Submit your own review HERE.
This is the best inshore fishing boat you will ever find. I had my first one for over 10 years and have just gotten another.
The design is simple and just "flat" works. If you can see a slick spot, you can likely go there.
For years I had Boston Whalers. They were great in deep water, but we have a big tide in coastal Georgia and with the deep V, I was always finding the bottom. Not with my 21 Flats Cat and 150 Evinrude HO. I rocket wherever I want.
The cat hull is remarkably stable as well. You can put 4 people on one side of the boat and nothing happens. Despite the cat design, it takes rough water as advertised, smooth and dry. It's also the best go to the beach boat I've ever owned. Because of the curved bow, I simply run it up onto the beach and have the family get off on dry sand and take the anchor with them. I then back off into about 3 feet of water and drop the PowerPole. As for the owner Mrs Allison and her late husband, you will not find better, nicer, or more honest people to deal with.
I love my 17' flats cat, it is so fishable, stable, got caught in some big big waves out in the middle of the bay, just kept a good steady on plane speed and it just eat the waves up! I have had no problems getting where I want to go, if it makes a ripple in the water it goes.
Rigged it with the 90 ho etec wot is 45mph per gps and its a blast to run. slam the throttle and its on plane in half a boat length, and will cruise all day on plane 2800rpm on 1/4 tank of fuel! Does everything flats cat says it will do, its a real joy to own!
This is a testimonial both to my stupidity and to the ability of your boat to fly well. My wife and I were fishing in Aransas Bay back in a shallow estuary (flats) this weekend. There is a narrow channel that weaves it's way for about 100 yards through and around a shell reef that opens into the bay. On each side of the channel it is about a foot deep. We get out by getting the boat on plane in the narrow channel and then blowing out of the estuary over the flats at full speed.
We were catching redfish after the sun went down and decided to stay until well after dark. We got up on plane with the moon illuminating the reef and blew out over the flats. Much to my chagrin, the moon only illuminated part of the reef and I realized we were going to hit it at about 30mph. I throttled back, sat down and what happened next is still hard to describe. We hit the reef, became airborne, flew over the reef and landed in the water on the other side with the motor still running.
My wife and I looked at each other and said something like Holy ____! We had good water pressure in the motor and our flashlight revealed no damage to the boat or motor. Then we crossed Aransas Bay and went home. A good check of the boat and motor the next day revealed only some small scrapes in the gel coat, but no other damage. The reef was about two feet high and about 30 feet wide, so we estimated we flew more than 40 feet in the air with a surprisingly soft landing. Your boat flies well but next time we will pole out in the dark.
I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with my 17' Flats Cat. My last couple of boat were of the more conventional mono-hull tunnel and flat bottom tunnel designs. These two hulls are very popular with the extreme flats enthusiasts down here in South Texas. So, I was very skeptical when considering a cat-hull. Well, now I am a believer. The 17' Cat I recently purchased from you performs unbelievably well. It is definitely the driest 17' flats boat I have ever ridden in. Even in 2' chop and beam seas, this boat is smooth and dry. Shallow water performance is awesome as well. I have ran my 17' Cat in true 6" and less water and water pressure stays more than adequate to keep the motor cool.
This boat stays on plane at 2800 RPM. Hole-shot is extremely strong. I have gotten up in a true 12" (hard sand) very easily. Probably could get up in less with a soft bottom. I rigged my 17' Flats Cat with a Bombardier/Johnson 90 HP 2-stroke. This 4-cylinder has an awesome hole-shot. The 15 pitch custom 4-blade prop you provided works perfect with this setup. Top speed (2 persons, full gear, full fuel) at 5500 RPM is 41 MPH (per GPS). I love how this boat performs!
