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Foulhook

Older hull recommendations for Tampa Bay

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If this has been covered before, sorry, I didn't find much in search. I have owned a Pathfinder since 2001, been an amazing boat. I want to keep it in the family now and add a "garage boat" to my fleet for site fishing. I'm looking to spend in the mid-teens, 17' range. I know everything is a compromise, but looking for something that will at least be safe and somewhat comfortable in the afternoon 10 knot sea breeze running home. I see older hulls like the Mav Mirage, HP coming up for sale. I've been looking at a sweet Tailfisher, but I'm hesitant on the tunnel (should I be?). I'm an occasional poler, mostly trolling motor and then maybe a final push to the fish. It's usually me and my fishing buddy, my 9 year old son.

Any advice would be great. Thanks!

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3 hours ago, Foulhook said:

I've been looking at a sweet Tailfisher,

Only if you want to chip your teeth running across the bay....it's the old Pathfinder 17T design...I couldn't even run it Chokoloskee on most days out front...took a beating.

Mirage Series..I can't comment, haven't owned or been in one...many have here...

I own the 17MA...Hurricane is dead one...I love mine and it cuts the Choko chop like buddddda !!!

DC

 

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Thanks guys. The 17 MA is really nice. If I had to pick a single boat, that would probably be it. This will be a second boat though to run through mostly protected areas by picking my days and launch points. I can use the Pathfinder to run across the Bay or to the reefs. There is the occasional sea breeze to deal with on the way in but other than that, looking for something a little lighter than the MA so I can pole shallow.

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I have yet to ride in any skiff that can outperform a 17MA in a chop. I wouldve never sold mine if I didnt fish in less than a foot of water so often. 

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Yeah, I keep flip flopping because really I need to be less than a foot and poling. Otherwise, I'm taking the Pathfinder to post up and chum with live bait. I've read that the Mirage hulls and HPX-V does a decent job in a chop, true? I like the weight of those compared to the 17MA. Always looking for that perfect compromise. 

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If you need to be in less than a foot and poling then the MA is not for you. I had a 17MA and real draft is 12". It's great crossing Tampa Bay, but I would not want to pole that boat for an extended period of time and it's even worse with any wind other than at your back due to its large beam. Also, the MA has a lot of hull slap and is noisy due to its sharp V entry. The MA, Mirage, and HPX-V are all completely different boats. I think you would be happy with a HPX-V but you will be hard pressed to find a good one under $20K. An older Mirage might be your best option. It's provides an average ride across Tampa Bay and a lot easier to pole in less than a foot. And you will find more Mirages in your stated price range.

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Thanks. I might be able to stretch to $20k for the right deal. Any preference between HP, Mirage and Mirage II? I see some of those coming up used in the range. 

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I owned an 07' HPXV and it had a very good ride in a chop, easy to pole, and got into very skinny water. The only thing I hated about it was how tippy it was. I will never forget my wife's face when she first stepped off the dock on to it and felt that tilt. When you are on the poling tower you need to be solidly planted a stiff gust or a novice guy up at the front who makes a sudden move and you could be qualifying for the olympic dive team...just saying.  Everything with boats is a give and take, it just depends on what you are willing to give up in the pursuit of your passion.

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I would think the draft of the Mirage to be similar to the MA, so between those I think the MA wins.  The HPX-V should be shallower and if you plan to fish the bay based on winds/weather and launch where its the best, I would say the HPX would be a good option. But if you think crossing the bay would be a regular event I would lean toward the MA.

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I don't think the Mirage, HP or Mirage II have a livewell suitable for the whitebait and chumming you mentioned. they typically have small crustation wells without pumps. Sure you can modify them but they are still rather small compared to typical livewells. 

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What about an older Bonfisher or Redfisher (lappy era)?  They handle chop well, can be poled, and a 16' will get you your sub 12".  The ride is close to the MA but you will get some spray in crosswinds.  I have not been on a Mirage but would guess it would have a smoother ride but would not be as quiet or as easy on the pole.

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Just remember, anything less than about 2 feet and use of the TM and you are churning mud and the bottom on a MA17...

Again, the only skiff that will get you skinny, but, doesn't pole or handle the chop well is a Pathfinder 17T in the price range of a "2nd" skiff...you can find them all the time in the $8-10K range and you can swap the TM, electronics, etc...

Bonefisher mentioned above might do the job....but, you'll most likely need to find a DIY (again, depending on the condition)....there are alot hulls, but, as Conocean always says, the trailer is as important as the engine..if one breaks down, no matter the hull, you are  not going fishing....so, something to consider and what you might need to factor into your budget - age of the trailer and motor....

