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Old 07-05-2015, 08:56   #1
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Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

I am going to be moving to Florida. I am wondering what kind of and minimum size boat needed to fish 40 miles off shore. I want to fish in the Gulf Stream if possible.

Does it make sense to fish all day. Come into a sheltered area. Spend the night, then go back out the next morning. If it does then I will need a cabin on the boat.

Oh...does it make any sense at all to try to fish out of a 'go fast' boat? They have good cabins to spend a few nights per week out on the water is why I ask.

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Old 07-05-2015, 09:16   #2
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

If your serious about fishing, Center Consoles are THE fishing boat, 25' is a good size in my opinion, of course you can go much larger.
If your wanting to stay on the boat, you probably want a Sport fisher, mid 30's is a min size in my opinion, but again, you can go much larger.
We were in the Gulf, but have spent long weekends out in the "Middlegrounds" in a 36' Sport fisher, 40 miles may well be 4 hours of running, may not make much sense spending 8 hours out and back to fish, run out and stay for a few days, then come back.
That's where the Center Consoles come in, many of them are FAST and can get out in an hour or so, but your sleeping in a Motel tonight.
I've had both, serious fishing boat is a CC, but if you want to bring the wife along, and be comfortable, that's not a CC.

All of this is just opinion of course.
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Old 07-05-2015, 09:49   #3
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

A64 is correct. If you want to travel forty miles offshore, a large fast center console is the way to go.


A more traditional sport fishing boat with inboard engines and a cabin will be a lot more comfortable to spend the night on and allow you to cruise as well as fish.


Where in Florida are moving? Here in South Florida, the Gulf Stream is very close and much of the fishing happens in sight of land. Heck if you go forty miles offshore you're a lot closer to the Bahamas than you are to Florida.
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:57   #4
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

Your main question is "what is the *minimum* boat required or sensible to go fishing 40 miles with offshore in the gulfstream?"

When the wind/wave forecast is predicted to be favorable (1 to 3 feet/ 10 mph or less) today AND tomorrow I would take my Boston Whaler 19 with a backup kicker motor offshore to fish. That is the absolute minimum boat I would take out but I have a lot of experience and would be careful to pick my days and fish where other boats are fishing (which is usually the case in Florida anyway.) Not for beginners. I've fished enough that I've learned that when the weather is marginal you are better off staying home and taking the spouse out for dinner than getting beat up offshore. After fishing all day you are not going to want to crash in a cove somewhere and go out fishing again the next day. For many reasons it isn't practical.

For beginners, a 31 foot center console with twin engines is good advice due to the safety margins but the gas expense is considerable. I loved my Fountain 31 CC tournament edition with twin 250 2 stroke Mercs. Six guys and it would still do 62 mph on a calm day with plenty of room to fish but burned 30 gallons per hour at wide open throttle. Each engine. 180 gallon tanks. 120 gallons per day to fish 40 miles offshore.

If you want a boat to go out when the weather may be marginal get an old Bertram 28 or 31 flybridge sportfisherman as a minimum. The problem is, you are either running the boat or in the cockpit but not both- and they are slow. Dedicated diehard marlin fisherman prefer 43 foot or larger boats that won't terrify you in 12 foot seas.

Since you are asking this question we can assume you have little experience, I would recommend you get a 19 foot skiff to play around with inshore and buy gas/help wash/clean fish/pay for beer to go fishing offshore on a buddy's boat until you get some experience.
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Old 07-05-2015, 12:42   #5
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

My limit, even when we had the 45' was three ft waves, of course period played a part.
It wasn't unsafe with waves much bigger, just wasn't that much fun is all.
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Old 07-05-2015, 13:23   #6
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

Thanks for the replies so far. I just looked at a too expensive for me used 38' Fountain Sport Fisher with 3 outboards. Yep, that is what I would buy if I won the lottery.

My budget is around 40k so used is my only option. I am looking to move to Cocoa Florida but could end up other places. I really liked the Crystal River area on the gulf side to live but not fish. The gulf shelf in that area is 1 foot of increased water depth for every mile out.

To take the wife I need a hardtop for shade, and at least semi-comforable. Oh, she liked the 38' Fountain..ugh.







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Old 07-05-2015, 16:41   #7
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Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

40K, your option is a CC, no you don't need a hard top, I wouldn't have one myself, opinion again, but almost all CC's have a T-top with a fabric top
Look up T-top extender. One I had extended the T top all the way back to the transom, and had no support poles so you could fish all around the back, your not supposed to leave it up under way, but I did for years and it was fine up to 40 MPH, would flap a little. You do need good protection from sun
I would get a trailerable boat, not even consider something that had to stay in the water, unless of course you can afford something that is too big to take out or have a lift, course you have to have a tow vehicle

Fuel is something that will make you cry, your looking probably at about 3 MPG? So that 40 miles is going to cost 30 Gls?
I don't burn as much fuel in 6 months now as I used to on a weekend of fishing, it wasn't unusual to go through 70 gls or more, but that was a long weekend of fishing / diving. A CC with a good ladder and Roll Control tank racks makes an excellent family dive boat, learn to spearfish, lots more fun, and very selective.

