Fishing in the shallows around saltwater flats and marshes takes the right boat. In order to catch a trophy tarpon or bonefish, anglers need to get into shallow water where the fish live. Fishing skiffs get anglers into shallow water closer to the fish.
Most skiffs are flat decked and designed to get you into skinny water. However, that’s where the similarities end.
These boats have different engine options, storage options, and materials that make choosing the right one difficult.
Whether any particular boat is the right one is dependent on the angler and how they intend to use the boat.
For example, a bigger boat can cut through the choppy bays and hit the skinny water. By contrast, something small enough can get way into the shallows.
This list of the best fishing skiffs will help you decide which is right for you.
Top 13 Fishing Skiffs
- Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V
- Hewes Redfisher 16
- Xplor Boatworks X7
- Yellowfin 17CE
- Skull Island 16
- Floyd 10 Weight Skiff
- Yellowfin 17CC
- Egret 189
- Action Craft 1820 ACE Flatsmaster
- Dolphin 17 Superskiff Pro
- Spyder FX17
- Action Craft 1600 FlatsPro
- East Cape Vantage
Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V
Maverick Boat Company has been around a long time. Brothers Scott and Troy Deal acquired the company in 1984 and have made quality boats since.
The Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V is 18 feet 4 inches in length and has a beam of 6 feet 8 inches creating a roomy stable skiff.
The V in HPX-V stands for v bottom. The V bottom on this boat helps it move through rougher water and prevents slapping.
The Mirage is a technical poling skiff constructed with a vacuum-assisted resin infusion system using carbon fiber and Kevlar. The advanced fibers used make the boat lightweight yet sturdy. This boat has a draft of just 9 inches when outfitted with the 150-horsepower motor.
The Maverick line of boats is constructed around Yamaha motors. The HPX-V comes standard with a 150-horsepower engine. With 29 gallons of fuel storage, the HPX-V can go the distance.
The deck features all recessed hardware and can be outfitted with an optional poling platform and an optional bow casting platform.
Hewes Redfisher 16
While the Hewes Redfisher 16 is a shorter skiff, it still packs plenty of options. The vacuum-infused hull provides lightweight durability. The Redfisher offers a range of motors from 70 to 115-horsepower.
The Redfisher measures sixteen and a half feet long, is easy to tow, and is the perfect size for a garage.
The wide beam on this boat measures seven feet three inches wide and is very stable. The boat floats in just eleven inches of draft getting into shallow waters.
The 32-gallon fuel storage tank provides ample fuel for longer trips. The Redfisher offers a range of motors from 70 to 115 horsepower.
The forward deck on the Redfisher is massive and has plenty of room for casting. There is enough room on the front for two anglers to fit comfortably.
The large foredeck features a large storage bin perfect for life jackets and other supplies.
The Redfisher features an abundance of storage. In addition to the dry storage, the boat has two 24-gallon live wells.
The primary is a centerline oval-shaped live well perfect for keeping baitfish fresh. The secondary release well can be used as a live well or dry storage.
Xplore Boatworks X7
The Xplor Boatworks X7 is one of the larger skiffs reviewed. Even though it is on the larger end, this boat is lightweight thanks to the ultra-x infused V/CarbonX construction.
The boat measures eighteen feet nine inches in length with an eighty-eight-inch beam and weighs only 650lbs.
The X7 can be equipped with up to a 115-horsepower motor. The boat has just an eight-and-a-half-inch draft with the 115-horsepower motor and a six-inch draft with the 70-horsepower motor.
The X7 comes with the poling tower standard. The poling tower features a built-in five-gallon bucket holder.
There are three large storage compartments across the back of the boat that can all serve as live wells.
This boat has the electronics to make for an enjoyable fishing excursion. There are waterproof eight and six-inch speakers standard.
More powerful speakers are available if requested. Also, all compartments have interior lights for convenience.
The Yellowfin 17CE is an ultra-lightweight technical poling skiff that handles rough water well. The deeper deadrise facilitates big runs across rough water.
The hull is constructed using Kevlar, carbon fiber, and e-glass weave vacuum bagged with vinyl ester resin for superior strength.