And, consider your "idea of poling", if you have not done much, it's not too romantic....it's work, trust me I did it on my ol RF18 - AND, most importantly, Poling is more like hunting, than fishing, be sure your fishing partner and any guests understand, you could go for hours and only have a few shots at the fish....and you need to be dead accurate in your casting to be succesful...not trying to be negative...just something to think about as you make your decisions....for me, I loved my 23 Dusky, but, too big and too much work, then went to a RF18, and found I missed the offshore a good bit, but, again, the 22 footer was a lot of boat to trailer and off shore was really limited to good days...sold her, and went super small and skinny with a 17T and found I wasn't poling and was getting a good beating crossing large water in the 10K's, then (thanks to Paul - conocean) i found my MA17, and it does everything ( "I") need...livewell,stable, trolling motor, easy to trailer and launch, easy to clean, etc....what you might find (and I'm just speculating), you might be happy selling your PF22 and going to a late model MA17 or MA18.5 and find you have the best of both worlds....don't know you or your fishing style...but, something to throw out...I could be 100% wrong..but, it's a forum to help other think....

 

dc

 

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I have a 9 year old that is obsessed with fishing. I created a monster by teaching him to read the wind, tides and weather. He'll check when he gets home and then start texting me asking if I can leave work early to go fishing. Yesterday it was "Can we fish today pleassssssssssssssse". Me "not today buddy, sorry". Him "the weather is going to move past us, I can see it pleasssssssse". There's nothing better than coming home and hitting the water with him for 2 hours before dark on a work day. Right now we do it in a gheenoe so we can just roll out and go. The Pathfinder takes much more prep work, clean up and back to storage to fish during the week. Then there are evenings where my 80 yr old Dad just wants to ride along and watch.

So I just need to keep in mind I'm really just trying to have a more stable and safe ride than a gheenoe. I launch and run 2 miles, fish in the creeks and real skinny areas where we are throwing top waters for snook. Dad comes and sits still in the middle and just enjoys the company. It's awesome memories. Of course, I convinced my wife that the only option to replace the gheenoe is one of Maverick's finest skiffs. My tastes were a little above my approved budget it seems.

I'm back to thinking I jump on that sweet Tailfisher for sale, continue to pick my days and launch points and fish the heck out of it with my son while he still wants to fish with me for the next few years. Maybe upgrade to an HPX down the road.

 

snook.jpg

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A lot of us have created our own fishing monsters . They are great fishing family memory’s that will last a life time . I thank God that I have fishing memory’s going out with my Dad , than taking my kids and grand kids fishing . One of my best fishing memory’s is a day at Flamingo fishing with my son and Father . Enjoy every your special time fishing with your little guy he will be a adult way faster than you can imagine . Great picture , story ( and snook) . 

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Thanks! Absolutely, I treasure these memories. Here is another cool memory, his first trip catching snook on top water which was a goal of his at the time. I watch this video constantly:

 

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Very nice video. I find myself often going through all my son's and daughter's fishing pictures from they were young to now. They started at around 7-8 years old with easy fishing catching mangrove snapper with shrimp. Then as their skills got better we progressed to where they were sight casting for snook, reds, and tarpon. I wish I could have taught my son to pole before I sold the HPXV...it would have been awesome to have him pole me around for a change. I don't pole anymore it is all trolling motor or live bait with the 21 Redfisher. 

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Thank you. That's one of the reasons I want a smaller skiff. He's starting to show interest in fly fishing so I envision he and I poling each other around looking for redfish.

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It’s been pretty windy so the boat is stowed and now my son is obsessed with catching peacock bass after school from the canal bank...he can’t stop fishing.

69A38933-7D3E-4665-8BAA-F5661923FCBB.thumb.png.839d82af5e7124280713bff60dfe4472.png

20CA17CD-0F3E-491D-A673-CD9C8988997F.thumb.png.6a80817abb5950f2630ea694bd481e7a.png08F0C052-DB74-42E3-8189-1FD6F3082D65.thumb.png.91b014ca870e7747949aab9f693facc4.png

07D8DB82-E4EA-406E-BAAD-9925AFC535D9.thumb.png.c3b651663a9e86504de61653ffa62a45.png

 

 

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I think I agree, MA seems like similar draft to what I have and a heavier boat than I would like. I'm confused though about the HP/Mirage/Mirage 2 hulls. There is a 1999 HP hull on this site:

When I go to the old Maverick site from 1999, I see Mirage 2 but with a different cap (the hatches are different):

https://web.archive.org/web/19990209095628/http://maverickboats.com:80/mirage.html

So are the HP, Mirage and Mirage 2 all what I should be looking at? Hull is the same, just different hatch configurations?

 

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