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2015 Bay Boats Leave Nothing to be Desired

Capt. Steve Dougherty August 26, 2015

For recreational anglers there’s really nowhere in the world quite like Florida. From dense mangrove swamps to vast tidal marshes, the varied habitats are a direct result of the climate and geographic features that are unique to the Sunshine State. With easy access to both the Gulf and Atlantic Oceans, countless miles of navigable shallows and bays throughout the state’s numerous inshore estuaries, and enjoyable weather year-round that leads to the most fishable calendar days of nearly anywhere in the world, it’s no surprise Floridians are so intimately linked with the water. And although the assorted angling opportunities available at times require specialized crafts to overcome challenges in weather, distance and depth, there’s really nothing you can’t achieve with the latest generation of bay boats.

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Contender 25 Bay

Throughout Florida there are a host of open water estuaries where this special breed of craft gets its namesake. These large expanses of relatively shallow water at times feel like oceans themselves. Tampa Bay and Florida Bay are perfect examples, and as the state’s largest bays they cover hundreds of square miles. If you’re in anything smaller than a rock solid bay boat when there’s a stiff fetch over miles of open water, you’ll soon be in for a world of agony with a long ride into a heavy chop. Although there are special purpose bay boats within the genre, the category as a whole is a great option to sample Florida’s wide variety of game fish and there’s certainly a perfect match for your specific wants, needs and budget.

Whether you desire an all out tournament boat or family dream machine—or both for that matter—bay boats provide a safe, versatile, affordable and effective option that offers immense potential for a variety of angling pursuits.

True hybrids, bay boats borrow their performance and style attributes from a wide range of sport fishing platforms—bow flare and tumblehome from offshore battlewagons, and shallow drafting designs from technical poling skiffs. What these coastal hybrids have in common is a center console and leaning post, higher freeboard than flats skiffs, self bailing decks, flush casting decks in the bow and stern, ample storage compartments, impressive fuel capacity, powerful four-stroke outboard motors and intelligent hull designs that provide access to shallow water and safety in big water.

Today’s high performance bay boats come in a variety of sizes ranging from 19- to 27-feet in length and can be loaded with every option under the sun. It really boils down to what you want, what you can afford, and what you really see yourself doing the most. Any purchasing decision should carefully consider the manufacturer’s reputation, the boat’s potential resale value, performance and efficiency attributes, as well as the particular model’s standard amenities and optional features. You must also thoroughly research the manufacturer’s build practices and chosen materials including stringer construction, wiring and use of stainless steel, although buyers are fortunate that builders are in a constant race to develop new designs and construction techniques with the most high-tech fabrics, resins, coring materials and more.

The introduction of stepped hulls to the design of bay boats has further enhanced the performance and efficiency attributes to this already well equipped class of versatile vessels and it’s not out of the question to see a bay boat in the backcountry one day, and 20 miles offshore hunting pelagic game fish the next. With a modern bay boat you really can do it all and you can do it relatively affordably.

Compared to shallow drafting technical poling skiffs, the larger platform of a bay boat also allows for the option of a T-top for added protection from the elements, additional rod storage and the mounting of a radome. Anglers can also outfit bay boats with an elevated perch for increased situational awareness. Maximum visibility of your surroundings is crucial to fishing success in any venue and the advantage afforded by even a couple of feet is a game changer. And with the latest technology upper stations can be fully rigged with plug-and-play digital throttle control boxes and seamless integration of networked gauges and displays.

In addition to increased performance and fishability in almost any venue, where bay boats really excel is in their layout of in-deck storage compartments. Forward casting decks on modern bay boats provide ample room for two anglers to cast simultaneously and feature flush mounted hinges, pop-up cleats and recessed lights to prevent snagged lines and stubbed toes, but beneath the deck is what brings it all together. Massive livewells with advanced pump designs, lockable rod storage for the longest fly rods, and insulated compartments with LED lights and gasketed seals are only some of the benefits of bay boat ownership.

While your next generation bay boat might be outfitted with a traditional anchor in a bow locker, you’ll likely want to choose the option of a shallow water anchor like a Talon or Power-Pole. With the press of a button you’ll be able to hold position in swift currents and in depths up to 12 feet while also keeping the bow free of obstructions.

Whether you desire an all out tournament boat or family dream machine—or both for that matter—bay boats provide a safe, versatile, affordable and effective option that offers immense potential for a variety of angling pursuits. From bays to reefs and beyond, these impressive platforms will change the way you fish no matter what coast you call home.

 

BlueWave

Model: 2000 Pure Bay
LOA: 19’7″
Weight: 1,550
Beam: 8’0″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 37 gal
Max HP: 150
MSRP: $32,975 w/115 Suzuki

 

Renegade

Model: Nomad 20
LOA: 20’2″
Weight: 1,700
Beam: 7’10″
Draft: 8″
Fuel Capacity: N/A
Max HP: 250
MSRP: $45,178 w/150 Suzuki

 

Sea Hunt

Model: BX 22 Pro
LOA: 22’3″
Weight: 2,250
Beam: 8’1″
Draft: 14″
Fuel Capacity: 53 gal
Max HP: 250
MSRP: Call Local Dealer

 

Chaos

Model: Tarpon Bay 21
LOA: 20’4″
Weight: 1,950
Beam: 8’2″
Draft: 11″
Fuel Capacity: 53 gal
Max HP: 200
MSRP: $58,998 w/200 Verado

 

