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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
IMO, Chittum began building their best and lightest skiffs upon introducing the Mangrove Edition 12 and 2 degree / Laguna Madre II last summer. To me, the Mangrove /LM2 compare in weight and pole-ability to the very first HB Whipray 16s. Yet, the Mangrove / LM2 skiffs are made from the same 18 foot molds as earlier Chittum skiffs, providing a large, comfortable fishing platform that is dry and seaworthy. The Mangrove / LM2 are designed for Tohatsu 30/50/60 4 strokes. IMO, it's not necessary or advisable to put a tunnel on the 2 degree LM2. The Mangrove Edition is offered at lower prices than the heavier Snake Bight or Laguna Madre 1: $43.5k for a bare bones Tohatsu 30 tiller; $49.5k for a center console with Tohatsu 50.

I've owned poling skiffs since 2007. Two years ago, I began experimenting with a lot of skiffs. I'm 52... primarily fish Port O'Connor, TX, which is very shallow and the best skiffs seem to be tunnels. After getting a Chittum Laguna Madre 18 tunnel in late 2017 for POC, I wanted a simple boat to learn Galveston. Through some very cool MS guys, I was entrusted with 1998 HB Whipray, Hull #7 in the Spring of last year. Whipray #7 became my ideal skiff for weight, ease of poling, draft, minimalistic layout, no lights, portable fuel tanks, very low poling platform (24" above the deck). I was very happy with the 25 Merc 2 stroke as a light weight outboard, which keeps the Whipray balanced, as it was originally designed... Merc 25 offers just enough power. But, I wanted to add a jack-plate and power tilt for shallow running in TX. Hence, I sent Whipray #7 to Hal Chittum last summer for re-rigging and some other conservation work... that project is almost done.

Not long after receiving Whipray #7, and making a trip to field test the Laguna Madre in Texas last summer, Chittum made 2 one-off tiller 18 foot skiffs (a 2 degree w/ 15" shaft Tohatsu 50 shaft and a 12 degree w/ 20" shaft Tohatsu 50). To accommodate reach for the tillers, Chittum cut the deck and extended the cockpit back about 8" on these prototypes. The hulls on these tiller skiffs were made from the exactly the same molds of the 12 degree Islamorada Snake Bight and 2 degree Snake Bight (which is the same as the 2 degree Laguna Madre with no tunnel). Chittum named these boats the "Mangrove Edition". There were no electronics, just trim tabs, power tilt and electric start. What was immediately remarkable from photos and videos of the Mangrove prototypes was the relatively shallower draft and how quickly they jumped on plane vs. Chittum's standard builds. At first impression it seemed the better performance was due to minimal rigging and tiller. However, talking to Hal, he advised that the Mangrove Edition is not about the tiller. Rather, it's a lighter boat made with thinner core, lighter lay up schedule, and lighter transom designed for the weight of a 50 Tohatsu (209 pounds). These first 2 prototypes had very little carbon, maybe 15% in the stingers, transom and structural parts. ***It's important to note that Chittum originally designed the 18 foot 12 degree boat for a 90 Yamaha 2 stroke to run up to 50 mph... but, there were various guides and tournament anglers pushing the limits by installing the 12 degree 18 foot boat with 115, 150, 175, then even a 225 HP outboard last year that runs 80 mph... Hal explained that the stress on a boat running 60 mph means that skiff must be made 6X stronger than the same boat running at 40mph..... Hence, after consulting with their naval architects, Chittum was able to significantly lighten the build of the Mangrove (aka Laguna Madre II for Texas) as skiffs rated for the Tohatsu 50 and now the Tohatsu 60 (213 pounds). Hal claimed that there is 90 pounds less resin in the Mangrove and 60 pounds less weight in the transom, meaning the unrigged Mangrove / LM2 boats truly weigh in the 300-350 pound range.

In late August last year, Chittum began building the first full carbon Mangrove 2 degree. I went to test run and pole the prototypes and signed up for that carbon 2 degree skiff for TX, the first Laguna Madre II. I decided to add a simple center console, no built-in cooler seat, a 15 gallon aluminum gas tank, running / anchor lights , 9" Simrad, no trolling motor, no tunnel and lower poling platform. This LM2 was never weighed.... but, it is remarkable that with the same 50 Tohatsu, NO TUNNEL, an Atlas jack plate with only 4 " setback the LM2 actually squats about an inch versus the original Laguna Madre which floats level with a tunnel, Bob's JP (25 pounds more than Atlas) w/ 6" setback.