Twin engine is nice to have, I wouldn't want triples, another opinion. I wouldn't have a two stroke either, not now. They are all old now anyway. I loved Mercury Verado's, but the favorite for most is Yamaha.
I think you can find a very good 25 to 30 ft CC within your budget, Mine was a 21', I bought small so I could drag it to the lake and teach the kids to ski behind it, that would have been tough with a 25.
Probably tens of thousands of boats for sale in Fl that fit your needs, shop in North Fl and the Panhandle though, prices are considerable lower, far fewer rich Yankees there


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Old 07-05-2015, 16:55   #8
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

Yeah, CC with a cuddy cabin would work, and is very popular in FL in maybe 25-28 ft. Had a 26 ft for a while. Dual engines if you are going out that far. Or a really good kicker.
The CC 26 had a cuddy, so when you got pasted by one of those afternoon thunderstorms dumping buckets of water that happen a lot on a nice sunny day in FL, you could get in the cuddy.
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Old 07-05-2015, 17:53   #9
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

I would really recommend the Twin-Vee 26. We oved ithe one in New Orleans so much we bought a second one to put in Jamaica. Instead of needing twin 250's we have twin 140's and still cruise at an easy 35kn, so fuel costs are pretty minimal, and purchase price is lower.

It is also substantially more stable at rest than a deep V which would otherwise be required to handle the off th shore waves.

Build quality for Twin-Vee is a little workboat vs yacht finish, but in a combines 18 years of operating them we haven't had a single structural issue.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:11   #10
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

1999 29' Fountain Center Console

Issues: the 1999 Optimax is a great engine if well maintained, runs quietly and is a very modern two stroke. Not true for the 2000 and newer models which are nicknamed Poptimax. The history is important, I still run a 1990 Yammie 150 hundreds of hours per year and don't worry about longevity at all. Worst case I will replace it with another used one instead of a $20K new one. Consider front curtains for the CC, it isn't any fun getting a 50 mph wind in your face for an hour along with salt spray fogging your sunglasses. Where will the wife use the facilities? Most women won't hang onto the transom to pee while shark fishing. Live bait tank? Insulated fish box? Outriggers?

Twin Vees are nice boats- they are $86K for a new 26, I had a Glacier Bay 26 Canyon Runner which was an even better made boat with great reviews but they are slow and fugly. My friends didn't want to be seen on a catamaran but it was a great dive boat due to stability, ride into a head sea, storage.

Which one do you find sexy?
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:18   #11
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

This is the exact version I had. Damn that was a good looking boat that did everything well. I think you can find one for 40K.
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Old 08-05-2015, 07:53   #12
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

Nice looking boats...I have a lot to learn. I do know I want a boat on a trailer and twin engines.

I am surprised that a mid to upper 20 foot boat would be ok for the ocean. For some reason I just thought mid 30 footer was required.

I guess when 'Small Craft Warnings' are issued it does not matter 25' or 35'.

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Old 08-05-2015, 09:11   #13
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

Actually Crystal River is a great fishing area. We just watched a flats fishing show on tv last weekend that was filmed there. Redfish, snook, trout & some of the best tarpon fishing anywhere. Head out to the middle grounds & you can catch just about anything.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:14   #14
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

A 31 foot CC is a VERY big boat for day fishing and you can outrun most storms. It requires a dedicated tow vehicle and a large driveway with good access. You are not going to back one of these on a trailer into a typical driveway, the swing is a wide arc.

If you keep it on a trailer it is easier to keep it clean, fill it with cheaper gas, put your fishing gear onboard out of your garage at 5 AM, move it for hurricanes, get home at a decent hour then clean it after dinner, flush the engines...

A slip or a drystack is great if you are just going to mess around with family stuff, very convenient. But for a fisherman the advantages are diminished and the expense is much greater. Best of both worlds is a boat slip in your backyard on a canal with a short run to the inlet, lots of those in Florida. Lots of pitfalls, for example a drystack sounds great until you want to go fishing on short notice and they won't take your boat out of the racks until 7AM when the stack opens.
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:27   #15
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Re: Fishing boats for east coast of Florida?

I should also warn you that a big CC is a hand full to handle in close quarters at the ramp. The motors are mounted close together and combined with the length it isn't easy for a beginner to rotate the boat without getting sideways especially if there is wind or current. Another reason to get a 19 to 24 foot center console skiff like a Carolina Skiff which is great for family and inshore stuff and easy to learn on. You can legally put 18 (!) people on a CS 24 but seriously it is great for fishing and you can wash it down in a pull through car wash. Also, two large plastic reclining lawn chairs fit side by side in the front for women to sunbathe which is awesome. They use the 24 foot version to fish offshore for kings in Texas, I had one and it was a great boat too. They are commonly used for marine taxis, but don't expect them to give a comfortable ride in a 3 foot chop.
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