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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I just recently moved to New England from the south and am looking to get a boat to mostly striper fish on the cape cod flats and am trying to figure out which type of boat makes more sense.

I will be poling I believe a majority of the time and love the polability of the technical skiffs (mainly poled friend's Hell's Bays) and fly fishing exclusively. That being said some of the cape cod flats are more exposed than flats in the SE and it would be nice to fish off the beach for false albacore. I don't care about getting so skinny bc stripers don't get as shallow as redfish but I do want a boat that isn't a hassle to pole.

Looking on advice between a technical poling skiff such as an Ankona Cayenne versus a flats boat such as a Hewes Refisher 18. Especially if anyone has experience fishing the Northeast.

Really appreciate any help on this decision.

Best,

Brendan
 

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Hi All,

I just recently moved to New England from the south and am looking to get a boat to mostly striper fish on the cape cod flats and am trying to figure out which type of boat makes more sense.

I will be poling I believe a majority of the time and love the polability of the technical skiffs (mainly poled friend's Hell's Bays) and fly fishing exclusively. That being said some of the cape cod flats are more exposed than flats in the SE and it would be nice to fish off the beach for false albacore. I don't care about getting so skinny bc stripers don't get as shallow as redfish but I do want a boat that isn't a hassle to pole.

Looking on advice between a technical poling skiff such as an Ankona Cayenne versus a flats boat such as a Hewes Refisher 18. Especially if anyone has experience fishing the Northeast.

Really appreciate any help on this decision.

Best,

Brendan
I've never striper fished in anyway but have seen numerous videos and shows of guys and gals (Capt. Amanda Switzer) fishing the flats up there and they are always in "flats boats". It looks like to me you can easily get away with the Redfishesr, Marquesa, Neptune, Vantage, type boats. If it were me I'd find out who the local guides were and see what they're using. Hard to wrong doing what the pros do.
 

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Unless you're going to be spending most of your time in less than 12" of depth I think you'll enjoy a flats boat and its ability to cross and fish bigger water.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Unless you're going to be spending most of your time in less than 12" of depth I think you'll enjoy a flats boat and its ability to cross and fish bigger water.
Have you poled around a Hewes Redfisher 18? Just wondering how difficult it is. Had a friend who complained its terrible, like poling a bath tub, but he's also been known to exaggerate.
 

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Don't know your budget or what you've fished out before but the waters up here do require a bit more beam and freeboard than skiffs that fish Mosquito or Choko. I spend my summers at my home on the Vineyard and I bring my 17.8 Whipray up from FL with me most times. I fish the local saltwater ponds and a few local flats that hold fish at low tide. My skiff is fine for what I use it for but I wouldn't feel comfortable being caught outside when the afternoon breezes kick up or coming in/out of our inlet with an onshore wind and a falling tide. Flats up here tend to be areas of 2'-5' of depth so if you want to pole you need a really long push pole...at least 22' and 24' is better. Most times I get by by using my trolling motor more than poling.

I've fished Monomy plenty of times and you can find some pretty shallow areas on the right tide but most fish I've caught were in 2'-3 or water or deeper. Some of the guides over the years have used 18'-20' ActionCrafts, Hewes LT 20 & 18 Redfishers, 17 Montauk Whalers, HB Marquesas and even smaller Jones Brothers and Parkers. Most of the skiffs have belly bars on the bow to lean against so you don't get tossed overboard. Chasing Ablies requires a run-and-gun approach most times and you need the stability of the larger skiffs for sure - grab handles on the console are a plus.

I've owned a 18 Redfisher and a LT 20 years ago and they would be adequate for what you're looking to do. Poling the Redfisher wasn't bad but the LT 20 was a barge. ..no comparison at all to my HB. You might also want look at an older Maverick Master Angler, East Cape Vantage, 18-20' Egret and maybe one of the smaller Pathfinders too.

Sight fishing 10-20lb Stripers is a blast and having a nice open platform makes the job easier but you have to try find a balance between stability, safety, draft and what conditions you will encounter getting to the fish and back home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Don't know your budget or what you've fished out before but the waters up here do require a bit more beam and freeboard than skiffs that fish Mosquito or Choko. I spend my summers at my home on the Vineyard and I bring my 17.8 Whipray up from FL with me most times. I fish the local saltwater ponds and a few local flats that hold fish at low tide. My skiff is fine for what I use it for but I wouldn't feel comfortable being caught outside when the afternoon breezes kick up or coming in/out of our inlet with an onshore wind and a falling tide. Flats up here tend to be areas of 2'-5' of depth so if you want to pole you need a really long push pole...at least 22' and 24' is better. Most times I get by by using my trolling motor more than poling.

