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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking for a good rough water skiff for crossing Louisiana bays and rivers to access shallow water ponds in the marsh. What’s out there? This is my first skiff as I have been fishing offshore for years but need to change it up with two young kids at the house now.
 

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Do you foresee poling, or mainly using a trolling motor? Guessing the latter with two little kids. If you don't necessarily need something that poles nicely, that opens up a lot of options.
 

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2 kids, (maybe the wife too) and rough water. The "best" answer is an Egret. It may not be the tool for every job but it definitely is for that job. Storage, ride, safe, build quality, resale value... all top notch. The only disadvantages are it's not the best poling skiff, has hull slap in certain conditions, and its purchase price.

The Egret Moccasin 190 has an open cockpit unlike most skiffs and may be better for the kids. It can be customized to your liking.
 

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Go down to the ramp that you plan on fishing most out of. See what folks are using. Seems to me about every skiff/bayboat out there can be found being used in the LA marsh! I've run out to Brenton from Venice in an old BT B2 tiller and had to turn around in an EC Vantage, weather and wave conditions dictate what is safe. You may want to look at a bayboat type set up for your family, but honestly it is what fits your needs. Fly guides down there run just about every skiff made from what I have seen!
 

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I am looking for a good rough water skiff for crossing Louisiana bays and rivers to access shallow water ponds in the marsh. What’s out there? This is my first skiff as I have been fishing offshore for years but need to change it up with two young kids at the house now.
This was part of the "needs" I had when ordering my first boat. I went with the East Cape Vantage (non-VHP) and just sent my money in a few weeks ago. I wanted to be able to handle rough water as well as decent shallow water capabilities. Plus they are able to get all the "wants" into the boat at the cost I can afford. Coupled with the level of service they provide and it was a no-brainer.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Clearly I would pick my days but when it’s that calm I may be a 100 miles offshore. I am looking for something to take the kids to the weirs crabbing, fish the reefs and get into the shallow water ponds to pole around and sightfish redfish. I found a really nice HB Marqessa that’s in my budget and ready to go. Just looking for input. I have a 24 blazer bay but it’s not a shallow drafting boat and sometimes more than what I need.
 

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You can get a brand new custom Salt Marsh Heron 18 for what you can get most other skiffs in its class...used. And it is a great skiff. Let me know if you want pricing.
 

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HB Marquesa is an outstanding boat but nothing you said involved poling. Are you keeping the bay boat or is this skiff replacing it? The reason I ask is that if you're going that far off shore and to the reef with the kids then a technical skiff is not what you need.

HB is not self bailing and real world with 3 people, full live well, cooler of drinks, etc is going to draft about as much as a higher-end 20-21' flats boat.

The other issue you're going to run into with most small skiffs is range so make sure you look at that. Fuel economy and thus range is reduced significantly when bad weather kicks up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I am running a 36 yellowfin also for offshore fishing. I am looking for a shallow water boat for poling and knocking around with the kids. This boat will fill in when I don’t have the time or have my kids with me to knock around and go fish the reefs in the bays here. I don’t want to always have to deal with a big bay boat with a T Top or my yellowfin. My blazer bay is great for fishing the rigs for trout here in the bays and offshore but doesn’t do well in the marsh ( To much draft and V in hull). So I am looking for a skiff big enough to run across the bay and get into the marsh, handle some chop, stabil enough for my wife and two kids to play around and cruise in yet I can go fish the shallows in the early morning.
 

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I am running a 36 yellowfin also for offshore fishing. I am looking for a shallow water boat for poling and knocking around with the kids. This boat will fill in when I don’t have the time or have my kids with me to knock around and go fish the reefs in the bays here. I don’t want to always have to deal with a big bay boat with a T Top or my yellowfin. My blazer bay is great for fishing the rigs for trout here in the bays and offshore but doesn’t do well in the marsh ( To much draft and V in hull). So I am looking for a skiff big enough to run across the bay and get into the marsh, handle some chop, stabil enough for my wife and two kids to play around and cruise in yet I can go fish the shallows in the early morning.
Salt Marsh Heron 18
 
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Then it come down to poling vs trolling motor fishing hence skiff vs flats boat.

EC vantage, HB Marqesa, Maverick 18, are pretty well accepted as good larger skiffs you can still pole.

A 21’ Egret or 20’ Young Gulfshore would be my choice for larger flats boat in a trolling motor.

Since you already have the bay boat, I would get the smaller poleable skiff
 

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See if you can find an older HB Guide. Its a great do-it-all skiff IMHO and was made to carry more than two people, hence the "Guide" naming...
 

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I am not sure how nasty the chop/waves are in the area but if they are substantial you may want something with some decent freeboard and a higher deadrise that runs pretty far back. Most skiffs in this class do not draft below a realistic 10" though and aren't easy to pole. I have never seen a boat draft really shallow and run worth a crap in slop. I

The Marquesa was designed for open water crossings. The Egret is another skiff that runs well in open water and can take a few over the bow. Both of these are expensive and even used ones that are 20 plus years old often run more than 30k.

Sea Hunter 18 and the IPB 18 (same boat mold) are relatively cheap skiffs designed for open water. This boat was designed to make runs from KW to the Tortugas for fishing. It isn't built nearly as well as the other two but it can be found for half the price often around 20k used.

If you want something even less expensive, I would eyeball a used KW Stealth. The ride is middle of the road but the boat is relatively inexpensive and about as solid as a skiff can be. These can be found under 15k depending on condition.
 

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See if you can find an older HB Guide. Its a great do-it-all skiff IMHO and was made to carry more than two people, hence the "Guide" naming...
The Guide is a great skiff, but the rough water ride doesn't even come close to a Marquesa or Maverick HPX.

I'd demo these 3 and see what you like the best.
- HB Marquesa
- Maverick 18 HPX
- Chittum Snakebite
 

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True. I consider the Marquesa a pseudo flats boat.

Seems like the OP wants something in that space between skiff and bay boat...
 
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