950 lb.
Fuel: 27 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

The 1622 Flyfisher, the smallest member of Action Craft's inshore boat fleet, features the builder’s famous QuiDry hull.

The rear bench on Action Craft's 1622 Flyfisher incorporates a backrest that folds down flush to extend the aft casting deck.

Courtesy Action Craft

Action Craft 1622 Flyfisher

The 1622 Flyfisher, the smallest member of Action Craft's inshore boat fleet, features the builder’s famous QuiDry hull, for a dry, comfortable ride and quiet poling with no hull slap to alert fish of the boat’s presence. The Flyfisher's unobstructed, functional layout and the large snag-free deck make it a light-tackle and fly caster's dream. Modified diamond nonskid throughout the decks and gunwales provides sure footing, and rod racks beneath the 14-inch wide gunwales offer room for eight rods up to 10 feet in length, with rod tip tubes forward to ensure their safe storage. A rear bench affords helm seating and the backrest folds down flush with the aft deck, extending the rear casting area for extra fishing room.

Specifications

Length: 16’2"
Beam: 7’
Draft: 7"- 9"
Weight: 930 lb.
Fuel: 26 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

Designed with the basic principles of shallow water angling in mind, the Hells Bay Waterman offers a lightweight Kevlar hull with high-quality components .

The Hells Bay Waterman offers serious performance and topnotch construction at an entry level price.

Courtesy Hells Bay Boatworks

Hells Bay Waterman

Designed with the basic principles of shallow water angling in mind, this ”no frills” model offers a lightweight Kevlar hull with high-quality components and construction, generous storage, incredibly shallow draft to chase tailing fish in the skinniest of flats, and a quick, dry and comfortable ride with just the push of a 3-cylinder outboard. Standard features include trim tabs, side console with aluminum steering wheel, storage racks with rod tubes for 7 rods below the gunwales, push-pole holders, aluminum poling platform with SeaDek top, aft seat cushions, livewell ready for plumbing, and custom galvanized trailer.

Specifications

Length: 18’
Beam: 6’1"
Draft: 4.5"
Weight: 530 lb.
Fuel: 23 gal.
Max HP: 70
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

The Beavertail Air was designed to handle the big water of open bays, yet still access the shallow flats where trophy fish live.

Designed with a full stepped hull and a maximum power rating of 115 hp, the Beavertail 18 Air provides serious speed and performance.

Courtesy Beavertail Skiffs

Beavertail 18 Air

The Beavertail Air was designed to handle the big water of open bays, yet still access the shallow flats where trophy fish live. Built with tournament anglers at heart, the Air sports 360 degrees of fishability, loads of dry storage, and offers an optional 25-gallon release well. Constructed with the most advanced coring & carbon kevlar materials, the hull is infused to create a solid, yet lightweight structure able to take on the toughest of conditions and still float skinny. And with a full stepped hull and a maximum power rating of 115 horses, Beavertail says the 18-foot Air will get you to the fishing grounds and back fast, dry and in comfort. Key standard features include a large forward casting deck with anchor locker, forward large dry-storage compartment, 30-gallon insulated livewell, two large aft storage compartments which can be plumbed as release wells, trim tabs, jack plate, center console with insulated cooler under forward jump seat, hydraulic steering, undergunnel rod racks for rods up to 10 feet long, and custom poling platform.

Specifications

Length: 18’3"
Beam: 6’5"
Draft: 8"- 10"
Weight: 700 lb.
Fuel: 20 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: $37,000 (base price)

The smaller sibling to Egret’s signature 189 model is still a sizeable platform for inshore anglers to navigate in comfort and fish shallow flats .

The hull of the Egret 167 was design to provide a soft, dry ride, and still float and pole surprisingly skinny.

Courtesy Egret Boats

Egret 167

The smaller sibling to Egret’s signature 189 model is still a sizable platform for inshore anglers to navigate in comfort and fish shallow flats unencumbered. Like the larger 189, this boat reaches considerable speeds and takes on big, open water with gusto. Thanks to the 167’s design, materials and construction, every one that leaves the factory is as light and strong as possible. The hull was design to provide a soft, dry ride, and still float and pole surprisingly skinny. Dry storage at the bow and the rear is both generous and easy to access. Rod lockers along both gunwales include racks that cradle rods pointing fore and aft and prevent tangles. A Ritchie compass, an aluminum poling platform with welded rod holders, trim tabs, hydraulic steering, push-pole holders, cockpit lighting and engine gauges are part of the many standard features.

Specifications

Length: 16’7"
Beam: 7’3"
Draft: 9"
Weight: 800 lb. (fiberglass) - 700 lb. (Kevlar)
Fuel: 41 gal.
Max HP: 140
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

Like all Carolina Skiff boats, the Sea Chaser 180 FS is built tough and unsinkable.

The Sea Chaser 180 FS offers an extensive list of standard features at an affordable price.

