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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I recently purchased a 17 ft Carolina skiff since I'm here in Jacksonville and figure it's something I can take with me back to Florida when I get out and it is great. Still have to work on my understanding of the tides and where I can squeeze the boat but seems like it will be great for me. Had to get out and walk the boat away from shallow water a couple times yesterday. I wanted to add some lights to it so I can fish at night and I would also like a depth finder that is solid. Trying not to break the bank but willing to spend a little money. I'm going to give it a shot but was hoping someone on here would have a good idea of what would be good. Lights-wise I like the rope type lights inside but don't know what I'm looking at when shopping online. Also would like some kind of spotlights to point in front of the boat. I've seen some good setups on the internet but don't know where to start. Thanks guys and any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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So I recently purchased a 17 ft Carolina skiff since I'm here in Jacksonville and figure it's something I can take with me back to Florida when I get out and it is great. Still have to work on my understanding of the tides and where I can squeeze the boat but seems like it will be great for me. Had to get out and walk the boat away from shallow water a couple times yesterday. I wanted to add some lights to it so I can fish at night and I would also like a depth finder that is solid. Trying not to break the bank but willing to spend a little money. I'm going to give it a shot but was hoping someone on here would have a good idea of what would be good. Lights-wise I like the rope type lights inside but don't know what I'm looking at when shopping online. Also would like some kind of spotlights to point in front of the boat. I've seen some good setups on the internet but don't know where to start. Thanks guys and any help would be greatly appreciated.
First, congrats on the boat. I know Lowrance HDS 7s can be found pretty cheap right now because the new models have just been released. A depth finder doesn't help much in the river but it will in the creeks and nearshore. Having the charts are nice to just to know where you are.


Do some searches on here and you can read for days on CS specific stuff.

http://www.carolinaskiffowner.com/
 

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Red X Angler
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Keep in mind if all your doing is inshore shallow stuff all you need to know is water depth and temp so unless you want crazy good gps, and high resolution screen, no need to pop for anything over $200 and even less will do. as far as lighting Keep in mind anything LED will use a lot less power so you can get away with less battery. "Marine" grade parts are $$$. I opt for standard "offroad" type stuff and figure if it rusts up some in a few years who cares as I may or may not even have the same boat and if I do $50 every 3-4 yrs is a heck of a lot easier than $450 today! I see a lot of those rope lights being used now and as long as they are for outdoor use go for it just seal the connections properly when you install them. Solder and heat shrink is best for all electrical connections. If you don't like the black or chrome that off road lights usually come in, tape up the lenses and paint them white like the "marine" versions with appliance epoxy or plastics paint.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Keep in mind if all your doing is inshore shallow stuff all you need to know is water depth and temp so unless you want crazy good gps, and high resolution screen, no need to pop for anything over $200 and even less will do. as far as lighting Keep in mind anything LED will use a lot less power so you can get away with less battery. "Marine" grade parts are $$$. I opt for standard "offroad" type stuff and figure if it rusts up some in a few years who cares as I may or may not even have the same boat and if I do $50 every 3-4 yrs is a heck of a lot easier than $450 today! I see a lot of those rope lights being used now and as long as they are for outdoor use go for it just seal the connections properly when you install them. Solder and heat shrink is best for all electrical connections. If you don't like the black or chrome that off road lights usually come in, tape up the lenses and paint them white like the "marine" versions with appliance epoxy or plastics paint.
That makes sense. Took a look at some lights and the ones that aren't marine grade look like they definitely do the job for a much better price. Found a couple for the front I will probably go with. Also found some rope lights that look good, just hope I can install properly without it looking terrible or falling apart randomly. Not the most mechanically and electrically inclined. Probably going to rely on YouTube to help me out there. I'm going to get a long roll instead of the kit to save a little cash.
 
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Sundrop is right. The shoals and sandbars move around too much to rely on any inexpensive GPS or even depth finder. You'll be on a sandbar before you even realize it. I have a 17' skiff and I had to walk mine off plenty of times before I learned where all the "danger areas" were. If you stay in the channels between the markers you'll be OK but around shackleford and the sound and harkers island and North River areas, your depth finder will go 18...15..12..10..2..1 in about 30 seconds. :)

Outside the marked channels you'll have to literally drive with your eyes constantly on the depth finder, especially in the sand dollar island area and horse island and shackleford area until you learn where the sandbars and shoals are *supposed to be* even though they shift around. If possible I like to schedule my boating trips on the low tide so I know I got water coming in if I soft ground.

And if you like to anchor close to the beach and swim, mind the currents thru the area. At Shackleford and sand dollar Island you'll want to beach on the downward-current side of the sandbar. I learned very quickly that the tides move in or out with a lot of force and beaching on the up-current side of the island or sandbar will push you up on the beach and ground you. I got stuck like that one time and the harder me and my dad tried to push it back into the water, the more the currents and wake from passing boas beat us back onto the sandbar. My skiff was light enough we were just able to lift it up and "get some water under it" and get it back off. If I hadn't noticed it and cauht it before it got closer we would been screwed.

I saw a guy last year with what was probably a 22 foot boat and he had beached on the up-current side with his family to swim and play on the sandbar and the currents thru the sound had pretty much pushed him up onto the sandbar and he was literally on dry ground. He was trying to push it off himself and I stopped to help him but I knew we had zero chance of pushing it back into the water. Felt bad for the guy and he didn't have seatow or boatus so the pirates probably raped him for the ungrounding.
 
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