The topic comes up fairly regularly here, and one builder came up with a spectacular flats boat -- well worth a search. Personally, I prefer frames but can't say I know anything about this type of boat or which might perform better. Bateau and Glen-L have many interesting designs, but I would usually choose a design based on the construction approach I used in my first boat above in post #4 .
Flat panel designs are much more reasonable in cost than complex curves in more sophisticated designs. The flats flyer is a lot less work for sure and a lot less expense with good lines to the boat. Good advice above, you really need to analyze the type of fishing and the habitat you will be running in. Most flats boats I have seen plans for are nice looking but not really functional for running and poling in shallow water.
I have been asked by a friend if I could build him a wood (plywood) flats boat to be used for fishing here in SW Florida.
A catamaran would be fine for a flats boat if it were designed for carrying a considerable load.
Not as quick to build as a skiff, but economical to run, can plane in six inches of water, and one would think that the wide stern would give enough stability to have a casting platform over it. Isn't there a photo of Blue Jacket floating in about an inch of water somewhere here on the Forum? These boats are lightweight , narrow with good directional stability and meant to be poled from the stern. I haven't been in this boat, but with a bottom width of 7' and a draft of only 7" it should be quite stable.
An 18 ft x 7ft boat is not tippy by any sense of the term unless you weigh about 230+ and walk the rub rail continuously.
Edited to add: It looks as if the plans do have the console more forward than in the picture of the completed boat. Parker lives down there part of the year, and generally has one of the better eyes for doing interesting things in ply.
Be careful when selecting a design to built without seriouslyl considering your needs in such a boat. As Pipefitter said above, you will require at least a 90hp for the design you have mentioned. Any suggestions would be great - I'm leaning towards a flat bottom as it appears to be a little less complex but I want to do it the right way so I've got a boat that lasts. I looked at all the designs you mentioned but would perfer to see your answers to some of the questions above before commenting.
I plan on using it some on the area lakes but heading down to the TX coast and going for Reds in the flats is where I want it to shine - I can put up with some shortcomings in other areas knowing there's no perfect boat for all situations. We feel a flats boat needs to run shallow enough to get around the area you fish in a practical sense. The following links (link one is page 1 of 6) show the single best flats boat I know of and we have tested it against the original type and found our epoxy composite craft to be superior in several ways.
The following thread will tell you more than you probably want to know about this boat but feel free to PM me with your email address to discuss further.


One of the things about flats boats is the wide variety of designs that are being built these days. Another alternative that some local guys have gone to is to look for one of those magnificent old Challenger hulls (the design was from the fifties, it was the first flats skiff) that can be purchased for very little, then completely re-done after being gutted out.
The 15' boat I built wasn't a flats boat but you can estimate a rough cost from my materials. Where is that picture of the guy driving the upside down dining room table with the outboard attached when you need it??
I am repainting the boat right now, and I want to find a more elegant way to handle the problem. Another question , do you find that there is any problems with rigging the steering the way you have it?
I know the way you have it is how everybody used to do it in the sixties, but then everybody switched to the tilt tube style. To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions. You can view the BOM, a scaled drawing, scads of pictures of completed boats and the designers thoughts on the intent of the design.
You can pretty much lay out the criteria you want and get a stitch and glue design that is extremely strong and will meet your needs.
The main thing to consider is your area, really really shallow fishing and running, or open water running to the shallows when choosing flats boats. As a result you must keep in thoughts as well as the purpose for which you are building the boat if both are appropriate.
A 50 should plane this hull easily, but at 900 pounds, don't expect to set any speed records, especially when loaded to its 2000-pound capacity.
90hp minimum with a performance designed shape such as the flats flyer if you ever want to feel it getting out of it's own way. Seems like it would help a little if the console was moved a little bit forward and expand that rear deck which is all but useless for fishing as set up in the picture. The completed hull is rock solid, dry in ride, stiff, quiet, and very easily driven and very well thought out in layout and practical use in fishing. Building lighter and simpler is easy if you want to lower the power of your outboard and I feel comfortable in saying if you built on the light end of the spectrum, you could go with a 50hp outboard. Whether you're researching a new boat, or are a seasoned Captain, you'll find The Hull Truth Boating & Fishing Message Forum contains a wealth of information from Boaters and Sportfishermen around the world. This blog is published from my home base on beautiful Matlacha, Florida where I run my guiding business Wildfly Charters.
If you want to do something that is not on the plans Jacques Mertens, the designer, will give you specific advise at his builder's forum. Sure, the ride would be good for the captain that far back but that's a lot of wasted space just to have the seat added to the poling platform. This is one that a fellow aquaintaince built and he added sponsons to the transom with a 115 yamaha IIRC. Powered with a jet pump on a 90 hp Yamaha, but easily changed lower units to the normal prop.
I've done wood framing before but haven't worked with fiberglass or epoxy at any real level.


You are not reinventing a mouse trap, but narrowing down your specific needs before selecting a design.
Consider that an old 12 foot V hull aluminum hull with a plain old 15 hp outboard will not run very shallow since you need about 15" for the skeg of the motor to run clear. The layout would be slightly different in the stern if going with a center console or side console.
Then two gallons of epoxy, 20 square yards of fiberglass and two gallons of foam plus some additives like wood flour and microballons. I started this site to provide regularly updated news about salt water flats fishing throughout Southwest Florida, the Keys, and many other Stateside and Caribbean locations. Their stuff covers a lot of different construction styles while Bateau's stuff is all based on a single philosophy.
I assisted another build that the guy did sponsons added to the transom, which extended the boat and added additional storage space aft. The HPX moves along silently without hull slap and the hull weights slightly less than 500 lbs. Poling is very easy even in windy conditions (20-25 mph) as the hull is easily driven and you can intercept a game fish in most any conditions.
You might figure on doubling the foam since mine uses three air chambers and only two foam chambers. As a full time guide since 1995 I'm always looking for that next undiscovered spot or secret fly that will lead me to even better fishing and I'm happy to share what I find here on this site. So if you plan to develop your very own boat flat-bottomed Spike you need to go beyond the distinct elements of it.
Say, a motor that will cruise sweetly and quietly at 4800 rpms, compared to 5500+ continuously on smaller engines at the same speed, at least as far as two strokes are concerned.
For dimensional lumber I just used 4 nice pieces of 2x6x10 fir that I ripped and scarfed together for stingers and chine logs. However still want to set itself the specific size of the boat that you are planning to build and its ability bearing in mind of this problem. The bottom line is that you analyze carefully your needs in a hull so that when completed you will have a craft that meets all your needs.
Many fish in standard type setups, stay in the channels and just raise the motor up to drift very shallow.
I don't need to run a long distance to get where I'm going, but it can get choppy around here.
So rather than a flush deck up front, I'd rather have a little bit of a lip around the forward casting platform, just a few inches tall.
It is a very strong, relatively lightweight hull that brings a certain amount of pride from having been designed and built in my garage. Flat bottom wooden boat plans if you want the company to go as easily as possible you must use flat bottom boat strategies substantial high-quality wood.



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