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If there is anyone between Birmingham, AL and Atlanta, GA with a SM 1656 or a Heron, I would love to go fishing with you for a day. I'll cover beer and gas.

With that being said, if anyone has a SM1656 setup for bass fishing along with flats fishing, post up some pics!

For anyone with an SM1656, do you think you could fit the 12 gal gas tank and two batteries under the front deck? How about a pedestal mount, too? Any room left for some Plano boxes after that

I really need a 70lb 24V rip tide up front, along with a separate cranking battery in the back. I need to keep the boat light for some crappy local launches that I'll have to man handle the boat to get it loaded and unloaded, which is the reason I am looking at the Saltmarsh skiffs, instead of something like center console aluminum boat. Plus, I would rather keep the outboard under a 70hp.

I'm open to suggestions, too. Right now I fish in a cheap 80s model fisher aluminum boat. I'm not a fan of aluminum boats to say the least. I typically fish local electric only lakes, but occasionally fish creeks, rivers, and bigger lakes. I like to travel to the pan handle and fish from Fort Morgan to Apalachicola. I imagine I'll take a few trips to the Jacksonville and St. Augustine area for some tidal creek fishing. Just to give an idea of my typical fishing activities.

Just to make the post longer, tohatsu vs e-tec. Say 60hp? What would you go with?
 

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For the 1656 you definitely have room for the 2 batteries and tackle storage. Not sure about putting a pedestal up there if you elect to have the 12 gallon tank installed too. You should be able to do a pedestal in the front deck if you go with a portable 6 gallon tank. The Heron has a larger front deck so it may accommodate all your needs.
 

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For anyone with an SM1656, do you think you could fit the 12 gal gas tank and two batteries under the front deck? How about a pedestal mount, too? Any room left for some Plano boxes after that?
I currently have a 12 gallon tank on the 1656 I am running. There is room for a 24v system and room for some tackle boxes as well. A pedestal seat would be mounted on the deck and would take up no room below.

I really need a 70lb 24V rip tide up front, along with a separate cranking battery in the back. I need to keep the boat light for some crappy local launches that I'll have to man handle the boat to get it loaded and unloaded, which is the reason I am looking at the Saltmarsh skiffs, instead of something like center console aluminum boat. Plus, I would rather keep the outboard under a 70hp.
The skiff is so light, launching at unincorporated ramps would not be an issue. If you slick up the bunks and get a roller on the back of your trailer, the skiff is very easy to dry launch.

Just to make the post longer, tohatsu vs e-tec. Say 60hp? What would you go with?
I have a 50 hp Tohatsu on the back of this 1656. It makes the skiff very fast. If you go with a 50, I'd suggest getting trim tabs....really I'd suggest tabs regardless of motor size. As far s the brand, go with what you are comfortable with and have service access to locally.
 

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Agree with Shadowcast above on storage capabilities. If you wanted a pedestal seat I would go with the original front hatch layout to make that accommodation. You may also want to reconfigure your battery layout to balance the weight as it is a light skiff. Not sure how it would run with all of the battery weight forward.
 

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Thanks for the fast responses.

Agree with Shadowcast above on storage capabilities. If you wanted a pedestal seat I would go with the original front hatch layout to make that accommodation. You may also want to reconfigure your battery layout to balance the weight as it is a light skiff. Not sure how it would run with all of the battery weight forward.
I was thinking the weight of the tank and batteries would help offset the weight of the motor and myself in the back while running. My aluminum boat has a gas tank and two batteries in the back right now. It runs okay (probably because 40hp on the little boat is enough no matter the configuration), but it's very stern heavy. If I am not standing on the front deck, the trolling motor prop breaks the surface!

Considering the weight of gas, it would almost make sense to put the gas tank and cranking battery in the back, and the two batteries for the trolling motor in the front. Probably more logical from a wiring and gas line routing perspective, too.

I thought the Etec would be lighter, but looking at 60hp between the two, the weight is nearly the same.

I am not familiar with old vs new hatch layouts. Got any example pics?

Thanks,
Daniel Russell
 

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First you don't put a swivel seat on the front deck of a flats boat. Its against the law. If you want a swivel seat keep your aluminium boat
Second. If you now know how to act get the Salt Marsh and a push pole and go fishing
 

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First you don't put a swivel seat on the front deck of a flats boat. Its against the law. If you want a swivel seat keep your aluminium boat
Second. If you now know how to act get the Salt Marsh and a push pole and go fishing
I could also say the first law of fly fishing is you only use all natural dry flies, but we all still use crease flies, gummy minnows, craft fur, and EP flies, don't we?

I'm fat and lazy. My father isn't getting any younger either. If he doesn't have somewhere to sit when we fish together, he may not make it through the day! You are right though, a pedestal seat isn't really needed. I probably need to stand more anyway.

With my foot controlled trolling motor and the whole 4 sq ft of front deck I currently have, my pedestal seat actually keeps me off my back and out of the water!

A push pole in my boat won't see a lot usage. Unless I find some local carp flats, as long as the TM prop stays under and not in grass, I will be using the TM 90% of the time while fishing. A poling platform on my boat would be as useful as the poling platforms you see on the new Makos. Might strap the beer cooler to it.
 

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Build it like u want it. If you use one of the small pedestal seat mounts (about the size of the gas cap) it will look fine.

While I agree with Shadowcast on everything else, I would disagree with him on trim tabs. This hull does not need them and would be downright scary to trim down at cruising speeds or near top end. The bow rides fairly low to begin with and could easily be stuffed if you trimmed it down further. Given the fairly flat bow it would also pound if trimmed further. I found that mine ate chop the best with a slightly bow high attitude. If it gets really crappy, run 10-12 mph and just kinda plow a bit, or take an angle on the waves. If you need to level out the boat it’s just as easy to scooch one direction or the other a couple of inches. Mine had the offset mini console and I could easily sit towards the middle and still reach the wheel/throttle.