Courtesy Carolina Skiff

Sea Chaser 180FS

Like all Carolina Skiff boats, the Sea Chaser 180 FS is built tough and unsinkable, using a wood-free, sealed foam construction process, and each hull is hand-laminated using a combination of woven roving and tridirectional fiberglass. The raised casting decks are roomy and all deck hardware is recessed, like you would expect in a serious flats fishing machine. Rod storage under the gunwales is enough for 10 fly rods, and dry storage space for other gear is also ample. Despite the boat’s affordable price, the list of standard features is so extensive that options are limited to a steering upgrade, a poling platform, hydraulic jack plate, forward-deck livewell and trim tabs.

Specifications

Length: 17’10"
Beam: 7’1"
Draft: 8"
Weight:1,500 lb.
Fuel: 33 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: Contact nearest dealer for price

Its clean, classic lines and traditional accents set the 17’ Willy Classic apart from all other flats boats.

With a newly designed cap, the 17 Willy Classic now offers a larger fore deck, more storage, and improved livewell access.

Courtesy Willy Flats Boats

Willy Roberts 17 Classic

Its clean, classic lines and traditional accents set the 17’ Willy Classic apart from all other flats boats, and the efficient design makes it one of the finest poling skiffs ever made. A key feature of this model, and a major reason for its popularity, is that it produces virtually no hull slap when poled, but this hull does more than float shallow and pole quietly, it also provides a comfortable and quiet ride, as well as a stable platform from which to cast at tailing bonefish and redfish in super shallow water, and battle huge tarpon oceanside or in the passes. A newly designed cap now incorporates a larger fore deck, additional storage and improved livewell access.

Specifications

Length: 17’6"
Beam: 6’6"
Draft: 5"- 6"
Weight:720 lb.
Fuel: 29 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: Contact nearest dealer for price

The latest addition to the Mirage series, the 18 HPX-V.

The front deck of the 18 HPX-V is larger than its predecessor model, providing more fishing room and considerable storage below deck.

Courtesy Maverick Boats

Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V

The latest addition to the Mirage series, is a stable, easy-to-pole skiff that tracks well, is quick out of the hole, and responsive and nimble on the turns. Despite lacking a bow flare, it remains pretty dry even in windy weather. The front deck on the 18 HPX-V is larger than its predecessor model, providing more fishing room and considerable storage below deck. The walk-around gunwales widen toward the front bulkhead, increasing protection for rods in the horizontal racks, which can accommodate as many as six rods on one side and seven on the other. This Mirage’s taller console houses sizable electronics and has a fold-down hatch that slides out for easier access to batteries and wiring. Vertical rod racks and a removable cooler that doubles as a forward seat and matches the console in width and design are available options. Twin in-deck compartments provide ample aft storage and bookend a 30-gallon livewell with dual in-flow system and raw-water, high-speed pickup.

Specifications

Length: 18’4”
Beam: 6’8”
Draft: 9” w/Yamaha F150
Weight: 1,400 lb. w/Yamaha F150
Fuel: 27 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: $53,023 w/Yamaha F115

The workmanship and attention to detail that go into Yellowfin’s offshore center consoles and bay boats is also evident in the 17 CC.

Yellowfin's only venture into the technical poling skiff arena: the 17 CC.

Courtesy Yellowfin Boats

Yellowfin 17 CC

The workmanship and attention to detail that go into Yellowfin’s offshore center consoles and bay boats is also evident in the 17 CC, the company’s technical poling skiff model. Weighing just 600 pounds, the boat is light and responsive on the pole and it tracks well. Aggressive pebble-style nonskid finish provides good traction even in wet conditions, and the integrated spray rails keep anglers dry during open-water crossings, so this is the kind of technical poling skiff that makes fishing on rough days easier. The boat features a low-profile side console, a cavernous 35-gallon livewell and under-gunwale storage for up to six fully rigged 9-foot fly rods. The cockpit drain system, a unique design feature, allows the boat to self-bail while underway and remain bone-dry at rest with the simple quick turn of the seacocks.

Specifications

Length: 17’4”
Beam: 6’4”
Draft: 6”
Weight: 600 lb.
Fuel: 22 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: $32,000 w/60 hp four-stroke

Ankona Copperhead

The Ankona Copperhead is an affordable poling skiff with lots of custom options available.

Courtesy of Ankona

Ankona Copperhead

The second-generation Copperhead measures in at 16 feet, 4 inches and has a 5-foot-10-inch beam, giving multiple anglers enough room to fish comfortably. Ankona was still able to keep the gunwales at 11 inches, wide enough to walk on without fear of going over. Also, the updated skiff has a new drop-nose sharp-V hull that gives an extra-smooth ride even in chop. Sharper bottom chines and stern edges are two more enhancements Ankona made to the Copperhead to increase the efficiency of the skiff. These modifications boost speed and help the boat plane faster, as well as make tighter turns.

Specifications

Length: 16’4”
Beam: 5’10”
Draft: 6”
Weight: 360 lb. (hull)
Fuel: 12 gal.
Max HP: 40 tiller / 50 remote
Price: $20,590 Tournament Edition Complete Package

The hull of the BT Elite incorporates a steep forward entry (with a V extending back past midship) that easily cuts through a light chop.

