They Cast: The Dargel 196 Scooter is one of the shallowest-running fishboats on the planet.
We Cast: You’ll be running this boat in water so skinny, the shrimp will have to crouch. Static draft is a whopping 6″, but once you’re on plane, the “hydrolift” tunnel shoots water up to the prop, which is just about even with the bottom of the running surface. If you like backcountry fishing and want to cross shallow flats to find the holes and creeks no one else can access, the 196 Scooter should be at the top of your short list. This boat was bred for the Gulf Coast redfish and speckled trout fishery, so it comes armed with such features as a livewell in front of the console, three vertical rodholders on each side, and an anchor locker in the foredeck. What’s the 196 Scooter missing? Gunwales. Handling is surprisingly predictable considering the unusual hull configuration, but you’ll need to practice trimming techniques before figuring out exactly how to best run this boat in super-shallow water. In fact, Dargel even puts running instructions on its Web site and offers every new buyer a day of training. Despite there being such a small amount of fiberglass in the water when running, the boat still feels solid underfoot. It’s built on a foam-filled fiberglass stringer system, and the decking is finished in gray spackle. The substantial size of the console also makes for lots of stowage.
Who Will Fish It: The hardcore flats and backcountry angler who is willing to trade gunwales for going where no man has gone before.
Another Choice: Tran Sports’ 20T claims a 7″ draft and goes for a hair over $32,000 with a 150-hp outboard on the transom and a single-axle aluminum trailer.
The Numbers: $33,000.
Contact: 800/749-2628, www.dargel.com.