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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been wanting a small skiff for me and my son for a while now and still can't make up my mind which direction I want to go. I've always fished my dad's Carolina skiffs (19-21') models and those have always served us well and continue to serve us. Only problem with them is they beat you up but a fair trade off for the stability you gain for a family bay fishing machine.

What I am looking for currently is a small simple skiff that will be low maintenance and easy to trailer and store (garage). We mostly fish SE and SW Florida, everglades and occasionally Indian River. We do like to get in really skinny especially when running the everglades and winter fishing in SW florida.

The majority of fishing that we do is either live bait pitching to mangroves or drifting flats. I would want something stable since I have 2 small kids.

I was seriously thinking gheenoe for a while and almost pulled the trigger on one, but the more I think about it the more I want a bigger beam and more walking room.

I was looking into skiffs like ankona and skimmer skiff. The premium skiffs are not in the budget now. Then I started thinking why not a small carolina skiff like a 14-16ft?

So my question boils down to handling on these other microskiffs. Now I know anything with a flat bottom is going to be rough, but do these skiffs handle considerably better in a chop than a small carolina? Sometimes we cross some open bay and even in my dad's 19 carolina it cant be brutal. Thinking about doing the same in a 14-16ft scares me a bit lol.

I love the idea of a very stable skiff that will be family friendly, be easy to live bait fish out of, and will be versatile. I don't do a lot of poling if any, and it would be a few years for me to need a poling machine depending on how my son and I's fishing needs develop. I fly fish rarely so that's not a factor either.

What would you guys suggest? Small carolina and just get pummeled or a more traditional small skiff? How tippy are those things anyway?
 

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Carolina skiffs are honestly great for trolling motor fishing, drifting, etc and as you mentioned they are very stable due to the flat bottom. They will also pound your teeth out in a light chop.

A small poling skiff will ride much better in a chop than a flat bottom, but it will be "tippy" and probably not ideal for your purposes especially with small kids. - IMO the only reason to buy a small technical skiff over something larger is for poling super shallow flats with 1-2 people.

Based on your budget and requirements I'd look into the Salt Marsh SM1656 and less expensive flats skiffs such as Hewes and Mitzi. Anything smaller than 16-17' will be really cramped for fishing multiple people, especially with live bait.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Mitzi is also on my radar with saltmarsh and skimmerskiff. I'm fine with crossing a kicked up bay with my dads 19 carolina but it does pound a ton. I was worried with a smaller carolina it would be infinitely worse, hence my interest in something with somewhat of a V in the front. Not expecting to stay dry in a chop either. I don't fish any shallower than a carolina could get lol, but like I said my biggest concern is crossing small stretches of open water with an even smaller carolina. I'm definitely leaning in the 16' range as opposed to 14' or smaller. Trolling motor capabilities and a livewell are a priority, moreso than a poling platform, although that would be nice.
 

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Tavernier 17'

It's like a mini bay boat. extremely stable, has some deadrise, much more open water capable than a poling skiff or flat bottom CS, open layout, lightweight, easy to trailer, fits in a standard 2 car garage with room for a car
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I always assumed these were higher end on the budget scale. What’s a package go for. Based on your description sounds perfect lol
 

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I always assumed these were higher end on the budget scale. What’s a package go for. Based on your description sounds perfect lol
I've had mine for 2 years so I don't know exactly what current pricing is, but you can probably get a center console boat/motor/trailer for under $20k

I mean if Ankona is already on your shopping list, they make the Tavernier as well...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
This is awesome guys I’m really intrigued by this t17. How stable/tippy is it. Looks awesome and definitely within the budget I had in mind. I’ll keep researching this one and give them a shout.
 

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Since you're trolling motor fishing, anything less 12" draft on a drift is a moot point because you can't pull a boat around in less than that on a trolling motor.

There are a number of shallow drafting large flats boats and small bay boats that will suit SW FL everglades / 10K islands. Some you could likely find used in the price range of a new Ankona. A friend of mine just picked up a new Abaco 18 panga skiff (built side-by-side with Andros in same building) that may be something to consider.

