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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've been toying with the idea of getting a boat for a little in-shore and near shore fishing. I was staying in AB this past weekend and one of the other motel occupants had a Carolina Skiff trailered right outside the door. I liked the look of the boat as it was clean and looked to be fairly bullet proof. I more or less put the thought into memory for later recall. On the way home, my girl friend talked me into going to Southpoint Mall for lunch. This was a real stretch as I'm not a mall type of guy. As we approached the center concourse.. low and behold, one of the local boat dealers had a Carolina Skiff parked in the aisle on display. Now this was just too uncanny and was like a signal from the cosmos that I should look into this further.

This potential boat purchase would be a first time power boat for me. I definitely want something I can grow into but don't need to go crazy with too much boat or expense. I know a skiff can be a rough ride but I really like the shallow draft as that means some flounder gigging could be in my future. I wanted to query the group to see if there are any Carolina Skiff owners out there and after owning the boat for a while if you're still happy with your purchase. Also, are you comfortable in it in during near shore fishing (assuming a calm day). Do you have a recomendation on the T-top or the foldable Bimini top? Any other input or suggestions would be appreciated.

Much thanks!
 

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Red X Angler
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I've been looking too and thus far I have found that some of the bayboats have such a shallow draw that I am leaning towards a bayboat so that I can be a bit more adventurous and comfortable. 17-19ft looks good to me. If I were strictly going to do backwaters and mostly alone, I would consider the 15ft skiff instead of a bay.
 
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I looked at the Carolina Skiff down at ChatLee last year before I made my boat purchase. I ended up buying an 18ft Sea Fox bay boat because I like the flexability it affords. I feared the Carolina Skiff would be to wide for me to use bass fishing, which I do more than inshore. I was not sure if I could get a trolling motor to pull a wide boat all day long without breaking the bank. Right now my Sea Fox only has a 50lb, 12 volt trolling motor and does a fairly good job (I do want to upgrade...tackle monkey where are you). Some pros and cons for each...The flat style of the skiff is a rough ride but the wide body gives more room for family. My boat drafts only two more inches then the skiff and goes on trailer alot easier. The skiff's side walls are lower but mine is drier. Not many storage boxes on a skiff but more room for large gear. My advice is to try and find a ride in a couple of different styles.
 

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Shakespeare---My neighbor at coast has 20 ft Carolina Skiff--I have a McKee 18.5 bay-- Both purchased about same time around 5 years ago--McKee cost much more than the Carolina Skiff. If hindsight could be had--I would have gotten the Carolina Skiff. The extras and design which handles rough water better on the McKee are not worth the price difference to me. There are not any flat bottom boats or Mckee bay boats run on Core Sound that are dry when the water is choppy, unless they have enclosed cabin. The only thing that I noted in the skiff was that when two people got near the transom while fishing water would come into boat thru self bailers-- McKee has same problem--flapper checks don't work good--Put pingpong ball scuppers on drains--eliminates problem. My 2 cents worth.
 

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Until you have your style of fishing figured out it's all a guessing game. If you are going to do a lot of running long distances you probably don't want the CS. If it is mainly going to be an inside boat and the distances reasonable it is hard to beat the CS for versatility.
The sides of the consoles on a CS are prime real estate for rod holders. If you choose to put a T top on one keep that in mind. A poor design could really hurt but a good design could really improve things. If I were going to put a Ttop on one; it would have to incorporate rod holders and rocket launchers along with overhead electronics.
I have to agree with Forrest on the differences between the McKee Craft and the Skiff. The CS would be my choice between the 2. There are better boats out there for a inshore /nearshore boat though.
 

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Carolina Skiff makes a great boat and at a reasonable price. One of my fishing buddies has one and we shallow water fish in it all the time. He takes it out Spanish and grey trout fishing on calm days - it will beat you in the ocean in rough water. From what you said in your post about important features to you - shallow draft & gigging - sounds like this is the style that suits your needs. I have more of a bay boat so I can go offshore more often but can't gig out of it too easily.

I don't have a skiff but for fishing in just about any boat - I'd go with the T-top over the Bimini top. The Bimini seems to get in the way a lot and also acts like a sail on windy days cause the wind gets up under it whereas the flatness of the T-Top doesn't have as much of that going on. Plus a T-Top gives you more rod storage & trolling options.
 

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Wow, lots of good thoughts on this one. The only thing that I can say for sure is that I agree with TA about the T-top. I've fished boats with both and the Bimini Tops always seem to be in the way. As already said, the T-top give you some extra storage options. If you have problems storing the boat with the T-top there's also a t-top model that folds for storage.
 

