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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Long time lurker, first time reaching out for advice, hoping to lean a few things. I currently own a 2020 Sportsman 207 masters bay boat that I bought last year after we had our first child. Long story short, I convinced myself that I needed more boat/more room because of a growing family when reality all I have done is keep myself out of places that I want to fish because I cant get there on low tide. I am now back in the market for a skiff/flats style boat. While I am no stranger to the water, been on it my whole life, I am new to this style boat. With all that said, I have some questions and hope that you guys can maybe help me in my quest to find the right boat.

I am about 6' tall and 225 pounds and I am looking for something that is stable. So for example, does a beam of 88" vs 80" make that much difference?

I am looking for something that can handle the chop of southeast NC chop on a summer afternoon, keep me dry, ride somewhat decent, and float in about 6 to 8 inches of water. I also want to be able to pole the boat around some, most of the time will be spent on the trolling motor. Am I chasing unicorns or do you guys really get this out of certain boats?

I would like to stay in the 18' range, anything smaller and I feel like you loose storage/room and I would like to salvage as much room as possible for the wife and baby when they do want to hop on.

Last but not least I am looking for name recommendations, and this is where it gets tricky. I would ideally like to stay around the 40k mark but it seems that it would take substantially more than this to bring a boat like this home new. Can anyone recommend a nice quality built boat that satisfy a budget of around 40K give or take. Xplor and East Cape are 2 of the boats that I keep going back to.

What are some recommendations or experiences you can pass along for someone about to purchase there first skiff. Anything you wish you would have known, done differently, wish someone would have told you before you bought your boat. I know it was a long post but I do appreciate the help.
 

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I really like what Xplor Boatworks is doing. Sounds like the X7 would be a good fit.
 
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You can get all of that within reason, but "dry" and "ride in a chop" are very subjective. Lots of skiffs ride well for what they are, as long as you aren't comparing it to the ride of a bay boat. If you need 6-8" draft and good poling manners with a decent ride I would look for a used HB professional or maybe East cape Evo. If you are ok with losing a little bit of draft then the next side up with a little more deadrise such as a HB Marquesa or Floyd 10wt will improve your ride.
 

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Sounds like your looking for more of a flats boat then a skiff. A hewes redfisher, maverick 18 are solid options (along with many other flats boats) andwill do everything your looking for but the draft is around 10 inches loaded.

a vantage is a larger skiff and you’d get what your looking for.

I’m of the opinion that 6-8 inch true draft are going to be skiffs like most hells bays, maverick 17 hpx, eastcape, chittum, exc.. versus the big brother flats boat that float in 8-12 inch.
 

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You’re in south east NC? I’m in Raleigh and fish out of Carolina Beach. In the ICW of this area you really need a large skiff or flats boat or you’re going to be in the same situation you are now. The wind won’t be perfect or it will be a busy day and the intracoastal will be so choppy you’ll be staying home.

You listed 2 really quality companies making perfect boats for what I described; Xplor X13, EC EVO V, and EC Vantage/VHP. I had a VHP for a couple years before selling it to my buddy, it was the ideal boat for skinny water fishing in our area, especially for a guy my size (I’m 6’4” 215lbs). While the VHP does rock a bit when at rest it’s something you get used, personally I wouldn’t go with anything narrower.

I actually had an EVO V on order before having some family disagreements (we were a 2 boat family and my in-laws no longer want to help with the dual console cruising boat), now I’m going to build an Egret Moccasin in the summer.

With all that said, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the big names 18’+ skiff: East Cape, Xplor, Egret, Beavertail, Maverick, Hells Bay, etc.
 

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If you're going to fish mostly on the trolling motor and want a dry ride, don't bother looking for a 6" boat. True 6" boats aren't dry and have only occasional trolling motor applications.

Look at Maverick HPXS, East Cape EVO or Vantage, BT Vengance, Floyd 10 Wt, or a couple Hell's Bay models.

Where exactly do you fish in SE NC? I've spent some time between the New River and Carolina Beach and can speak to that area pretty well. Would also recommend calling a couple guides down there. Allen Cain is a nice, helpful dude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Are you set on new? I’m going to be listing a flats boat with a new motor that will draft in the 10” range, pole well or run the trolling motor and will cross some rough water smoothly. Comes in well below your budget.

(shameless plug)
I think I am looking for something new right now. I do appreciate the offer though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If you're going to fish mostly on the trolling motor and want a dry ride, don't bother looking for a 6" boat. True 6" boats aren't dry and have only occasional trolling motor applications.

