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Best big water flats boat

9851 Views 29 Replies 24 Participants Last post by  Redbelly
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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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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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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My uncle fishes a Maverick Master Angler in Choctawhatchee Bay. As nice as that boat is, you still have to watch it when a breeze is blowing. How far a run do you have to the pass or will you trailer it?

I have a gheenoe for flats fishing here and trailer it around the wind when I cant launch from the house. I have a 20’ Cobia Center console I use for the gulf which is about a 30min run for me. I seldom have to worry about the wind in the bay.

To me, the best all round boat for here would be something with more of a V in it and a tower. I’m waiting on those newer model pathfinders for get old so I can pick one up, lol.
 

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I think an East Cape EVO V or Vantage would fit the bill, but not very likely in that budget. An East Cape Fury is another option, just not as big water friendly. Find a clean Action Craft. You won’t like poling it, but solid boats. Probably your best bet for that budget.
 
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