The boat market is weird. It seems like everybody is always looking for the latest and greatest innovations, but think about it: A boat is really a simple thing. It’s just a way for you to move across and stand on the water. A log or plank raft will do that. Of course, things get a little more complicated when you want to go faster or be more comfortable, especially if you want to be safe and be able to operate in any water depth. I guess versatility is what boat buyers are chasing, looking for a boat that will do everything.
Of course, no boat truly will do everything — at least not well. For example, look at my favorite boat for offshore fishing in the Gulf, a mid-1980s 285 Mako. It’s perfect for bottom fishing — a dual console, plenty of seating up front, a cuddy cabin with a head, a hardtop, a tower (for spotting cobia and permit), twin outboards, open space in the back. Its deep vee hull makes for a comfortable ride on big water, but it would make a truly lousy inshore boat. A vessel completely at home the flats — maybe, say, 23-foot Shoalwater (or an SCB Recon, if money’s no object) — is designed to run through very shallow water at speed and in comfort. I guess you could take it offshore, but if the Gulf is even a little rough, it’s not going to be fun in this boat.
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