The Wingmaster Sandpiper 150 is a microskiff built out of Lakeland Florida. Larry Nolan the owner, has been building boats for over 15 years. As you can imagine he has built and help, design, and test many very popular boats that are around today.
Larry contacted me to use the first skiff in his Wingmaster line up. Most boat manufacturers as you might guess, hate it when you say something negative about their boat but Larry wanted constructive criticism. He wanted any and all input good or bad.
As I write this review January 2015 I have used the skiff on and off now for almost three months. I did not just run the boat in circles for 15 minutes an write a boat review. I have fished Florida everglades , Louisiana marshes and Texas waters. Caught snook, trout, tarpon and giant bull reds. I’ve ran it skinny enough to run aground(and a couple of oyster bars) in deep waters for bull reds, in slick calm and in choppy conditions. I’ve ran it solo, with 2 people and overloaded it with even 3 people on board. Used the trolling motor and poled the skiff in calm and windy conditions. I feel like I know the skiff pretty well.
What I am trying to say is I will be very straight forward about this review. No eloquent words, no beating around the bush talking about history of skiffs, who what when and where etc. This will be straight forward break down of my likes and dislikes.
First let me say you are reading a perspective from a person that likes to fish inshore from a microskiffs. I have own several of them in my time.
Microskiffs is not a do it all boat. If you are looking to fish offshore and run rough waters click away now. This is not a boat for you. You are wasting your time.
If you like to fish skinny, fish alone at times, fish with one other person, have decent balance and want ease of maintenance a microskiff in my opinion, is the way to go. You get to fish waters that kayakers fish but get the range and comfort only limited few have access to.
Being a kayak fisherman I’ve always looked at Google map and wonder; If I could only get there in my kayak I bet that creek my big boats can’t get in is full of fish. Of course it was just too much of hassle to use a mother ship but too long to paddle there. With a boat like the Sandpiper I could get there in comfort and fish those remote creeks. Let me tell you, I was right about not all, but many of those remote creeks.
As to not fill these pages with meaningless babble I will break them down into sections so we can get to the point much faster.
Looks/Fit and finish:
If you are familiar with may of the early microskiffs the fit and fish has been very lacking. These days they are very sharp looking and the Sandpiper is no exception. The Sandpiper especially with the aluminum trailer that it comes with is a very nice looking boat. Nothing to be embarrassed about at the ramp. It truly looks like you are towing a small legit skiff. When I was towing it to Texas and back I must have gotten stopped 6 times with people wanting to check out the boat. Pretty much at every gas station you can immediately tell who was the fisherman there.
Stability is always a tricky question to answer. If you have never been in a small boat you will think it is “tippy”. However if you have ridden in a small boats before you will be pleasantly surprise how stable it is. Is it for polling for tarpon on the beach with 3 foot swells in 8 feet of water? Absolutely not. Poling the flats in 3′ or less of water sight fishing? No problem. On the front deck putting a 35qt yeti cooler is stable and works perfect for a casting deck. The only time I had a stumble on the boat is when I tried to use a small 17 qt cooler as a casting deck.
If you look at the front of the Sandpiper you can see the chine that works a secondary stability. I find hull slap an issue on two occasions. When I’m idling into waves it lifts the bow up creating air space making slapping noise as the water hits it. The other is when I lean too much left or right when I’m fishing again creating air space and allowing water to slap.
That being said, I have fished on the bow, going into head waves as well as quartering waves the boat is super quiet. In Tampa, where on a normal skiff it is tough to even get close our highly pressured redfish I am able to get within 15′ of of them.
Conclusion: The boat is super quiet as long as the bow is down. It will create noise if all your weight is in the back of the boat lifting the bow too high. The boat balanced with two people or if you are fishing alone and fishing the front, it is very quiet.
I have ran the boat with a 15 Tohatsu 4 stroke as well as a 20hp. Both are the same weight so obviously I like the faster option. Getting on plane is not an issue even with 3 people(yes over loaded).
The skiff will run in about a foot of water. This is not a tunnel so it will not run in 6″ of water. It does however float in 6″ of water.
Anything over 1′ you will get wet. There is no way around the laws of physics unfortunately. These are small boats when it’s choppy and windy, to avoid spray you are just gonna need a bigger boat.
That being said, compared to other boats its size, the ride quality is good.
Speaking of water, if water does get in, this is one of the few microskiff I have been in that has a partial false floor. The partial false floor keeps the cockpit flat and drains the water to the back and your gear stays out of the water.
Porpoising was a none issue once the motor was positioned right.
Standing and running with a tiller extension I did feel like I needed more room so I ask them to move the console up a few inches on the next build.
Gas millage you can expect 6 to 10 mpg depending on load and if you run full throttle or not. I rarely use more than one gallon per fishing trip.
The boat turns great, no sliding. I did a lot of zigging and zagging in the everglades mangrove tunnels.
I do find I need to remove the tiller extension to get the best performance on tight turns.
These speed test are real world loads. Fishing gear, a cooler and me weighing around 200lbs.
15 hp I was able to get 23 to 25 mph
20 hp I was able to get 26 to 28 mph
overload test: 3 people on a 20hp I was able to get 22 mph
If you get out of the boat you can float in about 4″ but for practicality 6″ is a honest estimate.
Like most microskiff poling is very easy due to their lightweight nature. This is pretty simple with one person in front and me poling. The boat tracked very straight does not drift or bow steer (sticky bow). I’ve poled into the wind and into quartering seas and the boat is quiet. The times I did constantly hear noise was when poling down wind. I stopped and waves hits the transom creating noise.
The trailer looks great and carries the boat real well. It comes with 2 pvc poles with built in reflectors for easy launch ad loading. It was custom made just for this skiff and is fully aluminum.
It is not low enough to dry launch. The wheels will have to be about a little more than halfway in to launch. You also need to pull the motor up or the skeg will drag on you.
There is 3 locations for storage. The bow/under the deck house a gas tank and there is enough room for a couple life jackets. It has a small lip to keep water out in case it gets in.
In the console there is enough room for a large battery and a charger.
Under the rear deck though it does get wet back there.
4 molded rod holders. All 4 are long enough to fit fly rods no problem.
The skiff sells for about $8.000.00 for boat, motor and trailer.
It is an all Carbon Kevlar build with nicely above average fit and finish.
If you are looking for something that just to get on the water and looking to spend as little as possible this is not the boat for you.(the value is not there for you)
This is a boat for someone that wants looks, performance and a quality build not found in many microskiff. A person that don’t mind spending a little more to get what they want.
The pricing is quite fair considering the build quality and components involved.
For those looking for this type of microskiff the Wingmaster Sandpiper 150 is definitely worth a look.
Sandpiper 150 specs
Dry Weight: 300 lbs
Occupancy: 2 people or 500 lbs
Fuel Capacity: 3gal removable gas tank
Transom Height: 20″
Max Horsepower: 20HP
Max Engine Weight: 115lbs
5 Year Limited Hull Structural Warranty
Custom Carbon Kevlar Hull
All White Hull, Deck Gelcoat(options available)
Custom Full Deck Non-Skid
Vinyl Rub Rail
Vacuumed infused solid core
Stainless Pull Up Cleat
Custom console and grab rail
LED navigation lights
Horizontal Rod Holders
15hp Manual Start
Custom full aluminum trailer