There were about eight boats at our test dock on Kimberling City’s Table Rock Lake but I only made a reservation for one of them—the Ranger 211 Reata. Knowing a Ranger was coming and having experienced plenty of fun and excitement behind Ranger helms, and being a dedicated bass angler, this was the boat I wanted to test drive.
Yet when I saw it, there was a wakeboard arch, a sleek windshield and a trolling motor on the bow. The Reata looks for the world like a sport boat, but after having it in my hands for several hours, it I was certain this boat would fish, as well as haul wakeboard and tube riders. In fact, we juggled the idea of putting it in our February fishing-boat guide. It would be at home there or here.
The helm’s bucket seat is adjustable fore and aft and swivels to give an ideal driving position. In fact, the throttle lever fell nicely into hand without reaching, as did the tilt wheel. The Evinrude E-Tec idled quietly and allowed conversation at comfortable levels while slipping out into open water.
Our test team was still surprised by the wakeboard arch. Most low-slung fish-and-ski boats have a tow pylon option, but Ranger came up with a sporty wakeboard tower. Serious anglers might still opt for a pylon to clear the air for casting, but anglers who like a morning ski run, as well as a predawn bass bite, will find enough room to stretch their casting arms.
We punched the throttle and rocked back in our seats. A four-blade prop gives tons of torque and a quick hole shot, so we were up and away in three seconds. The strength of Ranger’s patented and “pultruded” transom that is molded under tension was evident as the boat smacked down large wakes. Closed-cell foam fills the voids in the hull, adding strength and safety and dampening sound. Some might call this two-faced sport boat schizophrenic. We call it ambidextrous.
Key Note: Evinrude’s E-Tec 225 HO is ideal for this Ranger, giving a blend of quiet runability and powerful acceleration.
• Minn Kota Power Maxxum 70 24-volt trolling motor makes the Reata buddy-tournament ready right out of the showroom.
• Choice of Lowrance X-135 or Humminbird 767 chartplotter/depth finders put anglers on fish.
• Retractable tow pylon is standard for those who don’t opt for the tower.
• A built-in onboard charger means no lugging chargers around.
* Length Overall: 21’4″
* Beam: 7’9″
* Dry Weight: 2,215 lb. plus motor
* Seating/Weight Capacity: 7/1,090 lb.
* Fuel Capacity: 43 gal.
* Maximum HP: 225
* MSRP (test boat w/ Evinrude E-Tec 225 HO): $50,279
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: Evinrude E-Tec 225 HO
* Test Prop: 19-inch Cyclone 4-blade
* Test Load: People (400 lb.); Fuel (35 gal.)
* Minimum Planing Speed: 21 mph @ 2,500 rpm
* Top Speed: 51.4 mph @ 5,000 rpm
* Time to Plane: 3.2 sec.
* Time to 30 MPH: 8.5 sec.