To anyone interested in shallow boats: I’ve owned my Flats Cat for three years now, run a 135 Mercury with the 14x18 Predator prop. Some boat makers “say” their rig will run in shallow water? The flats will run in 2” easily for miles, I’ve run over 10 miles at a time in water that ranged from 2 to 6 inches and never felt bottom nor has my motor showed any signs of heating up or loosing water pump pressure. I’ve crossed many bays throughout the Texas Gulf Coast in all kinds of weather and the Flats Cat take the chop & keeps you dry as well as most v-hull boats. It is truly amazing because I’ve been in many v-hulls that will soak the riders in 1 foot swells, also it is the most stable boat while drifting. I’ve been in it with three 200 lb men, can walk from side to side at anytime without the boat dipping, I’m clumsy so I really appreciate its stability and smooth ride.
It’s ability to jump out of the shallow water is super (no pushing out to deep water.) My boat jumps up loaded (3-4 persons, gear, fish, and ice) in calf deep (±10-12 inches) water, and is on plane in seconds. I fished steady 4 days a week for 18 months last year everyday in the Flats Cat so I can tell you it does “everything” Bill Allison claims it does.
Well indeed the Flats Cat is unsinkable!! We had an Extremely high tide and high winds last weekend. Sunday night my Flats Cat was tied up at the dock. One of the front lines broke in the wind and allowed the bow of the boat to go under the dock. Well we had an unusually high tide and high onshore winds which pushed the tide 2 feet above the dock. Since the bow was under the dock the stern went up with the tide but the bow did not! The boat filled with water to the gunnels and the water went through the fittings into both hulls!!!! I came out on Monday morning and saw the boat under the dock full of water!! The tide was down below the dock now.
I got a friend and we stood on the bow so I could get it out from under the dock. Just roughed up the rub rail, no real damage. I pumped out the boat and cranked it up. It stood up like a V-hull and I knew the water had filled the hull. I pulled it out on the trailer and pulled the drain plugs and it drained for 20 minutes on the ramp. Totally full of water it was. Put the plugs back in and it is fine and dandy now. So it has been proven...the Flats Cat will not sink. Love that Flats Cat
I am glad you sent me a letter asking me for input and/or comments about my Flats Cat. I have been intending to write you for some time, but for one reason or another I never seem to find the time. I have to tell you that I am extremely pleased with my Flats Cat. Unless I decide to buy the longer Flats Cat in the future - I have purchased my last boat. This boat does everything I want a boat to do in spades. I have not been on every boat that is made today, but out of those that I have been on, I have to say that mine is the most stable and dry of all. I really like the way the "cat" walks across an angling chop. Late spring-early summer found us at Matagorda.
As my son and I approached a shallow cut to enter west Matagorda Bay we noticed an El Pescador sitting high and dry in the cut. We just jacked the motor up a little higher and flew right by that very expensive boat. This occurred in approximately 3-4 inches of water. Our new philosophy is "if there's water-we can go there" Best wishes for the future.
A great, dry, shallow running boat. Just wish I had bought it sooner. Perfect for the Texas coast.
Fishing the middle coast of Texas is the primary way of entertaining my clients. One of my favorite “things to do” is running in 5” of water and asking these clients to look down, so I can see their expression. 100% of these guys are truly amazed. The shallow water capability of the “Hole Shot” in 5 to 8” of water further amazes all of us. If you fish in skinny water Flats Cat performance is the way to go
Having owned three boats-this is the only boat I will EVER own. Best of the best. I was running across Gas Wells Flats (Port Isabel) heading to deeper water, I decided to slow up to allow a boat to cross my path ahead of me, upon stopping I was aground--water was 3" deep; IT DOES RUN SHALLOW.
My partner with me jumped out and started pushing around. First the stern, then the bow, and continued the process until we reached 6" water. We then were able to get up and GO.
The Flats Cat gets you into places you don’t need to be. Have carried the boat numerous times to find 5-6” of water to float the Flats Cat, out of too shallow of water of area. Wonderful boat.
The more I use my Flats Cat the more I am impressed with its performance and fish ability. I fish the West Chandelier Islands (Breton Sound) frequently which are miles of shallow flats with open seas in between. We used to take larger boats out and use inflatable's to fish the flats. With the Cat we can go anywhere the inflatable or an aluminum John boat could go. It is amazingly smooth and dry even in a nasty chop.
