When Jesse Duncan, the guide I depend on for report information on Barren River Lake in Kentucky, called to tell me that he had a new sponsor and that they were providing a boat for him to demonstrate, I was happy. When he invited me to go fishing in his new boat, I was thrilled. Now I am not a boat expert, I own a small Jonboat with a 10 HP motor that is older than most of the people that will read this article. Luckily on occasion I have been asked to fish with friends and relatives who own what is called a REAL boat.
Now Jesse left out the part where he was supposed to tell me it was "just an aluminum boat." To tell you the truth I thought a boat had to be made of fiberglass to be a "REAL" boat. You have to spend big dollars to get a smooth ride, "right?" My personal misconceptions were quickly put to rest. The boat, a Lakesport X-18, has a big wide body and good size casting decks front and back. It jumps out of the hole onto plane as fast as any boat I have ridden in. Frankly the ride was smooth and what I had expected in a fiberglass boat. Live wells front and back with easy access, storage compartments, and a cooler up front. (Ownership does have its priviliges.) Moving around room was more than enough, despite my personal weight problem. This model had bench seats, but others come with 2 seats and cup holders.
The stability of the boat was shown to me when Jesse called me over at the dock and told me to stand on the side rail of the boat. It dropped all of about 2 or 3 inches. The balance of the boat was also proven when I had to net a 4 pound bass for Jesse. With both of us on the same side, the boat leaned less than it had at the dock. Moving my considerable girth around did not create screams of terror like I have heard at other times fishing with relatives.
The boat has a very shallow draft, less than 18 inches from what I could tell, which makes it a great boat for floating medium size river systems. It comes with an Evinrude trolling motor with 27 pounds of thrust, and a Lowrance X-22 Depth Finder.
After taking my ride with Jesse, I decided to get the inside scoop from the manufacturer. Lakesport started manufacturing boats in 1993, initially for the Sam's Club Market. Most of the boats are now made in Clinton, Arkansas. All boats are built using a CNC cutting torch. The CNC has a repeatable accuracy of 3/1000th of an inch. All boats are welded. No rivets to leak like some other aluminum boats.
The boat comes with a 90 HP Nissan or Johnson Motor, your choice. This moved the boat at a nice 45 to 50 MPH. Cornering was a breeze because of what the manufacturer calls pad construction. This means that a 14 to 15 inch flat bottom pad is on the back of the boat and the boat rides on that flat pad once it is up on plane. It has a built in reverse chime to prevent sliding and this gives the boat great stability in turns. It also helps to increase the speed of the boat by about 12 mph. Faster than would be possible in an aluminum boat of similar size without the pad and reverse chime. Pad boats are a new development in the industry and part of an overall trend to put high performance in the hands of people with less money to spend on a boat.
In this case, my opinion is that the manufacturer has succeeded.
Contact Lakesport Boats at 501-745-6790.
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