My experience since late October last year with the Carbon LM2:

POLING: poling draft is 5" with 2 anglers and gear. The LM2 is extremely agile, very light and easy to pole. It reminds me of Whipray #7 as far as ease poling.

HOLESHOT: The outboard on the LM2 is mounted about 3 inches lower than the LM tunnel. But, I feel the boat can jump on plane in 8" with hard bottom vs. 6" on the LM tunnel.

SHALLOW RUNNING: It took a while to learn shallow running, and we had to install Jack Foreman after market scoop water intakes... but, I feel I can run as shallow with the LM2 non-tunnel as the LM tunnel. I have learned to tilt the outboard to a point where the skeg is about even with the plane of the hull.

TOP END SPEED - 36 mph with 2 anglers with cupped prop designed by Jack Foreman and made by PowerTec... (The LM Tunnel did 31 mph in the same conditions)... I reached 40.5 mph by myself prior to cupping the prop.

OVERALL RIDE: The LM2 is very responsive with a Tohatsu 50. I find the LM2 softer than my LM1 when crossing boat wakes. The LM2 handles rough water very well and stays dry.

TRADE-OFFS: The only trade offs of the lighter, non-tunnel boat as I can see are:
  • The LM2 is slightly tippier than the LM, although it's very stable as a basically flat bottomed boat;
  • The LM2 squats slightly and is more sensitive to trim and weight distribution. I actually prefer to fill the gas 15 gallon gas tank on the [email protected] Where on the LM1, I always put the least amount of fuel possible. It's possible we may ballast the bow with water in dry bags when the guy poling weighs a lot more than the guy on the bow.
  • LM2 w/o tunnel doesn't jump up as shallow as the LM tunnel.

Mangrove 12 Degree Prototype in Holbox:
We also have been looking for a skiff for Holbox. We bought the 12 degree prototype, which Chittum offered at a steep discount last fall... this boat has bonding seams on the deck and cockpit where the cockpit was extended 8" for the original tiller. We added a simple console, remote steering, a carbon forward seat w/ aluminum frame and a casting platform. We left the 9 gallon portable gas tank and created a shelf for 2x3.5 gallon reserve tanks. After fishing Holbox for the past week, I am very pleased with the Mangrove 12 degree. Somehow that chopped up deck and portable fuel tanks made me happier with that boat as a fishing tool for Mexico. The second day, we made a 90+ mile round trip from Holbox to a permit spot... made it all the way on the 9 gallon tank (maybe it fits 10?); did not touch the reserves. Top speed was 37 mph with 3 guys averaging 200 pounds. A good cruising speed seems to be 31 mph at 5100 RPMS. The lightweight Mangrove 12 degree poles very easily. We crossed some very shallow patches in the backcountry; I would say the keel touches just slightly under 7 inches. We ran the Mangrove 12 degree along the beachside where the Gulf and Caribbean meet; the same waters that 23 pangas run. To me, the ride was soft and dry. But light build was very firm and the hull had no flex. The carbon seat was comfortable... waiting for a seat cover/cushion....

EB1E7E3D-9053-40DC-A007-FFAA4FFA17F1.jpeg
Carbon LM2

CACF8FB6-CBE6-4F0D-9EFA-13A3E7E54944.jpeg
Carbon LM2

59368B37-C99F-4F42-9E42-22CD4ABC01DE.jpeg

Mangrove 2 degree prototype

30E8621E-3D8D-43E3-9397-821D286BF472.jpeg

Mangrove Prototypes - 12 degree w/ blue deck; 2 degree w/ green deck

6160006C-5425-4765-9549-A3981429E594.jpeg
LM2 in POC, TX - slight squat with the heavy-weight on pole

09545B45-FF93-4FA8-80BC-CC6D3436C7BD.jpeg
LM2 Deck

98B1951E-3C87-426E-B1DE-E314BD3ABC62.jpeg
Mangrove 12 Degree in Holbox

D3F80B51-7761-4F04-9DCB-C929DAEEB789.jpeg

Mangrove 12 Degree Prototype with Center Console and Carbon Seat
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Photos of the Mangrove 12 degree portable fuel tank, its slot in the bow locker, and 1 of the blue reserve tanks... two reserve tanks fit against the bulkhead in the front locker with straps. We were able to squeeze a Ryobi leaf basket w/ Line Tamer on top of all those fuel tanks, not much else.... After seeing 10 mpg consumption reported above, we probably will switch to 2 portable 6 gallon Yamaha tanks.

