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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello. I'm a longtime lurker, first time poster. I've learned lots of great stuff here over the years.

I have a boat dilemma that I'm hoping your collective wisdom can help me with. I've moved to a new area that has an excellent skinny water fishery. The problem is that almost all of the ramps are exclusive to hand-launch boats, so no trailers. I'm a captain and would like to help fly anglers access this fishery, but I'm having a hard time settling on a vessel. I already have an e-propulsion electric outboard, which I think would work great for these small creeks and marshes. I'm looking for a boat that can fish two adults, be reasonably powered by the motor with one or two batteries, and provide an acceptable experience for a paying client.

The fishery is mostly shallow brackish bays and creeks, 1-3 feet in depth with lots of lily pads and shore grass.

I'm thinking a canoe-ish boat might be a good solution. A Gheenoe 13 would work on top of my vehicle, a pirguoe.com Mudbug also appeals, American Eagle Tawny 14 could make sense, likewise a Golden Hawk 12'9" or Esquif Heron.

We're also in a good location for hunting ducks, so a boat to hunt out of would also be good.

I just want to make sure I'm not missing any great options.

TIA.
 

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‘94 Silver King Signature 16
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While looking for that serious microskiff... You might also want to look for the rigs car-toppers use to get their skiffs to the water... Here I'm talking about relatively large wheel cradles meant to support one end of the skiff while you (with or without assistance...) lift the other end as you maneuver your rig to the water. Don't know if anyone still makes them but the ones I remember were a very lightweight tubular construction cradle with a pair of lightweight but relatively good sized tires to enable anyone to launch a small skiff without a trailer..

Hope this helps - and please post up what you finally come up with - sounds interesting..
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There are lots of threads based on dual purpose skiffs...come on man...do a search
Oh the "search" function. That's much better than the Ouija Board and chicken entrails I used to make my short list. As I mentioned, a canoe-ish boat is probably necessary. Our ramps are really tight and often at the end of long dirt tracks. Dolly-type solutions won't really work. I'm looking for the most spacious truly hand launch able fishing platform. I'm leaning toward the Esqif Heron just on the weight/capacity rating and efficiency with a tiny motor.

That RTI is cool. I actually bought the motor to run on a Kaboat which is a similar design. I really like the rigid inflatable as a tender and for light fishing, but it scares me fishing around all the cover in these new waters. Thanks again.
 

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It sounds like you're overthinking this. I would recommend a 14' jon boat. Lightweight; car topable; can use any power; and easy to modify, camouflage, and fish out of. Add a poling stand or just use a sculling oar! Sounds like a unique fishery you've found. Keep an eye out for what others are using. Best of luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The Jon boat is a good idea. I also hadn't see the LW L4 which is pretty cool. I had ruled out he Skanu as being too heavy, but might think about that a little harder. It is a cool design. I may start by seeing if I can locate a used topper Jon boat and give that a try. I have some concern about range with the little electric outboard, but maybe a second battery is worth the investment in stability and comfort.

The few locals who fish these waters are pretty much exclusively kayak and bank fisherman, so the fish get fished relatively hard near the launches and fed a lot of bait, but there are 6-8 miles between the launches where the fish are less educated and can be convinced to eat flies and artificials. It is a long paddle to access the middle stretches, and I've done it with a friend's traditional canoe by playing the tides, but being able to motor a bit out of the range of the kayaks would be really nice. It is also a bummer to get to the good water, just as the tide slackens and the bite turns off.

All boats are compromises, I just need to decide which set I want to make I suppose. Thanks for the ideas.
 

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'04 Mitzi 17’ & '06 East Cape Gladesmen (sold)
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Live Watersports or Skanu
Having looked into the skanu, that might be a pretty sweet option if you want a more stealthy/smaller craft than a jon yacht. Plus its got the experience of a true micro builder behind it!

You may have to be a little more selective about your clientele though. I had an East Cape Gladesmen as my first skiff and I had to be a little picky about who I took on it, because one bad step from the bow and both people could easily be in the water/on the oysters or prop. That being said, with the right person on the bow we could go so many places most skiffs could not and being where the fish were was not a problem.

I think a jon boat might be the best option though for versatility and chartering. Get a welded hull, leaky rivets are a pain in the ass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I took the canoe out today for a bit and rode by the three launches. A Jon boat would definitely work for one, would work with two people on another, and be a total non-starter at the third ramp.

I'm hesitant to add a Jon boat to the fleet. We currently run a sailboat for sunset cruises and a Carolina Skiff J16 for crabbing and flounder trips in the summer.

I think I'm going to start with a budget canoe build and leave this trip off the menu, if you will. There are some clients who would be physically up for a canoe trip who I might offer it to. But, the advice to be a bit careful about who to bring is very good. It's a cool, technical piece of water and fishery. I think giving it respect and fishing carefully and rarely is maybe the best option.

