2011 Maverick Mirage 18 HPX-V
– Mercury Optimax 115 ProXs (less then 200hrs) with Mercury throttle and SmartCraft gauge
– 35 Gallon Fuel Tank
– 2 tone custom Whisper Grey nonskid and deck with Ice Blue Slicks
– Custom Seadeck poling platform pad and Tarpon design Under-gunnel pads
– 2012 updated wiring schedule from Maverick
– Custom Permanently mounted cushion (color matched deck with black piping)
– Stiffy Push Pole Holders
– Motor Bracket for Power Pole mount
– two 12volt batteries in console (one for cranking one for trolling motor)
– Garmin 546 GPS
– Stereo System by Shallow Water Customs
– Minnkota 55lb Thurst iPilot Trolling motor with capability to mount on bow or transom
– Full equipped Livewell with recirc, raw water, high speed pickup, and bubbler
– Custom Dry Launch Ameritrail Trailer (Never dunked in Saltwater and no rust at all on hub or axles)
– negative 20 degree torsion axle
– Port side walk-board
– Carpeted side support bunks
– Dual rollers on rear axle
Performance features include a 7.5in draft. Top speed in mid 50s and cruise around 40mph. Very fuel efficient (between 5mpg to 9mpg depending on cruising speed).
The 18 HPX-V has proved itself to be the best all around skiff for fishing in Florida. It has the ability to travel long distances and through rough water safely and comfortably. You can carry a ton of bait or a few fly rods on a given day…heck even both. The skiff excels in being able to stalk weary bonefish on the shallow flats one minute, then net some bait and go fish a nearshore wreck the next. Versatility is what the 18 HPX-V was built for. Skiff is what in tip top shape… 9.5 out of 10 rating. Must see to believe. She is ready to fish.
Fall has definitely set in, followed by cooling temperatures, lobster sized live shrimp in the baitwell, blue bird skies, and lots of muddy minded fish. Redfish in Flamingo are swimming on the mud in the afternoon heat and hanging off the deep end of mud banks on cool mornings. Bonefish on the other side of this little world in Islamorada are mudding their tails off, fattening up for the winter. The deep backcountry of the Everglades is also teeming with life. On a recent day in the backcountry, we caught snook, redfish, bream (I haven’t caught a pan fish on fly in over a decade), and gar all in the same few coves. As temperatures cool, catches of 40+ redfish are becomming less uncommon in a single day. We’ve been having a ball catching a bunch of backcountry redfish on DOA CAL shad tails in the new Fiji Chicken color fished on a 1/8oz or 1/4oz chartruese CAL jighead. Fall fishing is just straight up fun and relaxing.
Days have been real windy so it has been fun tackling some big chop in big water in my new 18 Maverick Mirage. I recently added a Minnkota Riptide ST trolling motor with iPilot for some of the deeper water backcountry stuff and it has worked amazing. The spot lock feature on the iPilot trolling motor is pretty amazing (thought it does kinda promote my laziness).
This is definitely a cool time of year to fish…
Stay tuned for more skiff fish porn…
My buddy Paul and I set out a couple of weekends ago to put the new 18 HPX out in it’s paces covering quite a bit of water in the SW portion of the Everglades from Shark Rivers to Snake Bight and a bit further East. We met up with my Dennis and Jason in their 17 HPX-V and set out on a 2 boat adventure into the unknown. We encountered windy creeks, big storm brewed chop, drastic changes in weather, and lots of redfish in muddy water and clean water. While fishing on each side of Flamingo, we saw tons of bait.. mainly finger mullet. But the redfish didn’t show much interest in the mullet… rather they followed the mullet around and pounced on every little shrimp or crab that the schools of mullet would spook up. It was pretty neat to watch aggressive redfish in the dirty water pounce our DOA Shrimp , then travel 50 miles back to the shallow clear flats of Snake Bight to watch schools of big redfish blow up on the same DOA Shrimp. By far the coolest sight though was sneaking right up on top of a tailing redfish rooting in the grass for a crab and seeing it dig out the crab and munch on it right under my feet (crab legs were still sticking out of the fish’s mouth and mud flaring out of gills). The ‘Glades always offers a spectacular show for it’s visitors. This is a very special place.
Stay tuned for more ahead…
I recently made the switch from a Maverick Mirage 17 HPX-V to an 18 HPX-V and spent the last couple of weeks breaking in the motor on the 18 HPX-V. The 17 HPX-V definitely had a fun feel to it and just had this personality that can’t ever be duplicated by any other skiff on this planet. It definitely stands on its own. The 18 HPX-V is different in it’s own world and displays much more confidence and an ability to stand firm when conditions are at their toughest. These are two very different machines, both with the same mission in mind.