The flare and built-in spray rails on the Beavertail BT Elite make for a very dry ride.

Courtesy Beavertail Skiffs

Beavertail BV Elite

The hull of the BT Elite incorporates a steep forward entry (with a V extending back past midship) that easily cuts through a light chop and a gradual deadrise that transitions to a nearly flat bottom for shallower draft and a fast and stable ride. The overall shape is long and narrow, with the rear quarter pinched (narrower) at the chine line to maximize forward momentum while poling. Curved slightly and set back an additional 5 degrees, the transom makes it easy to spin the skiff for a shot at incoming fish. Beavertail’s signature Carolina flare and built-in spray rails make for a very dry ride. The poling platform and optional casting platform are both large and comfortable, dry storage is ample and easily accessible, and anglers fond of live-baiting will love the livewell, one of the largest on the market, which can be plumbed to meet the angler’s specific requirements.

Specifications

Length: 17’8”
Beam: 6’0”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 550 lb.
Fuel: 20 gal.
Max HP: 90
Price: $32,000 w/Evinrude 60 hp E-Tech

For decades a favorite of backcountry anglers and guides, the Redfisher 18 is known for its smooth ride, speed and range.

The 18 Redfisher has been a popular flats boat for decades, but the current version incorporates many improvements.

Courtesy Hewes

Hewes Redfisher 18

For decades a favorite of backcountry anglers and guides, the Redfisher 18 is known for its smooth ride, speed and range, especially when matched with midsize engines up to 150 hp. This boat has undergone a number of changes and upgrades over the years. The latest version offers more storage space under the seats and a centerline livewell system with dual-inflow for optimal live-bait carrying capabilities. The console includes ample space for electronics and a lighted fiber-optic switch panel. A single large hatch on the forward deck hides generous dry storage underneath and offers access to the powder-coated 31-gallon fuel tank. Its forward position gives the boats better balance, offsetting the weight of modern four-stroke outboards.

Specifications

Length: 18’10”
Beam: 7’11”
Draft: 10”
Weight: 1,900 lb. w/Yamaha F115
Fuel: 31 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: $40,474 w/Yamaha F115

The Biscayne was designed to provide a comfortable ride while crossing rough water oceanside or across open bays and still pole over shallow flats with ease.

The Biscayne is one of Hells Bay's best all-around flats skiffs.

Courtesy Hells Bay Boatworks

Hells Bay Biscayne

Designed to provide a comfortable ride while crossing rough water oceanside or across open bays and still pole over shallow flats with ease, the Biscayne may be Hell Bay’s most versatile flats skiff. Its Kevlar hull is designed with a small footprint and a sharp entry to cut through a chop, with spray rails incorporated to ensure the ride is always dry, even in open water. Vacuum-bagged Core-Cell construction throughout make the skiff strong and tough while keeping the weight down. The flat transom allows the poler to spin the skiff quickly and sharply, while a large hatch up front and a pair of smaller shotgun-style hatches in the rear provide access to generous dry storage compartments. All hatches include a slam-latch design, which locks down the hatch as you close it for extra security and peace of mind. Under-gunwale rod racks accommodate seven fly rods, and the top surface of the standard poling platform comes covered in SeaDek for added comfort.

Specifications

Length: 16’4”
Beam: 5’10”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 595 lb.
Fuel: 23 gal.
Max HP: 80
Price: $48,000

The HPX-Tunnel is touted as an ideal midsize flats skiff that runs efficiently, can tackle a chop and also venture boldly into skinny water.

The Tunnel hull allows this HPX model to jump up and run in just a few inches of water.

Courtesy Maverick Boats

Maverick Mirage 17 HPX-Tunnel

Touted as an ideal midsize flats skiff that runs efficiently, can tackle a chop and also venture boldly into skinny water, the 17 HPX-Tunnel features a roomy forward casting deck, walk-around gunwales with rod racks underneath, and a rear deck with a 24-gallon centerline livewell and a pair of large lockable dry-storage compartments that can be accessed without having to move the aft-deck cushion out of the way. The light hull poles effortlessly, floats in a mere 5 inches of water, and its tunnel design allows the boat to jump up and run in extremely shallow water, ideal for anglers who love to target tailing fish, like redfish and bonefish.

Specifications

Length: 16’9”
Beam: 6’3”
Draft: 5”
Weight: 1,115 lb. w/Yamaha T60
Fuel: 16 gal.
Max HP: 70
Price: $44,243 (with power)

Built to stalk fish in just inches of water, the 168 Phantom is Ranger Boats’ only remaining flats skiff model.

Ranger's last remaining flats boat model is a proven skiff that rides well and poles skinny.

