Boat Show Best Bet

Hell's Bay's new hulls

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel

Now that the Super Bowl has left Miami, the main winter event for anglers has rollled into town: The Miami Boat Show, this weekend in Miami Beach. The popular shallow water skiff company Hell's Bay Boatworks showcases the 12’ Skate and 18’ Neptune models. Fly-fishing legend and Fly Rod & Reel Salt Water columnist Chico Fernandez will be appearing at the Hell's Bay booth at the show. 

The Neptune: A Performance Skiff

Hell's Bay Neptune is 18 ft. 6 inches in length, has a 78 in. beam, and draws just 10 inches of draft with a 150 HO Evinrude E-Tech outboard and a full tank of gas. The skiff weighs in at only 795 lbs. dry. Its long list of features include a 38 gallon fuel tank, 30 gallon live well, 10 under-gunnel rod tubes and lots of dry storage.

“It’s designed for larger horsepower engines in the range of 115 to 150 hp and great for longer runs. It’s the first Hell’s Bay designed around speed,” said Hell’s Bay boat designer and sales director Tom Gordon.

Gordon said the Neptune will be popular for use in tournaments such as tarpon and redfish events in many coastal states.

“We have the ideal skiff for every type of shallow water fishery,” said Hell’s Bay Boatworks owner and President Chris Peterson.

The Skate; a small, rugged shallow water performer

At 12 ft. - 9 inches in length with a 45 inch beam, the Skate, Hell’s Bay’s smallest craft is made with tough Kevlar and weighs just 250 lbs. Its draft is a mere 3 ½ inches with engine and six gallons of fuel. Hell’s Bay recommends a 9.9 or 15 hp two stroke tiller-steered outboard for power.

“It’s light and it’s versatile,” said Tom Gordon. “Beyond using it as a fishing tender on a yacht it can also be used for extreme shallow water fishing and as a hunting boat.

“The Skate can even be loaded into the back of a pickup truck if needed. It can also be useful in restricted no combustion motor zones where an electric trolling motor is allowed. Duck hunters will love it,” added Gordon.

The Skate features an easy clean non-skid deck, carpeted rod racks for four rods under the gunnels, Stiffy push pole holders, anodized poling platform with SeaDek top, custom aluminum trailer with spare tire, heavy duty rub rail, quiet and dry hatches with rubber gaskets, dry gutters and Moonlite hatch springs.

With the Skate and the Neptune, Hell’s Bay now has ten models of shallow-water skiffs in the 12’ to 18’ range. For a look at all 10 models visit Hell’s Bay on the web at Both boats are rigged and wired to ABYC standards and include a wide variety of color options for the hull and deck


Hell’s Bay continues to be involved and out front promoting

“These two boats are something we’ve been working on since Hell’s Bay acquired Gordon Boatworks,” said Peterson. “Tom Gordon had a loyal following during Hell’s Bay’s early years before forming Gordon Boatworks and now he’s back and in charge of design and sales here at Hell’s Bay.”

Gordon added enthusiastically, “I’m excited to finally be introducing the new Neptune to the shallow water fishing fraternity. This is a project that I have been passionately working on for more than 2 ½ years, from the initial design, prototype testing and refining the final rigging selections.”

“Our business remains excellent. It’s the continuing results of providing truly world class skiffs,” said Peterson. “Despite downsizing or closures at other boat builders across the U.S., we’ve been diligent, taking opportunities for promotions and marketing and involving ourselves in fishing and marine industry events.

“We’re passionate when we get out in front of fishing audiences with sponsorships and promotions to show off our shallow-water boat designs to equally passionate anglers and guides.”

The company has become heavily involved in IGFA, CCA and Bonefish Tarpon Trust events, along with sponsoring the FishStock tournament in New Smyrna Beach, several Redbone tournaments for CF research and numerous other fishing events.