Picture this! You get told to come out for a boat ride like no other boat ride. On board a new and incredible boat. A boat that draft little or nothing at all. Sounds like it’s too good to be true. Sound just like an advertisement. With little else to do that day, I grabbed a towel, a spare pair of shoes, sunblock and went out the door. I was to meet my friend down in Sebastian, very close to the fame Sebastian Inlet.
Sebastian inlet is a man made inlet that has attracted both huge fishes and fishermen. Among one of the largest biodiversity in the United States, the inlet is known for it snooks, flounder, red fish, black drum and tarpon. There are a large number of flats that I tend to not access due to my draft limitation of my vessel. Off course, an offer to go out in a boat that draft little at all intrigue me just because of the possibility of reaching areas no one else could reach. That is what Tiburon Boats are all about.
Tiburon Boats were designed by a lifelong aerospace engineer and boat enthusiast. He decided to put his years of design experience into building a revolutionary type of flats boat. The Tiburon Boat Company produces three models: the LX-21, ZX-22 and ZX-25.
When I showed up to the boat ramp in Sebastian, my friend and co-worker were there with a brand new LX-21 and ZX-25. These boat had all the extras! the company called this, their Tournament Package. It includes Raised Platform, 80 Qt Engle with seating surface, Console w/built in live well, 123 Qt Engle with seating surface, 45 Gallon Release Well 2nd 15 Gallon Live Well, Powder Coated Jack Plate, Pro Air System, Wash Down System, T-top, Storage Lighting, VHF Radio, Power Pole, Extra Under Seat Drawer, Lockable Rod Lockers and a Delux Leaning Post. The company offers a few more options like Casting and poling platform but this particular boats did not have the.
My initial reaction was “cool boat”. It was sleek, looked fast, and had way more extras that I would ever have on a boat. The ZX-25 was equipped with a four stroke Evenrude with 300 horsepower while the LX21 was powered by a 175 horsepower Suzuki four stroke engine. The vessel was incredibly responsive and stable in minor chop and boat wake. It also seem to have a small enough above waterline profile that the wind did not seem to affect much when drifting or idling through the manatee zones.
Once on plane, the vessel behave like a bay boat. Cruising through wind chop and other boat wakes was no problem for the ZX-25 or LX-21. But the highlight of these boats was yet to be shown. My friend suggested that I should go on top of the console. Both Tiburon Boats have a special center console in which you can stand high up whether you want to set it up as a height steering station or as a fish spotting deck is up to you. In my case, it was a “see how shallow we are about to go” platform. We hit a series of island in the intra-coastal waterway, specifically the Indian River. T island always have a sand spill on both north and south side as well as a flats in the east side.
My friend proceeded to cross the sand spill at about 2-3 inches depth with the ZX-25. I typically assume a flats or bay boat of that overall length would usually draft about 6 inches just because of the motor and propeller. Regardless of how well a boat is build, historically your propeller would require to be in the water anyways. That is where Tiburon Boats come in. With their use of a tunnel hull design, they are able to push water up and over the waterline by about 4-5 inches. That means that you can have your propeller about 2/3 out of the water. Essentially making your boat draft what your boat hull drafts.
So we went on and kept driving in shallow water. At one point i ask if you could start the bot from a zero speed on a location as shallow as the flats we were on. My friend proceeded to get off of plane and gently rest on the sandy flats. He explained me that with a “J maneuver” to the left, the boat could get on plane nearly instantly. 20 second later, I was a believer of the Tiburon Boats. We where back on plane and out of the flats in no time. On top of having a shallow draft, The Tiburon Boats are extremely light making their planing speed a very low one. This allows you to cruise at a shallow draft at about ten miles an hour.
The Tiburon boats are extremely agile and incredibly comfortable for a flats boat. I personally consider them bay boats with the flats boat advantage. Also, the look in people faces when they see you are about to hit a sandbar and then flawlessly go right true it is priceless.
Do you want to see it for yourself? Join us on our next sea trial. Email us at TiburonFlorida@gmail.com