A Yeti 18 Hopper Flip fits exactly under the carbon seat. That and a Yeti 30 Hopper give us plenty of cooler space. We’re using soft coolers on the LM2... I bought a West Marine deck chair for family and extra crew for the LM2.



2AF03252-2CE8-4950-B606-E5642A835B6D.jpeg


78FD6BE6-8736-47E1-B4CE-05DFE2A579DE.jpeg
 

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IMO, Chittum began building their best and lightest skiffs upon introducing the Mangrove Edition 12 and 2 degree / Laguna Madre II last summer. To me, the Mangrove /LM2 compare in weight and pole-ability to the very first HB Whipray 16s. Yet, the Mangrove / LM2 skiffs are made from the same 18 foot molds as earlier Chittum skiffs, providing a large, comfortable fishing platform that is dry and seaworthy. The Mangrove / LM2 are designed for Tohatsu 30/50/60 4 strokes. IMO, it's not necessary or advisable to put a tunnel on the 2 degree LM2. The Mangrove Edition is offered at lower prices than the heavier Snake Bight or Laguna Madre 1: $43.5k for a bare bones Tohatsu 30 tiller; $49.5k for a center console with Tohatsu 50.

I've owned poling skiffs since 2007. Two years ago, I began experimenting with a lot of skiffs. I'm 52... primarily fish Port O'Connor, TX, which is very shallow and the best skiffs seem to be tunnels. After getting a Chittum Laguna Madre 18 tunnel in late 2017 for POC, I wanted a simple boat to learn Galveston. Through some very cool MS guys, I was entrusted with 1998 HB Whipray, Hull #7 in the Spring of last year. Whipray #7 became my ideal skiff for weight, ease of poling, draft, minimalistic layout, no lights, portable fuel tanks, very low poling platform (24" above the deck). I was very happy with the 25 Merc 2 stroke as a light weight outboard, which keeps the Whipray balanced, as it was originally designed... Merc 25 offers just enough power. But, I wanted to add a jack-plate and power tilt for shallow running in TX. Hence, I sent Whipray #7 to Hal Chittum last summer for re-rigging and some other conservation work... that project is almost done.




Not long after receiving Whipray #7, and making a trip to field test the Laguna Madre in Texas last summer, Chittum made 2 one-off tiller 18 foot skiffs (a 2 degree w/ 15" shaft Tohatsu 50 shaft and a 12 degree w/ 20" shaft Tohatsu 50). To accommodate reach for the tillers, Chittum cut the deck and extended the cockpit back about 8" on these prototypes. The hulls on these tiller skiffs were made from the exactly the same molds of the 12 degree Islamorada Snake Bight and 2 degree Snake Bight (which is the same as the 2 degree Laguna Madre with no tunnel). Chittum named these boats the "Mangrove Edition". There were no electronics, just trim tabs, power tilt and




electric start. What was immediately remarkable from photos and videos of the Mangrove prototypes was the relatively shallower draft and how quickly they jumped on plane vs. Chittum's standard builds. At first impression it seemed the better performance was due to minimal rigging and tiller. However, talking to Hal, he advised that the Mangrove Edition is not about the tiller. Rather, it's a lighter boat made with thinner core, lighter lay up schedule, and lighter transom designed for the weight of a 50 Tohatsu (209 pounds). These first 2 prototypes had very little carbon, maybe 15% in the stingers, transom and structural parts. ***It's important to note that Chittum originally designed the 18 foot 12 degree boat for a 90 Yamaha 2 stroke
to run up to 60 mph... but, there were various guides and tournament anglers pushing the limits by installing the 12 degree 18 foot boat with 115, 150, 175, then even a 200 HP outboard last year that runs 70 mph... Hal explained that the stress on a boat running 60 mph means that skiff must be made 6X stronger than the same boat running at 40mph..... Hence, after consulting with their naval architects, Chittum was able to significantly lighten the build of the Mangrove (aka Laguna Madre II for Texas) as skiffs rated for the Tohatsu 50 and now the Tohatsu 60 (213 pounds). Hal claimed that there is 90 pounds less resin in the Mangrove and 60 pounds less weight in the transom, meaning the unrigged Mangrove / LM2 boats truly weigh in the 300-350 pound range.

