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!
Chapter IV… Refined…
We approach the final stages of the construction process of my new Maverick Mirage. The hull and cap were popped from the molds, the cap was then fused to the hull, seadeck installed, and now the final details are being worked on. The hatches were installed, console wired, Yammadog hung on the rear, and little details refined. These photos depict the final stage before the installation of the poling platform. I await several other accessories such as the casting platform, prop, and GPS to bring my Mirage closer to completion.
The wait is near an end and the fun has almost just begun.
Stay tuned for the next chapter… Pre-Absolute!!!
Welcome to the Third Chapter in the construciton of my next Maverick Mirage…. Fused
The construction of my new Maverick Mirage is near completion. I visited the Maverick Boat Co. plant this past week and got to take the first in person glance at my new skiff. The color combination looks great in photos but even better in person. I can’t wait to bring her home. While at the factory, I got to watch the masterminds fuse the hull and the cap of my boat together. After I had lunch with the whole Maverick Boat Co. administration, Tyler of Castaway Customs met up with me and installed the under gunnel seadeck pads. The work definitely speaks for itself as the quality of Tyler’s work is second to none. Here are some photos from my visit north…
Stay tuned for the next chapter… Refined…
Well, after much thought I finally decided to let go of my 17 HPX-V. This boat has brought me many memories and caught loads of fish. As of a couple of years ago, I went and did a complete makeover on the boat rigging it for tarpon and bonefishing on the ocean. This means it has been modified to run faster and drier then most other 17 HPX-Vs. This skiff is set up to handle big water, float shallow enough to conquer the demands of Flamingo, Biscayne Bay, and the Florida Keys, and display maximum agility while on the pole. Set up to run with maximum bow lift, this skiff can run on it’s pad trimmed high with the tabs all the way up. All service, installations, and modifications done by Shallow Water Customs and Erics Outboards.
2004 Maverick 17 HPX-V
-Tournament Console with 3 plumbed wells
-2009 Ameritrail Trailer (loaded and set for dry launch)
-Powerwinch RC30 for trailer
-Garmin 545 GPS
-Wang Anchor Bracket with 5′ Wang Anchor
-Custom Toe rails by Shallow Water Customs
-All pumps recently replaced by Shallow Water Customs
-All brand new wiring and switches rigged by Shallow Water Customs on March 2010.
-both brand new Lenco Trim Tab Actuators and trim tab switch
-Navman 2100 Fuel Scan meter
-Lowrance depth finder/water temp gauge (2.5 round gauge)
-Custom Sea Deck in cockpit, on front deck, and under rod gunnels
-New higher Capacity Aluminum Gas Tank installed by Maverick Boat Co.
-Powertech 3 blade 19 pitch PTR Prop
The entire hull is structurally perfect… no squeaks, no flex, no weak spots, nothing annoying to have to put up with. Motor purrs like a kitten and runs great. Trailer hubs never touched saltwater.
A chain of islands better known as “Keys” lies at the southern-most region of Florida. At first glance, we begin to notice that once we step into the realm of this wonderful place, time seems to slow and the tranquil pace of life takes the place of the “get up and go” lifestyle that is Miami. Who would know that a major metropolitan city would neighbor this republic of tranquility? For some those like myself who have lived the fast paced life and seen the late nights and early mornings through the eyes of a college student and club hopper, there comes a time when life must slow down. There comes a time when one seeks a shot of tranquility on the water rather then a shot of Tanqueray on the rocks at a stuffy night club. The chaos on the dance floor transitions to chaos on the poling platform as a bonefish muds on your fly and fly line jumps stark raving mad through your guides. There is a time to party, there is a time to relax, and then there is a time to enjoy life in this paradise that is the Florida Keys.
I returned to the Florida Keys this past week to take advantage of this vast diversity of terrain. Fishing from as far south as the atoll known as the Marquesas, moving up to the Purple Isle (Islamorada) and fishing as far north as the Biscayne Bay, my friends and I targetting bonefish and permit on the clear shallow flats that were teaming with life. Both the Maverick Mirage HPX-V 17 and 18 proved to be versatile skiffs built specifically to take on the challenges of big water, shallow flats, and weary fish.
We started the week down south in Key West. Capt. Frank and I met up with my buddy Twig in the AM. We decided on a 2 boat fishing trip as the crossing over to the Marquesas can be a treacherous one if something out of the ordinary were supposed to happen. As I’ve said before, Boca Grande channel is no joke… but both our Mirage skiffs proved ready to handle the task of the crossing this very day. Winds blew about 15kts, swells kicked up, props would breach the surface, but the permit were chewing, and us anglers very anxious to throw flies and crabs on their dinner plate. Capt. Frank and I managed over 25 shots, having one permit eat the fly and missing him before hooking 2 big fish and landing one on a crab. It was truley some of the best permit fishing I had ever experienced. After the fish stopped tailing, we visited a near shore wreck and caught our limit of big mangrove snappers to come home for dinner, then stopped at the reef and played with some very big sharks on fly before calling it a day and heading back. The amount of life and scenery was truley amazing. This is what keeps us coming back.
My next stop brought me to Islamorada where my buddy Jeremy and I would take his new 18 HPX-V out for an afternoon of bonefishing. Jeremy had just put a new Powertech 4 blade 20 pitch PTR prop on the boat and it proved to be a major improvement over the previous TRO prop that was on there. I feel there should still be more we can get out of this boat with a different prop though. All techy stuff aside, the fishing was definitely improving. Bonefish are starting to transition into their spring pattern and feeding hard. We managed 6 shots and hooked 2 bonefish. I caught a weight fish and Jeremy got spooled by an absolutely huge downtown Islamorada slob bonefish.
My journey ends at the north end of the chain of Keys known as Biscayne Bay. My buddy Tim had invited me to fish in his newly purchased HPX-V 17 so we decided that a bonefish would be the perfect first slime in the boat. 10 shots and 2 fish later, mission accomplished. A fitting end to an incredible few days on the water…
The clock winds down and spring is definitely approaching. The fish are finally starting to feed well as the temperatures rise. I couldn’t think of a better way to kick off Spring. The first days of spring have finally arrived. All there is left now is to wait for the poons to show. We will be there, down in the Florida Keys waiting off the flat in the tarpon highway with 12wt in hand… rise tempertures rise!
Until next time…