Mako 18 LTS

The 18 LTS is a proven bay/flats boat.

We Say: This bay boat will float in inches of skinny water, making it a good choice for a flats fisherman. On our field-test day, three of us were slinging hardware with spinning rods. We clustered up on one side of the boat, and then the other, to get the right photo, and no matter what we did, the 18 LTS kept its sure-footed stance beneath us. It poled easily from the optional platform and ducked under the 8- to 12-knot wind for easy control.

This Mako model was equipped with a 60 hp Mercury four-stroke, and though we thought it was a bit underpowered, we were surprised at how well the hull stayed on plane with our crew. Today’s green-minded anglers may deliberately choose this small, easy-to-pole, easy-to-tow package and smile as they easily pull it behind their compact SUVs — and smile even broader when they fuel up. A lowerpitched prop might have let the engine run up to full rpm to add the low-end torque we missed.

The 18 LTS deck plan includes a roomy aft casting platform and a roomier forward casting platform. A large hatch forward opens for storage, and another compartment on the aft platform stores more goodies. But there’s no dry storage in this boat’s simple design. All compartments are linked together by limber holes, meaning no dry storage.

Who'd Want One: Any angler who wants a proven bay/flats boat and trailer with a revered label at a comfortable price.

Other Choices: The Dusky 18R has a base price of $20,600 with a 90 hp Evinrude ETEC but doesn't include the trailer.

Bottom Line: $22,490; www.trackermarine.com