In late August last year, Chittum began building the first full carbon Mangrove 2 degree. I went to test run and pole the prototypes and signed up for that carbon 2 degree skiff for TX, the first Laguna Madre II. I decided to add a simple center console, no built-in cooler seat, a 15 gallon aluminum gas tank, running / anchor lights , 9" Simrad, no trolling motor, no tunnel and lower poling platform. This LM2 was never weighed.... but, it is remarkable that with the same 50 Tohatsu, NO TUNNEL, an Atlas jack plate with only 4 " setback the LM2 actually squats about an inch versus the original Laguna Madre which floats level with a tunnel, Bob's JP (25 pounds more than Atlas) w/ 6" setback.

My experience since late October last year with the Carbon LM2:

POLING: poling draft is 5" with 2 anglers and gear. The LM2 is extremely agile, very light and easy to pole. It reminds me of Whipray #7 as far as ease poling.

HOLESHOT: The outboard on the LM2 is mounted about 3 inches lower than the LM tunnel. But, I feel the boat can jump on plane in 8" with hard bottom vs. 6" on the LM tunnel.

SHALLOW RUNNING: It took a while to learn shallow running, and we had to install Jack Foreman after market scoop water intakes... but, I feel I can run as shallow with the LM2 non-tunnel as shallow as the LM tunnel. I have learned to tilt the outboard to a point where the skeg is about even with the plane of the hull.

TOP END SPEED - 36 mph with 2 anglers with cupped prop designed by Jack Foreman and made by PowerTec... (The LM Tunnel did 31 mph in the same conditions)... I reached 40.5 mph by myself prior to cupping the prop.




OVERALL RIDE: The LM2 is very responsive with a Tohatsu 50. I find the LM2 softer than my LM1 when crossing boat wakes. The LM2 handles rough water very well and stays dry.

TRADE-OFFS: The only trade offs of the lighter, non-tunnel boat as I can see are:
- The LM2 is slightly tippier than the LM, although it's very stable as a basically flat bottomed boat;
- The LM2 squats slightly and is more sensitive to trim and weight distribution. I actually prefer to fill the gas 15 gallon gas tank on the [email protected] Where on the LM1, I always put the least amount of fuel possible. It's possible we may ballast the bow











Mangrove 12 Degree Prototype in Holbox:
We also have been looking for a skiff for Holbox. We bought the 12 degree prototype, which Chittum offered at a steep discount last fall... this boat has bonding seams on the deck and cockpit where the cockpit was extended 8" for the original tiller. We added a simple console, remote steering, a carbon forward seat w/ aluminum frame and a casting platform. We left the 9 gallon portable gas tank and created a shelf for 2x3.5 gallon reserve tanks. After fishing Holbox for the past week, I am very pleased with the Mangrove 12 degree. Somehow that chopped up deck and portable fuel tanks made me happier with that boat as a fishing tool for Mexico. The second day, we made a 90+ mile round trip from Holbox to a permit spot... made it all the way on the 9 gallon tank (maybe it fits 10?); did not touch the reserves. Top speed was 37 mph with 3 guys averaging 200 pounds. The lightweight Mangrove 12 degree poles very easily. We crossed some very shallow patches in the backcountry; I would say the keel touches just slightly under 7 inches. We ran the Mangrove 12 degree along the beachside where the Gulf and Caribbean meet; the same waters that 23 pangas run. To me, the ride was soft and dry... The carbon seat was comfortable... waiting for a seat cover/cushion....

