I have my mind set on a Carolina Skiff. I am looking for something that I can fish the Potomac, PAX River and on the Bay on Good days. So what is the right lenght I need to go with to meet my needs? Can I get away with the 198 DLX.
1980 DLX or DLV is a rock solid platform for close in fishing and will give you the stability when the water gets a little rough. Can be a little wet at times if you're running at open throttle in a chop. Stable platform and can carry a ton with good fuel economy. 90 HP would be max that you need. Easy to tow and handle. Go for it!!!
I have the 21 DLX and I ran this boat in just about every kind of weather you can think of. Did I get wet, you bet I did but could it handle it yes. I still pick my days but I have fished just about everywhere with this boat from Maryland to North Carolina. You can’t beat a Skiff and the room they have is great. I put my boat together myself so I have more room in my boat than other Skiffs.
I have an 18JVX with a 60hp Yam. I routinely fish the bay, but watch the weather and wind forecasts carefully to choose where to fish. I have even fished the CBBT during the summer - on a questionable day. The question is not whether the boat will take it - it is if You can take it. I tend to hang in the leeward areas that many people forget about, and explore big water on nice days.
Boats are about tradeoffs. Flat bottom boats are great for skinny water, economical, and easy to trailer, but they will punish you in big water in the wrong conditions. The hull designs of Carolina skiffs have slowly morphed into a something that is more like a Boston Whaler, and their rides, and wetness have really improved. The DLV is the most aggressive hull design I have seen from them, and I understand they peform really well. However, don't be fooled into thinking this is a v-hull boat. The longer the better, but no-matter the lenght a v-hull of the same length will take more chop than a C-Skiff.
All that being said - I really enjoy my boat, and after learning what it can take (and what I can take while riding on it), I am very happy with its capability.
Last thing - A Skiff WILL get you wet, until you learn how to drive it. Older skiffs had an unpredictable sneeze that would throw spray infront of you in a confused chop. My skiff (2010)doesn't do that, but it will still will get me wet if I don't mind the throttle properly. If staying dry 100% of the time is important to you, I would avoid a skiff. However, matching your throttle to the conditions will keep you mostly dry in any boat - just be prepared to watch the v-hulls get there faster when the conditions are right for a spray.
I'm a big fan of carolina skiffs but if i were you i'd get the biggest one i could afford. I have had a 1655, 1765 and 1965 CS and each one of them was better than the previous. I have been on the 21 and the 24 and the bigger you go the better they are. You don't need as much power as you think and it isn't much more to go to a bigger model. The 24 i was on had a 90 4 stroke and it moved along pretty good with 4 of us on board.
Great bang for the buck boat, don't let the haters steer you away!!!
If you are buying new look at something other than a skiff. The Chesapeake Bay is punishing, large waves that can stack close together. The constant winds make it a sailing haven - does that tell you something? It has been a proving ground for the Navy for years because of the sea conditions. There is no boat big enough in rough water, but buy the biggest you can afford..
For the price of a new there are many other new options - like a Sea Hunt or Key West - both priced right. If going used you have many options for a nice hull that can handle chop. Just my .02.
Just kidding. Dennis is mostly right, there are a lot of different reasons to buy a particular type of boat. But choosing a flat bottom boat to fish the open bay probably isn't the best investment you could make. I personally bought my boat because it would easily fit in my garage (and I use my lawn tractor to put it there), and so I could fish big water on nice days, crab, and fish skinny water. It's been a good boat for me. Your results may vary!
I've got a 21DLX/ 90 Honda 4S and love it! Holds 30 crab traps and 2 chairs with 4 people comfortably. Great casting to the banks around South Marsh. But she can knock you teeth out running across the Sound in bad chop!!! I've heard the DLV is a tad smoother?? Great to trailer too. Have fun!!! Talk with Steve F about layout!
Go with the DLV instead of the flat bottom DLX. It makes a world of difference.
Cuts through the waves better and also corners better. I have a 218 DLV with a 140 Suzuki and it is very stable and handles great.
Look at the DLV models. 21 or 19 are nice. Not a huge difference between them either. But I will say I almost always get caught in the bay in bad weather. I may leave when it's nice and flat but I swear every single time I run back in the waves are stacking against the tide and it isn't pretty. I have a 22' cc, V, older boat and keep thinking I need bigger for the bay. That is why I'm going smaller and leaving the bay to the charters for the most part. Flat water river fishing is more fun anyway where you are casting to structure you can see. There, a flat bottom makes sense. But I've always like the DLV's though. They are huge, have casting decks and high gunnels. For my next boat, who knows. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> So here's a question about skiffs or flatter bottom boats. They are wider and have less of a v so they are more stable. You get more room. But why is it without a v that they are less safe than say a similar size boat with a V haul? If they are more stable then wouldn't that make them more safe? You will pound and get kind of wet in chop. Okay, that's known. Don't think you won't find chop. It's ALWAYS there even on flat as pancake days. It's never that way for long. But if you go slow in a skiff when the conditions get bad, well... isn't that the answer? If that's what you gotta do than so be it. You are still going to have a hard time in a v bottom when the waves kick up if the boat is under 30 feet. It will still be rough just you won't have as rough a ride I guess. When it's blowing over 15, you just don't go unless you are fishing close to the shore the wind is coming from. But there is no mathemtical equation or a perfect wind speed. Forecasts are just that, predictions. Weather can and will change. Heck a 5 to 10mph ne wind and your fishing from the western shore won't be pretty.
<o></o> So many times I feel this empty feeling that I should have gone fishing at a certain spot during a certain time of year but decided not to because of the effort involved or the weather. I missed it. Time to wait another year for the chance to happen again. Who knows where I'll be that next year. But when there's no question because there's a small craft warning, I feel less anxious and just accept it. Even if some guys braved the conditions and found success. Let's say for instance like now, there are gannets reported all over the mid bay. I could take tomorrow off but don't. I hate myself after I read a report of massive surface blitzes. But if it starts blowing when I finally get down to the ramp, I can almost sleep easier knowing I made the right decision and not risked going out on the water. The weather is beyond our control. Be safe, use common sense. Okay.. enough of this blabber at the fingers. Time to hit a trout stream on the way home from the office. <o></o>
I think a DLV may be a good compromise. In design, they are very close to my Whaler with some modern upgrades. The only thing I did not like about them was their lack of being able to install a large fuel tank. I think it was 28 gallons max back then and you had to go with a larger center console if you were oging ot do that. I wanted more like a 60-80 gallon tank on a 23' boat. When I repowered I briefly thought about just buying a new boat and i looked at the 238 long and hard but decided for the price difference it was better for me to repower.
I really like C-Skiffs and would love to own one. I was REALLY looking at them last summer, got some quotes from Tri-state last year, searched CL for a good deal on a used one, and ended up buying a Trophy WA instead. I would however, LOVE to own a 198 DLX for skinny water fishing and crabbing. If I ever come across a good deal on one, I may end up owning a second boat!
On another note, the guy that owns the lot where I keep my boat, just bought a 198DLX side console recently. So far I would venture to say he likes it, haven't heard any complaints yet.
Lots of good info I appreciate it. This boat is not intended to be a primary Bay boat. If that was the case the Skiff would not be my first choice. I had a 18' Parker CC and that was a nice boat but was also to small on the bay except for calm days. I plan on spending most of my time on the skinny water and Bay during calm days doing a little fly fishing. I like the 1980 DLX. I understand the biggest can afford. I have had few boats over the years and you can go to big for your application. Isn't owning big boats what friends are for.
By the way I have had DLV owners say that they liked the stability of the DLX better than the DLV and if doing it over again would go back to the DLX.
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