Look at Maverick HPXS, East Cape EVO or Vantage, BT Vengance, Floyd 10 Wt, or a couple Hell's Bay models.

Where exactly do you fish in SE NC? I've spent some time between the New River and Carolina Beach and can speak to that area pretty well. Would also recommend calling a couple guides down there. Allen Cain is a nice, helpful dude.
I’m in the very southeastern corner in Shallotte/Ocean Isle/Sunset area. Just a little poke from your stomping grounds. Thanks for the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all of the helpful replies. I know it is such a fine line between a boat that can get to the skinniest spots but also handle some bigger water. Right now I believe the Xplor X18 is at the top of the list with the beavertail strike/vengeance or the EVO a close second. The only reason Xplor is at the top of the list is because they are made only a few hours from me. Anyone have any personal experience on a X18 or could compare any of these listed models?
 

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Speaking of East Capes, EVO V would work well for you if you are mostly on the troller. The EVO X would be the better choice if you are on the pole more often. You won't get either new in the $40's and you'll be hard pressed to find a late model used one any lower than high $40's. That being said, they are excellent skiffs. I have the X and have fished the V. Keep the Vantage high on your list as well since you use a trolling motor often. Fish with some different guides that run different skiffs and see what really works for where and how you like to fish. You might be able to meet up with some other MS folks and get on the water to try some skiffs as well.
 

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Another vote for the Floyd Skiff Co. 10wt here. I have one. Solid as a rock, but not heavy. It floats real shallow with a Suzuki 90, and almost floats in spit with a Yamaha 70. Rides smooth and dry when the wind kicks up too.
 

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I’d back up and punt and take a few guides out to see how they are doing it. You’re not going to operate a trolling motor in 6” of water and you’ll have a workout trying to poll an 18’er in pluff mud. Where you are at is like the I95 of the ICW. Everything is a trade off here in NC. There is no right answer, just trying to figure out what your comfort level is. Heron 16/18 or an Hpxv are good choices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I’d back up and punt and take a few guides out to see how they are doing it. You’re not going to operate a trolling motor in 6” of water and you’ll have a workout trying to poll an 18’er in pluff mud. Where you are at is like the I95 of the ICW. Everything is a trade off here in NC. There is no right answer, just trying to figure out what your comfort level is. Heron 16/18 or an Hpxv are good choices.
Man you aren’t kidding about I95. Thanks for the help. I just looked at the heron since @Gregorya24 had mentioned it. It’s a nice looking boat. I might shoot them a message and see what price point they are in.
 

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Heron 18 is the way to go. With a 90hp on the back. Trust me, you will not be dissapointed. It'll run you new likely around $38k starting.
Recently sold a demo boat for $37k with minimal hours and a 90hp.

You can get it with a 60hp, but it won't be as quick. Figure around 34-36mph tops with a 60, over 40mph with a 90hp.
 
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I really like what Xplor Boatworks is doing. Sounds like the X7 would be a good fit.
I would agree with this. Not sure on which model but the Xplor seems to be a bigger skiff (not a micro) which is a little beamier and has more freeboard but they'll build it pretty light and can keep the build cost down.

I think it was @jboriol on here who bought an Xplor recently and has posted about it. Maybe check with him.
 

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Heron 18 is the way to go. With a 90hp on the back. Trust me, you will not be dissapointed. It'll run you new likely around $38k.
Recently sold a demo boat for $37k with minimal hours and a 90hp.

You can get it with a 60hp cheaper, but it won't be as quick. Figure around 34-36mph tops with a 60, over 40mph with a 90hp.
Is this pricing accurate? Honest question cause I know you have plenty of experience with the Ankona/Salt Marsh folks. Erin emailed me some price sheets within the last few weeks and the Heron 18 with a 90hp and a pretty simple package was priced at $49,750. Adding a few typical options (GPS, trolling motor, etc.) would pretty easily get you into the low/mid 50's.
 

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Is this pricing accurate? Honest question cause I know you have plenty of experience with the Ankona/Salt Marsh folks. Erin emailed me some price sheets within the last few weeks and the Heron 18 with a 90hp and a pretty simple package was priced at $49,750. Adding a few typical options (GPS, trolling motor, etc.) would pretty easily get you into the low/mid 50's.
If that's what she quoted you recently that that's most accurate. I know the cost has gone up on a lot of things.
 
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