Courtesy Ranger Boats

Ranger 168 Phantom

Built to stalk fish in just inches of water, the 168 Phantom is Ranger Boats’ only remaining flats skiff model. It features a large cockpit and deck area thanks to its wide 83-inch beam and incorporates a non-slap hull design, wide walk-around gunwales, nonskid decks, abundant lockable storage, under-gunwale racks to tore rods up to ten feet long with organizers to cradle each rod individually for better protection and easier access. The large, aerated livewell includes a high-speed pickup and in-line filter, and the forward-canted poling platform helps maintain optimum weight distribution for an overall level boat profile and shallower draft. Every 168 Phantom comes with a custom-fitted, aluminum RangerTrail trailer with torsion axles, exclusive RangerTrail C.O.O.L. oil-bath hubs, aluminum wheels, removable tongue and matching spare tire and wheel

Specifications

Length: 16’9”
Beam: 6’11”
Draft: 6”
Weight: 650 lb.
Fuel: 17 gal.
Max HP: 60
Price: $23,995 w/Yamaha 60 hp four-stroke

The TR7 is a unique skiff that incorporates a non-slap hull design that makes it a stealthy fishing platform.

The TR7's tunnel hull design enables anglers to cross the skinniest water effortlessly.

Courtesy American Marine Sports

Sterling TR7

This unique skiff incorporates a non-slap hull design that makes it a stealthy fishing platform, with a tunnel that runs the entire length of the boat, allowing the motor to be set higher and run at high speed in ankle-deep water. The tunnel also acts as a keel during high-speed turns and helps the boat track straight while poling. Like all Sterling models, the TR7 is built using a proprietary, three-piece construction process whereby the outer hull and inner liner are bonded together, injected with foam flotation under high pressure and then chemically bonded together with the cap to form one solid piece. The boat is made entirely of carbon fiber and Kevlar, delivering a hull weight of just over 500 pounds. Standard features include the poling platform, trim tabs, hydraulic jack plate, a 10-gallon baitwell and 25-gallon release well, removable backrest, LED courtesy lights and a custom Ameritrail aluminum trailer.

Specifications

Length: 17’0”
Beam: 7’4”
Draft: 5”
Weight: 575 lb.
Fuel: 22 gal.
Max HP: 90
Price: $35,000 w/Mercury 60 hp four-stroke

With a length of 19 feet and a narrow beam of 6 feet, 11 inches, the FX19 Vapor requires less power to achieve top performance.

This 19-foot Spyder let's 3 or 4 anglers fish the flats comfortably.

Courtesy Spyder Boats

Spyder FX19 Vapor

With a length of 19 feet and a narrow beam of 6 feet, 11 inches, the FX19 Vapor requires less power to achieve top performance. The long planing pad and transom pocket increase its shallow-water capability. The boat is responsive on the run and takes tight turns as if it were on rails. It also glides and spins easily with the push pole, with hull slap negligible at worst. There’s a 100-quart insulated fish box in the forward deck to ice down the day’s catch and three 70-quart storage compartments, two of them located aft, bookending a release well with high-speed pickup. The Vapor also comes pre-wired for a trolling motor, with a molded pad on the bow to accommodate a quick-release mount, and rod racks — carpeted and recessed — under the gunwales. Finished fiberglass hatches, upgraded vertical console racks for 6 rods, cockpit and baitwell lighting, and a removable folding backrest are included with the Redfish or Pro Flats packages. The latter also includes a poling platform with hinged legs so it lies forward when servicing the motor.

Specifications

Length: 19’1”
Beam: 6’11”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 1,020 lb.
Fuel: 31 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: $31,507 w/Yamaha F115

For added strength and rigidity, the Bohemian is built with integrate Corecell structural foam, and the three-piece construction is completely bonded together.

The Bonefish Bohemian is a 17-footer that embodies stealth.

Courtesy Bonefish Boats

Bonefish Bohemian 17

For added strength and rigidity, the Bohemian is built with integrate Corecell structural foam, and the three-piece construction is completely bonded together. It sports a stepped V-pad hull rarely seen on smaller boats. It allows the boat to plane quicker, run faster and ride comfortably without the need for trim tabs, needing only, according to the builder, some motor trim adjustment based on the ride attitude. Submerged reverse chines eliminate unwanted spray, and SeaDek under all hatch lids adds to the stealth factor and ensures truly dry storage. The skiff has a giant forward storage compartment, plus two large ones on the rear deck, 10 under-gunwale rod tubes and innovative in-floor storage in the cockpit to stash wet items, like wading boots, cast nets and anchors. Notable standard features include carbon-fiber-dipped breaker switch panels with fiber-optic backlighting and Uflex tilt hydraulic steering.

Specifications

Length: 17’9”
Beam: 6’0”
Draft: 7”- 9”
Weight: 550 lb.
Fuel: 26 gal.
Max HP: 70 Price: $31,000 w/60 hp motor and trailer

The 18 LTS is a clean, simple and well-executed boat that excels at many things.

Mako's 18 LTS is a solid all-around performer, ideal for those who chase fish on the flats, open bays or along beaches and inlets.

