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MA 18 vs. Lappy 18/19?


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Sadly, I think it's about time to sell my beloved little 17T. It's perfect for fishing my home area, but my kids are getting bigger, and it's just getting too small for the whole family to go out. We don't have the finances to be a two-boat family, so whatever we have has to do double-duty as a family sandbar/scalloping/river tripping/etc boat and also a shallow-water fish boat. We travel all over Florida, and always take the boat. It's been everywhere from camping in the Everglades to shelling on Dog Island. Last week, we took it on a family trip to Pine Island, and it became clear to me as I was loading beach gear, snorkeling gear, rods, tackle box, two coolers worth of food and drinks, two kids, and two adults for a trip to Cayo Costa, that it was time for something bigger.

I'm thinking an 18 to 19 foot flats boat is probably the way to go. I'll obviously give up some draft and poling capability, but I'll still be able to fish at least most of the lagoon. And I'll still have the ease of towing, launching, storing, and maintaining a smaller boat.

A Bonefisher/Redfisher/Bayfisher 18 or Redfisher/Bayfisher 19 and Master Angler 18 are right at the top of the list. I see the MA is 6" wider than the lappys, but I'd love to hear about other differences between it and the 18 and 19 lappys. Draft is a fairly important consideration. So is storage, load carrying capacity, and overall "comfort level." Speed isn't especially important to me (current WOT is 32 mph), and small differences in ride quality aren't that big a deal either. I spend 80% of my time in sheltered waters, and I don't foresee long runs in significant chop. Finally, is the overall build quality equivalent between Maverick and Hewes in '90s and early '00s models?

If you were going to choose a lappy or an MA for a do-everything inshore Florida boat that had to accommodate four people and gear in at least reasonable comfort, which would you pick and why?

Finally, I know this is the MBG forum, but are there other alternatives you'd look at in this general class that could be had in decent shape for ~$20-25k? Action Craft 1890? Panga Marine 18?



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The smooth sided redfisher is wider. 7’11”. I think it started in 2000. Just another option as the Maverick is a bit more $$ it seems. *Pun intended* you and I are in the same boat. 2 kids and a wife. 18’ Light Tackle has done good so far, will be tough if they want to bring a friend though. The 21 might be an option if not, going up to a pathfinder like DC stated. 

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I sold my 17MA because of two small kids, 3 and 6. They need to be in, not on a boat. Not sure an 18 will give you that more room. That being said they are huge platforms for their size, tons of storage, tons of livewell space, great rides. Only advantage I may give to the Hewes is draft and maybe speed, but not enough id pick any of those Hewes models over a 18MA. As said, 20ft Pathy or 21 MA may be worth a look.

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With that budget and kids etc. id look into the newer redfishers as they are a foot longer (18'10")and almost a foot wider than a comparable lappy hull. All the options you mention will have a very good amount of storage. I would also recommend you look at an 1890 action craft if you can find one in your price range as they are great boats and that is their best hull design IMO. 

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