It’s a great boat and even though I’m excited about my upcoming Heron, there are a couple of things I’ll miss about the 1656 - less draft (I think) and probably less squat since it’s wider at the stern then the Heron. ...and it costs less.
 

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While I agree with Shadowcast on everything else, I would disagree with him on trim tabs. This hull does not need them and would be downright scary to trim down at cruising speeds or near top end. The bow rides fairly low to begin with and could easily be stuffed if you trimmed it down further. Given the fairly flat bow it would also pound if trimmed further. I found that mine ate chop the best with a slightly bow high attitude.
I am running a 50 Tohatsu (which is scary fast on that skiff), and no tabs, on mine and pretty much have to run it with the motor trimmed down on a calm day. If I start trimming up the motor it begins to porpise causing me to have to trim it back down. Trim tabs would help calm down the porpising and allow me to ride more bow up at higher speeds. With no tabs, I'm rarely running above 5000 RPM's (by choice) because of how low the bow rides. Ultimately, it's a backcountry skiff and not one that is built for long open water runs. On a day with any chop, you are not running that way, you are slowing down and trying to get the bow up...so I agree with you there. Enjoy your Heron! It's a great skiff!
 
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Good point about the porpoising. I figured out early on that you can’t trim the motor up much at all and she’ll start doing that. I got used to bumping it up juuuust a bit once on plane and then leaving it alone.
 

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Thanks for the fast responses.



I was thinking the weight of the tank and batteries would help offset the weight of the motor and myself in the back while running. My aluminum boat has a gas tank and two batteries in the back right now. It runs okay (probably because 40hp on the little boat is enough no matter the configuration), but it's very stern heavy. If I am not standing on the front deck, the trolling motor prop breaks the surface!

Considering the weight of gas, it would almost make sense to put the gas tank and cranking battery in the back, and the two batteries for the trolling motor in the front. Probably more logical from a wiring and gas line routing perspective, too.

I thought the Etec would be lighter, but looking at 60hp between the two, the weight is nearly the same.

I am not familiar with old vs new hatch layouts. Got any example pics?

Thanks,
Daniel Russell
I would not use your current Jon boat as a comparison. This skiff has a very wide stern which affords the ability to put a significant amount of weight in the back.

I also do not have trim tabs on mine and do not find them necessary. IMO I would go without and if you need them it is a simple add on in the future. (I have 1656 with 50 tohatsu)

Also to the above which I am not sure if it was said as a joke but go with the pedestal seat. If your primary mode of fishing is trolling motor and comfort that would be ideal.
 

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Put a casting platform or cooler on the front so you can sit on it. Then get a tiller TM and not fall out of the boat
 
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I would not use your current Jon boat as a comparison. This skiff has a very wide stern which affords the ability to put a significant amount of weight in the back.

I also do not have trim tabs on mine and do not find them necessary. IMO I would go without and if you need them it is a simple add on in the future. (I have 1656 with 50 tohatsu)

Also to the above which I am not sure if it was said as a joke but go with the pedestal seat. If your primary mode of fishing is trolling motor and comfort that would be ideal.
My wife and I will be in the Port Charlotte area for the winters. I am a fly fisherman in my late 60s and looking for a shallow water skiff that is not too much money. I am leaning towards the SM 1656 with the 50. I want to be able to fish out of it and still take my wife out for rides. I think you own one.
Can you tell me if it pounds or is really a wet ride. I will not be going out in the gulf with it but will be crossing some open water at times in that harbor. Thanks in advance for any information you can give me maybe point me to another person who has one. Tom DeBruin
 

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It is not meant for open water. It will Pound in a chop and be wet as most all flat bottom skiffs will. Everything has a trade off though.
 

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My wife and I will be in the Port Charlotte area for the winters. I am a fly fisherman in my late 60s and looking for a shallow water skiff that is not too much money. I am leaning towards the SM 1656 with the 50. I want to be able to fish out of it and still take my wife out for rides. I think you own one.
Can you tell me if it pounds or is really a wet ride. I will not be going out in the gulf with it but will be crossing some open water at times in that harbor. Thanks in advance for any information you can give me maybe point me to another person who has one. Tom DeBruin
I have a 1656 as well - 40 etec tiller, 12 gal take under front deck with one TM battery up there too. I'm considering converting to remote steer as the tiller gets a bit painful on my 56 year old shoulders on longer runs.

It is a drier and softer ride than my previous, truly flat bottomed skiff since it has 6 degrees of deadrise. But it's not NEARLY as dry and soft as my buddy's HB Biscayne. It was about 1/4th the cost and I catch a lot of fish out of it. Super easy to launch, stable, and floats very shallow.
 

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Thanks for the information. I am in line for the Heron 16 and I think even with the long crazy wait for that it will be the right boat for me.
I went from the 1656 to a Heron Lodge edition. Better choice for crossing open water. The 1656 does surprisingly well if you drive it right, but the Heron is much better. Have had mine in some fairly rough lake/bay chop and it’s pretty dry and rides very “soft” in head or following seas. Definitely get tabs with the Heron.
 

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I went from the 1656 to a Heron Lodge edition. Better choice for crossing open water. The 1656 does surprisingly well if you drive it right, but the Heron is much better. Have had mine in some fairly rough lake/bay chop and it’s pretty dry and rides very “soft” in head or following seas. Definitely get tabs with the Heron.
I was told that I did not need tabs but you are saying I need them. Did you try the boat without tabs? It will add a chunk of money. My son, a guide in the keys says I need them as well.
 
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