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If you are in the market for a new flats boat that can be used for bass fishing, then this article is for you. Since there are so many different models available at different price points, we decided to put this article together to make it as easy as possible for you to choose and purchase the right flats boat based on your needs.
In this article, we will list out the 10 best flats boats for bass fishing along with the most distinguishing features of each. As long as you know your budget and the kind of bass fishing you’re looking to do, you should be able to walk away from this article knowing exactly which flats boat will get the job done for you.
When researching information online regarding flats boats, you might have come across the term “bass boat.” While bass boats will work just as well as flats boats for bass fishing, flats boats are generally going to be preferred by most bass fishermen since flats boats contain a poling platform, are more versatile and durable, as they are built specifically to be used in saltwater as well as freshwater.
Also, you might come across the term “bay boats.” These are also very similar to flats boats but have a sharper V in their hulls. Bay boats can handle open water, while flats boats cannot. Flats boats are built specifically for fishing in shallow water, which might be preferred for bass fishing in many instances.
At the end of the day, it’ll be up to you to choose the exact kind of boat you want, but if you’re considering a flats boat in particular, we’ve got you covered!
Top 10 Best Flats Boats for Bass Fishing:
- Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V – Best Overall
- East Cape Evo – Best Custom Option
- Beavertail Strike – Most Versatile
- Chittum Islamorada 18 Legacy – Best Features
- Hell’s Bay Waterman – Shallowest Draft
- Beavertail Air – Handles Open Waters
- East Cape Vantage – Most Spacious
- Sterling TR7 – Best Design
- Mako 18 LTS – Best Value
- Hewes Redfisher 18 – Best Ride
Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V – Best Overall
To earn the “best overall” title on this list, the Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V must offer the absolute best bass fishing experience for its user. More than just a flats boat, this model is a “technical poling skiff” that can handle anything from the shallowest flats to the toughest waters or breeze.
This flats boat is perfect for a number of different activities:
- Casting net
- Shallow-water angling
- Chasing tailing permit
- Cruising up to 60mph with full control
- Handling zigzags and sharp turns
With a clean, sleek modern design and 6 color options to choose from, you absolutely cannot go wrong with the Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V.
At 18 ft 4 in long, this skiff comfortably fits 4 people. With a large front deck, you’ll have plenty of fishing room along with ample storage space (twin in-deck compartments) below the deck. A tall center console houses electronics with a hatch that slides out, providing easy access to wiring and batteries. A cool optional upgrade is a removable cooler that acts as a seat, matching the console.
This model has a transom pocket that allows you to take off and run in skinny water without any prop cavitation. Also, it comes with walk-around gunwales that widen towards the front, creating protection for rods (up to 13!) placed on the horizontal racks. This means you’ve got enough space for several spinning outfits.
Related: Best Spinning Reels For Bass
Pricing for this flats boat is on the higher end, at over $50,000. However, it may be worth it as this is one of the only high-end skiffs on the market available to order from the dealer’s inventory right away.
East Cape Evo – Best Custom Option
East Cape Skiffs is the leader in offering custom-built flats boats to help you enjoy one of the highest quality flats boats in any style or design you want.
This unit is built mainly for wide, spacious oceanside shallows, where stiff winds, choppiness, and sizeable waves are to be expected.
You can expect a ton of fun in the East Cape EVO, as it has massive spray rails that help keep the inside of the boat dry despite heavy spray from the water. This will come in handy as you’ll be tempted to ride fast since this unit has a comfortable and easily maneuverable ride.
Whenever you’re up for it, the EVO has no problem floating, poling, or pushing up the shallowest of waters, as this boat comes with a low draft of 4” – 7”.
The EVO comes with a massive round livewell in the middle of the deck, offering a great spot for you to place any supplies you might have. In addition to this, there is plenty of dry storage, which is often a problem with flats boats.
Other essential features of this flats boat include a tiller, optional tower, center console, and off-set center.
