Overview by Honson:
I have owned several V hull poling skiffs but decided it was time to push the limits of technical skiff versatility with my next skiff. I needed a skiff that can do it all with as little compromise as possible. It needed to handle the demands of chasing bonefish and permit; able to safely cross big open spans of water between the shallows anywhere from Biscayne Bay to Key West in a 25kt wind.
It needed to be able to float in the shallowest ponds and back bays that hold redfish and snook in the Everglades. I needed this skiff to be able to handle the various conditions while tarpon fishing on the Oceanside of the Keys from holding or pushing out to strings of tarpon in an angry sea with rushing current to being able to cover expansive backcountry basins on the push pole and maneuver around laid up tarpon un-noticed.
I needed a skiff that could push very light but at the same time have total control when poling in a big wind. This really seems too much to ask for but after being able to borrow a Maverick Mirage 17 HPX-S to fish all last spring and summer, I was convinced on what my next skiff would be. The Maverick Mirage 17 HPX-S is the latest craft in the Maverick Mirage lineup from Maverick Boat Group.
The hull is truly unique onto itself with all original design architected from top to bottom to fit form and function. The design cues say Maverick Mirage all over it yet you’ll notice something very different at the same time. From the location of the chines and spray rails that are strategically placed to deflect spray while running all the while staying above the water line when poling and at rest, keeping the skiff silent; to strategic placement of vortex generators at the rear and mid ship to break up surface tension and make the HPX-S excel in maneuvering and running stability; to the higher bow and tapered design making the HPX-S very sea worthy and deadly silent skiff when stalking weary fish.
The S in HPX-S likely stands for “Shallow” but I honestly think it truly to stand for “Stealthy”. This is by far the quietest, sneakiest, and best poling technical poling skiff that I have ever poled as well as the absolute driest non-V hull I have ever fished on. It was a no brainer. I decided shortly to have one built to fit my fishing needs.
The deck layout of the Maverick HPX-S was very well thought out (i.e. Being able to access storage behind you without having to get up from your seat). You will find more then ample storage in the stern compartments as well as front deck storage with enough room to smuggle several refugees (kidding about smuggling refugees of coarse). Not only is the storage plenty but you are able to access all the hatches on the stern without having to get up out of your seat.
Fit and finish and wiring is flawless on the skiff. There was more rod storage in the gunnels on my previous HPX-V skiff, but the HPX-S has ample rod storage as well as easy access to rack and unrack your rods. Livorsi shark eyes on the hull make for better visibility when running around in the dark. Everything on this skiff was thought out very well.
Custom and optional Features:
I chose to start my HPX-S build choosing a color combination that would be new to me: Guide Green Hull and slicks with Wheat color Non-skid. All the aluminum on the skiff is powdercoated black to give the skiff good contrast. Here is a list of features I added to my skiff:
- Guide Green Hull/slicks and Wheat color Nonskid. I have owned grey and blue skiffs my whole life so I decided to go with 2 colors I had never chosen before.
- Over the console grab rail (this is great for holding on to while you walk around the cockpit or when your passanger decides to stand up and hold on to while running the boat.)
- Plummed livewell with bubbler, raw water intake, and recirc.for those rare occasions when I do decide to bring shrimp/crabs along or decide to throw the net and black out the well with white bait.
- Custom Platforms. Large Casting platform secured to the deck at the feet (removable with 3 screws at each foot). A small step up platform in front of the poling platform makes it more convenient to fish from the stern during tarpon season when anchored up fishing solo as well as makes for a solid step to climb up and down the poling platform.
- V Marine Poling Platform Holder. With the various options for platform push pole clips on the market, I chose to go with this particular push pole holder clip for several reasons. Firstly the quality is better then any others I’ve used. Secondly, the holder is removable for occasions when I am fishing off of the transom. Thirdly, unlike others, this one does not rattle.
- Power Pole Micro Anchor. A great tool to hold the skiff in position when landing a fish, rigging, or taking pictures over hard packed sand or coral bottom. The Micro Anchor is on a removable bracket attached to the deck. Once removed, the bracket is free of snags. Another great option for tarpon season days fishing solo from the transom.
- Seadek from Castaway Customs. I had Castaway Customs install brushed mica pads on the platforms and on the front lid as well as black pads under the gunnels. In terms of comfort and durability, this is the way to go. I decided to go with a clean look and had the pads cut with no logos on them.
- Edson Black Ops Steering Wheel. Why pay $500 for a steering wheel? It is hard to explain, but own one and you’ll never go back to anything else.
- Cushions hard mounted. This is a new option that Maverick is offering. Since I keep my skiff in a garage, I’ve never seen the need to remove the cushions when storing or trailing the skiff.
- Dry Launch Ameritrail Trailer. As with my last 3 skiffs, the trailer I had built was designed to keep the hubs dry when launching and retrieving the skiff. There are limitless options you could add to this trailer but I decided to keep it simple with Stainless Steel fenders and a swing tongue.