I've fished Monomy plenty of times and you can find some pretty shallow areas on the right tide but most fish I've caught were in 2'-3 or water or deeper. Some of the guides over the years have used 18'-20' ActionCrafts, Hewes LT 20 & 18 Redfishers, 17 Montauk Whalers, HB Marquesas and even smaller Jones Brothers and Parkers. Most of the skiffs have belly bars on the bow to lean against so you don't get tossed overboard. Chasing Ablies requires a run-and-gun approach most times and you need the stability of the larger skiffs for sure - grab handles on the console are a plus.

I've owned a 18 Redfisher and a LT 20 years ago and they would be adequate for what you're looking to do. Poling the Redfisher wasn't bad but the LT 20 was a barge. ..no comparison at all to my HB. You might also want look at an older Maverick Master Angler, East Cape Vantage, 18-20' Egret and maybe one of the smaller Pathfinders too.

Sight fishing 10-20lb Stripers is a blast and having a nice open platform makes the job easier but you have to try find a balance between stability, safety, draft and what conditions you will encounter getting to the fish and back home.

@Net 30 Your post is awesome, really appreciate the information. From a price standpoint I've been leaning towards a Hewes Redfisher or a Maverick Master Angler just because used ones can be found under 25k (just got out of college so not trying to break the bank).

Another question I've been thinking about that you kind of touched on was the inshore/ salt pond fishing. Is the fishing inside a consistent, decently good prospect throughout the summer? As in something that could be reliable if the weather turns south? I would think they would probably be smaller fish but thats fine.

Thanks!

Brendan
 

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The pond fishing can be a blast and is pretty consistent. Tide plays a big part but like anything it else, it takes time to figure it out but when you do the fish seem to follow a pretty predictable pattern. I've been messing with some Stripers in the 20-30lb class in the ponds but have yet to catch one....they are there and one day............:mad:

I owned a 2001 Master Angler and it was a great skiff to stake up and use the troller - not too much fun to pole. If you could find a clean used Lappy Redfisher with newer power it would be a great all around skiff and you'd be able to pole and have a good stable platform to explore. The Master Angler will give you a better ride and is a bit wider but it's not as nimble as the Redfisher.

Either the Redfisher or Master Angler could be found in the $10k-$15k with newer power, no need to spend $25k.
 

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Have you poled around a Hewes Redfisher 18? Just wondering how difficult it is. Had a friend who complained its terrible, like poling a bath tub, but he's also been known to exaggerate.
Nope. But I own a 1995 Mako 181 Flats. I've poled it plenty with a 21' Moonlighter hybrid push pole. Its not a speed demon but it easily maintains walking speed on a flat once you have some momentum going.

And I have logged many, many hours on a friend's Hells Bay Guide. (Just fished three days straight for tarpon...)

You have to think about the water you will be spending most of your time fishing.

Poling a tech skiff in more than a few feet of water with a light carbon fiber pole can drive you insane. Throw in some current and wind...forget about it. I was ready to throw the pole in the water and swim to the beach a few days ago. You have no idea how badly I wanted my heavier fiberglass pole.

Why? Because those light carbon fiber poles are very buoyant and the tip will float on you...making it hard to plant and push. So it won't matter how light your boat is, because you'll be struggling to get the pole positioned to push it. My friend with the HB is thinking about getting a second carbon pole and actually adding weight to the pointy end for poling the beach flats that hold tarpon.

Of course...he struggles less poling his boat (with his push pole) than I do...practice and experience mitigates things.

In deeper water you'll be looking to hold position or fine tune things...you won't be chasing fish...IMHO. Go with the heavier flats boat and use a heavier fiberglass or hybrid pole. You can use the trolling motor to get into position...then use the push pole to fine tune or stalk slowly.

That said...if you are going to be stalking fish in less than 12" of water...the tech skiff and light carbon fiber pole is unmatched. Leave the trolling motor at home in that situation and pole exclusively.

