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New to the community. Our family is looking to buy our 1st boat. I am an avid fisherman, primarily lakes, rivers, creeks here in SE Virginia. I currently fish solely out of a kayak. The boat needs to be able to function well as a fishing boat, but also comfortable for our family of 3 (9 year old) to use as a pleasure boat around where we live. I think it should be at least 14' but likely bigger? Also, I would prefer side/center console and an engine at least 25 hp. We are on a budget of less than $12,000, thus the direction of a used boat. What brands are the best to look at to fit the role of family/fishing use?

Also, if you have 1 you are looking to sell and you are within a 4-5 hour drive of area code 23089 tell me what you have for sale. I love everything about these smaller skiffs, especially their simplicity, but just need to find the right fit for us. Thank you all in advance!
 

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Carpe Diem
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If you're restricting your fishing to fresh water in lakes, smaller rivers and creeks, your best bet for a boat to safely and efficiently carry three people would be something in the order of an 18 foot jon boat with 50 to 90 hp. Quality makers are Sea Ark, G3, Alumacraft, Duracraft, Xpress and a few others. If you plan to venture into the Chesapeake Bay, you'll want something totally different. 18 ft is still a good size, but a heavier boat with more deadrise and higher sheer line is more appropriate. The Bay can get nasty and you really don't need to worry about shallow running.

Here's the type fresh water boat to look for

Here's more what you need to fish the Bay and the big rivers.

Both are in your local area.
 

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151 backcountry pro guide, key largo 160 are both a lot of boat for less than your budget
 

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As Vertigo said, if you aren’t running in large open waters, something like a 16-18’ Carolina skiff would also be a good option. This ones outside your driving range, but just an example of what you can expect.


Personally, I’d prefer to buy a solid and motor at a lower price, then plan on going through everything. New batteries, fuel lines, tune up, wiring, electronics, and axle, springs, and tires. This is likely to result in many enjoyable and trouble free trips rather than buying something at the top end of your budget that will have issues and $200-$1,000 repair bills every other trip.
 
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