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I live in the panhandle of florida, specifically Destin area. I am looking for a a large flats boat. I have had everything from a 21 ft trophy cuddy cabin, bay boats, and currently fish out of a 18ft bass tracker center console. I'm looking for a flats boat that can handle open water crossing bays and run along the beach on calm days. I will be using a trolling a motor 90% of the time and poling 10% of the time if any. It will be fished also in tournaments at least once a month. Would like a wide stable boat with room. I have two kids(9 & 3 years old) that I take on the boat regularly. I have a budget of $20,000. Can be a older boat I dont mind working on. I would prefer 18ft and up but would be fine with a 16 footer if it had a nice ride. I've been looking at Mavericks, action crafts, key west, and hewes. What other brands should I look at and what models.
 

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$20k is going to put you in a 15 year old+ top name flats boat, and a lot of the hulls have come and gone in that time. An Action Craft 1890 would be great for your use. I use my boat exactly as you have mentioned - two kids, regular tournaments, pole about 10% of the time, fish offshore, etc. An 18' Sea Hunter (the predecessor to my hull) would be a good option for you too. Then, if you want to dream or increase your budget, a Maverick 18 HPX or an Egret 189.
 

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A lot of the larger 20+ foot flats boats might as well be a bay boat. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a bay boat for your situation to be honest, I really like the Action Craft Coastal Bay if you can find one used in the right price range. Anyway if you don't like that idea then I really like the Action Craft 2020 also, because like I said, it's basically a bay boat. Runs 50+ with a 200, tons of storage, a livewell large enough for a slot cobia, two other livewells with enough room for plenty of white bait or finger mullet or scrimps. Eats up a chop pretty good and relatively dry unless you insist on running 40 in 2 footers.
 

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Take a very close look at the standard sized Egret (18'9") to see the best rig around for what you're doing... You won't be able to afford even a used one (used ones in fair shape will be more than $20K, period...) but at least you'll know how a bigger flats boat should be built, rigged and set up... I run an old Maverick (one of the very few they ever let go, un-rigged back in 1988 when they were just getting established...) and it's in hard commercial service year after year... If I ever had the funds to replace it an Egret with a 150 would be my first choice hands down... A new one might require a mortgage to purchase - but they do hold their value and I know of guides who run them inshore - along the Atlantic side of things from Ft. Pierce south -all the way down to Key West...
 

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Looking for 18’ at $20k, your list is on point. No, none of them will be brand new, but you can find all the boats on your list for under 20k! I’m a sucker for an ole lappy hewes and master angler, but the ac 1810 is probably the driest one of them all, imho, but also the heaviest. Anything youre looking at over 18’, just keep in mind that there are bay boats that only draft 12” of water fully loaded
 

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Looking for 18’ at $20k, your list is on point. No, none of them will be brand new, but you can find all the boats on your list for under 20k! I’m a sucker for an ole lappy hewes and master angler, but the ac 1810 is probably the driest one of them all, imho, but also the heaviest. Anything youre looking at over 18’, just keep in mind that there are bay boats that only draft 12” of water fully loaded
Egret Moccasin 210 is 21' and floats in 11" loaded. You're not poling it very far though so 11" vs 12" is kind of a moot point because you need whatever the trollling motor needs to move it. It will be a long while before you see one for $20K though.

Very few bay boats actually draft 12" contrary to thier claims.
 

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I was able to find a gen 1 maverick HPX-V 18 with a newer yamaha 115 4 stroke for around 20k. I owned it for around a year.

It was a little rough around the edges but functionally worked great and did the job for the time that I owned it. I believe it is the same hull as the redfisher 18. Very safe, comfortable big water skiff.

One thing to consider on older skiffs vs spending the coin on a new one is that while the initial acquisition cost is lower, the variable costs of maintenance and repairs are much higher. My new skiff never breaks down, needs a new pump, etc. Also resale on Hells Bay skiffs has historically been excellent. The biggest thing for me however was reliability. When I want to go fish, this skiff is always ready. No surprises at the ramp.
 

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How shallow will you need to go?

For your budget and what it seems like you’ll be doing most, I’d just get an old 18’-20’ pathfinder bay boat for a few reasons: Your budget..Seems like you’ll rarely be poling.. Draft will be same or slightly more than some of the above suggestions...roomy comfortable layout...rough water ability.

I don’t think you’ll find a vantage for 20 or it will be a beater if you do...same with a big Egret, but either would be a good option otherwise.

Ditto the above suggestion for old Master Angler 18 too

Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks for all the replies. I have been looking at action crafts. Obviously everyone has good things to say about the 1720. I've read that the 1720 rides better than the 1820 is this true. Also what is the differences between the 1810 and the 1820. The other boat that I have seen that I like is the older scout sportfish 192 does anyone have any experience with these.
 

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I live in the panhandle of florida, specifically Destin area. I am looking for a a large flats boat. I have had everything from a 21 ft trophy cuddy cabin, bay boats, and currently fish out of a 18ft bass tracker center console. I'm looking for a flats boat that can handle open water crossing bays and run along the beach on calm days. I will be using a trolling a motor 90% of the time and poling 10% of the time if any. It will be fished also in tournaments at least once a month. Would like a wide stable boat with room. I have two kids(9 & 3 years old) that I take on the boat regularly. I have a budget of $20,000. Can be a older boat I dont mind working on. I would prefer 18ft and up but would be fine with a 16 footer if it had a nice ride. I've been looking at Mavericks, action crafts, key west, and hewes. What other brands should I look at and what models.[/QUOTE
I live in the panhandle of florida, specifically Destin area. I am looking for a a large flats boat. I have had everything from a 21 ft trophy cuddy cabin, bay boats, and currently fish out of a 18ft bass tracker center console. I'm looking for a flats boat that can handle open water crossing bays and run along the beach on calm days. I will be using a trolling a motor 90% of the time and poling 10% of the time if any. It will be fished also in tournaments at least once a month. Would like a wide stable boat with room. I have two kids(9 & 3 years old) that I take on the boat regularly. I have a budget of $20,000. Can be a older boat I dont mind working on. I would prefer 18ft and up but would be fine with a 16 footer if it had a nice ride. I've been looking at Mavericks, action crafts, key west, and hewes. What other brands should I look at and what models.
Im a guide in Santa Rosa beach/Destin and I have an east cape vantage, I can’t say enough great things about this boat. It does everything I need it to do. Rough gulf, shallow flats poling, big smooth and tons of room and storage. I’ll take you for a spin in it if your interested.
 
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