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Best (23 - 28) Hull for Getting Offshore from Tampa Bay

Seems that there are alot of 10-15kt, 2-4 ft days, and I am wanting to be able to fish on more days that I can right now, as well as take it easier on my back and those of the crew.

I know deadrise, beam, LOA, trim tabs, etc. play into it, but what is best in Cape Hatteras, NC may not be best in Stuart, FL, may not be best in Clearwater, etc. Different areas have different prevailing characteristics of the I am looking for specific Brand/Model recommendations (ie: Contender 25T, etc.) from locals who have been heading west for many years and have done so in a variety of hulls.

Thanks for any guidance and Merry Christmas,


  • stpetebaitmanstpetebaitman Posts: 957 Officer
  • FlatsFrenzyFlatsFrenzy Posts: 893 Officer
    Calcutta 263


    If I could have ANY boat for running offshore in this area it would be a Calcutta 263 with a pair of 115s.
    Gulf Coast of FL
    @flatsfrenzy #flyonly #onelessspinrod
  • Baja280Baja280 Posts: 440 Deckhand
    I beg to differ..............speaking from experience, idk how similar in ride and comfort they are to the world cat 25 center console. But if they are similar, I personally would have a v-hull over a cat any day. I have a Baja 280sf which is actually a 32 over all(similar to a scarab, kind of a "go fast" style CC) Nice style boat for the gulf but in my opinion it is too light. I have been out numerous times in a 25 worldcat and it is nice, in certain seas....we got stuck out in solid 4-6 with the occasional OH S***, and the boat did not handle the seas well.on anchor, due to the gap between the sponsons, it would smash the water while sitting on the hook, then it took us over 4 hours to battle our way back in 25-30 miles, we were going head seas, but still it was a rough ride. Head seas we were all SOAKED, beam seas are really rough, and when a wave hits the boat, or the wind pushes you, HOLD ON cuz those cats will jerk so hard it **** near throws you out of the boat if your not paying attention. My boat on the other hand, is 24 deg. deadrise but being it is so light dry weight, it also is not "ideal" for the gulf(more suited for the atlantic) but I have been out in 6-8 in mine, when on anchor it cuts down through the water, beam seas suck but are manageable with trim tabs, head seas and following are good as long as you don't submarine the nose into the wave from going too fast.....IMHO I would trust a standard V-hull over a cat hull. Just speaking from my own personal experiences. But I also know guys that swear the only reason they made it back to land was because they were in a cat......So, take a ride in every boat you can before you buy one, because everyone prefers something different. To me it is similar to the difference between a dirtbike and a 4-wheeler. So in my opinion the bigger the better, 9-9'6" beam 24 deadrise and a nice flair on the bow, V-hull. what do you guys think? whats the best boat for gulf?
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  • JEIBEJEIBE Posts: 274 Deckhand
    Look at the sea vee 25 or a Parker 2501.. Very different but awesome boats
  • Fintastic.IncFintastic.Inc Posts: 251 Deckhand
    Sea vee
    Lagerhead Fishing Team
    Team Cabo Loco
  • Baja280Baja280 Posts: 440 Deckhand
    now that you mention it, the parker 25 would probably be THE boat.......hard to beat a wheelhouse AND a tower and not to mention more fishing room in the back than a 30 footer, single engine good mileage. I believe sometimes that it seems that a 25ft boat would almost be a better choice than the 28 class. I feel like the 25 footers can usually ride in the swells well, where as the 30ft. boats seem to be either 2 feet too big or two feet too small at times when in moderate seas. Although then the one engine vs. two engine debate comes into play. would you rather have a back up just in case for reliability concerns? If Im going past 20 miles out to a 100 miles when allowed, I'm going with twins personally
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  • TypicleseTypiclese Posts: 393 Deckhand
    Calcuttas are fine. Fished them a bunch. I'm not happy with how they throw you around when maneuvering/running in rough seas (think that's pretty standard characteristic of cats). Need higher gunwales on the calcutta.

    Parkers, they are fine, I owned one for several years and had issues with fiberglass cracking amidships as well as the stringers and transom. We ran the boat hard - all the time. They tend to roll a bit. Still a solid boat. Owned a contender 31 as well. Like the speed and ride of a contender in all matter of slop. The contender hull demands speed for max effective wave cutting capability which some might find is a bit tough on the joints. On the drift, troll or hook they roll quite a bit. Not bad for the fellas, but the fam prob won't be digging it too much especially in 3+

    Now I own a 40 Cabo and a Grady-White 306 Bimini with twin 300 Yamis and 300 gal of fuel capacity. Having owned several boats over the last 35 years I'll stack the Bimini against any for gulf fishing. Yeah, not as fast as a contender. But that 10'6" beam is nice when on the troll, drift or hook. The V2 hull has 30 degrees deadrise midships. That's where the work gets done. Soft ride, handles all seas - very predictable. We've fished this boat to the Middle Grounds and back more times than I can count. Give them a look. You can find a good used one out there for reasonable price.

    I heard Sea vee's are solid as well. Never been on one, but the folks I know who own them swear by them. A good friend has an Everglades 315. Great boat as well.

    Like the OPs stated, lots of variety. You need to test drive many to find what works best for you and what your fishing objective are.
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