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Hello Everyone.  Retired Navy Chief and Florida Native searching for my "last boat". 

Background:  Born and raised in Lake Forest (Broward County) late 50's...fished South Florida inshore/offshore, fresh, ICW, etc. until 1976.  First boat at 8, johnboat, progressed to 19 footer, did the bass boat TX-17, etc. etc. etc..  Fished throughout my Navy career retiring out of Jacksonville FL.  Was an ICW guide in Jax and then sold the boat and moved South to Tampa in 2000.

Happily living on Davis Islands Tampa bank fishing and decided it is time for the last boat of my life.  Love the Hewes and Maverick brand. 

Good budget of $25,000 but been out of touch with marine boats for too many years (18 years) to consider myself an expert.  I'm handy and a fixer-upper so cosmetic damage as long as relatively minor is okay.  Structural nope.

My questions:  How old is too old?  Is Maverick vs Hewes the same as Ford vs Chevy or Fresh vs Salt, etc.

Thank you and tight lines.

 

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Hello and welcome, Im a fellow S. Tampa'er!  I have 18 Maverick Master Angler and love it, I think its one of the best boats for Tampa Bay. However Bay Boats are very popular in our area and might be something to consider as well, like a Pathfinder. Flats boat can get tough as we age, they're a bit more tippy and the platform is there, but can be tough to get on. 

Maverick Vs Hewes is more like GMC vs Chevy. Relatively the same but a little different. I think with your budget, you can find a very nice boat of any type you decide on.

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Everyone is going to have different opinions ....but, I have had several flats boats and they were great boats, ideal for inshore fishing here in South Georgia coast. As I started pursuing tripletail and Tarpon on beach front....I had to pick my days or wear foul weather gear to stay dry in the flats boats...so I went to the Pathfinder series. I'm 61 now and never looked back....I've had two Pathfinders in 12 years and for MY application, they are perfect. I can trout and bass fish in the creeks and rivers and fish out front on beaches as well. 

You will hear that the Pathfinder will not get in skinny water such as the flats boats....this is true....but after you sit on the bottom a few times waiting on the tide, you will get a better idea of the areas you can fish at certain tides. It's all part of fishing. 

On the 25 K budget.... you can definitely find a good used Pathfinder on the East Coast for those coins.  

Take care and keep the lines tight, JJ

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Thank you JJ, yeah I've been high and dry watching and waiting on the tide to come back.  I still do a ton of bass fishing in the Orange County FL area so flats would be best for me.  I'm a looking!

 

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Fellow Tampa'er here as well. Started with a flats boat, went through the Bay Boat stage, and ended up back with a flats boat. I have a Hewes 18' Redfisher. 

Perfect boat for Tampa Bay, and easy for on old dude like me to handle by myself.

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1 hour ago, DavisIslander said:

Thank you for the welcome hurricane.  I've got my heart set on a Flats.  Not going out past "The Bridge". 

 

Thats a good choice, can't go wrong with a Master Angler or a Redfisher. I would look at both and see which layout you like better, in the end they will be pretty similar. The Master Angler does have a better ride than the newer design Redfisher. The MA can be a bit tougher to find as history shows, but lately there has been a nice run on used MA's. I know that nice blue one in N.C. would be real nice here in Tampa! Also I can tell you the 17 and 18 MA, fish and ride very similar.

I fish outta Davis Island ramp on occasion. Next time I go over there, Ill send you message you can check out my boat.

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When I lived and fished on Tampa bay I had a 20ft mako with a tower and thought it was a good compromise to do everything in and be comfortable.

 the big question is what type of fishing will you mainly be doing.

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1 hour ago, DavisIslander said:

I greatly appreciate that!  I like the Blue one as well, getting it here may be the issue.

If you want it, I can meet you halfway or we can work something out.

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i run the whole bay, from Davis Island south to the Manatee River. Don't fish much on the Pinellas side due to the traffic, but will run over to Weedon Island for some Reds. Got a little Tarpon Hole right off of Davis Island that never let's me down when they are in. Never had an issue with the ride, but I've gotten smart in my old age, avoiding the bad weather, and changing my fishing spots when it gets windy.

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2 hours ago, DavisIslander said:

I greatly appreciate that!  I like the Blue one as well, getting it here may be the issue.

looks like a road trip in the making!!

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1 hour ago, DavisIslander said:

Definitely something to talk about Nag Juice.

 

Welcome,

I drove across the state and bought my 18 MA and it was well worth it. I would drive out of state as well. Nag's is a true one of a kind and it's priced right. You should find a way to see it!

These come and go in spurts and it can be months before a good one with a 4 stroke shows up again. 

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I love my 18 RF . I commonly launch from hwy 60 or Gandy with the occasional trip to cockroach area. Hit me up and id be glad to show you the RF 

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Welcome.  Not sure we ever get “our last boat”. I bought my Hewes 18 RF 8 plus years ago, kids grown & time for dad to fish the skinny water (I still go offshore with friends, but not so often). Never ever did I plan to sell her.   Life changes, my wife about to retire and she is not so excited about standing on the platform sight fishing while I pole, so I found a new (to me boat).  My classic Lappy is listed in the for sale section.   Hewes, MA - both great choices and folks on this forum will share much great info.  

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22 PATHY - OWNED ONE....they can be handled alone...but, better with two people

18MA - sounds like it would be the best bet for the Tampa Chop for a flats boat

1806 Pathy - this could be an option or a 1900V Pathy....slightly smaller and a bit more nimble....

I went from 23 Dusky to 18 Redfisher to 22 Pathy to 17Tunnel Pathy now a 17MA - great small skiff for one or two people....I found mine a 1995 and it's an original creampuff......

 

Whatever you decide - go with a good / new trolling motor (Ulterra self deploy) is great....and powerpole (8-10' blades are great).

 

25K budget is plenty.....

 

Take your time and enjoy the looking....lots of experience on this forum...but, remember, no one on here has an ugly baby :) (LOL)

 

dc

 

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On ‎2‎/‎7‎/‎2018 at 5:18 AM, Wanaflatsfish said:

18MA - sounds like it would be the best bet for the Tampa Chop for a flats boat

It's between the 18 MA and the RF18...I don't mind getting a little wet, but would rather not.

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1 hour ago, DavisIslander said:

It's between the 18 MA and the RF18...I don't mind getting a little wet, but would rather not.

I would go MA17 vs RF18.....MA18 is the best ride

I had a RF18 from 2003 to 2005...it's a nice boat...but, the ride comparison is signifcantly different in a rough chop.....

The MA will cut it the RF will push through it....just look at the bow entry.....

The RF has other features like a nice back rest seat, lots of deck space etc....just does not ride "as well" IMO

 

dc

 

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1 hour ago, DavisIslander said:

It's between the 18 MA and the RF18...I don't mind getting a little wet, but would rather not.

18 MA without hesitation. They're  two out there w/4 strokes....hint...hint

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I don't want to put any ideas in your head....but, Nag Juice has a very nice one of a kind blue 18' MA in North Carolina that is in amazing condition. For some reason people don't want to drive far to get a decent boat....but, if I were looking for a 18 MA....Nag Juice would not have the blue boat, because she would be sitting at my dock. JJ

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14 hours ago, FMB MEGALOPS said:

18 MA without hesitation. They're  two out there w/4 strokes....hint...hint

Agreed, 18 MA is a lifetime boat unless of course a 21 pops up for sale!  :D

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