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Discussion Starter #1
I have a general question that I'm sure will be subject to a lot of opinions but I'm looking for experienced advise on a first flats boat.
We are going to move to the Crystal River area from Michigan this fall and I am excited to begin exploring the waters in the area. I have no interest in ocean fishing and will limit my time to inshore, backwater and fresh water lakes in the area. In your opinion what boats would be a good choices for starters. I've been looking at Gheenoe LT25's as well as small skiffs in the 10-12K range but I don't know if these would be a problem getting from the river to the flats.
Thanks for the input.
 

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Brandon, FL
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The Gheenoe is a redesigned canoe and although it has its place I never recommend them.

It sounds like you are retiring and a Gheenoe is not my idea of a stable platform for the seasoned person.

Ankona has a couple models that fit your description and has a very loyal following. @Shadowcast is a guide who uses one and would be a great resource.

Other than them any true flats style boat would be fine. Cruise through the for sale and expired section for reference of models and rough pricing.
 

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I live in crystal river. the bottom here is lime rock with some mud and grass over the top. in some areas just bare lime rock. there are numerous rock outcrops on top of the rock bottom. oyster bars are everywhere. depending on the tide these are often just below the surface. I would recommend an aluminum boat with a heavy gauge bottom. my skiffs are fiberglass and I'm ok with that but if I was buying new I would look at something like a Seaark or if you had a much higher budget a Sabine.

don't let this discourage you, just spend
rock bottom.jpg
time going slow to learn the area. go out at low tide a few times, the fishing will suck but you will be able to see a lot of the issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
The Gheenoe is a redesigned canoe and although it has its place I never recommend them.

It sounds like you are retiring and a Gheenoe is not my idea of a stable platform for the seasoned person.

Ankona has a couple models that fit your description and has a very loyal following. @Shadowcast is a guide who uses one and would be a great resource.

Other than them any true flats style boat would be fine. Cruise through the for sale and expired section for reference of models and rough pricing.
Yep, 65 but still pretty stable on the feet. I wondered about the stability issue and sounds like a "flats type" boat would work better. Thanks for the advice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I live in crystal river. the bottom here is lime rock with some mud and grass over the top. in some areas just bare lime rock. there are numerous rock outcrops on top of the rock bottom. oyster bars are everywhere. depending on the tide these are often just below the surface. I would recommend an aluminum boat with a heavy gauge bottom. my skiffs are fiberglass and I'm ok with that but if I was buying new I would look at something like a Seaark or if you had a much higher budget a Sabine.

don't let this discourage you, just spend View attachment 158063 time going slow to learn the area. go out at low tide a few times, the fishing will suck but you will be able to see a lot of the issues.
Sage advice. I hired a guide last spring and fished the area in an 18' Maverick. Totally hooked me to this area and type of fishing. I am looking forward to exploring the great opportunities in this area. Thanks
 

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I go out at low tide a few times, the fishing will suck but you will be able to see a lot
i fish ozello and literally have the opposite opinion on the tide lol, but fantastic advice for learning the area... as far as boats I’d definitely take a look at the aluminum boats, they absorb an oops a lot better than fiberglass!
 

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i fish ozello and literally have the opposite opinion on the tide lol, but fantastic advice for learning the area... as far as boats I’d definitely take a look at the aluminum boats, they absorb an oops a lot better than fiberglass!
I'm not saying you can't catch fish at low ride but I find the best fishing for me is a couple hours before high tide to a couple hours after. I do have some spots way back that most people can't reach at low tide that hold fish in deeper pools. I never see anyone back there at low tide except airboats and me.
 

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Ankona Sales Rep
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Check out the Salt Marsh 1444. Its a Kevlar hull that will withstand the nasties you have up there and floats in 5". It is also in your price range. Feel free to shoot me a text if you have any questions. 863-860-7250. Who knows, this one might be for sale soon.
FB_IMG_1593281127078.jpg
 

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I'm not saying you can't catch fish at low ride but I find the best fishing for me is a couple hours before high tide to a couple hours after. I do have some spots way back that most people can't reach at low tide that hold fish in deeper pools. I never see anyone back there at low tide except airboats and me.
Oh i know i was just laughing about the opposite in fishing style lol. I love fishing the low tide out there!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Check out the Salt Marsh 1444. Its a Kevlar hull that will withstand the nasties you have up there and floats in 5". It is also in your price range. Feel free to shoot me a text if you have any questions. 863-860-7250. Who knows, this one might be for sale soon. View attachment 158190
I'd definitely be interested in checking out a Salt Marsh. They were high on my list. Where can I see one?
 

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Ankona Sales Rep
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I'd definitely be interested in checking out a Salt Marsh. They were high on my list. Where can I see one?
I see you're moving to Crystal River. I live about 2 hours south of there in Ruskin. You are welcome to schedule a demo with me at your convenience. Afternoons or Sundays are best.
 

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You’ll probably have to hit someone up in the area you’re moving to for a ride in one! Each one is pretty much made to order. You might also look into the Ankona Native 14’6. Another good small boat, they take chop very well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I see you're moving to Crystal River. I live about 2 hours south of there in Ruskin. You are welcome to schedule a demo with me at your convenience. Afternoons or Sundays are best.
Thanks for the invitation. We should be in FL within the next couple of weeks and I plan on checking out different boats. I'll probably be getting in touch.
 

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Check out the Salt Marsh 1444. Its a Kevlar hull that will withstand the nasties you have up there and floats in 5". It is also in your price range. Feel free to shoot me a text if you have any questions. 863-860-7250. Who knows, this one might be for sale soon. View attachment 158190
kevlar hull isn't going to save you if you run over rocks. its not a vest with layers and layers of kevlar.
 

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Ankona Sales Rep
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Hold up more than straight fiberglass
 
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Regardless of brand, for sure take a page from the air boat guys. A good bottom coating like the steelflex super slick pays great dividends. Easy for diy small repairs too......
 

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Can I recommend a tunnel on what you chose. Help save you props and lowers. That area is tough. I fished It twice but with locals in their boats.
 

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Invest in good electronics and charts for that area. Florida Marine Tracks is pretty amazing. Even still, take it slow to learn the area. You'd be fine in an old Hewes Bonefisher or something similar. Salt Marsh is a great option, too, and you can get a newer boat. I've found that when I venture up that way to fish, I make some really long runs.
 
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