Since every single East Cape EVO is custom-made from scratch, it is going to be on the more expensive side of things. East Cape does not post pricing on its website, so contact them directly here to request pricing.
Beavertail Strike – Most Versatile
The Beavertail Strike is known in the bass fishing community for its versatility. This flats boat is built with the highest quality components and design, with many cool features to make your bass fishing experience as enjoyable as possible.
In terms of versatility, this boat is built to handle anything from rough oceanside conditions to poling on shallow backcountry waters.
If your goal is to pole in stealth, the Strike comes with a uniquely designed anodized poling platform.
Despite this flats boat being one of the smaller on this list, at 17 ft. 6 in., the Strike comes with extensive storage in the form of large storage compartments.
This boat has easy-to-clean, non-skid surfaces and high-grade stainless steel hardware all mounted throughout the boat with rod racks for up to eight 10’ fly rod tubes.
Whether you’re going fast or slow, this boat has hydraulic steering that creates smooth turning and operation.
The base price for this model listed straight on Beavertail’s website is $32,000. This is an incredible price when considering the caliber of this flats boat!
Chittum Islamorada 18 Legacy – Best Features
Out of every single flats boat on this list, the Chittum Islamorada 18 Legacy from Chittum Skiffs has the most features by a long shot.
If you like to go out bass fishing for many hours at a time, then the quality of and features on this flats boat will guarantee you’ll have a good time for a long time. Built especially for stealth and shallow water conditions, you’re guaranteed to catch a lot of bass in this skiff.
Some of the most noticeable features on this skiff are its signature floating console cooler and 360-degree cooler seat along with the patented hull design built with spray rails that guarantee a dry bass fishing experience.
In terms of storage, this skiff is one of the best, with two large storage boxes with lockable hatches and additional storage compartments; one near the stern and one near the forward deck.
Additional features such as hydraulic steering, stainless steel components throughout, high-capacity rod racks, a clear-coated carbon-fiber poling platform, and LED lighting makes this one of the most luxurious flats boats on this list.
Since the Islamorada 18 Legacy is built with the highest quality materials and craftsmanship, it’s definitely on the more expensive side of things. The good news for you is that Chittum has an option for you to build your boat from scratch and receive a quote on the total price on their website. You can do that http://chittumskiffs.com/legacy-edition/ here.
Hell’s Bay Waterman – Shallowest Draft
Hell’s Bay is one of the top flats boat manufacturers out there, and the Waterman is by far the best option for those who like to bass fish in the shallowest of drafts. This is because the Waterman was built specifically for great tracking and poling with a full range of trim, and additional reach, and has a virtually no-noise design for shallow drafts.
Built with the highest quality components and construction, this should be your go-to boat for chasing tailing fish, or if you’re looking for a dry, comfortable ride.
This flats boat features a lightweight kevlar hull and lots of storage space. It comes with a side console with an aluminum steering wheel, trim tabs, and storage racks below the gunwales for up to 7 rods.
With an aluminum poling platform and comfy cushioned seating near the stern, this boat has everything you to ensure you have a good time for hours on end.
While there isn’t any pricing information posted directly on Hell’s Bays’ website, others online report this boat to be far less expensive than some similar models. To get pricing on the Hell’s Bay Waterman, contact Hell’s Bay here.
Beavertail Air – Handles Open Waters
The Beavertail Air is a great option if you are looking for a flats boat built to handle the rough waters of open bays that can still access shallow flats for trophy fish.
The hull of this boat is infused with advanced coring and carbon materials, giving it a solid yet lightweight design that can handle even the toughest conditions out on open water.
This boat has a full-stepped hull and 115 horsepower motor, which means you can go fast while remaining dry and comfortable.
Some key features of this flats boat include a 30-gallon insulated livewell, a casting deck with anchor locker, and plenty of storage: 2x storage compartments near the back and 1 in the front.
While out on the open waters, you can enjoy smooth hydraulic steering, and while on the shallows, you can use the custom poling platform.