This is the time of year when fishing can be spotty with the fast warming water temperatures and limited light. I call it the season of uncertainty. The only thing certain about late summer is the tropical activity manifesting in our waters. Tropical systems brewing in the Atlantic and Gulf can turn even the calmest bay into a slaughter house of big chop within a single day… sometimes even within minutes. The last few weeks have brought forth some stormy weather and the 18 HPX has faced some of the nastiest conditions head on crossing some of the biggest chop that I have seen in Biscayne Bay and the Keys. The boat felt solid while running a big windy chop and leaping large swells birthed from large yachts. We’ve covered some great distances in the last few days on the water but when time came for a serious day of fishing, there was no dissapointment. The solid ride got us through the choppy water and the shallow draft got us to the bonefish as we can now pole accross the shallow bar rather then having to go around it. The fishing had been very spotty with short windows of shots. We made due with what we had and took advantage of the new abilities we were given to finally break in this new skiff in many aspects.
Versatility defined… Chucking flies at tailing bonefish in Islamorada, slinging muddlers at Tarpon in Flamingo, and dropping crabs in the path of Permit in Marathon in a single day burning less then 1/2 a tank of gas!
All my life, I have always tried to seek out the best of the best and this comes especially true when choosing my next flats skiff. This will my my third skiff I own and my third product from Maverick Boat Company as well. Currently, Maverick Boats is building my next skiff… and for the first time, I was able to build one from scratch with every little nit pick detail that I desired. After a 12 year run fishing the shallows from Flamingo to Islamorada, I have finally spec’ed out everything I wanted in a skiff; both for guiding and for fun fishing days.
I learned to run a boat and fish the shallows at age 12 on a Hewes/Maverick Light Tackle 18 flats skiff (currently the Redfisher 18). It had a 2 tone commander blue and white hull with Yamaha 150HP Saltwater Series motor, lots of weight, and a fishy attitude. I tried to get into places where this big flats boat was pushed to it’s limits from big water Dolphin fishing to shallow water Redfishing. This was hardly a skiff, but a big water flats boat, which my buddies and I actually did end up still trying to pole. For many years, I first learned to fish Whitewater Bay before learning how to fish the flats out front in Florida Bay. Along the way, my buddy Capt. Frank had also taught me how to bonefish in Key Largo as well as introduce me to fly fishing. I did a lot of this in either Frank’s Hewes Bayfisher 18 or my Hewes Light Tackle 18. These bigger skiffs were adequate and got me where I needed to be dry and comfortably. I fished the hell out of my 18 Light Tackle from the day I bought it in 1998 until the day I sold it in 2004.
In the next few weeks, I will keep an updated blog on Saltyshores of the entire skiff building process that goes into a Maverick Mirage HPX from start to finish. Until next time…. stay tuned for the “Hatching”!!!
My buddy Dave Teper (www.worldangling.com) had rented a house in the lower Keys for the month of July so Jeremy and I decided to take his 18 HPX-V down to Key West this last weekend for a couple of days of fishing. Fishing was good, food was great, and the good times had were second to none. Thanks, Dave for the invitation.
Jeremy, David McCleaf, and I decided to make a game plan covering all the different types of fishing that Key West had to offer. The crystal clear waters were teaming with life and the many types of fishing that could be had in one day were too good to pass up. There was bait everywhere, lots of clear water, and the remnants of lobster hunters stayed well away from where we planned on fishing (except for that one tool bag in a big catamaran who decided it was a good idea to get in front of us and motor up to every tarpon that swam towards us). The versatility of the Maverick 18 HPX-V allowed us to cover everything from the shallowest inshore flats where permit and bonefish tailed to the wrecks and reefs in the deeper waters. Making the crossing through Northwest Channel, Lakes Passage, and Boca Grande Channel to the Marquesas had never been this comfortable. We kicked off the first hour of fishing with our first small permit and proceded to mix things up from there. From the wrecks to the flats, we caught Permit, Bonefish, Cobia, Snappers, and even hooked a Tarpon on fly. Some of the food I had this last weekend was absolutely epic; Lobster dinner on the first night, the best cuban food at El Siboney the second night, and then grilled up the cobia we caught on the final night there. This was definitely a weekend to remember…