With the rising popularity of “expedition fishing” to distant waters, such as the offshore seamounts in the Pacific, more prospective boat owners are turning to hardcore fishing machines that are economical to maintain and yet offer plenty of accommodations and amenities for multiday trips.
The vast majority of boats that we review in Marlin are built for private owners. The average person doesn’t have much chance of even stepping aboard one of these technological masterpieces, much less fishing on them for a few days in some exotic tropical destination. Heads-up: This one’s a little different.
The newest and largest build from Maverick Yachts in Herradura, Costa Rica, is Open Fly, a beautiful 50-footer that is home-ported in Los Sueños Resort and Marina. And she’s available for charter. Gather up your friends or family, plunk down a deposit, and you could be chasing marlin and sails on this beauty by next week.
Having spent hundreds of hours as an angler in the cockpit of the 42-foot Maverick Super Fly (now rebadged as Fire Fly), I know the builder’s construction techniques and the incredible fishability they offer. Maverick boats are beautiful in their functionality, with absolutely zero froufrou. So when I had the chance to spend a day fishing off Costa Rica on the new 50, I couldn’t book the trip fast enough.
Open Fly‘s owners, three entrepreneurs from Louisiana, first came to Costa Rica a year and a half ago, and immediately fell in love with the country and the great fishing it offers. After a visit to the Maverick factory, which is located less than a mile from Los Sueños, they knew a custom boat would be perfect for chasing sails in the wintertime and spending multiday trips offshore on the blue marlin-rich seamounts in summer. And by putting the boat into charter service as part of the renowned Fly fleet, they could offset some of their fishing expenses along the way.
All Mavericks are cold-molded, using three layers of 5⁄16-inch laurel blanco hardwood on a custom-designed jig and bonded using West System epoxy resin. Erwin Gerards of EG Yacht Designs in Jupiter, Florida, designed the hull to be both fast and seakindly, and judging by the ride of the 50, he has once again done a masterful job.
The house is built using composites to keep the weight down. All surfaces, including inside the cabinetry and underneath the seating, are encased in epoxy or fiberglass. The surfaces are then hand-faired and painted with Awlgrip to produce a long-lasting finish that’s durable and attractive. Of note is the absence of veneers or wallpaper anywhere in the boat. All surfaces are easy to clean and will look good for years to come, despite a rigorous charter schedule (A bonus photo gallery of the boat is here).
Cockpit and Interior
In her slip in Los Sueños, Open Fly looks more like a tethered thoroughbred racehorse than a charter boat, from her royal blue Awlgripped flanks to the top of her satin-finished tuna tower. A huge teak-swathed cockpit welcomes you aboard. Even with the custom Maverick-designed fighting chair/rocket launcher, there is plenty of space for a team of anglers to fight multiple billfish, while the teak covering boards and deck provide sure footing and reduced glare. The obligatory mezzanine offers comfortable seating plus refrigeration and tackle storage, as well as a subwoofer for the impressive sound system. In the cockpit sole are two massive fish boxes plus a 60-gallon livewell; the transom contains eight tuna tubes.
Moving inside through the mahogany door, the bright, spacious interior opens up nicely, with a large table and seating on the starboard-side and a smaller triangular dinette to port. The two matched granite counters make meal prep a snap, while hidden drop panels in the teak bulkhead hide the television monitor to port and the microwave to starboard. The overall look is clean, sleek and welcoming.
Heading forward, two matching bunkrooms flank the companionway along with a head to starboard, while an adult-size V-berth forward adds two more spots for anglers or crew; Open Fly sleeps six down below in perfect air-conditioned comfort for those long multiday trips.
Exterior and Helm
On the bridge, the center helm houses an impressive selection of Garmin electronics, including a pair of 17-inch multifunction displays, 25 kW radar, chirp sonar, autopilot, InReach satellite communicator, Sirius XM and controls for the Fusion stereo system. A pair of Icom VHF radios reside in the drop-down box in the hardtop above the console, with a pair of Miya Epoch teaser reels recessed within easy reach of the captain. Bench seating on either side of the helm gives guests a place to hang out for the ride to and from the fishing grounds, and full curtains offer protection from the elements when needed.
Back in the cockpit, I climbed up forward along the gunwales to the bow, where my hands found purchase in the molded-in C-shaped hand grips along the sides of the house. Nearly invisible when looking at the boat’s profile, the grips offer a low-maintenance alternative to rails, yet help keep the crew safe as they move around the boat. Very nice touch. A pair of 41-foot Rupp Tournament triple-spreader outriggers completes the fishing package, and an extra-wide mahogany toe rail adds to the boat’s overall beauty. No painted faux teak here. (Check out our 360-degree gallery of Open Fly).
At the heart of the operation, the bright, Awlgripped engine room houses a pair of Caterpillar C12.9 ACERT engines, each delivering 1,000 hp to the five-blade Veem props. The Tier III engines provide incredible low-range torque and acceleration, pushing Open Fly on plane quickly and reaching a cruising speed of 30 knots. With 1,100 gallons of diesel, the boat’s range is outstanding. An ISL-400 watermaker and C-BEA ice maker add more creature comforts for long trips away from the dock. Accessibility to all key filters, fittings, switches and components is excellent.
On the day of my visit, we headed just 20 miles off Los Sueños before putting our lines in the water. The bite had been fairly good, with most boats seeing five to eight sails a day and a few marlin being caught as well. Open Fly produced very little white water, even at 7 knots.
The spread looked beautiful. Capt. Juan Carlos Fallas found the fish for us late in the afternoon, where we released seven sails in about an hour and a half. In the maneuverability department, Open Fly doesn’t disappoint: We were able to catch the boat’s first doubleheader, followed by a second double a few minutes later. The combination of a spacious cockpit and highly responsive helm makes her a terrific fishing platform.
Building on the already impressive legacy of her smaller sisters, Open Fly is set to write a new page in Costa Rica’s sport-fishing history. She has the maneuverability and fishability to be a true contender in the highly competitive Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown, as well as the size, range, accommodations and amenities to handle multiday trips with ease.
LOA: 50’0″ | Beam: 17’4″ | Draft: 4’2″ | Disp: 44,000 lb. | Fuel: 1,100 gal. | Power: Twin Caterpillar C12.9 ACERT 1,000 hp Diesels (*as tested)