Lake And Bay Boca Grand 20
Lake And Bay
I am Capt. Steven Lamp I am a Key West flats fishing guide since 1994. Lake and Bay Flats boats were not super popular here in the Florida Keys for traditional flats fishing. Being 20 ft long they were a bit large and considered to heavy to pole in the shallows. That said, I fished these boats from 2000 through 2010 professionally and kept one of my sleds till 2015. My anglers and I had 27 wins over those years in the redbone Key West SLAM tournaments through the years I fished the Lake and Bay.
All of my Lake and Bay Boca Grands were custom built with Kevlar set up with center consoles. With the exception of my first one in 2000 they all had step bottoms. Built by the Whitaker family my Lake and Bay flats boats were were impressive and without question the fastest working flats fishing boats in the day.
Many thoughts that the the Lake and Bay Boca Grand was as knock off of the Backcountry 202 or 201 pro guide. This simply is not true.. My boat before my first Lake and Bay was a Backcountry Pro Guide built by Wylie Nagler now owner of Yellowfin Yachts. Which is now where I call home for my custom built bay boats.
Why did I like guiding the Lake and Bay
Without a doubt the Lake and Bay was the best guide boat for me and what I did on the flats. The ride was amazing, the deck area was enormous, the draft in my custom built boats was 10″. For the daily driver as a flats boat this was the skiff for me to cover all the trips I ran to the Marquesas Keys daily fishing for permit, tarpon and bonefish among other species. The boats kept me dry with a smooth ride on days that maybe I should not have gone.
Poling the Lake and Bay flats boat..
Piece a cake. My boats were meticulously well balanced. 4″ jack plates with light weight power options by Mercury Racing kept my CGs forward when I was on the flats with two anglers on the bow. The smaller bait wells and lack of bulkhead weight in the rear was a big help. Using a fusion instead of chairs kept the weight down in the back. No trolling motor and only one dual purpose starting battery in the bow. I never carried any more fuel than I needed and when I was on the flats the fuel I did carry rolled to the front of the tank to level me out with my anglers on the bow. Worked perfect. The boat was not as quiet as some of the super skiffs out there today but it caught plenty of fish for me and my Key West fishing anglers. When poling the Lake and Bay with the weight in the right places that boat would glide up current and across the flats. Truly amazing. I wont say she was easy to spin, she wasn’t but there are give and take to everything. My anglers loved fishing with me in that boat.
My favorite set up for flats fishing poling was my green 2004 Lake and Bay Boca Grand that I refit in 2011 to put a Mercury 175 Proxs on it for ultra light weight motor package. That boat was agile.
Lake and Bays are fast. Thats easy. Put power on it, lighten it up and GO! My 2007 Lake and Bay Boca Grand powered by the Mercury Racing 300xs was a 90+ mph boat ready to fish. This was after we straightened the Bottom of this boat and adjusted the transom differences (those that know Lake and Bays will know what I am talking about here) One side is taller than the other for a reason. My 175 Pro XS boat ran in the high 60s with ungodly fuel economy.
These days the kids are putting the new Mercury Racing 450r on them.. I have not heard any numbers but I bet its North of 100 mph by a margin.
Why did I stop fishing the Lake and Bay Professionally?
Yellowfin built for me the best bay boat on the planet that did everything my Lake and Bay could do and way more. My first Yellowfin 24 bay was a red boat that was very light and powered by a Mercury Racing 300 XS. I loved this rig and realized I no longer needed a 20ft flats boat.