The Yellowfin 17CE is roomy enough for three people. The boat measures seventeen feet four inches in length with a beamwidth of eighty inches.
The draft on this boat is only seven inches. The Yellowfin 17CE features optional casting and poling platforms.
There is plenty of dry storage on the boat for rods and your tackle box. The boat also features a 35-gallon live well. The seat in front of the console includes an insulated cooler.
The seats and backrests are ergonomic and comfortable for long days on the water.
This boat comes standard with a 115-horsepower motor and a 22-gallon fuel capacity. Overall, the Yellowfin 17CE is a great option for flatwater fishing.
Skull Island 16
The Skull Island 16 is an ultra-light technical poling skiff that gets into skinny water. While it is one of the smaller boats reviewed, it has great features.
The Skull Island is constructed of Kevlar and core cell construction with 100% vinyl ester resins.
This skiff is light and agile great for getting into shallow water. The boat only weighs 450 lbs making it the lightest boat reviewed.
The Skull Island offers three layouts, a tiller, side console, and center console. Unfortunately, being such a small skiff, it does not have a live well standard.
The Skull Island 16 is just sixteen feet two inches in length with a beam of five feet. The maximum motor is 30 horsepower.
The fuel tank on Skull Island is located in the bow to help even out weight distribution.
Floyd 10 Weight Skiff
The Floyd Skiff company is a small family-owned business. Lifelong angler and boat builder Brian Floyd started the business in 2010.
All Floyd boats are custom-built and hand-made to the customer’s specifications.
The Floyd 10 Weight Skiff is a fully customizable lightweight technical poling skiff. The standard 10 Weight is right at eighteen feet long.
The beam measures seventy-five and a half inches providing a stable platform.
The boat can accommodate up to a 90-horsepower motor. Fully loaded, the skiff has a draft of just seven inches.
The center console features a cooler seat in the front with extra storage for drinks. The standard live well is thirty gallons with a 500gph pump. Since the boats are handcrafted, they are customizable in many ways.
Floyd skiffs may take a while to get, but the quality is worth the wait.
The Yellowfin 17CC is a nice little technical poling skiff. The center console provides the Capitan with comfort and control.
This skiff has a 22-gallon fuel capacity and can handle a maximum of a 115-horsepower motor.
The Yellowfin 17CC weighs just 600lbs. This boat is very light and responsive on the pole. This boat tracks well into the wind and is easy to manage.
The Yellowfin features integrated spray rails keeping the interior dry and reducing noise.
The hull is constructed with vinyl ester resin, core cell, and triaxial fiberglass cloth. The deck has an integrated pebble-style non-skid surface that provides ample traction in wet conditions.
The base model includes the poling platform and a 35-gallon live well. The boat also features under gunwale storage for up to six fully rigged nine-foot fly rods.
The Yellowfin 17CC is self-bailing, and water rarely reaches the bilge.
The Egret is the Cadillac of skiffs. The original design for the Egret was constructed in wood and developed in water testing.
The hull is built from carbon fiber and Kevlar fabrics with foam core and is vacuum bagged with vinyl ester resin.
The boat has a reverse chine and spray rail that keeps the cockpit dry. Also, the deck is cambered. The cambered deck strengthens the boat and allows water to drain off to the sides.
The Egret is self-bailing, and all of the dry storage have deep channels around the hatches to drain water.
There are two live wells on the boat. The primary live well holds up to 34 gallons and features adjustable water levels.
The fuel capacity on this boat allows for longer trips without refueling. With a 56-gallon fuel capacity, the Egret can cover many miles of open water.
The Egret is eighteen feet and nine inches in length, making it one of the larger skiffs reviewed.
The Egret is fully customizable and has numerous features for the discriminating angler.
Action Craft 1820 ACE Flatsmaster
The Action Craft 1820 is a larger skiff designed to be somewhat of a hybrid. The hull has a modified deep V design to help cut through choppy water.
Yet the draft is still just 8-10 inches making it capable of getting in the shallows.
This boat has a lot of space for a skiff. The boat boasts a six-person capacity with plenty of room for the family. Also, there is ample storage with several dry compartments throughout.
