This is Texas, bigger is always better.LOL Seriously, buy as big as you can afford. Most 26'ers handle seas better and offer a ton more room. If you can afford to run twins do so. Having that extra insurance on the back end is worth every penny if one goes down anywhere offshore.
Ive gone 50miles off in a 23' hydra sport with a single engine, in what turned out to be 4-6 ft. Wasnt the best ride, but got the job done. off course depending on money, but I would go with like a 24' with twins.
The difference between 21 and 26 feet is dramatic. You are dealing with a volume measurement here so you have a major increase in heft. I went from a Robalo 20 with a single Y-200 to a Mako 261 with two of them and it's just an entirely different vehicle. I fished the Robalo out of Port A for a few years out to Southern, which is, what, 35 miles out? You are always going to windward from the Texas coast so, while the 26 has a better ride, you are still going 17-20 kts max in 2-3' seas unless you start shaking fillings out.
just be careful. they use creative measurements with the boat lengths these days. you have some 23' boats that are actually in the 26' class and you also have some 26' boats that have the space and drivability of a 21' boat. The hydrasport vector 23 is a good example of that, I have seen wahooman's 23 and it is a big 23' boat. I too say go with as big as you can afford because once you go 40 you wil want 50-60-70 miles and you will get 2'itis.
Depends on your usage. Are you looking to fish offshore occasionally on ice cream days and hit the bay often, or are you turning into a bluewater Ho.
If you plan to fish offshore in our typical 2-3's go as big as you can. Otherwise, if you're going to cherry pick your days and stick to kings, ling and snaps at 30-40 miles, you'll be happier with a more diverse vessel that gets 3+ MPG and can do those shallower water bay trips. Not talking about a flats boat, but a 21-22' single engine moderate freeboard boat.
The big boats gets expensive to run and has for me, has limited some of those short fun runs with just two people - especially at $3.20/gallon.
A few months ago, I was out of Freeport, maybe 30 miles when we heard a guy on ch. 16 trying to call the Coast Guard for help. He was in a 22' boat, single engine and had spun his prop. We named him "Spun Prop" for the day. His VHF would not reach the c.g. so we offered to relay and sucessfully so. So "spun prop" w/one engine sat out there (5 adults aboard) wiating 4 hours for a Towboat US (Tempest Marine) to come tow them in. I was close to them, but never could spot them even though he claimed to have shot a couple of flares. SO, BE AWARE - EVEN IF SOMEONE IS WILLING TO HELP YOU, THEY MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIND YOU--YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN OUT THERE. I would not ventue offshore w/ one engine.
a good quality 23' deep-v (Contender,Regulator, Fountain)is all you'll ever need (if you stay within 40/50 miles)..most people won't head out when it's bigger than 3' anyway. As far as twins - I guess it depends on you pocketbook - I personaly run a single 50 -60 miles out on a regular basis and have no problem doing it.
Terry that's the old me.. I now have a 21' yacht....my buddy Gary is the one who is certifiable - I told him that Boomvang was only 40 miles past Cervesa and he was figuring in his head if the 18' whaler could make it there and back...