After evaluating several popular, and highly recommended, shallow water boats, I am convinced that my Flats Cat is a smoother more stable and drier boat, by far. I used it offshore several times too, and you have to try hard to get water on-board.
I do wish I had about 30 more horsepower than my Honda 90 provides for getting on plane but I still have the satisfaction of fishing for days on one tankful, and gas is really getting expensive. My one complaint is that my fore storage compartment leaks during rains on the stored boat and I have to keep the bottom drain plugs removed or the trailer tires almost go flat from the weight of water in the hull. We get lots of heavy rains on the gulf coast and only a covered shed will solve this problem until you can improve the door seals.
The decal says "Smoothest, Driest, Shallowest" and it's true. I've ridden on or owned about every kind of bay boat made and none compare to the Flats Cat. The four guys that I mainly fish with, all own a Flats Cat. One ride and you will be convinced. The Flats Cat not only goes ultra-shallow, but it's an incredibly smooth dry ride in rough water.
Features I like: 1) no sliding 2) gets up in 7" of soft mud 3) gets up in 10" of hard sand 4) takes good chop well 5) stays on plane at 10 mph 6) rides surf in/out well 7) easy to clean.
My wife and I are enjoying our Flats Cat. It took a little time to get accustomed to the feel of the shallow draft boat, but we are very comfortable with it now. It is so stable even in rougher water that we have been taking our grand-children out to get them hooked on fishing. Our investment in this first class boat has been well worth it.
Good to hear from you. I am not good at composing letters but here it goes- I am 77 years young-have had boats since I was 18 years old. Lost count years ago of number. For inland waters and coastal flats, and tidal lakes, which I have fished from Galveston to Brownsville, the Flats Cat 21' which I have had about three years is by far the greatest fishing rig I have ever had, will probably keep it. A few more-it has performed just as you claimed, smooth, fast, stable, and very dry in chop.
At 5-6" draft at rest with load, Flats Cat is ideal for drift fishing the shallow flats. Neat, clean, tiny, with no clutter inside. Easy in and out for wade fishing. This is a "fish anywhere" boat. A soft, easy ride to and from the fishing hole in all kinds of water conditions. The hull design provides unbelievable fuel efficiency. I fish all day on 10 gallons of fuel. That's fishing at 20 miles radius out of Port O'Conner. Peggy and I really haven't found any negatives.
I purchased an 18'6 Flats Cat in October 1998. The boat is rigged with a Johnson 90 hp, CMC Jack Plate (purchased with the boat), and a 13x16 four blade prop. As a fly fisherman, my boat design and performance needs were specific. First, I needed a boat with enough of an open bow area suitable for fly casting to ensure no fly line foul ups. The Flats Cat design allowed for this with the extra benefit of an elevated bow section, which at rest puts the fisherman a good distance above the water. The need for a bow platform for sight casting is not necessary. Second, the cat design allows for great stability while fishing in a drift situation. You would have to jump up and down constantly to get any type of noticeable movement unlike most V-hulls...makes for quite a drift. Third, since I wade about 80% of the time, I wanted a boat capable of entering/exiting skinny water. In about 8" water, I have come on plane within 10'. That was without turning of the use of any stabilizer plates. You have to see it to believe it. Lastly, the construction of the boat is far superior to other flats and people recognize it. I took my boat in for routine engine maintenance recently and the marina owner told me about 5 people came in to see if the Flats Cat was for sale. He offered to sale it on consignment for me! I don't think so.
I purchased the 21' Flats Cat boat with a 90 hp Honda in November 1999 and have used it extensively since then. I primarily fish in the shallow water, near the mangroves, of Charlotte Harbor, Florida. The boat is a pleasure to use as it is very stable, gets up on plane very fast in shallow water and rides the waves well when the wind blows. I have yet to be grounded with it. I fish alone a lot and the boat is very safe and fun to use.
I have owned a "Cat" for two years and only stuck it in the sand once. When I got out the top of my feet were dry. To my surprise my wife and I were able to pull the boat to deep water alone. I don't run extremely shallow all the time, but when I want to I can with no hesitation. I think the rated speed of 40 to 50 mph is a little optimistic as I get only 34 mph by GPS with a 125 hp motor. This may not be my "last" boat but it will be my "only" boat!!