The 1820 is self-draining, keeping the cockpit dry. The deck features a modified diamond non-slip surface providing plenty of traction even under wet conditions.
The wide gunwales allow anglers to walk around the entire boat when fighting trophy fish.
The 1820 has a length of eighteen feet two inches and a beamwidth of eighty-four inches.
The boat can be outfitted with up to a 150-horsepower engine and has a hefty fuel capacity of 28-gallons.
Dolphin 17 Superskiff Pro
Dolphin boats have a long history of producing high-quality skiffs. In fact, Dolphin had one of the first technical poling skiffs created.
The Superskiff Pro provides a mid-sized skiff capable of holding four anglers comfortably.
Dolphin constructs these boats in three parts. The hull, inner liner, and deck are all made of composite materials and then fused.
The process uses Kevlar and vacuum bag infusion to ensure durability. Dolphin stands behind its product with a 10-year transferable warranty.
The Superskiff Pro is perfect for long trips or all-day fishing. The 27-gallon fuel tank provides ample fuel for hours on the water.
Furthermore, the boat is good in skinny water, capable of poling in just 10-inches of water, so you’ll need a good inshore rod to really take advantage of its capabilities!
The 28-gallon oval live well will keep bait fresh. All compartments on the boat have recessed hardware, and the deck features a molded, non-skid surface.
There is also ample storage for fishing rods under the gunwales, with the capability to store six rods on each side.
The Superskiff measures seventeen feet nine inches in length and has a beamwidth of six feet nine inches. Customers can select up to a 115-horsepower motor.
The Spyder FX17 is an ultra-lightweight skiff loaded with features. The length of this boat is just over seventeen feet with a seventy-seven-inch beamwidth.
Customers can mount up to a 90-horsepower motor, but the manufacturer recommends the 70-horsepower.
The FX17 features three standard live wells throughout the boat. The seat in front of the console doubles as a live well and cooler. There are also center rear and center front aerated live wells with plexiglass lids.
This boat features a large bow platform for more fishing areas. It also has a forward fuel tank helping balance the weight distribution.
Spyder finished the deck on this boat with a diamond non-skid surface for superior traction.
Standard features include a high poling platform that allows the motor to lift. In addition, the boat has a jack plate allowing the operator to lift the motor when getting in shallower water.
The Spyder FX17 comes with a limited 10-year hull warranty included.
Action Craft 1600 FlatsPro
Another great fishing skiff from ActionCraft, the 1600 FlatsPro is their smallest model offered.
This lightweight skiff is easy to pole and great for fishing in tight spaces. With a draft of 7-9 inches, this boat can get in the skinniest water.
The 1600 FlatsPro features abundant dry storage and a large round live well. The large bench seats with backrests keep anglers comfortable on long days on the water.
The boat is just over sixteen feet in length with an eighty-four-inch beamwidth. The specs indicate a maximum capacity of five people. However, anglers will be more comfortable fishing with just 2-3 on board.
The 1600 FlatsPro can be outfitted with a 115-horsepower motor to scoot across the water. The 23-gallon fuel tank provides ample capacity for a full day of fishing.
East Cape Vantage
The East Cape Vantage is a hybrid platform combining skiff features with bay boat comfort.
This skiff is geared toward those wanting versatility. Anglers can easily get around poling in the flats and take on the choppy bays.
The Vantage offers three layout options: a tiller, side console, or center console. In addition, the boat features a huge front deck perfect for fishing with more than one angler.
The storage includes rear opening aft lockers and dry-lined compartments. Anglers won’t have to worry about their gear getting soaked.
The Vantage is just over nineteen feet in length with a seventy-nine-inch beamwidth. Anglers can choose from motor options from 90 to 150-horsepower.
The boat also features a massive fuel capacity of 36-42 gallons, depending on the options customers choose.
The East Cape Vantage may be one of the more versatile skiffs available.
Fishing skinny water provides some of the best angling opportunities for both saltwater and freshwater.
However, getting to these locations requires the right boat and equipment. Anglers looking to fish in these locations will want the best fishing skiff tailored to their individual need.
If you’re the type of fisherman that prefers jon boats, however, we’ve got you covered there, too!