Mako

Model: 21 LTS 21’0″
LOA: 1,950
Weight: 2,100
Beam: 8’4″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 56 gal
Max HP: 225
MSRP: $33,995 w/150 XL OptiMax Pro XS and Trailer

 

Key West

Model: 210 BR
LOA: 21’1″
Weight: 1,900
Beam: 8’0″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 60 gal
Max HP: 225
MSRP: $41,175 w/150 Yamaha

 

Cobia

Model: 21 Bay
LOA: 21’1″
Weight: 2,050
Beam: 8’4″
Draft: 13″
Fuel Capacity: 55 gal
Max HP: 200
MSRP: $34,818 w/115 Yamaha

 

Dusky

Model: 218 Bay
LOA: 21’8″
Weight: 2,000
Beam: 8’2″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 60 gal
Max HP: 175
MSRP: $29,200 w/175 Suzuki

 

Sea Chaser

Model: 21 LX Bay Runner
LOA: 20’6″
Weight: 2,250
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 11″
Fuel Capacity: 52 gal
Max HP: 200
MSRP: $23,214 w/o power

 

Triton

Model: 240 LTS Pro
LOA: 24’0″
Weight: 2,450
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 13″
Fuel Capacity: 73 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: Call Local Dealer

 

Scout

Model: 251 XS
LOA: 24’10″
Weight: 2,300
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 13″
Fuel Capacity: 80 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: $77,812 w/300 Yamaha

 

BlackJack

Model: 224
LOA: 22’4″
Weight: 1,950
Beam: 8’3″
Draft: 14″
Fuel Capacity: 70 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: $56,099 w/250 Yamaha SHO

 

Tidewater

Model: 2200 Carolina Bay
LOA: 22’4″
Weight: 2,400
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 9″
Fuel Capacity: 56 gal
Max HP: 250
MSRP: $42,910 w/200 Yamaha

 

Robalo

Model: 226 Cayman
LOA: 22’6″
Weight: 3,200
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 60 gal
Max HP: 250
MSRP: $37,555 w/150 Yamaha

 

Cape Horn

Model: Cape Bay
LOA: 23’0″
Weight: 2,100
Beam: 8’3″
Draft: 15″
Fuel Capacity: 80 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: $52,247 w/150 Yamaha

 

Hydra-Sports

Model: 23 Bay
LOA: 22’11″
Weight: 2,600
Beam: 8’10″
Draft: 10″
Fuel Capacity: 77 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: $69,900 w/300 Yamaha

 

Canyon Bay

Model: 2400
LOA: 23’8″
Weight: 2,500
Beam: 8’8″
Draft: 13″
Fuel Capacity: 84 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: Call Manufacturer

 

Ranger

Model: 2410 Bay Ranger
LOA: 23’8″
Weight: 2,975
Beam: 8’4″
Draft: 13.5″
Fuel Capacity: 76 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: $63,000 w/250 Yamaha

 

EdgeWater

Model: 240IS
LOA: 24’0″
Weight: 2,700
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 13″
Fuel Capacity: 70 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: Call Local Dealer

 

Skeeter

Model: SX-240
LOA: 24’1″
Weight: 2,925
Beam: 8’5″
Draft: 15″
Fuel Capacity: 75 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: Call Local Dealer

 

Sea Hunter

Model: SH 24
LOA: 24’6″
Weight: 2,500
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: N/A
Fuel Capacity: 75 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: $80,000 w/350 Yamaha

 

Yellowfin

Model: 24 Bay
LOA: 24’10″
Weight: 3,050
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 14″
Fuel Capacity: 75 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: $86,563 w/300 Verado

 

Thread Fin

Model: 24
LOA: 24’0″
Weight: N/A
Beam: 8’3″
Draft: 14″
Fuel Capacity: 85 gal
Max HP: N/A
MSRP: $79,800 w/250 Yamaha

 

Shearwater

Model: 25TE
LOA: 24’6″
Weight: N/A
Beam: 8’3″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 80 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: $85,000 w/300 Yamaha

 

Shearwater

Model: 25TE
LOA: 24’6″
Weight: N/A
Beam: 8’3″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 80 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: $85,000 w/300 Yamaha

 

Grady White

Model: 251 Coastal Explorer
LOA: 24’7″
Weight: 3,550
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 14″
Fuel Capacity: 78 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: Call Local Dealer

 

Sea Born

Model: FX25
LOA: 24’11″
Weight: 2,600
Beam: 8’9″
Draft: 11″
Fuel Capacity: 75 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: $57,962 w/250 Suzuki

 

Contender

Model: 25 Bay
LOA: 25’4″
Weight: 3,200
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 90 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: $78,350 w/250 Yamaha

 

Crevalle

Model: 25 Bay
LOA: 25’6″
Weight: 3,100
Beam: 8’6″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 83 gal
Max HP: 300
MSRP: $85,000 w/300 Yamaha

 

Velocity

Model: 260 Bay
LOA: 26’0″
Weight: 2,350
Beam: 8’1″
Draft: 12″
Fuel Capacity: 80 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: $75,595 w/300 Verado

 

Pathfinder

Model: 2600 HPS
LOA: 26’2″
Weight: 3,350
Beam: 8’10″
Draft: 15″
Fuel Capacity: 78 gal
Max HP: 350
MSRP: $82,505 w/F300XCA

 

SeaVee

Model: 270Z
LOA: 26’10″
Weight: 3,000
Beam: 9’1″
Draft: 15″
Fuel Capacity: 100 gal
Max HP: 450
MSRP: $102,100 w/300 Verado

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