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I Love microskiff.com!
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Discussion Starter #1
My father and I have spent a ton of time the past few years fishing in the Northeast for stripers and down in Islamorada for tarpon/reds/bones. We picked up a really fantastic Ranger Phantom 168 which we've fished out of for the last few years. It is a wonderful technical poling skiff - floats skinny, easy to poll, nice wide and stable platform... and plenty fast for our needs!

That being said, he is getting older (just retired!) and comfort is becoming a higher priority. I am thinking about selling the skiff to get him on something that might handle chop better on the way back. I am fine with getting some spray and bumps on the way back from the Glades when the weather picks up, but I can really see it starting to get to him - and I think it's starting to affect his willingness to hop in the boat.

I still need to be able to push this boat around with relative ease and get skinny, but it seems like the best current options are the following...

Maverick HPV
East Cape Evo
Hells Bay Marquesa

I'm going to miss the ultra skinny water poling we often do, but value the days with him on the front a whole lot more. Are there any others boats I should be looking at to fill this need? Note, ideally in the used market for under $30K. You'll be sure one of those back support/casting cages will be on the list...

Thank you in advance!
 

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I'll be watching this thread because I'm trying to learn what's out there as well for a retirement boat . Good to see you like the Ranger that's a consideration of mine . Hope you get plenty of input it's a learning curve of mine as well . So cool to see you're focused on your Dad ENJOY!
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Discussion Starter #4
You cant get skinny and chop comfort on a big bay in one boat. Your going to sacrifice skinny for a smooth ride
Certainly understood. I have never gotten out and measured the Ranger, but the internet tells me 6" is real life performance and I believe it. Some of the spots we pole are just absolutely unbelievably shallow.

Where is the tipping point of better chop performance? Is a 8-9" draft attainable? I think I could handle watching a few reds tail out in the distance, but I definitely couldn't handle watching them all out of range. Right now, I have never seen a fish I couldn't reach.

EDIT: I think it is worth mentioning that width is also important. The ranger is ultra stable with lots of beam. I looked at an HPV17 that made me wonder if it would be as stable in the water.
 

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I Love Skinny Water
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Yea my big flats boat i wouldn't call skinny. Never got it stuck but i know my limits. 8-9" i guess. But i can run in heavy chop comfortably and have run in white caps if the wind is right
and it fits with my family requirements (grandsons)
 

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Brandon, FL
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As your father ages his abilities change as well. Those abilities are also attached his mental state. The ability to stand on the deck of a skiff will deminish with time and he will be more unwilling to go because of these diminished abilities.

Although you think you need a different skiff, I believe you need a different kind of boat.

Something with some sides so he can lean against for support. He may not need it this year but the day is coming.

My father is 88 and there is not a prayer of getting him in my skiff but he will go in a big boat with enough height to the sides so he does not feel he will fall out if the boat rocks a bit. The t-top also provides a solid foundation for grabbing.

Take a look at a panga style boat and you will still have ability for shallow water stalking.
 

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Soy un Perdedor
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It's gonna be tough to beat the Ranger in terms of stability. One of most comfortable skiffs I've ever fished in terms of stability and running comfort was a Yellowfin. It was pretty nimble on the pole but still had enough weight to mash down some of the slop....but getting skinny might be a problem?

I think one of the biggest considerations for your Dad's comfort is a skiff with really high quality cushions, a few grab bars for stability and most important, a padded back rest for running. I fish the Vineyard for Bass and Albies and having a padded leaning post or belly bar on the bow makes the trip safer and a lot less tiring too.

I wet tested the Marquesa before I bought my EVO and I picked the EVO hands down. Not sure if I would have bought either if I was thinking about an aging Dad as my most important factor. Maybe look at an EC Vantage but I've never fished one.

Good Luck!
 

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Premium Member
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I got a bigger boat , casting platform front and rear . My dad had problems negotiating the up-and-down of the platforms A large flat deck boat would have been a better option for him. congrats on the retirement! Good fishing
 

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Ankona Sales Rep
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I still need to be able to push this boat around with relative ease and get skinny, but it seems like the best current options are the following...

Maverick HPV
East Cape Evo
Hells Bay Marquesa

I'm going to miss the ultra skinny water poling we often do, but value the days with him on the front a whole lot more. Are there any others boats I should be looking at to fill this need? Note, ideally in the used market for under $30K. You'll be sure one of those back support/casting cages will be on the list...

Thank you in advance!
You got three winners there....I'd add the Salt Marsh Heron 18 (that you can get new for around $30K) and the Cayo 180.
 

