While the traditional side console remains the top choice of freshwater anglers across North America, a significant number of serious multi-species anglers remain loyal to the traditional tiller layout – particularly in the upper Midwest, where the versatility and extra space afforded by this proven design appeals to those who enjoy fishing for several different species over the course of a day.

Although relatively new to the tiller boat party, Little Falls, Minnesota-based Larson Boats has quickly built a name for itself on the strength of its sharply-designed, well-built FX series of fiberglass fishing boats. Designed in consultation with pro anglers and top guides, and built to exacting standards, the FX series has gained a lot of fans by blending the spirited performance of Larson’s proven VEC hull with some serious fishability. That marriage of performance and versatility is clear in the 2017 Larson FX 1850 TL.

Stretching 18 feet, six inches in overall length and riding on a generous eight-foot, six-inch beam, the FX 1850 TL is the mid-sized member of the six-model FX tiller lineup. The VEC hull manages the slop and chop of big open water with ease, delivering a comfortable, dry ride with impressive fuel economy.

With its VEC hull design, the FX 1850 TL offers impressive performance for a tiller boat.

With its VEC hull design, the FX 1850 TL offers impressive performance for a tiller boat.

Just one look at the FX 1850 TL confirms this is a serious fishing boat made for anglers who are likely to head out in all sorts of conditions. The front casting deck is huge, large enough to conceal four large storage compartments plus an 18-gallon live well, complete with light and timer. Mesh storage nets along each bow gunnel are a nice touch, and keep small items like scent bottles, sunscreen, bug repellent and the like close at hand and out from under foot. Of course there’s in-deck rod storage, in the form of a big central locker that accommodates four seven-foot six-inch rods plus four six-foot six-inch sticks. The lid is supported by two gas rams, allowing the angler to use two hands when storing or retrieving tackle. Decktop rod storage, with running rod racks for additional security underway, keeps immediate needs close at hand, while a 24-volt outlet for a bow-mounted electric motor and in-deck battery storage is a nice touch. Most anglers will spring for one of several two-, three- or four-bank battery chargers available as upgrades.

Mesh pockets on the bow gunnels are perfect for securing small items like bug spray, sunscreen and fish scents.

Mesh pockets on the bow gunnels are perfect for securing small items like bug spray, sunscreen and fish scents.

The main cockpit floor is fiberglass with a non-skid surface, and fully self-draining. The driver rides on a deluxe Air Ride pedestal seat with a slider, while guests choose from two pedestal-mount passenger seats. A total of seven seat bases allow these to be placed wherever they’re best suited, while six stainless steel cup holders throughout keep a warm or cold beverage always close at hand.

Twin gas rams hold the rod locker lid open while in use.

Twin gas rams hold the rod locker lid open while in use.

While the FX 1850 TL’s raised casting decks in the bow and stern speak to bass fishing, a 25-gallon live well in the stern accommodates fish to 50 inches, giving this boat serious credibility with pike and muskie anglers as well. Stainless steel pull-up cleats retract to avoid tangles with stray lines, while the deck is reinforced for downrigger mounting to provide extra appeal to salmon and lake trout fans. A standard three-step boarding ladder even lets it do double-duty taking the family for a Sunday cruise and swim.

For an 18-foot boat, the FX 1850 TL offers a surprising amount of storage space for tackle and gear.

For an 18-foot boat, the FX 1850 TL offers a surprising amount of storage space for tackle and gear.

The business office of this boat is, of course, the driver’s seat in the stern. There you’ll find a full instrument panel with a tach, speedometer, trim and fuel gauge, live well pump timer controls, a master shut-off switch, controls for the nav/anchor lights, and a second 24-volt trolling motor outlet. Splash guards for backtrolling are a popular dealer option. Larson offers a long list of factory options for this boat, including a Bimini top, kicker engines, a variety of electronics and electric motor packages, and main power from Evinrude, Mercury, Suzuki or Yamaha.

One standard feature sure to stand out is the painted Shoreland’r 4,000-pound trailer with disc brakes, stainless diamond plate fenders, LED lights, aluminum rims and a swing tongue. After all, your nice new ride needs a fine ride of its own.

Four storage compartments in the front deck - along with a lie well and sizeable rod locker - accommodate a ton of gear.

Four storage compartments in the front deck – along with a lie well and sizeable rod locker – accommodate a ton of gear.

Larson’s VEC hull makes the most of this boat’s potential, especially when subjected to a full tournament load. Rated for outboards of up to 90 horsepower, the Larson FX 1850 TL will run 35 to 38 miles per hour at maximum power, with zero-to-20 times in the six second range. That’s great performance for any tiller fishing boat.

Anglers who enjoy fishing for a variety of species and who appreciate the ride of a fiberglass hull will find Larson’s FX 1850 TL delivers.

Larson FX 1850 TL

  • Length: 18’ 6”
  • Beam: 8’ 6”
  • Dry weight: 2,271 lbs.
  • Passenger capacity: 7
  • Fuel capacity: 36 gals
  • Maximum power: 90 hp

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