How we Roll in So Flo - Flats Skiffs
Of all the boats on the water I am most familiar with it would be the flats skiffs. I not only own one but have fished just about every make on the market. My current boat is a Maverick HPX 17 that I have had for the last 9-years that I am in love with. Before that I owned a Challenger 15 for nearly 17-years. The Challenger was an interesting boat in that boat itself was the first commercially built flats boat that Keys guides used back in the 1950’s. Originally, it was a ski boat that someone converted to a flats boat. It had a classic flats boat look with teak wood splash rails along the side of the hull that added to the look. It was like owning an antique car. I was pretty proud of it and it worked exceptionally well for getting in shallow water and stalking skinny water fish like bonefish, redfish and snook. I’ve fished out of a number of flats boats in over 30-different makes and models. To me flats skiffs are the most versatile boat for the southern half of Florida not only for the flats of the Keys but also the shallow backcountry and narrow creeks of the Everglades. A good flats skiff can go ocean side on calm days and fish freshwater just as effectively as any bass boat. The attributes of a flats boat are that it should float in 6-to 8-inches of water, it has forward casting deck for an angler and a poling platform on the stern over the engine where the guide can pole the boat and sight fish from an elevated advantage. A well designed skiff should be dry boat on wind whipped water, cut through wind chop with out breaking your back end and turn on a dime both when poling and on a plane.