The East Cape Chapter - A new ride

Earlier this month I picked up a new poling skiff for the fall redfish season. At a little over 19’ feet long, and powered by a Mercury 115 pro xs four stroke. I couldn’t be happier with the purchase of my new East Cape Vantage. It was really hard to trade out of a boat that served me so well the past 5 seasons. Anyone who fished the in the Ranger will attest to the sea keeping ability and overall fishiness of the skiff. From South Texas to the Florida Panhandle there were thousands of fish landed and some incredible memories made with great friends. Opportunity is where you find it. A wayward post on led me to a buyer in Louisiana who would be able to make good use of the skiff. An offer was made, a deal was struck, and a delivery was made.

Just a few names in the skiff game made the short list and I knew pretty much what I was looking for in a boat right off the bat. For the areas I fish a small boat just won’t cut it. I need a hull that is fast and dry in a chop. During the fall/winter bull redfish season around New Orleans long runs are the rule not the exception. An average day will be from 50 to 80 miles roundtrip and hundred mile days are not unheard of. During a trip I’m not afraid to move if the conditions or fish necessitate. Open water crossings are a daily occurrence so a hull with size and freeboard is a necessity. The East Cape Vantage is a skiff I had the occasion to fish on several years ago. The design worked well then and has stood the test of time. Being agile on the pole and having a shallow draft are qualities unheard of in a skiff this size, but the Vantage has both. Accent pieces like polished V Marine pushpole holders, a poling platform holder, and steering wheel insert really set this boat apart from the rest. Check them out at

As a loyal Navico electronics user for the past 12 years, it’s been a bit of an adjustment learning the Garmin OS. However, I am fast becoming a convert. It’s easy to see why this is the brand of choice for serious offshore anglers. The sonar function on the 840 is unmatched in its class and the speed of the processor makes switching between pages seamless. If you’ve spent any time fishing the marsh you’ll know a jackplate is essential for running the skinny water. The speed of the Atlas jackplate gives me the confidence that I can get the prop up out of the mud in a hurry when needed. I spend 99% of the time poling shallow flats sight fishing for redfish. There are times though, when Jacks and Reds are found in open water to deep to pole effectively. For this situation, the Vantage is rigged with a 24v Minn Kota Ipilot with dual Odyssey PC1200 batteries mounted in the console. It’s hard to believe these little batteries have so much power for so long. Last week I tried to kill them during the course of a day’s fishing and couldn’t do it. Amazing! The pro xs makes a ton of torque and is turning a Powertech 3 blade 19P prop. The holeshot is awesome, and top speed is in the mid 40’s with a fishing load. Full fuel, two people, and fly fishing gear. The Mercury’s fuel consumption is running between 4.5 – 6.5 miles per gallon. The Vantage has a faster cruise and better economy than my old skiff, that’s awesome.

As for poling ability this is a big boat, and will give you a workout during the course of a full day on the water. The hull tracks exceptionally straight, and spins nicely. Amazingly agile for its size was my thought the first time on the platform, it holds true today. East Cape does a great job on the build quality of these boats. Fit and finish is above bar, and the hull is laid out with ample storage to accommodate a guides equipment and the necessities of two sports. Deep gutters on the deck hatches facilitate dry storage that is unequaled. And, the front deck is easily large enough to accommodate two anglers at the same time without feeling crowded. There won’t be much live bait fishing in this boat, but the livewell is huge and works equally well for dry storage.


Overall, I couldn’t be more pleased with the hull. This boat has exceeded my expectations in every way, and does more than you could ask for a boat this size. For more information check them out at  I hope you’ll come spend some time flyfishing the marsh with me this fall and see why everyone is talking about East Cape Skiffs and Louisiana Redfish.– John West