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Upgrading for more comfort? You're probably heading for a small bayboat... the 18 to 20 foot range. I've been lucky enough in the past few years to get hired to show different visitors to Flamingo and Chokoloskee the basics - on their boats which allowed me to run every size of bayboat (from 25' on down). Properly equipped (Power pole and trolling motors a must...) you'd be surprised just how shallow they can operate in while fishing (but not into poling depths of course - you'll be staying short of two feet depths to be able to operate with a trolling motor -but lots of fish in the two to four foot depths along every shoreline...).

For a very well set up flats boat that does get into around 10 inches of water and still has a great ride.... Make point of looking at the basic 18' 9" Egret....
Most can't afford one (even on the used side they hold their value very well...). I've long advised my own anglers looking for their first boat to check out an Egret first... to see how a boat should be built and rigged.

Hope this helps

Forgot to mention something that I did on my old 17' Maverick that made a world of difference in comfort for both me - and my anglers... and that was to add comfortable bass boat seats (three across on the rear platform, the center one on a sliding mount) instead of the usual bench style seating that every flats boat comes with. That alone will make a world of difference in how you feel at the end of every day. I'm 70 now - and still pushing a pole every day on my skiff (no trolling motor...). This year, if I can ever find the time, I will be installing a troller on my skiff again (had one years ago and didn't miss it when the mount broke off as I was running across Whitewater Bay one day...). The new trolling motors are much more workable than the ones twenty years ago -particularly in 24 or 36 volt configurations for bigger boats...
 

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I'd look at Hewes, Action Craft, and an older Master Angler if you find one. Those are going to be like 9-10" boats, but they eat up chop. I cut my teeth poling a heavy, heavy Hoog, so it's doable.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Discussion Starter #13
Many thanks for all the answers here already, lots of good info here. I think I may have misled you guys a bit, as this is probably a two-staged retirement approach for him!

It will be hard (read: impossible) to get him off the skinny water bonefish/redfish areas while he can still do it, which is at least another 5-6 years. That being said, his interest level in running out to Flamingo on a day where it is blowing 15 is no longer there just due to the wet, bumpy ride out depending on the wind direction. I can pole around a heavier boat without issue, but the main concern right now is just getting drier and softer at the expense of some draft and weight.

My guess is we will pick up a true bay boat in 6 years and keep this next skiff, whatever it might be, as the nice weather sled. That gets us out in all weather conditions but doesn't sacrifice the flats we've worked hard to learn over the past few years.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Yes, the 17 HP-X V is a bit narrow and a little tippy, perhaps compared to your Ranger. However, the HPX 18 doesn't require much more, if any, water to float and rides amazingly well. Should float in 8-10 inches depending on load. You'll be hard pressed to find one for $30k though (or any of the three boats you listed.) The Egret already mentioned would also fit the bill quite well.
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Beavertail Vengeance - 18 footer and rides like a Cadillac. Poleable no problem.
yep - aircraft carrier stable, good in the slop and very polable - about 7or 8 inch legit draft -in addition to its balance of ride versus draft it has one other unique feature that never gets talked about - it has a bench seat that allows you to place your bag and other items directly under it - I loved the idea when I got mine but ws concerned about its actual implementation - no ned to worry - it is a great idea that is well implemented that gives you about 18" by the width of the boat of extra space to stow things that you do not want to put in hatches
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Discussion Starter #17
yep - aircraft carrier stable, good in the slop and very polable - about 7or 8 inch legit draft -in addition to its balance of ride versus draft it has one other unique feature that never gets talked about - it has a bench seat that allows you to place your bag and other items directly under it - I loved the idea when I got mine but ws concerned about its actual implementation - no ned to worry - it is a great idea that is well implemented that gives you about 18" by the width of the boat of extra space to stow things that you do not want to put in hatches
Thanks for the input, looks like you also owned the 189 in the past. Was poleability the reason for the swap?
 

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I Love microskiff.com!
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Yes- also the draft and the egret was very noisy. Vengeance really pokes quite well- I’ve had a few guides go out w me on it and they were really surprised at the combo of draft, ride and polability. I can’t think of anything else that combines all of these aspects together as well- the vengeance is a “sleeper”.
 

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Before I get called a vengeance Homie – let me just say that there are lots of other Skiffs that I absolutely love as well. I loved my egret when I had it – but objectively it had too many limitations for me. I like the HPX 17 quite a bit – but it’s too tippy for me and drives more than a vengeance. I also love the Hells Bay professional and Biscayne for different reasons – but none of the other boats Has the unique combination of draft ride and ability to be polled skinny
 
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