This boat propels very well in as little as 2/3 inches of water. I have found this boat to be stable and relatively dry in 2 to 3 foot seas. I have used this boat in Wachapraegue, Virginia and in the sound of Hatteras Island.
Over the years of flats fishing I have owned Ranger, Action Craft, Shoalwater, and Alumiweld boats. In 1997, I purchased a 21' Flats Cat and mounted a Yamaha 150 dual prop counter rotation motor with a CMC jack plate. Since I purchased this boat it has been used in the flats and offshore. The boat will draft 9" of water with a full fuel tank, 150 motor, 140 quart and 80 quart ice chest filled to the top, four people with all of their fishing gear, trolling motor, and three batteries. The boat equipped in this manner will get up on plane in 12" of water and run in less than 6" of water without leaving any prop marks on the bay bottom. I have yet to get any nicks or dings on the props or lower unit of the motor. The boat has a dryer and smoother ride than any of the previous mentioned boats I have owned. In so far as a boat for the coastal flats I am very satisfied with it's performance.
I was searching for a bay boat that was smooth running with shallow water capabilities and hopefully dry. I looked, rode in boats for test rides and even hired guides that had the particular boat I was looking for to get an extended trial. I did this for three years. The first thing I learned was the the Florida style flats boats (Hewes, Maverick, etc.) do not have the ultra shallow performance needed for the Texas flats. I was then able to place the boats into two categories. The smooth riding boats. These usually were a good ride, but at the sacrifice of increased draft. These included Bay Stealth, Blue Wave, Kenner, Hydrasport, Century, Gulf Coast, Bay Hawk, etc. Then I explored the the Texas-made shallow running boats: Mayak, Stoner, Shallowsport, Tran, Explorer, Shoalwater.
These were all very fine boats, but were somewhat rough and wet. The next step was the custom boats of El Pescador and Flats Cat. The Flats Cat was the shallowest running of all the boats and yet had a ride as good or better than those of the first group. The boat will run the shallower than any prop boat that I know of. In fact, it will go shallower than. I am sometimes comfortable running it. (My last trip, the only other boat in my fishing area was an airboat!) It is a wonderful combination of ultra shallow performance but yet still capable of handling the rough water. It even proved to be a good ski boat for the kids. An added plus is the efficiency of the catamaran hull. Not any other 21' boat could perform so well with only a 125 hp motor. I will undoubtedly make the same choice in boats when I get ready for my next one.
Being brought up on the coast (Port Lavaca) I have tried many of boats. The Flats Cat is everything I thought it would be and more. The boat runs smooth and shallow and is well built. The Flats Cat to me is the shallowest running boat, I've ever owned, and I've owned plenty, plus the way it handles the chop. But the best thing is the way it shoots out of the water, when shallow, and you don't even need a whale's tail, because it has one custom built already.
My 21' Flats Cat powered with a 130 Hp has surpassed my expectations. The boat is fast and smooth riding even across Aransas Bay on a rough day. The shallow water capability of the hull has expanded the fishing water accessible to me now. The bottom line is the Flats Cat gets me to more places faster!
I believe I bought the third fiberglass Flats Cat that was built in 1989. I still own the boat and am satisfied with it now as when I purchased it . This boat will run in very shallow water, as I am sure lots of boats out there today will do, but what probably impresses me more is that this boat will take on rough water and give a smooth and dry ride. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this boat to anyone who wants the same.
You make a fabulous boat. I can't imagine a better boat for the shallow marshes of South Louisiana. When it's too shallow for your trolling motor, but you can still get on the step and run, you know you've got the right rig.
This hull performs at a beautiful level. It is fitted out by Huey. Your apparent backlog of orders speaks volumes to the positive word of mouth advertisement.
I have enjoyed my boat and have recommended it to friends and associates. It does what it was represented to do. You probably should put a warning sticker on the transom..."Do NOT follow this boat into shallow water.
