I’ve had the chance to drive the new Beavertail Strike on several different occasions since they launched the skiff last fall but always under favorable conditions. Will and Liz have been letting me babysit their latest demo boat all this week and I decided to run a couple of charters with it during the snotty Pine Island weather of the last few days. After poling a fly angler around the mangroves of Matlacha Pass and then racing home at full speed through the leading edge of a thunderstorm, I can say without hesitation that the Strike really is the best skiff I’ve ever run.
The ride of this hull in choppy water has to be experienced to be believed. It’s actually fun to run it into a 20 knot wind across two foot whitecaps. Compared to its bigger BT3/Vengeance cousins, the Strike actually feels a bit smoother in the chop despite its lighter weight. This is thanks to smaller stern which has the same minimal deadrise but is 10“narrower than those other hulls. And just like the larger Beavertails, the Strike unbelievably dry no matter which direction the bow is pointed. When I ran my old Maverick Mirage out of Key West I routinely put my passengers in full foul weather gear any time the wind kicked up over ten knots, just to cross the Northwest Channel on an incoming tide. I have yet to be hit in the face with any serious spray while running a Strike.
Poling with a single angler on the bow is effortless. The boat accelerates and stops with minimal effort and you can spin it inside its own hull length. Doing a 180 with the push pole takes about three seconds. That’s incredibly useful when you’re dealing with multiple moving targets like a school of cruising tarpon and have to keep your angler’s back cast pointed in a safe direction.
I’ve run the Strike with both a 60 hp 2-stroke, which gives it plenty of speed, and a 90 hp, which makes it an absolute rocket sled. My personal choice would be a 70 hp 4-stroke which would give you an unbeatable combination of speed and fuel economy with a draft of around 7 inches.
My only gripe about the Strike is that the rod holders are a bit difficult to access. There are tubes for four rods on each side but you can only slide one in without assistance. I’d love to see some lift-up gunnels available on this boat like Beavertail offers on their Stu Apte Edition skiffs.
I’m seriously considering selling my current BT3 and ordering one of the new Strike Elites with the full Kevlar hull and carbon fiber package. For now I’m enjoying the hell out of the demo boat they’ve loaned me and if you want to run it yourself just give me a call at 239-565-2960.