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I agree on the bimini comments...you might use it a couple of times but there is a huge chance that it would come off after that. I like T-tops for Ocean use and bare skiffs for sound use. In fact I would just as soon have no electronics etc on a boat for sound fishing. A hand held Vhf and a cellphone. The rest is more trouble than it's worth to me. I've always thought the best compromise was a cheap low hp skiff and a offshore capable boat. I just never could reach deep enough into my pockets for the latter.
Most guys have Family to consider so just a cheap skiff won't get you far in that area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Fellows... I can't express how much I appreciate everyone's thoughful replies. You've all certainly given me much to think about. It sounds like the CS is a good quality boat for a reasonable price but has limitations. I understand that and have to keep telling myself that this would be a "starter" boat and perhaps a few years later I could upgrade to something with more range and comfort. I have to travel through Sanford in a couple of weeks and I'll make time to drop by Chatlee to speak with the sales staff and drool over a couple of boats. I note that they also carry Sea Fox so that will give me an opportunity to evaluate a bay boat vs the skiff. The comments on the T-Top vs Bimini make perfect sense to me, so I will pursue the T-Top with rod holders and electronics console. Once again, thanks!
 

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Red X Angler
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Doesnt CS also make a V-Hull noised skiff? This would smooth the ride a bit.
 

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hey whats up shakespeare, i have a 19ft carolina skiff, its a good one but the only thing is getting pounded and getting soaking wet when there are some swells. other than that she is a pretty sturdy boat. use it for fishing the flats. when you are on top you can go through about 6 inches of water, once you slow down you will have to get up to about a foot to alow it to get on top again. unfortunalty my enigine blew the head gasket so has been awhile since i have last used it.
 

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Could be referring to the Sportsman's Hulls as well. The thing that would concern me on the Sportsman is the beam width's are fairly narrow. Not much room to move around in.

Like that Sea Fox. Is it a 19ft?
 

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cant go wrong with a Carolina Skiff... industrial little inland waterway boat that will get you where you want to go and requires minimum of maintenance. Very popular boats for inland/waterway/bay fisherman that "fish", crab, shell for clam/oysters, net for mullet.. etc...
 

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I don't have a skiff but for fishing in just about any boat - I'd go with the T-top over the Bimini top. The Bimini seems to get in the way a lot
When cruising or beachin with the girlfriend/wife or both... :D, bimini top can be appreciated. But take the top off if goin fishin,,, it will get in the way.. I cant tell you how many times my sis set hooks in one that I had...

And like Mike say's,, you will get the "parachute" effect (some lesser than others...) but cruisin' with family/friends,, top can be perfect, remove it if fishin.

Ttop can be good option, but for inland fishing type boats... can get in the way too when casting alot. Had a few rod tips broke on last two boats from the "duck or bleed" crowd as well... just some food for thought... ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Like that Sea Fox. Is it a 19ft?
It's a 17 foot. I gotta check into the people capacity and whatnot. I searched BoatTrader for the same model but not many of them up for sale right now so it's kind of hard to establish a value for the boat. The guy is asking $14,000 for it but unless there's a lot of add-ons that sounds a little on the high side to me. I'm just window shopping right now on the Sea Fox, still planning a trip to Chatlee in Sanford.. hopefully on this Friday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ttop can be good option, but for inland fishing type boats... can get in the way too when casting alot. Had a few rod tips broke on last two boats from the "duck or bleed" crowd as well... just some food for thought... ;)
Very good points. :) Let me throw out a question... other than having a place to mount electronics or rod holders what's the advantage to having a top at all? It won't protect you from wind driven rain and its function as a sun shade would be unpredictable depending on time of day and direction of travel. Just wondering. :confused:
 

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Oh trust me, it helps with the shade! Biggest mistake I made with my boat was not getting one when I originally bought it. If you are slow trolling or bottom fishing, you can pick the spot you stand in and get out of the direct sun. You also can attach a T-top enclosure that will provide some relief from spray, rain and wind. Gotta have the T-top first though.

Granted it doesn't provide the shade of a Bimini top and if that is a major concern for family outings, go with the bimini and just put it down while fishing or when in the ocean.
 

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Shakespeare,
I fished out of my 16' Southern Skimmer for 16 years. For 16 years I got beat around and wet as heck. It handled like a log. Bought a Kenner bay boat. Man, have I been stupid for the last 16 years. It is drier, faster and way more comfortable. Loads easier. You can get many bay boats for the same price or cheaper than many skiffs. Trust me when it is 35 degrees and blowing 25 knots and you are running down the ICW headed back to the ramp, you do not want to be in a skiff.
 

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T-tops and Biminis get in the way when actively fishing(ie. casting). Get very little shade out of t-top anyway. Bimini will give you shade but will definitely be in the way. Since the fish don't bite to well in the heat of the day during the summer...don't go fishing in the heat of the day and then you don't need any shade devices. Put in at O-dark 30 fish for 4 or 5 hours and then just as the yahoos are showing up and filling up the boat ramp you can go home with your trout. :)
 
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