Boatbuilders constantly search for designs that might please all buyers. When anglers demand certain types of boats for certain kinds of fishing, builders respond. Even in the condensed world of flats skiffs, those needs have created niche products such as micro skiffs and technical poling skiffs. But it’s a bit of a leap from those superlight, skinniest-water vessels to beefier, bay boats and flat‑bottom skiffs.
In that void resides a collection of 17- to 19-footers — what some might call tarpon/permit skiffs or backcountry skiffs. Some larger technical skiffs also toe that line, but these midrange boats generally offer an improved ride, and a little more space for people and gear.
I asked five skiff manufacturers to talk about what they might consider their bantamweight boat, and to answer these questions:
1) Who does this boat appeal to and why?
2) How have you built this boat to appeal to that angler?
3) What are the strengths and weaknesses of this type of flats boat compared with smaller, lighter skiffs and larger, heavier bay boats?
4) What kind of fishing features does this type of angler demand, and what have you provided in the package?
Their answers follow; the manufacturers are listed alphabetically.
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