Stanley K

Gheenoe in Jamaica Bay?

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Is this a terrible idea? Thinking of getting a pretty small boat (i.e. Gheenoe, Saltmarsh Savanna, etc.) for scooting around Jamaica Bay and similar areas. Would primarily be in protected bays, tidal creeks, marshlands, and flats. Would also trailer a few times a year to the Keys/Everglades. I only fly fish nowadays and want as simple of a boat as possible. 
 

I’m prepared to carefully pick days and understand that weather conditions can turn sour unexpectedly even on the nicest days. Also prepared for a rougher ride in some chop and getting a little wet from spray. 

 

I’ve gotten a lot of recommendations for bigger, less affordable options. I’m not necessarily opposed to something like a center console bay boat or older flats skiffs. Safety is top priority of course, but is it that much different than using a kayak (which seem to be pretty common in Jamaica Bay)? This would be my first boat. 

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Jamaica bay can be like the Wild West at times. It’s the only place that I have fished that nobody treats bridges as 5 mph zone and if you slow your boat down at the bridge you run the risk of getting run over by boats following behind you.  Took me awhile to get used to running on plane under a bridge.  If you like to fish bridges I would suggest at least a kayak.  If you fly fish the east side of jfk you should be fine but the west side will be more crowded and people run right up on you if you are hooked up and could tip a gheenoe 

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My personal look at those, they are nothing more than a canoe. You’d have to ask yourself would you use a canoe it that location. 

 

Narrow beam, low gunnel.

 

My wife and I watched two guys in one flip it in two foot of water and zero waves. One guy made a wrong move and rolled it. 

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Appreciate the good info! Feel like I'm constantly changing my mind on this, but top choice now is something closer to a Hobie Power Skiff 

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I would not use a gheenoe in Jamaica Bay. You would be way safer in a kayak. The reason you see kayaks there and not gheenoes is because waves can crash over the side of kayak and it will not fill with water. Not so with a gheenoe. They are better suited for protected backwaters like the Everglades and other similar places. If you are looking for an inexpensive boat for fishing the bay, I think you would be better off looking for a dory. There are some really nice ones and they are not expensive. Duxbury Dory comes to mind. 

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I will follow up and agree with  Flip n Dip, I see gheenoes all over the back country of Everglades.  They are perfect for super shallow power boat.  I prefer a small flats boat,because I don't like the lack of visibility when fishing seated,and I;m going to cast standing in a GHEENOE.  If you feel brave go for it,I'm too old LOL.

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Can it be done, yes.  Will you be able to relax while doing it, no. 

 

You basically can't take your eyes off the water when winds creep much over 5 mph, which means you can't fish effectively.  The boat is quite capable while underway if you are trimmed correctly.  I have a highsider and have been out in 10-15mph winds and white caps (and +550lb of gear/people) but I was scooting along at 17mph.  It was not comfortable or dry but I never felt unsafe.  There's no way I could stop and fish in those conditions though. 

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On the typical 1-2' chop you will see out there and higher the gheenoe is not the craft to have out there.

 

If you still want to car top and have something with a small motor and a little more seaworthy than Gheenoe I would look at the Wavewalk S4. Something a little more with a scupper drain and power? I would look at Old Town PDL series with electric trolling motor. 
 

A step higher than that and now you are looking to trailer would be something like the Maritime Skiff 14. Cheap to run and can get you outside of the bay. You can find em used for the same cost as above or cheaper. 

 

 

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I car top a folding Portabote. I hang a 6hp off it and can get around confidently with 15mph wind against tide. Folds up to about the size of SUP and takes about 15 minutes to set up. It's not for everyone and takes some getting used to but it's worked well for me.

IMG_0142.jpg

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