Boat Review by: Matt Spencer
To have the self awareness to realize you have a hole in your vast fishing boat line up is the type of thing that makes a boat builder successful. Princecraft Boats out of Princeville, QC did this and lucky for them they did it when they did because their hole was a pretty big one. They noticed they didn’t have an 18 foot model to sit in their rugged, DLX line of fishing machines. Enter the Maska.
This boat was brought into the lineup in the middle of 2015 and is currently available in a dual console windshield version. I’m more of a dual console guy myself, but for you side console lovers out there, I think you might be able to speculate that a SC version of the Maska is in the works.
With a 18 foot 1 inch centerline length and a 91 inch beam it’s an impressive footprint. The chine width is 78 inches so what you’re getting with those two specifications is a very stable boat at rest, both at the dock or out fishing. As I fumbled and bumbled my way through the boat with my camera man following me we barely noticed any listing or leaning.
Fishing features abound in the Maska DLX with a 20 US Gallon livewell in the stern casting deck. There’s rod storage in port side gunwale that’s good for four, up to 9 foot rods. If you have more don’t worry, there is a spot for 7 more rods in the center walk way. What I particularly like about this storage is the door is Lshaped. Meaning as it opens up it creates a clear, straight access to the rod tubes. The is so you don’t have to bend your rods as you store them. A simple feature that goes a long way.
While the Maska DLX is a fishing machine true and true, Princecraft presented this model to me with a lot of options that are going to be popular for the whole family. While it isn’t a true fish and ski, it was shown with jumper seats that flip up from under the rear casting deck. It has a boarding ladder, ski tow bar and bow filler cushions. This makes the Maska a popular choice for those who frequent cottages or camps. Let dad go fishing in the morning and evening and then after lunch strap on the wakeboard and shred away.
I have reviewed many Princecrafts in my day and while I love poking through them at the dock, I’m secretly always eager for the on water portion of the test drive. That’s because Princecraft fishing boats are a driving experience. When I saw this Maska DLX had the Mercury 150 hp outboard (the max for this boat) I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.
When I idled out a safe distance from the dock I gripped the wheel, secured my grip on the throttle and pressed it down. The Maska leaped forward with a quick jump and was immediately on plane in 2 seconds and to 20 mph in just over 2 at 2.6 seconds. The power from the Mercury 150 continued to surge us to 30 mph in 4 seconds and 40 mph in 5 seconds. Most 18 foot fishing boats would dream of a 40 mph top speed and the Maska hit a comfortable 40 mph in 5 seconds.
Like I said, I genuinely enjoy driving Princecraft fishing boats because they’re what I like to call driver’s boats. They’re quick to plane, have a dry ride and respond very positively to trim adjustments. Princecraft usually likes to show their boats running with the max horsepower so you can get a true taste of their performance. But when you do that you leave yourself open to any flaws your running surface might have with porpoising and chine walking. The Maska did neither of these things. It held speed and direction and turned with precision.
I have talked to some of Princecrafts pro fishing staff and they all comment on how dry their 18 foot fishing boats run. This gives me confidence to take the Maska DLX into bigger waters or stay out longer if conditions get rough.
With five,18 foot fishing boats to choose from in Princecraft’s lineup, you’re bound to find one that fits your needs and budget. Even though the Maska is a new model you know that it’s going to have all the hallmarks that have made the DLX line so popular. It is sure to be a welcomed addition to this extended family.
|Length:||18' 1";||5.5 m|
|Dry weight:||1275 lbs||578 kg|
|Fuel Capacity:||27 US gals||102 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Mercury 90hp|