salt boat input


Eyes to the sky...
My lovely bride is graduating nursing school this month. This means she gets a rewarding career, and I get a boat. I want a salt boat for the sound and strait. I'm looking to spend 10K or less. I am clueless. Whatcha got? Howya like it? Input? Questions, comments smart remarks? Thanks, hive brain.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
You know I have a fondness for Hilakers. Grew up using them in Puget Sound. Loved them. I'd love to get another one just for same reasons you want fishingwise. And can be found well under 10k loaded. But there are A LOT of good boats out there that meet your specs.


Eyes to the sky...
Thanks, Jerry. I'll add those to the craigslist...uhhh list.
Ed, If I could snatch Paul's boat right now, I would in a heartbeat. Looks niiiiiiiiiiice.


Active Member
Jason, you'll want to look for a reliable outboard, that is the most important thing with salt water boating. I would recommend finding a good outboard with low hours and a track record of maintenance and history along with regular lower unit gear oil change, alternating year impeller change and proper flushing of the motor and storage during the off season. The next item I would recommend is looking for is a hull design that is purposeful to the type of fishing that you'll be doing, whether its 100% fly casting or a combination of trolling with gear + flyfishing. There isn't a boat that I've found that can do it all. If you're fishing the sound, a boat with more deadrise aft angle should suffice for our sheltered waters and can zip around with little slap, if you're wanting to fish the straights, you'll want to have abit less angle so you're not rocking and rolling all day long, makes for some uncomfortable days when you're being tossed around. It will be a combo of comfort and stability. I like the forward windshield aluminum boats like the Alumaweld Stryker, but thats a $30K boat, but that type of hull should be able to do most of the waters that I like to fish in Washington. You'll also want to determine the cabin type or interior logisitcs. Traditionally an open bow is nice to have for specific fly casting, great to have on 80+ degree and sunny days, but once you encounter weather like we have in the PNW, you'll quickly get cold and wet even in Grundens and full waterproof gear. I like a Cuddy or windshield design to keep the female occupants happy. You can have a portable head and stay dry and warm. My current boat and one for sale serves a couple of purposes, trolling and fly casting but shes very lightweight, can be towed with a 4 cylinder vehicle and can be pushed around easily with one person off the tow vehicle. Shes a great boat for two anglers, but thats about it, with the 50 HP motor it takes somemore time to get her up on plane with three fisherman. With two its fine. Lastly, what are you using to tow the boat, look for a good Galvanized trailer, make sure the hubs have bearing buddies or oil bath hubs and make sure that they have been regularly serviced. Check the u-bolts, and those areas where corrosion is prone and make sure the safety mechanisms are all in tact (good working winch strap, safety chains, lights, etc...) You can never be too careful when you're out on the salt, be prepared with PFD (wear them!), have a first aid kit, extra battery, jumper cables, plenty of fuel, extra plugs (both spark and drain), basic tool kit, spare fuses, hope you get the picture. I am a bit more wary of this as I've learned from the past to be prepared. GPS, VHF are also essentials to have to be alerted to weather changes and to find your way back if fog or weather hits and you can't determine your return location. Even with the best boats with the most expensive gear user error or mis-judgement will lead to a bad day on the water as evidenced from the recently tragedy on the guideboat that capsized and all occupants were never found with lifevests still in the locker!!! #1 Have fun, but be aware of your surroundings and be safe doing what you love to do.

I had a blast with this boat last summer around this time for the Pinks, just knocked em out all over South Sound and locally around the Duwamish. Did well in Neah Bay for Kings, Coho and rockfish, have fished Lake Washington and Sammamish for Smallmouth and have camped out in Blake Island with the Mrs. and friends. Shes a wonderful sound boat and with the newer Yamaha, very reliable. Heres the plug in case you or anyone else on the board is looking for a worthy boat. With the growing family, I need a bigger boat, so the only reason why I have decided to sell. I have no qualms about hitching this boat up and driving it across the state and running it for hours with confidence. Lastly, any boat you decide on buying make sure to water test it out and be comfortable with what it can and can't do, that being said, make sure you do plenty of research before making a decision. Hope that bit of guidance will help you in your search. I have a guy coming today that sounds pretty serious about my boat, I still can't believe its still for sale! I think for a salmon ready fishing package, at $6K, its a great deal for someone.

Jim Wallace

Smells like low tide.
That's one heckuva good deal you are offering on your boat, yellowlab! Hang in there. Somebody looking for a package like that will know a good deal when they see it.
[QUOTE=yellowlab;554881... If you're fishing the sound, a boat with more deadrise aft angle should suffice for our sheltered waters and can zip around with little slap, if you're wanting to fish the straights, you'll want to have abit less angle so you're not rocking and rolling all day long, makes for some uncomfortable days when you're being tossed around. It will be a combo of comfort and stability. I like the forward windshield aluminum boats like the Alumaweld Stryker, but thats a $30K boat, but that type of hull should be able to do most of the waters that I like to fish in Washington...

Yellowlab gives good advice, but I have to disagree with his statement above. The more deadrise you have in a boat--the greater the angle from horizontal-- the softer the ride. No problem there, but as in any boating situation, there are tradeoffs. More deadrise means more horsepower to get the boat on plane, greater draft, a softer ride, less stability at rest (all other things being equal) until the boat gets down on its chines. Compared to a flatter deadrise (less angle), it's a better choice for big water than the inner Sound where you don't see the conditions you will in the Strait. The flatter hull is more suited to the calmer waters inside, but it will likely pound running across chop.

