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Discussion Starter #1
Hi team,

I'm interested in getting deeper into the flats fishing game in Texas. I live in Austin, so will be fishing along the Texas coast (poling for Reds) and probably fishing some of the lakes around for Striper.

I've been a bit all over the place, looked at:
  • Aluminum Jon Conversions
  • Roto-molded Plastic (I.e. Hog Island)

Now, fiberglass has entered the mix. Initially looked at a Salt Marsh 1656, but just stumbled on a Key West Stealth 1760 for a good price. I'm looking to ideally spend less than $10K.

It's heavier (1000 lb dry hull), drafts deeper (10 inches), and probably doesn't pole as well. Alternatively, it's more stable, handles chop better, etc. My question is, how bad is it (if anyone has experience) and how would that impact fishing in Texas. Obviously prefer people with direct experience, but open to others' speculation.
 

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to fish the marsh area effectively in Texas a sub 7" draft boat is what I would look for. Have you considered a gheenoe?
 

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I'm sure some of the texas boys will chime in soon, but probably not the skiff for that area. And not the skiff you want to pole too much. Heavy as hell and probably drafts closer to 11-12". For 10k, I'd wait for the right shadowcast to pop up. Or any other older ankona, skimmer skiff, Mitzi etc.
 

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Stripers (Lake Buchanon) and redfish in the back lakes on the coast are very different pursuits. As mentioned above, to be able to get in many of the back lakes hunting redfish, during most water levels (we don't really have tides here - just high and low water) you need to be able to run, and more importantly, get up in sub 7". I don't know of much that will get you where you want to be at the coast and then be comfortable crossing a big lake to get to a striper zone.

I am a fan of Key West boats as I owned a 1720 Explorer (rigged with a small center console and poling platform) that was a good compromise boat - I ran it offshore, inshore and the lakes but the downside was it was heavy, not a very good poling skiff, and needed about a foot or more of water to get up. I have looked at the Stealth and while a cool boat it is more of a flats skiff (as opposed to technical poling skiff). Probably a great boat for the Keys and 10K Islands but too heavy and too much draft for the Texas Coast and will probably knock the fillings out of your teeth running on the sweet water lakes.

Decide what you will do the most and focus on that type of boat. Otherwise you will be disappointed more often than not.
 

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Ankona Shadowcast 16
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Ankona Shadowcast 16 - 20HP We are fishing Galveston to Port O'connor- the boat has performed well in the back bays & lagoons - 2 guys and gear about 7 to 8" float it a poling machine !!! We have use it year around, takes 2 to 3 ft wave well, but you need KNOW WHAT YOUR ARE DOING, YOU WILL GET WET! The beam make it tippy, so you have to know your boat and communicate to passager They stopped building the 16 and now have a 18 ft say one in Port A in Sept. - I brought this here in Texas , it was 2016 model. in the $10krange .Use it once -twice month, 3 to days of fishing maybe 3 to 4 gal gas. If you get to Houston, be happy to take you out
160527
 

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Hey guys, really appreciate the thoughtful responses here. You've confirmed what I feared, what looked like a good deal (and a nice boat) isn't going to work for what I need.

I totally hear the point that this ends up being a jack of all trades boat here, which on first glance really appealed to me, but I think what you all have pointed out is that this is really going to mean I'm always operating in a compromised situation.

Based on this, I'm leaning back toward a ShadowCast.

I'd looked at some ShadowCasts (specifically the 18) and was initially scared off by reports of them being pretty tippy. In some cases I'll want to be able to take a 3rd person, which seems like it's iffy to begin with, and then that 3rd might be my dad who's still capable, but probably wouldn't fare well if we were tossed off the casting platform. Hard to know if that concern is overblown, so would love any first-hand experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ankona Shadowcast 16 - 20HP We are fishing Galveston to Port O'connor- the boat has performed well in the back bays & lagoons - 2 guys and gear about 7 to 8" float it a poling machine !!! We have use it year around, takes 2 to 3 ft wave well, but you need KNOW WHAT YOUR ARE DOING, YOU WILL GET WET! The beam make it tippy, so you have to know your boat and communicate to passager They stopped building the 16 and now have a 18 ft say one in Port A in Sept. - I brought this here in Texas , it was 2016 model. in the $10krange .Use it once -twice month, 3 to days of fishing maybe 3 to 4 gal gas. If you get to Houston, be happy to take you out
View attachment 160527
Beautiful boat!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
to fish the marsh area effectively in Texas a sub 7" draft boat is what I would look for. Have you considered a gheenoe?
I took a look at Gheenoes and Towees, ended up feeling like there wasn't enough room, were going to be too tippy, etc. All things being equal, I think at around the same price point a ShadowCast or Salt Marsh boat would be more in my lane.
 

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Hey guys, really appreciate the thoughtful responses here. You've confirmed what I feared, what looked like a good deal (and a nice boat) isn't going to work for what I need.

I totally hear the point that this ends up being a jack of all trades boat here, which on first glance really appealed to me, but I think what you all have pointed out is that this is really going to mean I'm always operating in a compromised situation.

Based on this, I'm leaning back toward a ShadowCast.

I'd looked at some ShadowCasts (specifically the 18) and was initially scared off by reports of them being pretty tippy. In some cases I'll want to be able to take a 3rd person, which seems like it's iffy to begin with, and then that 3rd might be my dad who's still capable, but probably wouldn't fare well if we were tossed off the casting platform. Hard to know if that concern is overblown, so would love any first-hand experience.
Not sure how your health is but I can tell you this from a recent experience...

First, I am only 42 but suffer from some arthritic decline, an old back and neck injury that is coming back to haunt me, and a pituitary tumor that has my equilibrium and reflex all messed up...

I poled a shadowcast 16 in heavy winds and chop about a month or so ago with little trouble maintaining balance! I had a hell of a time getting back down from the perch but managed. It isn’t a barge, but isn’t a canoe either.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not sure how your health is but I can tell you this from a recent experience...

First, I am only 42 but suffer from some arthritic decline, an old back and neck injury that is coming back to haunt me, and a pituitary tumor that has my equilibrium and reflex all messed up...

I poled a shadowcast 16 in heavy winds and chop about a month or so ago with little trouble maintaining balance! I had a hell of a time getting back down from the perch but managed. It isn’t a barge, but isn’t a canoe either.
This is great input, thanks! My health is fine, but I was thinking about my dad (he's in his early 60s). I think based on your input, we should be good to go.
 

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Keep looking at the classifieds on different sites around the interwebs. One thing you want on the Texas coast is a boat that can take the chop and knock down some of the spray. Flat bottoms are skinny but they ride like bricks, lots of V is smooth but drafts more. Definitely want to consider where you usually fish and where you launch from to get to where you want to fish. The bays here can get real snotty with short mixed up chop so if you have to make long runs across open water, take that into consideration. Alternatively, if you can get to where you want to be by running the ICW or right into a back lack with mostly protected water, then you can likely get away with a flatter shallower drafting boat. Just remember when trying to choose your boat, everything is a compromise so you need to prioritize the features you need/want and start pairing down your boat choices.
 
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