View attachment 57222 Carbon LM2

View attachment 57226 Carbon LM2

View attachment 57228
Mangrove 2 degree prototype

View attachment 57230
Mangrove Prototypes - 12 degree w/ blue deck; 2 degree w/ green deck

View attachment 57232 LM2 in POC, TX - slight squat with the heavy-weight on pole

View attachment 57234 LM2 Deck

View attachment 57236 Mangrove 12 Degree in Holbox

View attachment 57238
Mangrove 12 Degree Prototype with Center Console and Carbon Seat
Good explanation of the Chittum skiff evolution and your personal experience with the evolution. I agree with your assessment of the Mangrove non-tunnel vs Laguna Madre tunnel from my experience on the skiffs with you and T Horbey. I really enjoyed fishing your latest edition Mangrove.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ok @Stevie
Pretty sure that's a Stetson Business or Open Road. Either way, nice hat![/QUOTE

@LowHydrogen It's an Optimo Texan in silverbelly, now about 5 years old a which was inspired by the Stetson Open Road. For a perfect head (bald) like mine, the hat is a utilitarian item...so why not have fun? This one has fallen in the saltwater many times, and patina gets better every year....
 

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Steve, please stop posting info on Chittum Skiff; I think there is some rule against it.
I need go fishing with you soon though.

In all seriousness, I had heard that all the kinks were not worked out of the Laguna Madre, something about the way the tunnel works and keeping water pressure. Is this familiar to you?

These boats look great.

Mike

BTW, we are going to need a heavy ballast because I weight about 265.
 

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Fantastic write up Stevie. Hal never quits trying to improve.

It will be interesting to see if they make a skiff specifically for the new Tohatsu 60 to handle the stresses from higher speed.

What’s really interesting to me is that Chittum is putting long carbon trim tabs on skiffs with 115+ HP and getting increased speed and stability over standard 12” tabs.

Maybe you could put those on your LM2 to improve hole shot. Just an idea.
 

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Photos of the Mangrove 12 degree portable fuel tank, its slot in the bow locker, and 1 of the blue reserve tanks... two reserve tanks fit against the bulkhead in the front locker with straps. We were able to squeeze a Ryobi leaf basket w/ Line Tamer on top of all those fuel tanks, not much else.... After seeing 10 mpg consumption reported above, we probably will switch to 2 portable 6 gallon Yamaha tanks.

A Yeti 18 Hopper Flip fits exactly under the carbon seat. That and a Yeti 30 Hopper give us plenty of cooler space. We’re using soft coolers on the LM2... I bought a West Marine deck chair for family and extra crew for the LM2.



View attachment 57264

View attachment 57266
Remember to keep the portable fuel tanks full with the correct ratio of ring free plus Startron fuel stabilizer and/or plenty of spare spin on fuel filters.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Very thorough review.

So.....is the 1998 Whipray still your favorite? Hard to tell from the write up.
Howdy @Net 30,

Sorry I wasn't clear, at the time I got #7, as a skiff for Texas, the Laguna Madre tunnel was my favorite overall skiff in terms of shallow running, crossing bays, holeshot. Whipray #7 set an ideal for me in terms of pole-ability and overall weight of a skiff-- #7 could not handle the shallow running in large areas of the Middle TX Coast south--Port O'Connor and south (#7 will be better with a JP). Whipray #7 also taught me to minimize rigging and options. Today, my favorite is the Laguna Madre II for Texas. If I had to pick just one skiff, it might be the Mangrove 12 degree.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Steve, please stop posting info on Chittum Skiff; I think there is some rule against it.
I need go fishing with you soon though.

In all seriousness, I had heard that all the kinks were not worked out of the Laguna Madre, something about the way the tunnel works and keeping water pressure. Is this familiar to you?

These boats look great.

Mike

BTW, we are going to need a heavy ballast because I weight about 265.
Hey Mike,

I weigh 210 (I'm my own skiff weight reduction opportunity). The guy I normally fish with weighs 275...

I ran the Laguna Madre tunnel nearly a year without a tunnel extension or Jack Foreman scoops. It was the best TX skiff I'd ever run. Occasionally when running deep water in a cross chop, the tunnel would go dry-- water pressure would drop, but propulsion was not a problem. Adding the tunnel extension and Jack Foreman scoops made a big difference.

What Chittum was trying to perfect, but never quite got, was the low water pickups installed on the tunnel. None of the guides that run tunnels ever wanted to mess with that feature. I believe Chittum is close to perfecting a low water pick-up that could even be used on a non-tunnel boat... with some valuable input from @Smackdaddy53
 
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