Hell's Bay has gained a reputation for building advanced "technical poling skiffs," or super-lightweight, shallow-water flats boats that require very little horsepower to move. Many guides swear by them. However, HB has taken a bit of a flyer with its new Neptune. Sure it fits the size category of a flats boat and even floats in a mere 11 inches of water. Tipping the scales at less than 800 pounds, it will surely be easy to push with a pole. But unlike its siblings that use minimal power, the Neptune has been rated for up to 150 horsepower, which has the ability to push it along at close to 70 mph. So if you feel the need for speed...
Tom Gordon, formerly of Gordon Boats and now Hell's Bay's chief designer and sales director, says he expects the Neptune will be popular for tarpon- and redfish-tournament competitors. With its bigger, faster engines, it makes longer runs to find fish a less onerous task. "It's the first Hell's Bay designed around speed," he says.
Gordon has been developing this design for more than two years and is "excited to finally be introducing the new Neptune to the shallow-water fishing fraternity."
Its standard-features list includes a 38-gallon fuel tank, 30-gallon livewell, 10 under-gunwale rod tubes long enough for 9-foot fly rods and numerous dry-storage compartments. You'll also find dry, gasketed hatches that stay quiet when you close them and step on them, an excellent guttered drainage system, Moonlite hatch springs, and ABYC-standard wiring and rigging.
Consider this boat if you consider yourself truly serious about skinny-water fishing but want to dust everyone else at the ramp on your way to the flat.
LOA......18 ft. 6 in.
BEAM......6 ft. 8 in.
MAX POWER......150 hp OB
MSRP......Price on request
Hell's Bay Boatworks / Titusville, Florida / 321-383-8223 / www.hellsbayboatworks.com