afterhours

T-Top or Not Decision

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I have a small CC (18.5') and am thinking sun and rain protection. Going back and forth about whether or not to put a T-top on it. Seems like the boat is a little small for one and it might get in the way plugging and fly casting...that vs the need for protection. Thoughts?

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T tops on small boats don't give much shelter from rain. Also, if you regularly have two people flyfishing on board, I wouldn't.

 

They are nice when the sun is blazing.

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Simultaneously setting the hook on a fish while smashing your rod into the T-top sucks.  Also no bueno for fly fishing. 

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6 hours ago, afterhours said:

I have a small CC (18.5') and am thinking sun and rain protection. Going back and forth about whether or not to put a T-top on it. Seems like the boat is a little small for one and it might get in the way plugging and fly casting...that vs the need for protection. Thoughts?

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The furthest I'd go would be a small fabric-type top for some sun and rain protection. 

 

I watched a boat very similar to yours (ca. 18' Grady) with a *standard-looking* T-top get moved at a yard today. I looked and wondered how they had enough overhead room to use spin/conventional gear off the stern, let alone fly fish. The bow was a little better but not much.

 

The owner gave up a whole lot of fishing for some cover. Way too much IMO.

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It is kinda small for a T-top. I had a 21' CC with one, and yeah, sometimes would bang our rods on when casting or hook setting, and I never took up the salt fly fishing. But it was great in sunny or snotty weather. That said, as I get older and less steady on my feet, and often am in choppy seas in LIS, sure was nice to have something solid to hold on to, to stay on my feet! Maybe find someone with similar size boat, with T-Top, and try it out before pulling the trigger. Or get a bigger boat!

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My neighbor had an 18 Proline CC, and he was an aluminum welder by trade, so he custom built his own T top, and it was a beauty. I also had an 18 CC and almost had him build me one, but after fishing on his boat a few times decided against it. Casting with spinning gear was ok if 2 anglers or solo, add a 3rd or 4th and the top was clumsy...fly casting even worse, as the top and the antennas were in the way constantly unless you could hold the boat at the right position.

I had the folding bimini in the sliding tracks so it could be lashed together and slid towards the bow rail. It took up a little forward deck space when folded and certainly didn't have the utility or the wow factor that a T top did, but all in all it was the better compromise for me. If the forecast wasn't blazing hot and sunny I would remove it before leaving the driveway, took less than 5 minutes. It was always on if I took the wife and kids out for a day on the sandbar, 3 times the shade covewr when up vs the T top.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Don, I have not added the T-top, though it has been considered yearly for the past 14 years... Sometimes the reasoning was financial. The rest of the time it was because of how I use the boat, which is strictly fishing. T-top will affect windage on a drift, affect the righting moment/stability while drifting, loss of room on the beam at the console, and then of course the interference with rods while fishing. I am not anti-social, but I do fish alone, a lot. So I have been spoiled for my "room" onboard. Add one other, it is fine. More than two fishing, it gets crowded. For reference, mine is a 1993 Grady Escape 209, which has a big feel for a 20 footer. I really need to get onboard the same hull with the T-top and see if feels right, or not.... 18.5 seems small to me. I have made an investment in lots of SPF long sleeve shirts and wipes with SPF for face and legs. Just my take on it.

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Edited by nightfighter

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I have a 17 Carolina skiff and love the Bimini top we have for it. You can pop it when you need it and it folds down to the back of the boat when fishing

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I wouldn't.  A T-top would only get in the way on a boat that size.

 

I've owned center consoles since 1982, ranging from 20 to 31 feet.  The larger ones had T-tops.  I still managed to getr wet and sunburned.  Unless you need a place to mount a radar, etc., T-tops aren't all that useful compared to the room that they take away.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

NO WAY NO HOW

 

I had a 17 Mako, would never even consider it.  As mentioned ad nauseum, it will be in the way of fishing on a boat that small.  And it will affect performance - just too much square footage if you want any cover to not have an affect.

 

Lastly - it will look like ****.  Never seen a <20 boat that didnt look gangly with a t-top unless built for midgets

 

Get a bimini.  Gives you cover if you get caught in weather or the sun becomes that brutal.  My guess is it will stay down 99% of the time.

 

Edited by makorider

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Its part of the trade off with a smaller cc. Yor gonna fry on hot days and get wet in the rain. I had a 20 cc with a bimini. When it rained and we were heading back, the bimini offered no protection. 

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