The center console has a comfortable seat with an insulated cooler underneath. For storing rods, this boat has rod racks that can store rods up to 10 ft. long.
Overall, if you know you plan on spending some time in the open water and don’t need a flats boat specific for shallow drafts, this is easily one of the best options on the market.
The base price for this model is $41,000. You can request specific pricing for the exact build you want here.
East Cape Vantage – Most Spacious
If you’re looking for a flats boat that’s a bit larger than most, look no further than the East Cape Vantage at 19 ft. 2 in. long. The manufacturer proclaims this to be the “driest skiff in existence’,’ which is accurate if you consider the flare of the bow and the large spray rails built into the hull.
When out on open, choppy waters, this boat is long enough to reach the next wave without stuffing the bow. Also, due to the overall small footprint of the hull, this skiff can reach super high speeds while maintaining control.
While this skiff isn’t built specifically for poling, it tracks and spins very well considering its size.
East Cape does a great job of incorporating certain features that take advantage of the large size of this flats boat. For example, the casting decks on the front and back of the boat are massive. For storage, there is a huge compartment in the front and two large compartments in the back, with thick gaskets and deep gutters to ensure everything stays dry.
Some additional features that can be fully customized include:
- Rod Racks
- Poling/Casting Platforms
- Anchoring System
.. and more!
Similarly to the East Cape EVO, the Vantage would be custom-built from scratch, so feel free to contact them directly here to request a quote based on the design you want.
Sterling TR7 – Best Design
So what makes the design so special on the Sterling TR7? Well, this boat has a non-slap hull design which means you can remain extra stealthy when fishing shallows. Another essential aspect of the design is the tunnel that runs across the length of the boat, which allows the motor to be set higher up and run at higher speeds in ankle-deep water. This tunnel also acts as a keel and helps to keep the boat straight during poling.
The construction itself is also a beauty of design: this boat is built using a three-piece construction process whereby the inner liner and outer hull are bonded together, injected with foam, and then chemically bonded together, forming one solid piece. The rest of the boat is made up of the best materials: Kevlar and carbon fiber.
- Poling Platform
- Removable Backrest
- LED lighting
- Custom Aluminum Trailer
The Sterling TR7 is reasonably priced at about $35,000.
Mako 18 LTS – Best Value
The Mako 18 LTS is an overall great flats boat with everything you need for bass fishing. Without specializing in anything specific, this boat is perfect for multi-purpose use, from poling the flats to cruising the bay.
This flats boat earns the title of “Best Value” as it is made of the highest quality components, has great features, and is one of the most affordable options on this list.
This boat has a large foredeck with a large casting platform and a dry-storage compartment. Also, there is a place for a trolling motor and/or large anchor locker with a hatch and gasket that keep water out.
Each side of the console contains three vertical rod holders. Also, the forward console seat is a 72-quart cooler with a removable backrest and contains an 18-gallon livewell. The console itself has a panel for electronics, an acrylic windscreen, analog gauges, and a stainless steel steering wheel.
The Mako 18 LTS pricing is listed directly on their website at $25,995. Talk about value for the price!
Hewes Redfisher 18 – Best Ride
And last but not least, we’ve got the Hewes Redfisher 18. If you’re looking for a flats boat with the smoothest and fastest ride out there, then this is the one for you.
This skiff is mid-sized and versatile, with a forward gas tank providing great balance and plenty of storage space.
This boat has storage space built-in under the seats, along with a large hatch for dry storage underneath the forward deck. Also, this boat has a dual-inflow livewell system perfect for carrying live-bait.
The console has plenty of space for electronics and a fiber-optic lighted switch panel, and a plug-in backrest, so you can enjoy immense comfort for hours on end.
With a clean, stylish design and 18 color options, and custom building options, the Redfisher 18 definitely deserves a spot on this top 10 list.
Going with Hewes, you’re going with one of the best. This model is priced at around $40,000+. Click here to see your countless available options and contact a local dealer for specific pricing.