Years ago, a boat like Ranger’s 1850 RS would probably have been labeled a “fish and ski” model. The company instead refers to this new model as a “fish and play” platform, shifting the focus to the boat’s suitability for both serious angling and recreational pursuits that go beyond towed water sports.
Coming from a company such as Ranger, you’d expect the 1850 to have plenty of fishing features, and you’d be correct. With a few simple moves, we converted the bow seats into a dedicated fishing deck, with a trolling motor and aerated livewell close at hand. Flipping down the comfortable rumble seats created another serious angling platform that gave us easy access to a second livewell. Under the deck hatches we found ample rod and tackle storage, and built-in Humminbird electronics are part of the standard package.
Once tackle is stowed and passenger seats replaced, the 1850 shows its other side, and this is where it puts clear distance between itself and sport-boat-based fish-and-ski competitors. Our test showed the hull is stable at low speeds and nimble on plane. This boat has both the power and the running characteristics that more-advanced skiers and water-sports enthusiasts demand.
The 150 hp Evinrude E-Tec outboard gave us snappy hole shots, and the boat held consistent ski speeds while delivering a crisp throttle response in the 18 to 21 mph range that’s critical to wakeboarders. At higher speeds, the well-formed slow-speed wakes flatten out to accommodate slalom skiers as well.
Key Note: It’s best to drive standing up because of the wide space between the seat and wheel.
• Ample power and a generous fuel supply give all-day range for getting to the fish or for towing tubes.
• Bow features a large locker that can handle either skis or rods.
• Standard package includes virtually every accessory needed for both fishing and water-sports fun.
* Length Overall: 18’5″
* Beam: 8′.5″
* Dry Weight (approx. boat weight.): 1,780 lb.
* Seating/Weight Capacity: 8/1,700 lb.
* Fuel Capacity: 38 gal.
* Maximum HP: 175
* MSRP (test boat w/ Evinrude 150 E-Tec): $34,429
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: Evinrude 150 E-Tec
* Test Prop: Cyclone 17, 4-blade
* Test Load: People (250 lb.); Fuel (30 gal.)
* Top Speed: 46.5 mph @ 5,500 rpm
* Time to Plane: 3.2 sec.
* Time to 30 MPH: 6.8 sec.