Courtesy Mako Boats

Mako 18 LTS

The 18 LTS is a clean, simple and well-executed boat that excels at many things. The foredeck is accented with a nice toe rail and incorporates a large casting platform with a sizeable dry-storage compartment underneath. There is a place for an optional trolling motor on the foredeck and a large anchor locker forward with a double-sided hatch and a gasket to keep water out. There are three vertical rod holders on each side of the console, and the cushioned forward console seat houses an 18-gallon aerated livewell. The business side of the console has a panel for flush-mounting electronics, a side-mount binnacle control to save dash space, and a gauge cluster that's easily read in front of the helm. The console seat is a 72-quart cushioned cooler with a flip-flop backrest, so you can sit facing aft when drifting and lean back. Along with a long list of standard features, every 18 LTS comes with a trailer, and Mako also offers a wealth of options to rig out the boat for any situation.

Specifications

Length: 18’6”
Beam: 7’7”
Draft: 11”
Weight: 1,297
Fuel: 28 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: $24,495 w/Mercury 115 hp ELPT

The success of the Marquesa’s design stems from the builder pinpointing the perfect deadrise and combining it with an optimized surface area that comes in contact with the water.

The Marquesa offers big water capability and greater range in a nimble, shallow-draft skiff.

Courtesy Hells Bay Boatworks

Hells Bay Marquesa

The success of the Marquesa’s design stems from the builder pinpointing the perfect deadrise and combining it with an optimized surface area that comes in contact with the water. The end result is a skiff that can comfortably handle bigger water and still floats at a depth of only seven inches. A running pad, which increases the hull’s running speed and improves tracking and spinning while poling, is another key design element. And the 28-gallon fuel tank provides plenty of range to get away from the crowds. Whether you are fly-fishing for tarpon along the beach or chasing tailing redfish in skinny water, this skiff -provides a stable and quiet platform. The front deck is free of unnecessary snags and clutter, with plenty of room for a casting platform and a stripping bucket, if you so choose, plus substantial dry storage hidden underneath. In the rear, a larger livewell fills the needs of live-bait and release tournament anglers, bookended by twin storage compartments to port and starboard with hatches that allow easy access, whether the boat is on the water or on the trailer.

Specifications

Length: 18’1”
Beam: 6’7”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 695 lb.
Fuel: 28 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: $51,000

The Skull Island's sharp forward entry with the wide flare of large Carolina-style game boats and integrated spray rails results in smooth, dry runs.

The Skull Island 16 is a well-rounded technical poling skiff than fits most budgets.

Courtesy Skull Island Skiffs

Skull Island 16

Made from 100 percent vinylester resin and a combination of aerospace-grade closed-cell foam, woven fiberglass and Kevlar cloth, and the builder’s proprietary laminate schedule, the Skull Island 16 achieve an impressive strength-to-weight ration. The sharp forward entry with the wide flare of large Carolina-style game boats and integrated spray rails results in smooth, dry runs. A unique transom feature allows the engine to be mounted higher for increased shallow-water performance, while the lightweight, non-slap hull design makes poling truly effortless. The boat spins on a dime, and its 60-inch beam enables anglers to explore narrow creeks inaccessible to larger skiffs. The Skull Island offers spacious, double-gasketed storage compartments fore and aft, a large self-draining cockpit, under-gunwale racks for six 9-foot rods and a variety of cockpit configurations, including center-console and tiller setups. A powder-coated 12-gallon aluminum fuel tank and trim tabs are also standard, with an extensive list of options available.

Specifications

Length: 16’2”
Beam: 5’0”
Draft: 5”
Weight: 400 lb.
Fuel: 12 gal.
Max HP: 30
Price: $18,500 w/30 hp motor

The hull of the original 18-foot Shipoke weighed 1,300 pounds, but thanks to changes in materials and improvements in design, the new version now weighs only 900 pounds.

The Shipoke 18 is a classic design with a number of updates to better suit today's flats angler.

Courtesy Bonefish Boats

Shipoke 18

The hull of the original 18-foot Shipoke weighed 1,300 pounds, but thanks to changes in materials and improvements in design, the new version now weighs only 900 pounds. The weight loss drastically reduced the draft and made the boat easier to pole. What hasn’t changed is the 20 degrees of deadrise in the hull, which allow the skiff to run comfortably and safely in choppy conditions. And once on the fishing grounds, the Shipoke is capable of quiet, easy poling in 10 inches of water. In the bow, a sealed compartment holds up to four batteries to offset the combined weights of the engine, a jack plate and a shallow-water anchoring system on the transom. There’s dry storage fore and aft, and tubes under the gunwales for 8 rods as long as 13 feet. A flip-up bow light, pop-up cleats and machined push-pole holders prevent fly line snags. And fly casters are sure to fall in love with the Roost, a bow casting platform with a built-in stripping basket for line management.

Specifications

Length: 18’7”
Beam: 7’0”
Draft: 9”
Weight: 1,200 lb.
Fuel: 29 gal.
Max HP: 200
Price: $29,000

The 17-foot Flicker is built with biaxial fiberglass, premium resins, pressure-foamed stringer construction, Baltek foam coring and Nida-Core decks for superb strength without added weight.