The Flats Cat is a truly versatile boat. I live in Cocodrie, La. and use it on the lakes and out to the beach in the summer. In the winter, I fish inside in the marsh, bayous, and shallow lakes. It takes rough water very good and runs dry. In shallow water--if it floats --I can run it. I have fished 6 people in my boat with no problem. You can fish 4 or 5 people on one side and the boat doesn't tilt over like a mono-hull. I have a 125 hp Mercury on my boat. The biggest plus is that you have a solid 21' long, 7 1/2' wide boat with lots of fishing space--all flat--without a big 200 hp gas guzzler on it. The more I use it, the better I like it.
I fish the South Louisiana marsh in the Cocodrie area. My 21' fiberglass Flats Cat if the perfect boat for me because not only will it handle marsh fishing, it will also handle rough water allowing me to fish the Isles Derineres. This boat is also great for drift fishing due to low wind resistance.
I admit I had some doubts when I first got my boat, but after using it for two years, those doubts are gone. The boat runs super shallow and handles well in rough water. It is dry and provides excellent fish ability, I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone for a fishing boat.
I've had my Flats Cat for a year now, I bought it on the recommendation of several guides in Rockport, and it has been every bit as good as advertised. It is the perfect fishing machine for shallow water bays. If someone stole my boat today, I'd order another Flats Cat tomorrow.
I live on and fish in the Laguna Madre. The Laguna is the shallowest bay system on the Texas coast. In my opinion, the 21' Flats Cat I own is the shallowest running, best performing boat on the Laguna. It truly out performs all other brands.
I did a huge amount of research into the various options available in flats boats. What I found was that all of the conventional style boats on the market performed about the same. To achieve the things desired in a true flats boat requires an unconventional approach. This is what the Flats Cat does. And as long as the laws of physics remain, this will be the case. A conventional style flats boat hull cannot approach the performance of the Flats Cat. Period.
I have been fishing every week since 1953. I have been in almost every kind of boat made, but the Flats Cat is the best boat I have ever been in! The emblem you have on the side of the boat, tells it all! Smoothest-Driest-Shallowest. Most of the boats have a bevel on each side, on the inside, which is a fall out hazard! I am in love with everything on this Flats Cat 21'. I have a 115 hp motor. Gets up in very shallow water, will go in the shallowest water, doesn't splash water in when I am running. It's very smooth, no matter what direction the wind is blowing! Very easy to get in or out, for wading. I like the people that work at Flats Cat. What else can you want?
When I picked up my boat I asked Bill Allison for operating instructions. His advice was --"If you see water, floor it, if you see land turn." Bill was right on. I have found very few places where I cannot go, or get out of. If you want to know how the Flats Cat operates, read the side of the boat.
Speaking for someone who doesn't get the opportunity to fish often enough to really learn all the areas I fish, "It's great!" My 21' Flats Cat allows me access to areas without to much consideration for what might be under or near the surface of the water. My Flats Cat is equipped with a 115 hp inshore Yamaha, jack plate, hydraulic steering and 4 blade prop. This combination allows me to access almost any area I choose to fish. As for the ride, I believe the Flats Cat unique hull will deliver the smoothest and driest ride of any "shallow running" boat on the market today. I have and will continue to recommend the Flats Cat boat line to those individuals who desire to run the skinny water. A ride is worth a thousand words!
