After testing dozens of Ranger boats, we’ve come to expect excellence in boatbuilding. Whether it was the heralded Z521 Comanche bass boat or an aluminum fisher, the performance and our physical evaluation have proven top-rate. Would the new Reata line of fishable pontoons equally impress?
First, Reata boasts powder-coated tubes to stop the ugly corrosion that almost immediately tarnishes raw-aluminum pontoon logs. This electrostatically charged powder clings to the metal and is baked on in an enormous oven. The result is a finish that resists the elements for years, keeping the protected aluminum structure looking fresh and stylish long after other pontoons have turned dull and gray. Second, sturdy crossbeams are fastened to the integrated powder-coated M-brackets, and the structure is shrouded by a powder-coated extruded molding for a sleek look. Topside, the deck is through-bolted to beams, and the solid ride was immediately evident as we throttled up.
Lifting strakes let the pontoons rise up on top, reducing drag and giving us a rewarding speed and solid hookup in hard turns. The final result is a fun cruiser and a platform that will bring kids and adults laughter and squeals when towing a tube.
On this fishing version, a pair of fore and aft bucket swivel seats boost the fishability. Comfort is what boaters think of when pontoons are perused, and this one does not disappoint there either. The furnishings are lush with supple vinyl. Bolsters are thick, giving comfort in the nastiest chop. The reclining helm chair and center lounges seat your crew in luxury.
Fishing consoles hold rods and tackle, and a livewell keeps your catch fresh. The Hook 5 sonar/GPS combo is complete and ready to help you find and catch fish. LED courtesy lights add a soft glow to the deck, and storage lights make gear easy to find in the dark. Docking lights illuminate your post-sunset cruise, and LED navigation lights mean you can spend hours on the hook at night without draining your battery.
Convenient operation, long-lasting good looks, and state-of-the-art construction techniques make the Reata 223F a cruising, tube-towing, fish-catching pontoon for your family fun for decades.
* Vinyl-weave floor mat.
* Backup camera displayed through the Lowrance eases backing and slipping the boat.
* Stainless-steel boarding ladder.
* Raised forward gate accommodates an optional electric trolling motor.
* Bimini is easy to raise and lower.
* Motor pod transom design won’t allow the motor to fully tilt from the water unless the boat is hoisted.
* Extending the lifting strakes farther aft would give a more-level running attitude but requires attentive operation when there’s a full passenger load forward.
Another Ozark boatbuilder that knows fishing is G3, and it shows in its X322 FC ($39,895 with Mercury 150). It offers a similar deck plan and three-tube performance. G3’s unique U-shaped tubes bolt directly to the crossbeams, eliminating M-brackets, but they won’t be powder-coated.
Price: $39,295 (with test power, less trailer)
Available Power: Outboard
How We Tested
Engine: Mercury 150 FourStroke
Prop: Enertia 15.3″ x 14″ 3-blade stainless steel
Gear Ratio: 1.92:1
Fuel Load: 15 gal.
Crew Weight: 400 lb.
Reata by Ranger – Flippin, Arkansas; 800-373-2628; rangerpontoons.com