The 17-foot Spyder incorporates a well designed layout on a hull that floats shallow and poles quietly.

Courtesy Spyder Boats

Spyder FX17 Flicker

Like Spyder’s larger FX model, the 17-foot Flicker is built with biaxial fiberglass, premium resins, pressure-foamed stringer construction, Baltek foam coring and Nida-Core decks for superb strength without added weight. That lighter weight enables the skiff to achieve top performance with a smaller motor, it makes poling easy and rewards flats anglers with a 7-inch draft. The boat features in-deck storage fore and aft, including twin 70-quart outboard compartments and a livewell with high-speed pick up between them. Standard equipment includes under-gunwale racks for 4 rods, vertical racks for 4 rods on the console (2 on each side), 4-switch panel and trolling motor harness. The Redfish and Pro Flats packages offer a number of upgrades, including finished fiberglass hatches, hydraulic steering, hydraulic jack plate, trim tabs, LED cockpit lighting, a poling platform and more.

Specifications

Length: 17’1”
Beam: 6’5”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 890 lb.
Fuel: 18 gal.
Max HP: 70
Price: $26,303 w/Mercury 75 hp four-stroke

The Vantage's bow flare and large spray rails smartly incorporated in the hull’s design allow the builder to tout the boat as the driest skiff in existence.

At just over 19 feet in length, the Vantage is East Cape's largest flats model, but it poles like a smaller skiff and floats just as shallow.

Courtesy East Cape Skiffs

East Cape Vantage

At just over 19 feet, the Vantage has the length to reach the next wave without stuffing the bow when running in choppy, open water, which the V and the deadrise make quite comfortable. The bow flare and large spray rails smartly incorporated in the hull’s design allow the builder to tout the boat as the driest skiff in existence. Despite the 79-inch beam, relatively narrow for a 19-footer, the hull’s footprint is even smaller, helping the skiff attain high speeds, remain nimble and negotiate rough water with ease. When poling, the Vantage exhibits a smaller boat attitude. It tracks very well and spins readily without much effort. On top, the fore and aft casting decks are massive. A cavernous compartment in the front and two generous ones in the rear afford ample storage, and the deep gutters and thick gaskets ensure the contents stay dry. A huge livewell in the aft deck easily accommodates a pair of tournament winning fish or more than enough live bait to chum with. As is the case with other premium skiffs, every Vantage is custom built in a variety of configurations, with different consoles, seating, rod racks, poling and casting platforms, and even towers available, along with a wealth of options, like a hydraulic jack plate, shallow-water anchoring system and more.

Specifications

Length: 19’2”
Beam: 6’7”
Draft: 8” – 11”
Weight: Not disclosed
Fuel: 36 gal.
Max HP: 175
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price

The Egret’s quality construction, superb fit and finish and great attention to detail are evident.

Egret's 189 is an example of top quality construction and attention to detail.

Courtesy Egret Boats

Egret 189

There’s no doubt this is a premier flats boat. The builder’s quality construction, superb fit and finish and great attention to detail are evident. The hull design provides a soft, dry ride, and surprisingly shallow draft. It’s also capable of considerable speeds and safe, comfortable runs in big, open water. Dry storage fore and aft is extensive and easily accessible. Rod lockers along both gunwales are impressive, designed to prevent tangles while safely cradling rods pointing in both directions. The tinned wiring and electrical connections are clean, well-organized and finished with heat shrink to prevent corrosion. Standard features include a Ritchie compass, hydraulic steering, trim tabs, push-pole holders and a poling platform. An extensive list of options include a casting platform, console vertical rod racks, flush-mount rod holders on the gunwales, on-board battery charger, bow-mount trolling motor and more.

Specifications

Length: 18’9”
Beam: 7’5”
Draft: 10” – 11”
Weight: 950 lb. (fiberglass model)
Fuel: 56 gal.
Max HP: 175
Price: $46,000 (base boat with power)

The combination of classic lines and innovative features really sets the Grand Slam 17 apart.

Dragonfly's Grand Slam 17 is finely tuned and balanced for easy and quiet poling.

Courtesy Dragonfly Boatworks

Dragonfly Grand Slam 17

The combination of classic lines and innovative features really sets the Grand Slam 17 apart. The design incorporates many of yesteryear’s eye-pleasing lines in a skiff built with the latest technology to offer comfort and versatility, performing at the level professional guides and serious flats anglers demand. Whether poling in skinny water or storming across an open bay to the next fishing spot, this Dragonfly is sure to please. The skiff is finely tuned and balanced for easy and quiet poling. There’s ample storage, and a recessed shelf keeps batteries secure and out of the way while affording complete access to the front locker and the trolling motor connections. The Sportfishing Console, a popular option, includes 6 integrated upright rod holders and a slide-out drawer to keep essentials at arms length but out of the elements. Recessed grab handles, oversize cockpit drains plumbed directly to the bilge, a Simpson bracket that makes servicing the bilge pump a cinch, recessed push-pole holders that flip up and retract in unison, and a 22-gallon oval livewell with clear lid and LED underwater lights are among the many other smart appointments available.