We have had our 18.5' Flats Cat since the spring of 1996 and are very pleased with it. The Flats Cat has the most innovative and original hull design on the Texas coast, as your patent will attest to. These days so many of the boats out there are just copies of each other with few, if any variations from one to the next. It is truly refreshing to see someone who has come up with something on their own, instead of copying an existing design. The boat is amazingly dry in any wind direction or velocity. The only time I ever notice any spray is occasionally while getting up on plane. Once on plane, the boat is bone dry, which is really nice on those cold spring mornings! I have been in many boats that will just plain soak you in anything but glass conditions. The ride qualities of this boat are pretty phenomenal considering that it is first and foremost a skinny-water rig. Going straight into a chop, you will get some minor pounding, but this is largely controllable with throttle and trim settings. If you can quarter the waves at all, then the ride is pure magic and again dry as can be. In fact, I have found the bigger and sloppier the waves are, the better the boat rides as it walks gently from side-to-side. It's funny to watch a new passenger's reaction when meeting an oncoming boat wake. They instinctively grab for the hand rail only to find the boat gently rocks back and forth over the wakes. Now for the performance part. With our 90 hp and four-blade Predator prop our boat comes up on plane with ease. My usual routine is to idle out of a spot gently increasing the speed until I feel the stern is fixing to squat a little. At this point, I give it the gas and it pops right up on plane. This happens so fast, that as soon as the rpms come up you are immediately backing down on the throttle because, well, you are already on plane! If we were to do anything different, it would be to go with a 115 instead of the 90 to gain some more top-end speed. Running shallow is no problem at all. We have never had any overheating problems thanks to the generous amounts of water that exit the tunnel. One of the final deciding factors in choosing the Flats Cat was the fact that it both runs AND floats in shallow water. Many boats out there will run shallow, but need considerably more water to float in. Make a navigational mistake and it could be a real long day. To wrap it up, we would definitely buy another Flats Cat, which just about says it all.
I wanted to write and tell you what I think of my new Flats Cat. I originally bought the boat for primarily shallow water running, but soon found out how will the boat performs in all conditions. The better proof construction and weight of the boat makes it ideal for those long runs across choppy bays and even near shore trips offshore! All the while staying dryer than any bay boat I've ever owned. The all aluminum trailer is an added bonus. You really have paid attention to the details. Thanks for building me a great boat!
I bought my Flats Cat in 1995. I have never been disappointed with it. If I had to buy another boat today to fish the flats and bays, it would be a Flats Cat.
Thanks for giving me the chance to tell about my 2000 21' Flats Cat. I have used my boat to fish in the gulf fishing for cobia it does everything you said it would. It is power with a 130 hp motor. The only problem I have is having to spend time telling people about the boat.
Absolutely the best boat on the water. I have been fishing the Louisiana coastal area for 35 years and was have the dilemma of needing two boats to fish all of the areas around. One boat for bay and island fishing, and one boat for shallow marsh fishing. Now I have it all in one owning a Flats Cat. In 4 foot seas to 2 inches of water, the boat is the absolute best in performance. My boat is powered by a 115 four-stroke Yamaha and the efficiency and power is perfect. I have owned 5 boats in the past and this should last me for my fishing duration.
I fish from Sabine to South Bay in Port Isabel. All different types of bays. This boat seems to handle every situation I've encountered better than any other I've owned or fished in including Gulf Coast 200, Shoalwater, Kenner, etc. Rig'em out like you want without buying all of the extra bells and whistles that never get used.
The first day we had our Flats Cat we took it in 5-6 foot seas. We approached the waves from every possible angle. We never got sprayed or lost control. The Flats Cat handles rough water much better than I ever expected. I looked for 2 years for a boat that could get into six inches of water and fit 4 people comfortably. The Flats Cat was the only thing I found that can do that.
Stability, Stability, Stability...still amazes about the Flats Cat. Weighing 225 pounds and most of my fishing buddies in excess of 225 pounds, we can stand on one corner of my boat and still not have it move. It is very simple. And I still on occasion get in places I shouldn't have because the boat will run in almost no water. Bow rise is almost non-existent. Truly a great shallow water fishing boat.
When researching shallow draft boats that would meet our fishing needs, we were very skeptical of what the Flats Cat could do. After talking with several owners of the Flats Cat, we found their testimonies to be consistent with your claims. February 1998, we purchased our first. WOW! Not only did the boat perform as you said, but it exceeded our expectations. In July 2000, we were CATin' around in the flats in Rockport, Texas, and accidentally went on the wrong side of a channel. When we saw a Crane standing in water no higher than its ankles (figuratively speaking), it was too late to slow down and turn around; we were already committed. You cannot imagine the excitement we felt when we got across without hesitation or getting stuck. UNBELIEVABLE!! We KNEW the Flats Cat was the RIGHT CHOICE for our shallow water excursions. Being able to operate in shallow water was our main priority. In addition, we found that this boat gives us the driest ride in rough waters when other boats caused us to get soaking wet. We feel that through our experiences, we cannot express enough, the pride we have in being a Flats Cat owner. Every time we take the boat out, there is a least one person who will ask us many questions about our Flats Cat. All of our answers are given with the highest praise. If anyone wants the best for shallow water fishing, the Flats Cat is the only choice. We are looking forward to purchasing our second Flats Cat, the Thompson's "Wampus Cat II.
