Josh Radford lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Victoria and two young daughters. He works as a licensed heating and air contractor and serves as a volunteer firefighter. But he’s also an avid boater and loves to be out on the water. Whether cruising with family or spending a morning fishing, he can often be found enjoying his Carolina Skiff 23 LS.
Radford ordered the boat right after the model was released. He has had the boat since October 2019. Shortly after he purchased his Carolina Skiff 23 LS, Radford started a Facebook group for LS owners. He got the idea to start the group after seeing a Carolina Skiff DLV model owner’s page. We recently visited with Radford about his boat, his family and more.
Why did you choose to purchase a Carolina Skiff 23 LS?
“This is not my first boat, but it’s definitely the nicest and the biggest boat I’ve ever had. To me, the Carolina Skiff 23 LS has the best floor space available without being oversized,” he said. “It’s roomy but still a very manageable boat. This boat has the look, the size and the features I was going for. It has the perfect amount of floor space for me. There’s plenty of room for gear and for family and friends.”
How is this boat different from other boats you have owned or experienced?
Prior to his Carolina Skiff, Radford said he owned another flat-bottom skiff style boat. When he would take turns too quickly, that boat would seem to slip out of the water and skip across it, and handling was poor. After purchasing his Carolina Skiff 23 LS, he immediately noticed that the handling was much better than his previous vessel.
“I don’t do this when I have the kids with me, but on a good, clear day with flat water, when I really open it up, I’ve done almost a 90 degree turn and have maintained excellent handling and control. This boat can really handle those sharp and fast turns,” he said. “The Carolina Skiff Tri-V hull adds an incredible amount of stability but doesn’t take away from the shallow depth that people are looking for. I would have total confidence pulling a tube back and forth with no problems. This boat handles so well with those turns.”
Tell us about the Facebook group you started for LS owners.
“I realized this was a great resource for boat owners to share ideas and a great place for those considering purchasing a boat to get information. The LS boat was such a new animal. When I tried to ask questions in the DLV owners group, no one really knew what to say, so I created a new group specifically for this model so people could share ideas and thoughts,” he said. “There are so many ways you can customize these boats. People use them for trolling, getting in skinny water, getting to sandbars that bigger boats cannot get to, and some people use them for crabbing. There is just so much versatility with this boat. You can dress it up nice or craft it to be rugged. In the group, people can express their ideas about what they want to do, how they want to store things or what accessories they might add. Your imagination can take you anywhere.”
Tell us about members of your Facebook LS Owners group and their discussions in the group.
“About 20 percent of the people in the Facebook group don’t own a boat or are researching the LS and come there looking for advice and information,” he said. “People come in asking what the necessities are. For me, I ordered my T-top and fiberglass top directly from Carolina Skiff because I liked that design. It keeps me from having to replace a fabric top every few years. Being able to share that insight with others helps them make a good purchase. When you are buying your first boat, you can learn a lot from others. People ask about the best size trolling motor and they talk about battery storage. A lot of people talk about the leaning post and cooler options. People give advice on simple fixes, minor concerns, adjustments that help fuel efficiency and warranty issues. People share photos. It’s a very friendly, informative group.”
In what types of water do you enjoy your Carolina Skiff 23 LS?
“I don’t go out very far. We do have good bays where you can go out pretty far. I do go out on those better days, and I haven’t had any issues with rough water. It handles very well,” he said. “The Carolina Skiff two-piece liner really provides a solid ride and helps in rougher waters. I like how sturdy it is.”
What is your favorite feature of the Carolina Skiff 23 LS?
“The boat size is just fantastic,” he said. “You’re not doing twister around your gear and everyone on the boat trying to go up to the bow. There’s plenty of room to fish, if you’re doing a lot of trolling. That’s such a big deal to me, not being right up on top of everybody. Even with extra coolers and gear on the floor, there’s plenty of room. That floor space is priceless.”
“With traditional bay boats, the gunnel height is so low, that I don’t feel comfortable having kids in a boat like that,” he added. “My Carolina Skiff LS has the same draft, length and power as a bay boat, but when my girls stand up in the floor of the boat, the gunnels are at their chest. I don’t have to worry about the rolling out of the boat, thanks to the high gunnels.”
Have you made any changes to your boat since you purchased it?
Like many boat owners, Radford said he has made some modifications and upgrades to his boat since initial purchase. He added speakers near the electronics box so his family can enjoy music while spending a day on a sandbar. He added a second battery with a changeover switch as well as a VHS radio with an antenna. He altered his motor rigging to prevent sun exposure, premature wear, fraying or damage.
“All of that in addition to regular maintenance,” he said. “I’m pretty particular about my boat.”
Are you looking to purchase a different boat in the future?
Radford said he’s had his eye on Carolina Skiff’s deep water Sea Chaser line, but with a young family the Carolina Skiff 23 LS is the right boat for him for now.
He said enjoys taking the boat out with his family, spending a sunny day enjoying blue skies, calm waters, good music and family fun at nearby sandbars. But when he heads out by himself, he also enjoys trolling along area beaches for Spanish mackerel, Albacore and King mackerel.
“For my family, interests and needs, the Carolina Skiff 23 LS is the perfect boat with the perfect size and the perfect features, all at a great price point.”
Anything else you’d like to tell us about your boat?
Radford said he would like to eventually add a trolling motor setup to his boat so he can fish some new areas he hasn’t been able to access. He said the Carolina Skiff flip up console with changing curtain and Porta Potti are also valued features. Whether fishing alone or cruising with family the on-board convenience and extra space offered are beneficial.
“That console, the T-top setup and the leaning post are just necessities, I think. Carolina Skiff does all of this so well. It makes for an outstanding boat at an outstanding price,” he said. “We’ve put about 80 hours on our boat this year alone. It’s been so great. We just really, really enjoy it.”