May 16, 2014
Exclusive FS photos of the brand-new Maverick Mirage 18 HPX.
Maverick Boat Company markets the Mirage18 HPX as a "great crossover poling skiff and backcountry boat." Key features include lock-down dry storage, vacuum-infused carbon body with Kevlar laminate, and a 30-gallon center livewell/release well for large baitfish or tournament redfish that need weighing. The 18 HPX is the most recent member of Maverick HPX family, which includes a 15-footer and a stack of 17-footers.
We hopped along with Capt. Benny Blanco for a quick ride in his fresh-from-the-factory Mirage HPX 18. Blanco picked up the HPX 18 from Fort Pierce to try out on his home waters of Florida and Whitewater bays. Redfish tournament veterans Rick Murphy and Geoff Page fished from the exact same boat weekends before at an IFA Redfish event.
Length Overall: 18' 4"
Beam: 6' 8"
Dry weight: 1,425 lbs with Yamaha F150
Transom deadrise: 13 degrees
Draft: 10 inches
Recommended horsepower: 115
Max horsepower: 150
Fuel capacity: 30 gallons
Passengers: 4 persons or 600 lbs
Room for two fishermen upfront on the forward, flush casting deck. Notice the wide gunnels for walk-around fishing. Bow lifting cleat rises six inches to make way for anchor rope.
Forward dry storage has room for necessities like life jackets, emergency equipment, and anchor and rode. Notice deep gutters for drainage. Fuel fill is on port side of deck.
Three deck-mount pushpole holders come standard. Pictured Stiffy push pole optional. Forward and aft casting decks are flush for tangle- and snag-free fishing.
Five rod tubes come standard on the starboard side bow for rodtip protection; four rod tubes are portside. The HPX hull is constructed using Vacuum Assisted Resin Infusion System (VARIS) technology, which allows for a no-wood, no-rot foam build.
Under-gunnel padding standard on the HPX 18. Three levels of under-gunnel rod storage on either side of the boat make room for spinning, baitcasting and fly rods.
Optional seat mounts in front of center console; seat opens into a cooler.
Console comes standard with basic Yamaha multi-function gauges. Dash accommodates flush-mount electronics, such as optional Garmin package (not shown). Stainless wheel and hand rails are a nice touch.
Lower section of console doubles as lockable storage.
Optional cooler seat in front of console snaps in and out of place by way of brackets on each side of the cooler.
Shot of the optional cooler from above. Notice the drainage holes.
Jerry McBride fishes from the aft casting deck. He's standing on one of two lockable dry storage compartments that mirror each other. Behind him, near the engine, there's a dedicated rigging compartment. Forward, center, is a 30-gallon livewell with optional aeration system with bubbler. Aft seat cushion flips out of place when not in use.
Inside the rigging compartment, near the engine, there's easy access to water-separating fuel filter and livewell pump with clear strainer and stainless steel ball valve.
Poling tower is standard on the Mirage HPX 18. The HPX 18 is factory rigged with Yamaha 90, 115 or 150 hp engines. Manufacturer reports 115 hp tops 50 mph; F150 reaches mid-60s.
LED all-around light hides below the poling platform. LED navigational and under-gunnel lights come standard.
Capt. Blenny Blanco has no problem poling in a bit of chop. He comments that this 18-footer is every bit as quiet as his 17-foot Maverick HPX.
Recessed trim tabs come standard. Notice the high-speed pickup for livewell is located to starboard side of engine.