I personally wouldn't go smaller than 16'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For sure I was really leaning towards the 16 range.
Basically what I'm looking for is a small boat for mainly 2 people, max 3 (but if 3 2 adults and a kid), that will run reasonably shallow and fit in my garage. I would prefer something more stable since I have kids and that would be suitible for the areas I fish. I will still have access to my dad's larger carolina for when the whole family wants to go, but I want something that will be low maintenance, and easy to just pick up and go with. Trolling motor and livewell are the non-negotiables. It would be nice if it would cut the water better than a carolina, but not at the expense of major loss of stability. Not looking to go offshore but wouldnt mind some shallow reef fishing on calm summer days. Definitely not looking for a specialized machine. Something practical, and something easy that I can enjoy mostly with my son, but sometimes my dad or a friend. Thanks all. I'll be calling on the Tavernier for sure as it seems it hits a lot of the boxes.
 

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J16’s are fishy as hell. Float in spit. But you need a mouthpiece to run em in a chop. It was my first boat. Taught me everything I needed to learn about what I wanted in a boat. Sold it for the exact same price I bought it for years later. Every now and again I think about picking another one up but my back hurts when I think about it too long.
 

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My opinion, there would be nothing better than a side console Beavertail B2 if you can find one. Also, there are some newer skiffs similar enough. With two small kids you will appreciate the open cockpit side console. You have three areas to stand while you drift fish. Or two on bow and one on back. Pretty stable and a nice ride. Not much easy access storage. But it’s a fishing skiff. Not a moving truck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
L
J16’s are fishy as hell. Float in spit. But you need a mouthpiece to run em in a chop. It was my first boat. Taught me everything I needed to learn about what I wanted in a boat. Sold it for the exact same price I bought it for years later. Every now and again I think about picking another one up but my back hurts when I think about it too long.
J16’s are fishy as hell. Float in spit. But you need a mouthpiece to run em in a chop. It was my first boat. Taught me everything I needed to learn about what I wanted in a boat. Sold it for the exact same price I bought it for years later. Every now and again I think about picking another one up but my back hurts when I think about it too long.
LOL, all I've ever run are carolina skiffs we've had 3 over the last 20+ years so I know the feeling. I do like the extra beam of the regular 16 as opposed to a J-series, though. We fished 4 people off a 16 once a LONG time ago and I was suprised how roomy it was. It was a classic 16 with the extra beam felt like a floating platform.
 

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What’s your idea of running skinny? That’s the first thing guys want to do then you see them chopping trenches in seagrass and getting stuck on flats overheating their motor trying to get off. Start deep and work your way into running areas that you learn. Last thing you want to do is chop bottom.
 

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Why not an older Hewes. Older ones are still great quality and can be found. We had a 16 bayfisher and used it through 10K, Keys, and Pine Island. Took to reef line in Islamorada on nice days and ran the back county. Moderately light to pole, but a bigger boat than a micro skiff for the family rides to sand bar. I had 5 comfortably on it before and still jumped on plane.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
What’s your idea of running skinny? That’s the first thing guys want to do then you see them chopping trenches in seagrass and getting stuck on flats overheating their motor trying to get off. Start deep and work your way into running areas that you learn. Last thing you want to do is chop bottom.
At least in the areas I usually fish, running "skinny" is 14-18". A lot depends on tide and time of year. In the winter, we just don't run the same areas because we just can't. I would like the ability to push the boat over a bar that was 7-9" but I would never consider powering in water that shallow. I'm not looking to tear up flats either, but sometimes we do cross some pretty shallow waters. Again SE and SW florida is my stomping grounds, and its a mix of inshore and backcountry fishing. Flamingo, Pine Island, Keys and rarely southern biscayne bay. I would like to get to know the 10,000 islands next, but I'll probably do a couple guided trips before I attempt that on my own.
 

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This is awesome guys I’m really intrigued by this t17. How stable/tippy is it. Looks awesome and definitely within the budget I had in mind. I’ll keep researching this one and give them a shout.
If you are ever near Clearwater/Dunedin I'm happy to take you out. I've done at least 6 demos for people interested in the boat. I'm on the water a lot anyway and I'm happy to show it off.
 

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Not looking to go offshore but wouldnt mind some shallow reef fishing on calm summer days.
I've been doing some reef fishing in the Gulf lately. 5-8 miles out on reasonably calm days. Sometimes the wind kicks up and the ride home is sporty, but I've been in legit 5' seas plugging back to the beach and while it wasn't fun by any means I never felt unsafe or uneasy. Just slowest speed to stay on plane, use the tabs and weave in and out of the troughs a bit.
 
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