My boat was purchased in 1996 it is powered with 125hp Mariner, the fuel efficiency of the mid-size motor and 40 gallon tank allows me to fish long distances from my base. There has not been a trip that some one on board has not made favorable comment about the many good qualities of the boat. I looked at other boats before I bought my Flats Cat, but I did not want a 200hp motor with the added weight and fuel consumption to achieve to performance on other boats. My boat is used almost year round fishing, hunting, trawling, bird watching, or boat riding. It is a perfect match for the coastal marsh, lakes, and barrier islands for south Louisiana. I never worry about running aground as it floats in 4 to 5 inches of water and will run in less. It is pleasures to fish from the Flats Cat the low sides allow landing fish without a net. The twin hulls add to the stability even in rough seas it hardly rocks. Once fishing the surf at near by barrier island in the trough between the beach and first sand bar I took a wave over the bow and put 4 to 5 inches of water in the boat. The self-bailing scuppers emptied the boat quickly and I continued fishing knowing I was safe in my Flats Cat. Many boat owners in this area own two boats, a small one to fish the shallow marsh and a larger one for the lakes and barrier islands. The Flats Cat is at home in the marsh and in the lakes. I rather have one boat to do it all than two with all the cost and maintenance needed. Casual observers have told me that my boat is not pretty, but I believe that looks are only gel coat deep and the real beauty is in the performance. I'd buy another Flats Cat in a heart beat.
Here are three pictures taken from my boat in the Florida Keys in about 6" of water. The boat is great. I can run at 30 mph through rough chop and stay dry and comfortable. I fish up close to islands in one boat or less of water. I do not know of any other boat where three men can comfortably fish the flats of the Florida Keys.
Well, we finally actually touched bottom with the Flats Cat. How shallow? I was watching people in Apalachicola literally walking in ankle deep water right next to us. If we would have been on plane I doubt we would have even brushed bottom then! This boat is fantastic on smooth and choppy days. Think we managed to get sprayed once in nasty weather with really heavy chop in the bay. Easy to plane? Just push the throttle over and start to pull back and you are there. We have the 18 foot model and have been incredibly happy with it. It goes anywhere and does anything. Advice to new buyers...make sure your rigger knows what they are doing. Once we got the right prop we were business. Would also suggest the leaning post with the storage. Thanks Bill! It was worth the wait!
I bought my Flats Cat in July of 1991, still have it. I fish 100 to 130 days a year. It is the most shallow running, driest riding boat on the market.
I have owned several shallow water boats over the last 15 years. The last being an El Pescador. I fish mainly the Port O' Connor to Rockport area. I currently have 21' Flats Cat powered by a 115 HP Evinrude Ficht. When the 115 HP was first suggested I thought Bill was nuts. I told the dealer rigging the engine I wanted at least 150 HP, and was told it was not needed. They were right. The boat runs 40+ mph with same fuel economy as a 17' aluminum boat with 60 HP. Less weight on the transom is a big plus. This is the shallowest running boat I have ever owned or seen. The space on deck and front casting platform is unmatched. The cat hull gives an extremely first shallow water boat choice.
My Flats Cat runs in slushy mud. In December of 1998, my son Cory and I were coming out of west Matagorda Bay. We were into fish and stayed longer than planned. The tide had gone out and was extremely low. On an attempt to come back in through the canal, we just flat run out of water. We were in just slushy mud and still moving approximately 30 mph, the engine hot buzzer went off, and just knew we would be there till the next day. Then I went to a state of being pissed off, then I turned the wheel to right and stayed with it. That Flats Cat turned around with a long sweep and was headed back towards water. When we get into 3 or 4 inches of water the hot Buzzer quit and I was a happy camper with a Flats Cat. My son looked at me and said, "Dad are you going to tell anybody?" I said, "YEP." He said only Flats Cat owners will believe you.
