These two boats are very similar in use, but have so many differences which need to be considered when chartering or even more so purchasing a boat.
As they name would hint, Flats Boats are used for Fishing the flats and thus they have always been the gold standard for fishing the flats. They get into shallow water up to 12" and some even up to 5". This gets you right on top of the tailin' red fish or permit.
These boats are light too and while they have room for rods, bait and a well, they don't offer much in terms of comfort. You can get usually about 2 or 3 people onto them, as any more would weigh you down too much and limit your space onboard.
The ride that flats boats offer is a bit more rough due to their flat hull they don't really cut into the waves.
You see these boats as they quietly pole around the waters looking for tails of the various shallow water fish.
Bay Boats have a more typical boat look to them, often in the 20' range, they also allow you to get onto the shallow waters of the flats. Due to its V-shaped hull Bay Boats cut through the waves better making for a smoother ride in rough weather.
These often come with a quiet trolling motor and more comfortable seating options for 3 or 4 people. You also have more options in what you catch as a Bay Boat allows you to safely go further out into deeper waters, weather permitting, of course.
You have all of the usual accoutrements including rod holders, bait and tackle storage, cooler, radio and comfortable seating as you either pole or troll your way around the flats.
Basically what it comes down to is the Bay Boat having the ability to do most everything the flats boat can do, plus more.
Try going on a couple fishing charters and see the differences for yourself.
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