Flats boats are a specialized breed of fishing boat, and these top picks stand out among the crowd.
Flats boats are a niche type of fishing machine, and when it comes to finding the best flats boats anglers are highly selective. If you’re on the hunt for a new flats boat for 2022, be sure to check out these top 10 picks which are designed to be ideal for stalking critters like bonefish, reds, and permit in the shallows.
- Bay Craft Bone Skiff
- Beavertail Skiffs Mosquito
- El Pascador Cat
- Flats Cat 17
- Hell’s Bay Marquesa
- Hewes Redfisher 18
- Maverick 18 HPX-V
- Piranha Casador B2200
- Shoalwater 21 Cat DLX
Bay Craft Bone Skiff 162
The Bay Craft Bone Skiff 162 may be smaller than most flats boats, but with an 18’6” storage length it’s garage-ready and easy to park right at home. It’s also very light at 700 pounds, which means draft is just five and a half inches plus it’s easy to tow. That’s thanks to techy construction including encapsulated Divinycell foam coring. And don’t let its small size deceive you — this boat still offers big capacity, including a 28-gallon livewell and 24 gallons of fuel.
See Bay Craft Bone Skiff 162 boats for sale on boats.com.
Beavertail Skiffs Mosquito
Beavertail designed the Mosquito with one goal in mind: making it the quietest poling skiff on the market. It’s also easy to pole thanks to a 540-pound dry weight and an anodized poling platform that was designed in-house. Draft is just five inches and change, and the rodracks are designed to accommodate fly rods up to 10’ long.
See Beavertail Skiffs Mosquito boats for sale on boats.com.
El Pescador Cat
The El Pescador (which comes in 21- and 24-foot models) is a very unusual flats boat designed for running the shallows in Texas, where it’s built, atop a catamaran hull on which the keel tapers into a jet chute. Net result? A running draft of a mere four inches and the ability to jump onto plane in as little as 10 inches of water, in a 21-footer. These are customized boats, too, so the outfitting you see on the market will vary widely.
See El Pescador Cat boats for sale on boats.com.
Flats Cat 17
The Flats Cat 17 rides on a powercat hull that will get into skinnier water than the competition, with a running draft of just two inches and the ability to get on plane in six inches of water. It works its magic by trapping water between its reverse-angled hulls, while a ram-air effect raises the boat up further reducing draft. The Flats Cat also features elevated casting platforms to either side of the outboard as well as at the bow, creating raised casting positions for three anglers on a boat just 17 feet long.
See Flats Cat 17 boats for sale on boats.com.
Hell’s Bay Marquesa
The Marquesa is Hell Bay’s take on a technical poling skiff, and the builder employs some serious boatbuilding tech to make it as light as possible: Carbon Innegra, vacuum-infused Core Cell construction, and a carbon fiber stringer system are all in the mix. As a result, the bare boat weighs a mere 695 pounds and static draft when fully rigged is just seven inches. Added bonus: big-ticket items like a poling platform topped with SeaDek, trim tabs, and a custom trailer are all standard features.
See Hell’s Bay Marquesa boats for sale on boats.com.
Hewes Redfisher 18
The Redfisher 18 from Hewes is built with the latest tech, including VARIS vacuum-infusion, to produce a spectacularly strong but light hull. Even including an F115 outboard, the rig’s weight remains under the 2,000-pound mark and draft is still only 10 inches. With gunwales wide enough to walk 360-degrees around the boat and a huge forward casting deck, this boat is ideal for two or three anglers ready to stalk the flats.
See Hewes Redfisher 18 boats for sale on boats.com.
Maverick 18 HPX-V
The Maverick HPX-V is a classic choice for technical poling skiffs. Small enough to pole from a platform but large enough to carry up to four anglers and handle a chop, the HPX-V has a 13-degree transom deadrise and drafts just nine inches. It can also handle a whopping 150 horses on the transom, which gives it a 4500-rpm cruising speed in the upper 40s and a top-end breaking 62-mph.
See Maverick 18 HPX-V boats for sale on boats.com.
Piranha Casador B2200
At 21’9” long and 8’0” wide, the Piranha Casadore B2200 is one big flats boat. If you like to take several people out at a time when fishing the shallows, you’ll love having all that room yet still being able to creep into a foot of water. Another strong suit of this rig is range, since it carries a 55-gallon fuel tank.
See Piranha B2200 boats for sale on boats.com.
Shoalwater 21 Cat DLX
Another twin-hulled flats fishing machine, the Shoalwater 21 Cat DLX has an eight-inch draft yet enough space aboard for four to six anglers to cast with ease. But thanks to the catamaran design, it can still eat through a chop in comfort at high speeds. Plus, between the cat hull and the wide 8’6” beam, the boat is about as stable as they come as far as flats-capable boats go.
See Shoalwater 21 Cat DLX boats for sale on boats.com.
Yellowfin 17 Skiff
Many people know Yellowfin for their large offshore center consoles, but this builder also has a serious flats boat in their lineup: the 17 Skiff. With infusion and Kevlar construction it weighs just 600 pounds excluding power and will float in six inches of water when rigged and loaded for a day of flats fishing. It offers excellent stability when poling and an ideal foredeck for fly fishers and spin casters alike.
See Yellowfin 17 Skiff boats for sale on boats.com.