Whether you’re trading up from a tin tippy or just tired of fishing from the dock, there’s lots of choices when you’re looking at 18 foot fishing boats. But versatility is probably the key because, let’s face it, you won’t be just fishing.
In this 18 XTR from Legend offers lots of versatility and performance. But first, let’s take a look at some of the features aboard this popular Legend. Large casting platforms are raised for better sitelines and at the bow include padded backrests with cup holders to either side.
Forward, we find a remote engine trim switch, handy for fishing in the shallows. The 55 pound thrust Motorguide trolling motor is wireless, allowing foot controls to be positioned anywhere you like. Two bow compartments are for storage.
One dedicated to trolling batteries. The third compartment is reserved for one of two aerated livewells. This one holds 30 gallons and includes an integrated bait bucket and overflow protection. Notice the pedestal seat mount? There are 7 of them on the 18 XTR.
The cockpit layout is fairly standard with dual consoles and plenty of storage. The primary rod locker is in the floor as opposed to the raised forward deck. It’s a bit further to reach but has individual cutouts for 6 rods and is lockable.
Gunnel rod boxes to either side will fit more gear including rods up to 7 feet. The rear bench has 2 fold down cushioned seats with a rigid backrest for quick access to the water. However, flip both forward to create a huge elevated aft casting platform that extends right to the transom on either side of the engine.
Both aft hatches are flush mount with a smaller 12 gallon livewell to port and dedicated engine battery storage to starboard. The starboard swim platform is standard equipment. It may not have a telescoping ladder but is right at water level for easy access.
With the flip down seats you get a lot of versatility back here and with a 90 inch beam you get lots of stability. So fishing, even with a little bit of swell, will be nice and stable. Now this XTR is the base model and it comes with the 90.
Now you can option this boat with up to 150 horsepower but honestly, the 90’s not so bad. It’s definitely quiet, and you got to love fuel injection. Overall the ergonomics on this boat are pretty good.
One thing that I really like that you don’t find on a lot of fishing boats is the sliding seat. So depending on how tall you are, you can find a spot that suits you. Unlike some fishing boats with a cold stainless wheel, Legend has a nice beefy automotive style steering wheel that is comfortable, sporty, and tilts.
If you want to drive like a tractor or Ferrari, your choice. Now you’ll notice in the dash there’s a 5 inch Humminbird GPS fishfinder system. And that does come standard equipment on the XTRs. You’ll also notice you get a bluetooth Jensen stereo system.
And something that I really like are these audio inputs that are waterproof, but also a 12 volt. Not every phone reacts to USB the same so it’s nice to know you got the USB port, the mini jack, and the 12 volt.
Because let’s face it, you’re definitely going to have more than one person on the boat that wants to charge their cell phone. Let’s just see how she comes up on plane. The first thing I notice once I get this boat up on plane is just how quiet and solid it feels.
And Legend uses something they call the .100 gauge aluminum hull. This is an all welded boat and you really can feel it. Now We’re cruising along right now at around 3500 RPM and that’ll get you 20 miles an hour with the little 90, that’s not bad.
The great thing about the 90 is you’re really not burning any fuel. Now if we back off to 3000 RPM wonder if it’ll hold plane. And again, all we have is the 90. There we go, 3000 RPM, 2 people in the boat, half a tank of fuel, and about 150 pounds of gear and we’re pulling just under 15 miles an hour.
And it’s holding it, it’s not dropping off plane. Pretty impressive for 90 horsepower. Now if we’re tubing the 90’s no problem but if you’re gonna pull bigger kids with wakeboards or you’re gonna pull a skier then you may want to go to the 115 with the command thrust.
And something I love about some of the Legends especially the XTR, these tall windshields. I’m sitting down right now and I can see directly through it and I’m completely protected from the wind. Now in the heat of the summer that’s probably not a big deal, but in the fall like it is now it’s a bit chilly and I can get away with shorts and a maybe a light jacket.
So I really do like the position of this windshield. Handling is fairly standard for an 18 foot aluminum boat. She is light and turns quickly. But you have to be careful with the wheel and trim. Too much of either will ventilate the prop.
What is most impressive however, is how she rides. The XTR drives as well as it looks and had no issues with the 2 footers that we encountered on Lake Simcoe. The 90 Merc might be the base engine but performed quite well.
With the convertible aft bench the XTR is an excellent fishing platform that can accommodate family watersports. If you’re serious about trawling, there is a new trawler variation available as well, but that’s another story.
Well the conditions are a little rough here today and as you can see our windshield is soaked, but I am high and dry. And I tell you what, the handling and the comfort on these welded hulls is just fantastic.
You know it’s hard to tell as we get blown around a bit that we’re really in an aluminum boat. That’s one of the great things about these little XTRs. These are the 100 gauge aluminum welded hulls, and with that you get fantastic ride comfort.