I'll keep you all posted as I figure out a sneaky little rig. I've already got some ideas percolating about a grab bar up front, a stick anchor, and some non-traditional rod holders.

If it works great, everything could move to a skanu or similar.

Thanks for all your help. This is a great community.
 

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Neat topic, couple questions:
-sounds like you’ve ball-parked a weight limit for vessel. What is it?
-is guiding the priority?
-are you wanting a planing hull?
-how quiet do you need to be, and/or can you deal with some hull slap from aluminum jons?
-how protected are you, and is that a consideration?

I think if I was guiding, I’d lean towards aluminum jon of some type. But I’ve always liked the wenonah backwaters (square end canoe meant for small outboard) and almost purchased one before. Certain layups are <55lbs, so pretty easy to cartop solo. Not cheap, sometimes used. There may be other similar vessels out there, just what I’ve looked at in the past.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Neat topic, couple questions:
-sounds like you’ve ball-parked a weight limit for vessel. What is it?
-is guiding the priority?
-are you wanting a planing hull?
-how quiet do you need to be, and/or can you deal with some hull slap from aluminum jons?
-how protected are you, and is that a consideration?

I think if I was guiding, I’d lean towards aluminum jon of some type. But I’ve always liked the wenonah backwaters (square end canoe meant for small outboard) and almost purchased one before. Certain layups are <55lbs, so pretty easy to cartop solo. Not cheap, sometimes used. There may be other similar vessels out there, just what I’ve looked at in the past.
Thanks. That is a sweet canoe; that's definitely the sort of boat I have in mind. A bit $$$, but really nice.

I'd like to keep any boat sub 100lbs. The ramp closest to the best water requires carrying the boat 15 yards or so and then launching in a very narrow cut.

With the little e-propulsion, there will be no planning. The slightly faster hull speed of canoes is definitely part of the appeal.

The more I think about it, the less important guiding is going to be. No matter what I land on, I'm looking at one guest at a time. Those kind of trips in this area aren't going to be big money makers. That said, I can think of some previous clients who are able to fish this place who I'd love to share it with. They aren't sufficient in numbers to pay my mortgage though.

Quiet is a nice to have. Getting folks a fish on a fly, if that's what they want, it definitely helps to be able to sneak in close to so they don't have to pull off a perfect double haul. That said, the fish aren't that picky, and staking out and holding still for a few minutes seems to work pretty well.

Protection from the elements is a big consideration. One of the big appeals for a really small boat is being able to get out in well protected water when the weather is nasty. The bigger bays aren't really fun in any vessel around here. If it is kicking up above 15 knots or so, I generally recommend a re-schedule. In these little creeks, we can find a spot out of the weather and get fish in the boat.

Thanks for your interest and suggestions. I'm really excited about finding a new piece of water, and solving the problems to get the most out of it while keeping it a healthy fishery is a lot of the fun for me.
 

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If I were inclined to guide, a canoe or any "tippy" type boat would not happen. To much liability.
Then having 2 fishermen and you in a little boat... can be done and I have done it, but conditions have to be good and you need to know the people and they can have no problems listening/doing what their told as to how things are going to be in your boat.
 

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If you are actually planning to guide two clients then get an appropriately sized boat and just make the run from an actual boat ramp if it’s that good of a fishery. I wouldn’t want 2 clients in anything less than a 16ish foot boat. Towee, Big gheenoe, glide, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
If you are actually planning to guide two clients then get an appropriately sized boat and just make the run from an actual boat ramp if it’s that good of a fishery. I wouldn’t want 2 clients in anything less than a 16ish foot boat. Towee, Big gheenoe, glide, etc.
Believe me, I would love to. A friend of mine guided this area for a bit. It took an air cooled mud motor and a very carefully timed duck under a bridge. He couldn't access the place enough to make it make sense.

There's no way I can guide with two guests aboard. I think I'll rig a canoe the way I'd fish the place alone and invite some clients I know well to give it a shot every now and again. Probably better for the fishery and leaves me a fun place to fish when it's slow.
 

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That bit about stability and clients is pretty important in my book. I won't even have a casting platform on my skiff at all because many of my anglers are either first timers - or old enough that you wouldn't want one to take a fall on your skiff (and you can be certain there are no soft spots on any skiff if you fall... ). I had to go quite a few years as a guide before I had a big enough customer base to consider a second skiff (a real microskiff) to fish just one angler with lures or flies only... But when I had the customer base I was fast getting a bit long in the tooth for poling all day long.. So if you're thinking about it - do it now... not later if at all possible...

I won't even mention the fact that we might actually have more lawyers than fleas down here in south Florida - so take good care of your clients (don't break one if at all possible...).
 
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