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I fish the Gulf Coats flats off the coast of Texas and am considering purchasing a Maverick HPX (or HPXV or HPXS).  My concern is whether or not I’ll be able to use the boat while fishing without a partner to sight fish for Redfish.  I’ve read about people fishing solo polling from the bow but never seen anyone doing that and I’ve never tried to do it myself.  Is it reasonable to think that I’ll be able to have a good solo fishing experience in a Maverick (or any flats boat for that matter)?  I hope to fish a few days a week and will sometimes be fishing by myself and don’t really want to do a lot of blind casting.  Any other recommendations for techniques for fishing alone?

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yes, people do it all the time. instead of poling use a trolling motor. some of you best times fishing is when you are alone for many reasons, enjoy !!! :) fin

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I fish alone 1-2 days each month on my 18HPX. I make sure I have at least half tank of gas and I put my 65qt RTIC on the bow when I'm going to pole. (Another thing to consider is that I have both my TM batteries forward of the fuel tank in the hatch.) Keeping the TM on the bow helps with weight distribution as well. I will use my cooler as a platform when I use the TM. Plenty of fish caught aboard my boat both ways!! 

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I sight -fish solo from a 15 HPX quite a bit and it works well. I've tried poling and fishing at the same time but it is extremely difficult to find a fish that will sit in place long enough for you to put down the push poll and make a decent cast. When solo, I use a bow mount trolling motor rather than the push pole. I normally fish from a bow casting platform which is about 14 inches high. The view from the bow platform is not as good as from the poling platform, but it is pretty good. If you are fishing for waking redfish, you might not even need the platform.The use of the trolling motor DOES limit how shallow you can fish. I'd estimate that 18 inches is about as shallow as I can get without the trolling motor prop hitting the bottom. When I have a partner on the boat, I'll use a push pole to get into shallower water and tailing fish. 

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I've fished solo several times on my Redfisher and you have gotten some good advice here. 

From another course though - never take your life jacket off when you're in the boat alone.  If what you have is "too bulky" when fishing, invest in an auto-inflate type.  Well worth the $$ if you ever go in the drink while solo.  A lot of folks figure if they're on the flats and fall in all they have to do is stand up.  Doesn't always work that way.  Wear it and be safe.  Good luck out there.

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Thanks to everyone for such quick responses.  

 

So do you poll from the bow when fishing solo?  I’ve read that one should use the trash can style stripping basket and pre load it with a rod with plenty of line spooled out.  Then when you get in range, poll the boat 180 so the bow is pointing to the fish.  Does this sound right or is there a better tactic?

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If fishing non fly tackle, and sight fishing is better from the poling platform,  why not fish from the platform with a bow mount Ulterra?   Unless the troller spooks the fish......?

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I've never poled from the bow when fishing solo. And I've never flyfished solo either. My experience fishing alone is while using spin tackle. 

IMO the fancy electronic controlled TM's spook fish in shallow quiet areas from the noise that the turning motors make and/or the beeping sounds they emit. Plus those types of units seem to be more problematic. Been there, seen it, numerous times. Old fashioned manual handle TM's for the win! 

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3 hours ago, conocean said:

I fish alone 1-2 days each month on my 18HPX. I make sure I have at least half tank of gas and I put my 65qt RTIC on the bow when I'm going to pole. (Another thing to consider is that I have both my TM batteries forward of the fuel tank in the hatch.) Keeping the TM on the bow helps with weight distribution as well. I will use my cooler as a platform when I use the TM. Plenty of fish caught aboard my boat both ways!! 

As said above, you will need weight in the bow of an HPX to be on the platform alone. I don't see the advantage of poling from the bow in a HPX, I get why they did that back in the day. You will loose too much sight and it might be hard to track. 

I spend a lot of time on the platform alone, however I don't have an HPX I have an MA.  I use a remote control TM, yes it spooks some fish, however at least I can see where they are and come back. You can use the remote TM to assist while on the platform, use the pole when you feel you are in the fishy areas.  Also I have used to the TM to push the boat backwards while on the poling platform, yes its a bit tough to steer. However, it gives great visibility, keeps the TM 18' behind me and no hull slap.

While fishing alone, I always wear and inflatable life vest.

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I'll echo these comments.  I pole my HPX-T often by myself and I fish in the Rockport, Texas area.  I put the ice chest on the front platform to help a bit with the weight balance.  I usually pole a bit then drift and spin fish. I might have a fly rod on the front deck with the line stripped out, but as someone else said, it's pretty hard to pole yourself and expect to fly fish.  Often I'll pole into an area and then wade from there, particularly if the water is our usual Texas-skinny.  Then the fly rod is very handy, of course.  Even though I have a trolling motor for my boat, I rarely use it because I'm most often in water less than 18" or so.