As you can probably guess...there is no perfect do-it-all combo. Think about what you'll use the boat for 80-90% of the time and go that route.

And get the longest push pole possible...regardless...
 

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Skinny water skiffs are cool if you need them to get the job done, but if you're not going to be in <16" on the regular..... Get something that rides nice in a chop and hauls ass, but can still be poled.

I vote 18' Dolphin/Shipoke or something in that vein. Fast, stable, still rides great in choppy water, still gets plenty shallow just not crazy shallow.....

Don't know the boat or owner but I'm pretty sure I saw one for sale in the classified portion of this site for about 15k recently.

Good luck with the boat search, if you find one that does it all make sure and let me know.

LH
 

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Brendan,
Welcome to the North East. Im a guide up here (being Long Island) and spend most of the time chasing stripers on the flats and sight casting. I run an older flats boat, a mako 181 as someone else has mentioned that they ran in the thread. The other members had good advice and I can say that the weather up here really dictates what you want to be in, when you want to fish, and where you are going to be.

So here's my take on it all. You say that you're primarily interested in flats or sight fishing stripers, this is a really specific type of fishing that takes place in anywhere from 1-4 ft of water. To do that right in the North East environment you need a shallow draft skiff, no questions about that. Yes there are some guides that fish flats out of larger center consoles like Jones bros and Parkers and do well but for the most part they are beaching the boats on sandbars and wading, or they are drifting the deeper flats and hoping the currents and wind aren't propelling the boat too fast to fire off a cast. If you're looking to actively stalk and hunt you want to pole, you want a flats skiff or technical poling skiff.

Now between those two is up to a few things and preferences.

Where will you be fishing? -Some flats up here you need to be able to make a run to in some bigger water. I have been very happy at times to have been in a larger and wider flats boat that could handle a bit more chop than a more narrow less beamy tech skiff. Im some what familiar with fishing the cape, there are great flats up there and a lot of opportunity for inshore shallow water fishing where crossing big water doesn't need to happen but do you want to be limited to this?

Weather conditions. -More often than not weather here is not absolutely and perfectly suited to flats and sight fishing. The wind will be a big factor most days and will dictate pole-ability on a flats skiff more significantly than on a tech skiff. My skiff is heavy by flats boats standards. In no wind and calm water it poles great and is effortless. When fighting moderate wind/current it feels like poling a houseboat and ends up in circles. You'll want to fish down current/wind if possible at the time and use the pole to correct drift and keep the bow straight. In this situation a tech skiff would be helpful but keep in mind in the North East that wind+current= not so calm water and that day you may not want to be out flats fishing at all.

How often do you want to fish? With a tech skiff you're fishable days will be numbered. You will have to pick you're days that you'll be able to run a skiff like that. A standard flats skiff will open up some more opportunity and open up running off the beach on good days for albies in the fall. But again playing devil's advocate there probably is a fine line where the benefit of one would outweigh the other when you factor in the specific fishing you say you want to do and the weather usually regarded as best suited for that fishing.Would you be going out in less that optimal settings? factor in how much so.

With all that said is seems to really come down to the same old thing you hear so often. Its a trade off. Do you want a more stable sea worthy flats skiff or a more maneuverable agile specialized tech skiff? Do you want greater limitations with the tech skiff and have greater pay offs when the optimal conditions arise? Up here you honestly don't see a whole lot of technical poling skiffs as guides need to get out even in less optimal conditions. Most guides sight and flats fishing are using older model flats skiffs in the 17-20 ft range that were brought up here in the fly fishing boom of the 90's. A lot of Hewes and Action crafts some older Hells Bays, my Mako181 is the only one I know of. Some use smaller cc skiffs like mako 17's and maritime 18's and throw platforms on.

It really sounds like you want an all arounder type flats able boat. I would suggest something in the 16-18 ft range, don't weigh it down with too heavy of an engine. Keep her light. As long a pole as you can get. Im using a 23.5 on my 18 ft skiff. A good used hewes would be great. Seen some very good looking bonefishers up lately at 10k

Good luck, let me know how the search goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwyyhLA85kXTZ3JLR2N0dkhveU0/view

After a few times getting skunked, caught my first striper on fly today, I'm hooked!

