Chapter V… Pre-Absolute (almost done)
The last month had definitely been the longest month of my life. For the first time in half a decade, I was boatless for an extended period of time. Though the wait was actually not that long, it felt like forever but finally my dream boat has been realized. The result of a shopping list of little nit pick details I gave to Maverick Boat Company gave way for my new skiff… a 2011 Maverick Mirage HPX-V 18.
Yamaha F90: After having fished out of 3 different setups… Yamaha F150, F115, and F90, I decided to go with an F90 for this 18 HPX. Even I was skeptical of the F90 on a bigger skiff at first but after having spent an afternoon on Capt. Mark Krowka’s 18 HPX wit F90, I was absolutely convinced. The lighter motor in the rear will not only allow the 18 HPX-V to be poled in less then 8 inches of water, but it will also allow the HPX to spin quicker and quieter (it also helps that the boat does not need sponsons to float shallow). Speed was not an issue as the F90 setup should have no problems running in the mid 40s. I spend most of my time chasing fish on my push pole, not on the big motor.
Custom Hull/Deck color: I’ve always liked the subtle look and have always been in the pursuit of sharp looks without sacraficing function. I am a firm beleiver in the cliche “form follows function.” I’ve pondered on several different hull color combinations and in a last minute move (and some inspiration from my buddy Jeremy’s 18 HPX), I decided to go with a 2 tone deck. I chose a custom color called Whisper Grey for the non-skid, hull, and console. This was a popular color back in the early Maverick days and one which would suit the look I was going for perfectly. Whisper grey is a really light grey, almost white, but shaded just enough so that there would be absolutely no glare reflecting off this color. No more glare in your eyes when looking down from the poling platform and no more white balance blowouts in photos. The color stays cool after being in the sun for long periods of time, unlike the darker greys and blacks. It was a no brainer. Another added plus is that the whipser grey also cleans up fairly easy. Accenting the Whipser grey on the deck of my mirage, I had Maverick use their “ice blue” for the trim around the non-skid and front and rear bulkheads. The 2 tone look added some sex appeal while retaining it’s functionality. I would say win-win!!
Console and switches: I chose to go with the smaller 17 HPX-V console to make room for a bigger cooler and bigger deck. Maverick installs a bigger hatch opening on the console now that allows for easier access. A removable shelf was also put in to hold small accessories. Rather then go with the toggle switches, I upgraded to the Lenco push button switches which is more erganomic in my opinion when you are modulating the throttle and playing with the trim at the same time. I had these same style switch setup on my old 17 HPX-V and loved it.
Trailer: Ameratrail Trailer with zero degree torsion axle, side carpeted bunks, and rollers on the rear crossmember… for the closest thing to absolute dry launch. The hubs never get wet.
Accessorizing: This part of the skiff is totally subjective to every indivudials’ needs. Some like to deck out the skiff with every accessory known to man from power poles to full blown GPS/Radars, to harpoon canons. I decided to keep this skiff simple. I went with a Pro-Trim casting platform on the bow of the skiff as I have become very familiar with that foot print. I chose a simple but sexy Garmin 546 GPSMap as a Nav Aid (ordered and on the way). To keep my drinks cool, I chose a mid sized Yeti cooler (ordered and on the way) to rest in front of my console and will probably be getting a second larger cooler for food fish gathering missions. Of coarse, no skiff is complete these days without Sea Deck. I had Tyler from Castaway Customs install the Sea Deck pads under the rod gunnels, on my poling platform, and casting platform. To complete the setup, I will be installing a Wang Anchor setup and possibly a removable Minnkota iPilot trolling motor.
I drove up to Fort Pierce to picked up my new skiff this past Friday and spent today breaking in the motor. The arena would be the weekend warrior and wind driven turbid waters of the northern recesses of Biscayne Bay in metropolitan Miami; just within sight of Government Cut and Brickell. Once I got passed the 3 hour mark, I got to open her up a little. The results were nothing short of amazing. My buddy Juanki and I decided to do a quick test run to see what potential this type of power will have on this hull. With 2 anglers, an almost full tank of gas, cooler full of ice and drinks, and fishing gear; I made a quick short run and reached 45mph in mere seconds. I looked down at the tach to see that I wasn’t fully trimmed up yet and that I would still have a bit of room to play with but decided to back it down until after the motor is completely broken in. No doubt this boat is going to be a 48-49mph skiff running a lighter load. What truley amazed me were the cruise speeds… 36-37mph @ 4600rpms.
The 10 kt breeze turned into a consistant 15kt wind with 20kt gusts in the afternoon. Taking this opportunity, I decided to run straight across the roughest part of Biscayne Bay from Key Biscayne on the east side of the bay straight to Gables by the Sea on the west side of the bay. We got the skiff running up on it’s pad and never got a drop of water in the boat. What was also amazing was the incredible bow lift and the willingness of the hull to stay in the water instead of leaping airborne. This was a true testament to the genius design of the brainchilds over at Maverick Boat Company.
Everyone’s got that one friend who nit picks at every little details and will always find something negative to say about the slightest details. I brought that one friend along with me today and in his exact words… “I honestly can’t think of anything negative I can point out about this boat.” I just grinned… thinking about the next time on the water and finally getting some slime on the deck (figure of speech).
Stay tuned for the next chapter… I ran out of smart ideas to name the next chapter as I have absolutely no clue what will be in store for us on the next outing. There is only one way to find out…