Specifications

Length: 17’0”
Beam: 6’10”
Draft: 8”
Weight: 700 lb.
Fuel: 38 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: $36,000 (base boat with power)

Like the larger Redfisher 18, the 16 has undergone a number of changes and upgrades over the years.

The console of the Redfisher 16 and the storage space under the seats have been expanded.

Courtesy Hewes

Hewes Redfisher 16

Like the larger Redfisher 18, the 16 has undergone a number of changes and upgrades over the years. The latest version offers more dry storage, starting with the front deck compartment, which is now larger and provides access to the 21-gallon powder-coated fuel tank. The centerline livewell employs a dual-inflow system with bottom-to-top drain and a hidden standpipe that keeps baitfish from getting wedged and results in additional well space for maximum bait-carrying capacity. The console and the storage space under the seats has also been expanded, so anglers now have more room to stash critical gear and safety equipment.

Specifications

Length: 16’5”
Beam: 7’2”
Draft: 10”
Weight: 1,685 lb. w/Yamaha F90
Fuel: 21 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: $35,3200 w/Yamaha F90

The hull, inner liner and deck of the 17 Superskiff are all made completely of composite materials and fused together for maximum strength and durability.

Dolphin's 17 Superskiff Pro is a modern version of the builder's groundbreaking poling skiff of yesteryear.

Courtesy Dolphin Boats

Dolphin 17 Superskiff Pro

The hull, inner liner and deck are all made completely of composite materials and fused together for maximum strength and durability. The hull shape is a modified version of the high-performance deep-V from the 16-foot Super Skiff Pro, making the 17 a quick and nimble technical poling skiff that slices through a 2-foot chop and still poles in 8 inches of water. The oversize forward deck makes a perfect casting platform, while the in-floor cast-net and dry-storage compartments accommodate enough gear for 4 anglers. Fore- and aft-facing under-gunwale rod racks hold up to 10 rods. And the ergonomically designed helm seat behind the center console folds down to extend the aft deck for additional casting room. In addition, the 17 Superskiff Pro comes loaded with features like hydraulic steering, trim tabs, gas shocks on all hatches, a 32-gallon oval livewell with high-speed pick up and push-pole holders that increase comfort and make the boat a truly versatile fishing platform.

Specifications

Length: 17’9”
Beam: 6’9”
Draft: 8”
Weight: 750 lb.
Fuel: 28 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: $38,925 (base boat with power)

This 17-footer fishes and rides like larger boat.

The Tarpon Bay 17 feels, rides and fishes like a much larger boat.

Courtesy Release Boats

Release Tarpon Bay 17

This 17-footer fishes and rides like larger boat and, thanks to its lightweight composite construction and 7-foot, 10-inch beam, it still manages to float in skinny water. The Tarpon Bay takes full advantage of its dimensions, featuring a giant storage compartment beneath the roomy bow casting deck, additional dry storage in the aft deck and a pair of rod lockers to stash up to six outfits along the gunwales. And the standard poling platform doubles as a tow pole for those times when wakeboarding or waterskiing with the family trumps flats fishing.

Specifications

Length: 17’0”
Beam: 7’10”
Draft: 9”
Weight: 985 lb.
Fuel: 30 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: Contact builder for price

This Sterling to glide silently when poled in skinny water.

Sterling's 180TS easily exceeds 50mph when paired with a 150 hp outboard.

Courtesy American Marine Sports

Sterling 180TS

Sterling’s composite construction and exclusive “HPI” (Double Hull Foam Core Injected Process) result in a chemically bonded hull filled with foam, thereby adding to the boat’s structural integrity and superior floatation. The high-performance hull of the 180TS incorporates a running surface that allows the boat to attain higher speeds, remain stable and run amazingly shallow. The ride and shallow water capabilities are further enhanced by recessed trim tabs and a hydraulic jack plate. The chines were designed to eliminate hull slap, allowing this Sterling to glide silently when poled in skinny water. When it comes to storage, the boats has plenty. A huge compartment shares the fore deck with a separate anchor locker, while a pair of outboard boxes hide under the aft deck to port and starboard. Other key features include rod racks below both gunwales, a 10-gallon console baitwell and a 35-gallon release well located behind the helm bench seat.

Specifications

Length: 18’3”
Beam: 7’4”
Draft: 9”
Weight: Not disclosed
Fuel: 35 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: $48,000 w/115 hp motor

A wealth of fishing features on the 180 Pro, both standard and optional, meet the demands of even the most hardcore shallow water angler.

The Bluewater 180 Pro offers a wealth of fishing features and comforts.

