The new Ranger RT188C gets its fishability and performance from the previously introduced and proven RT188 bass version. But now, Ranger takes another step, reconfiguring the cockpit for the serious or competitive crappie angler. Gone from the 188C is the central rod locker. Instead, a portside rod locker handles tackle and the center locker is now a more compact tackle-and-gear storage box. To better accommodate the techy crappie angler, the central pedestal mount has been moved back and two more have been added on either side to allow anglers to set spider rigs in any configuration, all within easy reach of a swivel chair. It even allows two anglers to sit forward and work rods on either gunwale.
The RT188C retains the divided, aerated, recirculating aft livewell and adds a forward well too. Integrated tool holders are conveniently placed along the deck so anglers can perform most tasks without leaving their seats. When it is time to run, crappie anglers never have to break down those 12- to 16-foot trolling rods because this boat offers plenty of room to rest those poles on the portside foredeck. The fiberglass helm console is offset, so there is also space for placing the longer rods on the starboard front deck.
The solid construction techniques allow for a powerful 115 horsepower rating. With a Mercury 115, our test boat reached a top speed of 46.1 mph at 5,150 rpm. It was light and efficient too, making 5.6 miles per gallon at 24 miles per hour and 3,500 rpm. It planed smoothly, without blocking the horizon, and maintained a comfortable view forward throughout the acceleration curve.
The great ride is proof that Ranger invests heavily in top-shelf equipment and talented tradesmen in its new factory. Beautiful “row-of-nickels” welds are the result of skilled workmen and end in an aluminum boat that is beautiful and durable. Ranger not only draws on local workers, but also invests in them, contributing welding equipment to local schools, which in turn train superior welders, many of whom ply their trade in Ranger’s factory. Once the hulls are assembled, technicians inject structural foam into the hull for a safe, solid ride.
It runs like a Ranger and fishes like one, and in keeping with the Ranger tradition begun by Forrest L. Wood, its look turns heads, enhancing its value among anglers.
*Custom fiberglass console has flush-mounted depth finder, full instrumentation and easy-touch switches.
*New aerated, divided front livewell is added to aft livewell.
*Custom Ranger graphics grace metallic urethane paint.
*Center fold-down seat is flanked by two matching fishing seats.
*Three seat bases are in the front deck.
*Color-matched and custom-fit trailer is included.
Dry Weight: 1,180 lb.
Seating/Weight Capacity: 4/620 lb.
Fuel Capacity: 21 gal.
How We Tested
Engine: 115 hp Mercury 115 Pro XS
Prop: 12¾" x 21" 3-blade aluminum
Gear Ratio: 2.07:1
Fuel Load: 11 gal.
Crew Weight: 415 lb.
$20,095 (base); $22,500 (as tested)
Flippin, Arkansas; 870-453-2222; rangerboats.com