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I know there's a lot of boat experience in this group, so here goes;

I'm thinking of buying a flats boat, but I live in Atlanta and figure it'll get used 4-6 times per year for a few days each time. Buying used makes the most sense unless we're talking something like a Skimmer Skiff, Ankona or other boat that can be had new for about $20k.

So the question becomes; if you had $15k to $20k that you wanted to spend on a boat for coastal shallow water fishing (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, SC), what would you buy? And before you go mentioning Gheenoe's, Towee's or Santee Skiffs, the issue I have with those is crossing big bays or rivers, such as Port Royal Sound or Apalachicola Bay where I've got a 3-6 mile trip across open water. Just because the boat may handle it doesn't mean you should do it regularly.

So, what would you buy and why?
 

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So the question becomes; if you had $15k to $20k that you wanted to spend on a boat for coastal shallow water fishing (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, SC), what would you buy?
If I had $20k to spend on a skiff I'd buy this, run the hell out of the jet and keep an eye out for a good deal on a lower unit. It gets bonus points for the trailer. Super low maintenance rig with all the good stuff already added.

https://www.microskiff.com/threads/2017-cayo-173.56774/
 
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That is a nice looking boat, no doubt. Wonder how much a new one costs with a center console and a Minn-Kota 55#?
You can't really get a new one as far as I've heard. They are building $150k offshore cats now. I came really close to buying one a few years ago and even put a deposit down on a build but in the end it never happened.
 

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Greg, I fish the same waters as you do around Apalach. I ran a 1720 ActionCraft for a few years and it did everything I needed it to, including sight-fishing for reds, tarpon and running to the barrier islands. Poled OK but a little tougher than a technical poling skiff. Realistic draft of 10-12 inches depending on load. Others in that class would be Maverick and Hewes. There are some good buys out there and those models are very competent craft for your purposes/needs and limited use.

I'm currently running a Beavertail Mosquito and still fishing the same waters/style. Handles a chop very well, poles great and gets skinny. But the few that are popping up in the pre-owned market are a little beyond your listed price range.

Feel free to shoot me a PM if you want to discuss further.
 

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Need more info...

Are you looking for a technical fly skiff you can pole or a flats boat that can do sand bar duty when its not being fished?

You mentioned center console and trolling motor...so in my opinion that puts you in the 18' min length class. Squeezing a console into a boat like a Cayo 173 or Spear Glades X/Z is a mistake IMHO. They eat up too much space.

These smaller hulls are also very weight sensitive. So adding batteries and trolling motors don't suit them very well when you are running and trimming the boat if things get sloppy.

Depending on what you are looking for you could probably find a used Action Craft, Hewes, Maverick or etc.
 

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Ok, not a micro skiff, but i have run the waters you described in my 1820 Actioncraft and it handled the open water great.
 

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Over the years I have had 3 18' and 2 16' Hewes Redfishers and live in Sandy Springs. I've fished them from Apalach down through the 10,000 Islands and the Keys. They're not really tech poling skiffs, but do pretty well - especially the 16's. Pretty dry vs. other lighter skiffs and comfortable in some chop. If you'd like to take a look at mine let me know.
 
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Over the years I have had 3 18' and 2 16' Hewes Redfishers and live in Sandy Springs. I've fished them from Apalach down through the 10,000 Islands and the Keys. They're not really tech poling skiffs, but do pretty well - especially the 16's. Pretty dry vs. other lighter skiffs and comfortable in some chop. If you'd like to take a look at mine let me know.
Dave, I’m off Mt. Paran Road, so really close by. I’ll PM you to connect. Thanks for the offer!
 
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I've seen a few Mavericks and other recommended boats for sale for as little as $16,000. The question I have is this; most of them have 15 year old motors. If I have to replace, say a 70 hp, I'm probably looking in the range of $7,000 to $8,500, so now I have $23K to $24.5K in the boat. Am I better off buying a new Ankona Advent, a Skimmer Skiff or Salt Marsh Heron for that price given that I don't live on the water and will probably use it 6-8 times per year for a few days each time?

Thanks again for all y'all's input. I've fished on plenty of boats but never thought about buying one 'til I retired. This is a huge learning experience for me!
 

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New could be your friend if you can find the skiff that suits your needs in your price range. Not cleaning up someone's bad wiring and other assorted mess on an old boat might be worth it. You only retire once. I bought a beavertail skiff brand new when I retired and have fished it about 300 days year for the last 4 years. Best money I ever spent. (and I break shot all the time).
 
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New could be your friend if you can find the skiff that suits your needs in your price range. Not cleaning up someone's bad wiring and other assorted mess on an old boat might be worth it. You only retire once. I bought a beavertail skiff brand new when I retired and have fished it about 300 days year for the last 4 years. Best money I ever spent. (and I break shot all the time).
Trust me, if I lived in Bokeelia, I'd be buying a Beavertail too! Up here in Atlanta, I have to trailer the thing 4-6 hours to get to the salt. Congrats on your retirement!
 
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There's a fix for that you know....lol
Yeah, I know. My wife and I have been eyeing the South Carolina coast for awhile. We keep going back to look at places we'd either want to buy or build. It's the closest beach town to Atlanta although I grew up going to the Florida panhandle, so I'll always have a soft spot for that area.
 
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If your only going to use it that little, then you may want to think about just hiring a guide for those 6 days a year.
I may not have made myself clear. As I stated I would go probably 6 times per year for a few days - few meaning 2-4. So at an average of three days per trip that’s 18 days per year at an average guide rate of $700 per day, or a total of $12,600 per year. I figure I could recoup the cost of a boat in about 2-3 years, not including tag, insurance, maintenance and such.

And I would be able to go when I want, not when the guide has open days.
 
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