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Hello to All,

I am new to the forum and this is my first post. I have mostly owned larger offshore boats being a charter captain and commercial fisherman (yes, I said it. . .commercial!), but I have also owned several small boats in the 20 to 26 foot range for "My Time" on the water, scalloping, inshore fishing and just plain run-about fun. Well, now that the idiots of the Gulf Council and NMFS have made offshore charter fishing a thing of the passed I am leaning towards the inshore thing. I am pretty handy and crafty at building various things and I am going to build a custom inshore skiff in the 16 to 18 foot range. . .something to accommodate just 2/3 guests and myself. It is going to be a flat bottom /planning hull like the wellboat mullet skiffs for a low HP motor. I want to know if you; "would -OR- would not" incorporate a tunnel into this type of hull. Any ideas or input, put it out there. Thanks.

Offshore
 

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Depends...some areas, where it's miles of mud (Texas)
a tunnel is a necessity, not a luxury. In that case a Texas style skimmer
isn't a bad idea. But, for an area of grass flats and shell bottom,
y'er just asking for trouble. You'll end up running too shallow
and end up ripping the bottom up and destroying the prop and lower unit.
 

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Brett,
I understand what you are saying.  And primarily the area that I run in is from Chazz north to Ozello, and it mostly consists of the shell/oyster, grass and mud like you said.  There are times that I would need to run a couple hundred yards or even a 1/2 mile of 8 to 10 inch water to get up into creeks or pockets from the Gulf.  Now, I have two friends with some scary rides and balls of steel. . .one has a 21 foot Carolina Skiff the other an 18 foot HPX.  Both, the way they are set up will run in a Walmart parking lot after a rain.  The Skiff (no tunnel) is not what I would want, but with a 10" offset jackplate it runs skinny. It does not pole worth a damn and is too wet.  The HPX (with tunnel) is more than what I want to $pend, but that thing is awesome and does do it all and it has a 150 V-MAX.  What I was ultimately thinking about doing was, popping a mold off the HPX tunnel and glassing it into a planning type hull -OR- offsetting a bracket and seeing how high I could get the motor.  Also running trim tabs on either design.  Like I said, I'm really wanting to build something . . .I like to tinker, but I'm kicking around ideas with you all that have more experience running /playing with these things than I.  Thanks!
 

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Building a tunnel and setting up the outboard to run shallow
isn't all that difficult. Just expensive. plenty of serious shallow runners out there
including the guys that put together the gravel grinders, up in Alaska.
Those guys are extreme. Hydraulic jack plate, power-trim-n-tilt
power trim tabs, nosecone, surface piercing prop or cleaver, low water pickups
and the skill to use them all properly. Do the reading and decide if it's
worth the time and expense to do what you want.
I went outboard jet and tunnel when I decided to run extreme skinny.
Made fishing too easy, as I could go places no one else could.

 

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Capt.Offshore

Tunnel for Chaz-Ozello...yes, yes, yes.

I guide out of Chaz, my friend and mentor has been guiding there for 25 years. As you know that place is really dangerous because of the rocks. Most people never leave sight of the channel markers or go past Buckhorn.

We run very shallow draft Sea Ark aluminum tunnel hulls as our primary guide boats. My boat is a 1860MVT, his is a 2072MVJT. Jack plates, stabilizer plates, Stainless 4 blade props (yes we take that risk), low-water pickups, and attention to detail make the difference there. Your equipment has to be extra tough there!

And yes, I am aware that Florida has the habit of sticking their noses up at aluminum...but Chaz is a very harsh and remote environment.

My aluminum guy (his shop is on 98) is building a prototype aluminum boat for Chaz. PM me if you want his contact information. A lot of the local guides there use fiber glass/over plywood mullet-type skiffs with tillers. Those things are like 9feet wide. Most are tunnel hulls or have some very creative solutions to get to motors up. There is one guide who runs a custom built jet boat...that thing is out of control sick, there's only 3 like his in the country.



Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Tom,

Thanks for the info, and YES, our area of the "playground" does have it's dangers and allure . . .that is what I enjoy about it.  What type of stabilizer plate do you run?  I have looked at some of those out of Texas and those things look like a coffee table top out the back of the boat! ! !  You guys ever get out on the "shallow rocks" out front and mess with the gags?  That is some of my favorite shallow water fun.  Thanks for the info, catch you after while.
 

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What type of stabilizer plate do you run? 
Bob's, it doesn't add much, but it stops porpoising when within reason, and it's not made of plastic...
 
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