I have had my Flats Cat now for a little over a year. The main thing I like about the Flats Cat is you get a smooth, dry ride. The boat kind of wobbles across the waves rather than pounding up and down through them. The ride is dry because the spray off the boats gets shot out to the sides at a low trajectory and not upwards where the wind catches it and sends it over into the boat. It can also run in super shallow water because the motor is mounted high on the transom so the prop is above the bottom of the boat. That, with the lifting action you get from the wind and water coming in through the pontoons. If you happen to run aground or drift too shallow, it is easy to push off as it doesn't get direction because water flows through the pontoons as you drift and doesn't push sideways with the wind. It also jumps out of the hole exceptionally fast which everyone comments on when their with me. All in all, it's a super boat that I am very pleased with. It definitely out performs the tunnel hull boat I had previous to this and it's just a fun boat to operate.
I can't tell you how much my wife and I have enjoyed our Flats Cat boat. I have had two other boats made for the shallow bays here around Rockport and both were OK but the Flats Cat is the best all around flats boat that I have owned. It is the best wade fishing boat I have been on. It is a roomy, no nonsense fishing machine. The Flats Cat is the driest boat I have been on and I have been on name brand boats of 23 foot, 24 foot, and 26 foot and I have always wished that I had been on my 21 foot Flats Cat because I would not have gotten wet. My wife loves the dry smooth ride, and the amount of room you have. Another thing I love about the Flats Cat is that for fishing, sight seeing, or just exploring you can get in and out of places that other boats of this size just can't get to. My boat is a 1998 Flats Cat powered by a 88 Hp 1994 Johnson special, 4 blade 13p prop. My boat has ran in a true six inch deep water and will get up in a true 12 inches of water. It will do around 37 mph. I am also impressed by the knowledge and the helpfulness of Bill Allison. All most everyone I have taken out in my boat has been very impressed and at least two people have said they were going to buy a Flats Cat. If they do, I know a few special places I will see them again.
I purchased my Flats Cat this year. I have owned many boats, but can truly say I have not enjoyed a boat the way I have enjoyed my Flats Cat, there is no boat that can compare to this boat in shallow water. I have been out on days with the north wind blowing, but this did not stop the Flats Cat from letting me try. I also fish Calcasiew Lake. It is a very large lake and can get very rough. No problem for this boat--when they say shallow draft and smooth ride you can believe it. I can fish out of any boat that I choose so the best compliment I can give the Flats Cat is if I was to buy a fishing boat tomorrow, it would be a Flats Cat! Thanks!
There are many things about my Flats Cat that are delightful and that are well known--ability to run in skinny water, self-bailing which makes backing down onto a beach in the surf do-able, easy cleanup, and the rest. However, only recently I appreciated the smooth, dry ride it provides in a rough chop. I had an avid fisherman friend from Scotland down for a trip the same weekend last month when the greatest northern to ever hit the state in the fall arrived. We were down in Port O'Conner and wanted to get into the lakes on the other side of Espiritu Santo and San Antonio Bay. We also wanted to be able to get back! Those bays were whipped up into whitecaps by the strong north wind. No time to wait for the weather to clear, so off we went. It was amazing how the twin hulls stepped across the heavy chop when approached at an angle. While I would be lying if I said the ride was smooth, it was acceptable at an angle and we didn't get soaked. We also got back home alive and with some specks and reds. That gave me an idea. This would be an ideal way to deal with the !@#$%& speed bumps in parking lots and side streets in Houston-- at the last second, swerve the car and take the bumps at an angle. The two tires on each side of the car act like the twin hulls on a Flats Cat and smooth those bumps and humps out. Try it and you will get a demonstration of what the Flats Cat really does to a heavy chop. Congratulations on providing such a great product for the fisherman who never know when to quit.