Courtesy Bluewater Sportfishing Boats

Bluewater 180 Pro

A semi-custom boat designed to bridge the gap between a flats boat and a bay boat. Aided by lifting pads amidships, a unique design feature in the boat’s hull, the Bluewater 180 offers top performance and excellent range. Generous dry storage compartments are fully finished, and deep gutters keep water from seeping in. Walk-around gunnels are complemented with rod racks underneath, and the 30-gallon livewell with rounded corners comes plumbed to circulate water from the bottom up to ensure good flow of raw water and keep live bait nice and frisky. And a wealth of additional fishing features, both standard and optional, meet the demands of even the most hardcore shallow water angler.

Specifications

Length: 18’1”
Beam: 8’1”
Draft: 10”
Weight: 1,940 lb. w/115 hp motor
Fuel: 38 gal.
Max HP: 150
Price: $38,890

The top model in Mitzi’s family of skiffs, the 17 Tournament is built around the brand’s successful modified V hull.

Mitzi's 17 Tournament offers more storage, wider gunwales, a 12-gallon built-in livewell and more.

Courtesy Mitzi Skiffs

Mitzi 17 Tournament

The top model in Mitzi’s family of skiffs, the 17 Tournament is built around the brand’s successful modified V hull with a transom pocket and 11 degrees of deadrise, resulting in a zippy and agile shallow-drafting skiff that is a pleasure to run and a dream to pole. While other Mitzi models utilize portable fuel tanks, the Tournament 17 includes a 12-gallon built-in livewell and features wide walk-around gunwales, three dry storage compartments ( one fore and two aft), rod tubes under both gunwales, a vertical rod rack (for three rods) in the console, a console baitwell, a release well in the aft deck and a poling platform.

Specifications

Length: 16’10”
Beam: 6’5”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 530 lb.
Fuel: 12 gal.
Max HP: 70
Price: $27,800 w/power

The 18 BTV boasts a dry, comfortable ride and noticeable stability at rest.

Beavertail's 18 BTV is a truly versatile skiff that's at home in open water or shallow flats.

Courtesy Beavertail Skiffs

Beavertail 18 BTV

The 18 BTV boasts a dry, comfortable ride and noticeable stability at rest. Its shallow draft and no-slap hull design enable quiet, easy poling in extremely shallow water. The fore deck and cockpit are large and storage abounds. The aft deck is also roomy and it houses a 30-gallon oval livewell with clear Plexiglass lid to keep tabs on your bait or tournament catch. Twin dry storage compartments to port and starboard, respectively, can double as 120-quart coolers or be plumbed as additional 26-gallon wells. A number of options and additional standard features, like hydraulic steering, trim tabs, hydraulic jack plate, under-gunwale rod racks and anodized aluminum poling platform, add to the BTV’s versatility.

Specifications

Length: 18’2”
Beam: 6’10”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 675 lb.
Fuel: 23 gal.
Max HP: 115
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price.

The Fury's flare, which gradually lessens toward midship, enables a wide forward deck with sizable storage despite the skiff’s small footprint.

East Cape Skiffs' Fury is a terrific all-around poling skiff.

Courtesy East Cape Skiffs

East Cape Fury

Much like the Vantage, East Cape’s largest skiff, the Fury sports a considerable bow flare and large spray rails incorporated into the hull to knock down any spray and keep anglers dry. The flare, which gradually lessens toward midship, enables a wide forward deck with sizeable storage despite the skiff’s small footprint. It also floats very shallow for an 18-footer. And lightweight and narrow at the waterline, the Fury glides and spins readily with little effort when poling, and it requires only a 60 hp motor to run in the mid 30s. A large livewell, rod tubes below the gunwales and additional dry storage in back are among the boat’s key features. As with all other East Cape models, all Fury skiffs are custom built, and a variety of configurations, with different consoles, seating, rod racks, poling and casting platforms, and even towers are available.

Specifications

Length: 18’1”
Beam: 6’0”
Draft: 5” – 8”
Weight: Not disclosed
Fuel: N/A
Max HP: 90
Price: Contact builder for custom-build price.

The massive beam of the 1710 HB translates into giant casting decks fore and aft.

The massive beam of Action Craft's 1710 HB translates into giant casting decks fore and aft.

Courtesy Action Craft Boats

Action Craft 1710 HB Flyfisher

The 1710 is a great example of Action Craft’s Hybrid series, which combines the latest in Kevlar and Carbon Fiber construction for maximum strength and rigidity in a lightweight hull that floats shallow and performs admirably with midsize outboards, which in turn translates into better fuel efficiency and extended range. The patented Qui-Dry hull easily manages a moderate chop while minimizing spray and negating undesirable hull slap. The boat’s wide beam allows vast front and rear casting decks, as well as wide walk-around gunwales with rod racks underneath and lots of dry storage. The backrest of the rear bench seat folds down to extend the aft deck and provide easier access to the huge livewell with state of the art aeration system and storage compartments on both sides.

Specifications

Length: 17’2”
Beam: 7’3”
Draft: 7”
Weight: 650 lb.
Fuel: 23 gal.
Max HP: 90
Price: $41,500

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