@islandguides thank you so much for the insight. You very much echoed my thoughts exactly but have given me some good things to think about. I really think at this point a true tech skiff would probably be too limiting. I'm thinking a Hewes Redfisher 16' or 18' where there is a little more freeboard and I feel a little safer all the while still being able to pole around and fish off the beach weather permitting. While I want to sight fish mostly that flexibility would be much appreciated. I will definitely get a super long push pole.

Since I still have a few months before I can afford it anyway I'm gonna continue to fish from shore and really get an idea of what summer weather looks like on the Cape (I live in Boston but work in Bourne) and how comfortable I would feel owning a certain type of boat. If its looking like most days I wouldn't be able to fish at all, anywhere, out of a flats boat then I might want to go with a bay boat of sorts. I'm just really keen on the whole stalking and sight fishing thing which is why I'm holding out hope that something like a Hewes would make sense.

One final thing where are you all seeing these boat prices in the 10-15k range? I've been mostly looking at boattrader and most under say 18k of the Hewes boats or Mavarick etc have looked like garbage with old power.

Again thanks again everyone for all the comments, this has been great.

Brendan
 

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https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwyyhLA85kXTZ3JLR2N0dkhveU0/view

After a few times getting skunked, caught my first striper on fly today, I'm hooked!

@islandguides thank you so much for the insight. You very much echoed my thoughts exactly but have given me some good things to think about. I really think at this point a true tech skiff would probably be too limiting. I'm thinking a Hewes Redfisher 16' or 18' where there is a little more freeboard and I feel a little safer all the while still being able to pole around and fish off the beach weather permitting. While I want to sight fish mostly that flexibility would be much appreciated. I will definitely get a super long push pole.

Since I still have a few months before I can afford it anyway I'm gonna continue to fish from shore and really get an idea of what summer weather looks like on the Cape (I live in Boston but work in Bourne) and how comfortable I would feel owning a certain type of boat. If its looking like most days I wouldn't be able to fish at all, anywhere, out of a flats boat then I might want to go with a bay boat of sorts. I'm just really keen on the whole stalking and sight fishing thing which is why I'm holding out hope that something like a Hewes would make sense.

One final thing where are you all seeing these boat prices in the 10-15k range? I've been mostly looking at boattrader and most under say 18k of the Hewes boats or Mavarick etc have looked like garbage with old power.

Again thanks again everyone for all the comments, this has been great.

Brendan
Congrats!
 

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Since I still have a few months before I can afford it anyway I'm gonna continue to fish from shore and really get an idea of what summer weather looks like on the Cape (I live in Boston but work in Bourne) and how comfortable I would feel owning a certain type of boat.
Brendan
If you work in Bourne you're gonna have to get a beach cruiser bike and learn how to fish the Cape Cod Canal - some of the best Striper fishing in New England but it's all shore based. Get a subscription to "On The Water" magazine and you'll get lots of local information and instruction.
 

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Skinny water skiffs are cool if you need them to get the job done, but if you're not going to be in <16" on the regular..... Get something that rides nice in a chop and hauls ass, but can still be poled.

I vote 18' Dolphin/Shipoke or something in that vein. Fast, stable, still rides great in choppy water, still gets plenty shallow just not crazy shallow.....

Don't know the boat or owner but I'm pretty sure I saw one for sale in the classified portion of this site for about 15k recently.

Good luck with the boat search, if you find one that does it all make sure and let me know.

LH
I have a Shipoke 18 for sale.....
 

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I used to fish all the time up there.

I've seen guides run the following out Cape Cod/Chatham area:

1) Jones Brothers
2) Hewes 18/21 Redfishers
3) Maverick 18's

I'm sure a Hell's Bay Marquesa would be sweet too.

I've seen all of the boats above offshore up to 10 miles chasing bluefin, sometimes more, on calm days. Calm days are pretty glass calm out there. Not saying it's the most brilliant idea, because if the shit rolls in you'll be limping back, at best. The Jones Brothers line is really designed for up there, but I can't imagine they pole all that well.

You won't be poling in less than 1' of water, so draft isn't a factor (or shouldn't be).

I've poled a 18' Hewes Redfisher - it's not bad to pole at all, but not great either. I think I'd go with the Redfisher or a Jones Brothers for the most versatility. That said, I haven't wet-tested a Marquesa before - but from what I've read that would be a sweet rig for up there too; just watch the days you decide to venture off shore in search of Albis or Bluefin.
 
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