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I sight fish a couple times a week alone, using my remote controlled trolling motor. It’s no problem at all . My boats a little large to pole anyway.

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Poling a 18HPX from the bow will ruin your day, trust me on this one. It's a big boat to push around all day regardless of direction of travel. As Conocean said, batteries up front (I'm actually plan on putting my cranking battery up front as well) full tank of gas and a larger than needed cooler sitting as far forward on the bow as possible. 

I have a SFR stripping bucket, they're pretty heavy and very stiff, it fits on the poling platform with me on my left side. The bucket has a large cut out on the back so I hang the butt of the rod off the back of the bucket with the reel hanging inside the bucket and the rest of the rod facing forward. It also has a rubber molding around the top edge that stick the point of the hook in to keep it from falling in the bucket  

You will also need a push pole holder on the right-ish side of the platform to drop the pole in when you need to cast. 

Get the HPXS if your mission is sight fishing for reds, especially in Texas. The only down side to the 18 is the chine that runs all the way to , and around, the tip of the bow. When fishing alone, or if your wife is a sport model like mine, the chine is out of the water at the bow and the hull slap will spook every shallow water redfish in the area and drive you absolutely crazy. 

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Jason

Thanks for your post.  It gets right to the heart of my concern.  I am retired and can fish a lot (outside of bird hunting season) and I wonder about the merits of buying a flats boat to enable my addiction vs. continuing to pony up for expensive guide fees.  I’m getting the impression that if site fishing with a fly rod is the goal, I may just need to keep ponying up for guide fees or find another retired guy willing to poll half the time. 

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Since you don't have a regular fishing partner I would suggest you hire a guide instead of buying a skiff since flyfishing is your interest. I know a few retired fly chuckers that hire guides more often than they use their own skiffs! 

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I suspect that hiring guides is actually a cheaper - probably much cheaper - way for the vast majority of us to fish once you factor in all the direct and indirect costs of boat ownership.  To me, boat ownership is great for the immediate convenience (not having to book at good guide months in advance), but also for the satisfaction of doing it myself.  I also love to use my boat for just "being on a boat", which I love whether I have a fishing rod with me or not.  But for pure fish caught per dollar spent basis, I know I could do much better just hiring guides.

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I too am a. DIY guy and want to be on the water more than I am.  My bigger concern is the impression I am getting that in this case, if you are a fly fisherman like me, I’ll be trading off a lot of sight fishing in order to DIY.  If I am right, the case for hiring more guided days rather than buying a boat gets stronger. 

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On 11/30/2017 at 8:46 AM, hawg said:

I've tried poling and fishing at the same time but it is extremely difficult to find a fish that will sit in place long enough for you to put down the push poll and make a decent cast. When solo, I use a bow mount trolling motor rather than the push pole. I normally fish from a bow casting platform which is about 14 inches high. The view from the bow platform is not as good as from the poling platform, but it is pretty good. If you are fishing for waking redfish, you might not even need the platform.The use of the trolling motor DOES limit how shallow you can fish.

Exactly!  

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I have a 15ft HPX and tried to pole myself also, I gave it up because it is too difficult to coordinate the poling and casting.  T motors are the best approach even if you can't get as shallow. I haven't found the fish to spook very easily if you are careful when approaching.  Most of the fishing in the 10k is blind casting anyway for me.  Water isn't very clear unless you go way back into the rivers of mostly fresh water. 

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On 12/4/2017 at 5:51 PM, Birddoggydog said:

I too am a. DIY guy and want to be on the water more than I am.  My bigger concern is the impression I am getting that in this case, if you are a fly fisherman like me, I’ll be trading off a lot of sight fishing in order to DIY.  If I am right, the case for hiring more guided days rather than buying a boat gets stronger. 

If your going to fly fish either find a buddy that shares the love or stick with a guide. The only other option to solo fly fishing is to get in a fishy area and get out and wade. I have tried it out of all sorts of craft. Solo on fly is no bueno in the skinny water. It's dang tough with 2 guys if truly sight fishing.

 

That extra pair of eyeballs goes a long way as well.

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Fishing with a quality guide is a fantastic experience which I highly recommend to everyone. The downside to hiring a guide is that you generally need to book the good guys well in advance. This precludes you from waking up on a nice morning and deciding to head out on the water. Or deciding the night before that the weather is marginal and tomorrow is best spent indoors. Although I fish with a guide as many days per year as I can afford, the freedom to fish my own schedule has always made the expense of owning and maintaining a boat worth every penny to me. 

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