Hells Bay Boatworks Biscayne - Flats Fishing Skiff Review

Hells Bay Boatworks Biscayne 

Jose Wejebe Test Drives the New Hells Bay Biscayne
 
Shortly after the Fort Lauderdale boat show I had a chance to take Hells Bay Boatwork's newest model for a ride. The new Biscayne flats skiff was designed as an ultra shallow tactical polling skiff that could comfortably handle rough open water crossings, stay dry, yet still noiselessly pole shallow enough to chase tailing fish. Meeting with Todd Fuller in Merrit Island, we launched the boat in an area of the Indian River completely exposed to the 25+ knot winds coming from the north. A perfect day to test the ride and polling capabilities of the 16 foot Biscayne.

 Jose Wejebe launches new Hells Bay Boatworks Biscayne

Launching the boat at the Parrish Park boat ramp in the shadow of the Max Brewer bridge in Titusville Fl. The first thing I noticed was that the boat reversed and tracked true, this made the boat easy to dock even in the wind. The ddep V in the bow and the way the chimes sat in the water made the boat want to go in the direction that the bow was pointing with almost no sliding.

 Jose Wejebe backs new hells bay biscayne from boatramp

Once we got off the dock I filled the live well full of water and sat with the stern to the seas. What i was trying to do is see if we would take waves over the stern with the added weight of the full live well and someone at rear of boat, a common problem with many skiffs. The Hells Bay Biscayne attitude in this situation was really impressive. The boat rose and fell with the seas with virtually no water coming over the stern. This tells me that the displacement at this part of the boat, with the 70 horsepower motor and full live well, was dead on the money.

 

Hells Bay Boatworks Biscayne Running in Rough Water

Running the boat with this short confused chop kicked up with the plus 20 knot winds was the real test for this skiff. I ran the boat in a following sea, a following quarter sea, beam sea, quartering head sea, and finally in a full head on sea. The boats re entry into the water was smooth in all cases. The boat was exceptionally dry in all of the above situations. I would come down off a wave and flinch, fully expected to get doused with water and instead remain completely dry. The Biscayne seems the break the water amid ship so the resulting spray is thrown back behind the driver.

 

Jose Wejebe Poles the new Hells Bay Biscayne

Once we got up in the lee of a shoreline, I wanted to see how shallow and how true the boat would pole. We got up into an honest six inches of water which I felt was pretty good for a V hulled skiff. In every direction the boat was absolutely noiseless. The most impressive thing I found was how easy it was to spin this boat into the wind, even in the lee we still had a good 18 knots of wind and I was able to turn the boat from downwind to directly opposite upwind with three strokes of the pole. Anybody with a flatter bottom skiff understands how difficult this can be. I attribute this again to the Biscayne's V hull in the bow, and chime configuration in the stern, probably the best tracking and quietest skiff i've been in.  

 

 

Hells Bay Biscayne running in confused seas

Another thing we did on this test run was find the roughest stretch of water. In this case there was a sea wall that the wind and seas were blowing directly onto. As the waves hit the sea wall, they would bounce back and meet other oncoming waves creating a very high confused sea state. I ran the boat through this mess several times with different trim tab configurations and different directions and was quite frankly amazed at the performance in these conditions. Running at 20 knots, the boat remained dry but more impressively, stayed stable and never once did I feel I was going to stuff the bow or that the boat would get away from me.

Hells Bay Biscayne Fish Fighting

Many times we will hook a tarpon on the ocean side flats and the fish will head out to the deeper, rougher water. What I wanted to see here was how stable the Biscayne was idling through this slop as if we were in the middle of that same scenario. Again the boat showered it's stability and another thing I noticed was that because of the narrow V in the front, the up and down motion in the bow was minimized, making it easier for an angler to balance on the bow while fighting a fish.


All in all, I must say I was really impressed with this kind of performance coming from a 16 foot skiff. It remains one of the best riding, driest, quietest, and most stable technical skiff I have ever been on!

 

 

 

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