As for boats, I've had both the Hi Laker (14') and Stryker (17'). Both are seaworthy and would suit a general-use application. The open Stryker is a good Sound/Strait boat, but it really pounds and is wetter than I like. In a deeper-vee 19', it would be a good choice, but that is a relatively expensive boat. I ran a Hi Laker for four or five years when I lived near Sequim, and my only complaint was that with its sharp entry, it would occasionally dig into an oncoming wave and basically stop. I got knocked off the seat and ended up on the floor twice, and I was running with an old 20-hp. I've never had another boat do that.

As for what I'd choose, it does depend upon how you intend to use the boat and how you take care of it. I've been boat shopping the past eight months, and there are some really good boats out there within your budget and a bunch that are junk. One of my favorite brands is Lund, but I recently learned that the company had to change its paint regime (environmental concerns), and now the boats are having paint issues when used in the salt. I recently saw one boat that had been kept moored in front of its owner's house, and the paint problems were readily apparent. Every seam showed bubbling and flaking paint. Even the interior was badly affected. I've also seen problems with transoms and floors in other boats, so it does pay to be critical of what you're buying and not get swept away wanting a particular boat.

Right now I'm thinking either Arima (16 or 17) or a Tiderunner (17 up) will be where I end. Yellowlab's boat would be one I'd look at seriously if it fit my needs, but sadly, it's a couple feet two small. If your focus is going to be trolling/mooching/jigging/crabbing with occasional fly fishing, then you also might take a look at the 15 Arima Sea Hunter. There are quite a few of them on CL right now at some pretty good prices. They are wide boats with some pretty good features.


Team Umiak
Jason, I've had a 19' Arima, but way to much boat for me to launch/retrieve by myself. But it is as seaworthy as they come..sold it to a fishing buddy and we've made multi trips to swiftsure and c square in her for halibut (albeit some trips were butt clenching). Now I've got a Crestliner 14' with a honda 25 strapped to her ass. Easily handled by one person, more speed than I need but throttles down for slow trolling, and I liked the welded rather than riveted hull. I haven't yet had it on the sound or straits, but would not hesitate to take her out on those waters. BTW, I did equip her with the obligatory gps, vhf, depth sounder, and single downrigger. Paul nailed all of the necessary items. If you want some pics..shoot me a pm.

Milt Roe

Active Member
I've owned many boats over the years, but my current boat is by far the most versatile, comfortable, and functional for fishing and cruising in the salt. You might consider some of these features when making a decision. At 19 ft, it is big enough to provide a lot of space, but not too big to launch by myself. For fly-fishing the walk through windshield open bow design allows for easy casting from any position in the boat. Two pedastal seats keep the deck clear to avoid snagging up the lines while stripping. The wide deep v hull is very stable and it handles the chop very well when running. If the weather gets bad, a full canvas will enclose most of the deck while still allowing for room to fish off the stern. A small forced-air heater warms up the interior if it gets chilly. The deck is self-bailing so I can wash down the deck and the water runs out the back instead if into the bilge. I also gear fish, crab, and shrimp, so I have equipped the boat with removable downriggers and a electric pot puller. I found it used and in good condition on craigslist with no motor, and repowered it with a new e-tec outboard. The new e-tec motor is very fuel efficient, but has enough power to get me to where I want to go in a hurry. I can cruise at 40 mph, but the motor will troll down slow enough for salmon fishing.

The boat is worth more than I have put into it and I can't think of anything I'd do differently after using it for a couple of years. Good luck, and let us know what you end up with.

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
aluminum center console 17-19 ft.

for the price you're looking at this is the type of boat, especially if you want it primarily to fly fish. the aluminum is nice because of the light weight (think towing, less fuel running it, and lighter to row when you set it up with oarlocks for PS fishing)

as for puget sound versus strait, i know that i started out fishing at neah bay in an 18' bayrunner and fished it everywhere within gas range and fished it in nasty chop and huge rips so these types of boats are more capable than most skippers.

i'm also looking for a boat, but i'm looking for the hull i want and then repowering with a new 4 stroke honda or yamaha. i know that i won't compromise on the fishability of the boat, and therefore will avoid cuddys and walk-throughs. i've fished out of both and while they have benefits, imo if fly fishing is a primary focus of your saltwater fishing, go center console.

If you decide to go aluminum. and there are a lot of advantages, I would avoid any boat made in Minnesota---that's because of the paint issues I mentioned above. Apparently, the state mandated a change in primer (according to a Lund dealer I know) that made them susceptible to bad flaking when used a lot in saltwater. The Lund I saw was scary, it was so bad. That means that Lund, Alumacraft and Crestliner are all out--this assuming your primary focus is going to be on saltwater fishing, and you have your boat in it a lot.

Alumweld's Stryker series is pretty much bulletproof, but I wouldn't look at the 17 because of the relatively flat deadrise. The boat I had would pound your teeth out in certain conditions--but it was extremely seaworthy and a great boat in that respect. The 19 in the deeper deadrise version is probably a better choice. And while a center console is good, an open tiller gives you a lot of room--I'd guess that a 16 tiller has as much room as a 19 CC. The negative aspect is that learning how to drive one takes a little more time while a console boat is pretty much intuitive.

And keep looking at Craigslist-- I saw a 19' Stryker center console with a tag of less than $10K a few months back.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
BFK, do you know when they put that law into effect? Only reason I ask (and I was going to suggest them but spaced) is my best friend at work has had a lund for years. It was his main boat for fishing Pt D/Dalco for years until he had a custom saltwater boat built. Has never flaked to date. I do know he is anal about cleaning it after he is done, that would help a bit. But think the boat is about 14 years old (and not sure if he bought it brand new, could be older), so may have been painted before the law came in.