If $60 bucks for gas is a problem....
I'll second the 240 LTS, its about as good as a bay boat gets, no "offshore" though...
For your purposes around this area, I would suggest going away from a bass boat and go with a mod v hull with some freeboard. This will give you the ability to fish the shallows and large open bodies of water including the Chesapeake Bay and ocean. It will also give you a drier platform in bigger water when the water is cold (when the big fish are around), yet allow you to fish areas like the Potomac and flats.
There is a reason boats like the Parker SE, Judge Yachts, Jones Brothers, are so popular with the die-hard fishermen in the region. They give the most options when fishing the region.
I agree completely with Greg on this one. My 23 SE will float in 10" of water and putt in 15" with the motor in enough to get some bite and water to the pump. It also does well in big portion of the Chesapeake and near shore ocean. It has loads of fishing room. I only take one other guy most of the time but love the room to walk around. It is a very stabile and tough boat. If you are sold on hunkering down with a helmut and goggles and going 85 miles per hour and fishing from a chair instead of leaning on a leaning post and standing to fish, than the boats Greg mentioned are not for you.
Originally Posted by B-Faithful
I see you up there all the time, you idled about 400 yds past us this morning on the VA flat. I didn't want to be like everyone else and come up on you lol.. It was full of some rude weekend warriors, we left by 10:30, no shortage of fish, just plenty of shortage lol..
Originally Posted by 240 LTS
I'd like to hook up, your boat is a model I am very interested in...
To the other dude, $60 in gas isn't an issue... It's $60 in the truck to get me to the river... Twice a week is $120, x 4 weeks in a month is just shy of $500.... So almost $6k a year to tow my boat to the ramps to bass fish... See the issue, and I'm leaving the bay to catch 3lb fish on averge. I will always like to bass fish, it just isn't worth it. I'm not a tournament guy, and like this morning, so many bass boats out and almost every single one ran into Furnace Bay... stupid and stressful.. I stayed in a drift, yes with a decent group of followers once they figured out they weren't in 4' of water but in 10', and even though they were being rude we still caught all morning non-stop. I'd rather striper fish, and have a boat that can still bass fish on occasion.
Hydrasport 23 bay bolt is ideal, it's significantly heavier than most of the boats you listed and fits your criteria and more. Have fished shallow flat to 28 miles off shore in Florida. Check them out before you make a decision.
"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten"
2220 Key West out of the Rhode River
Originally Posted by Megabyte
Check the prices, then decide !
Socialism works until the other guy
First of all there is no perfect boat.The best you can do is find one that works for the different situations you want to fish in.If you want to fish the cbbt in the winter you need something in the 21 to 25 foot range,it can get nasty in a hurry and you want a solid boat under you down there.I'd look at some Parkers or make the leap and get a 27 Judge which i consider the best all around boat for the lower chesapeake bay.It has a fairly shallow draft but also can handle the nasty stuff.I have a 2310 Parker walkaround,i love the boat but if i ever move up it'll be the 27 judge chesapeake,good luck.
If you find a boat that can do all you listed - congrats. Tough list for a boat to deliver on.
If you could deal with fishing with others - sure you could trade trips in your boat. I know guys who own larger boats but would enjoy chasing fish in shallow water.
Once you start catching 10-15 pound Rock - those 2-3 pound Large Mouth tend to lose their appeal.
Get into the 20-30 pound Rock and you'll never look back.
What could be more mundane than dying of old age or of natural causes when there is death by misadventure to be pursued ? Skip
I also like to fish in the bay, but a couple times a year fish in Lake Anna, Raystown, or the upper Choptank. I have been happy with deep gunwhale center consoles, a 19 ft Trophy and now a 20 ft power catamaran. Both were pretty ideal for the bay, and with the addition of an engine mounted trolling motor were decent for fresh water. Drew about 2 ft, but honestly, how often have you caught bass outside of casting distance from 2 ft? The engine mounted trolling motor was not useful in the bay, prop would come out when boat was pitching. But as others have said, Other methods work better in the bay anyway. Pick the boat that is best for your most frequent fishing ground, and passable for the others.
EJP, I am in exactly the same spot you are in right now. I live on the shore and dont regularly fish the bay because my bass boat just isn't ideal for it but I do not want to give up the bass fishing. The issue I have found around here is trying to find a dealer who has the type of boats (Triton Bay, Pathfinder, etc) in stock to actually see. Internet pics will only get you so far. If you find someone other than Bass Pro Shop that has one I would love to know so that I can check it out. The Triton that was posted on here is really nice. I would like to have a 18-21 ft version of that, I bass fish a lot in the upper Nanticoke and Marshy Hope so that 24 is a little bit of over kill for what I do. I absolutely love my bass boat but I think I could do more with something else.