Established pontoon builders prove the growth of performance pontoons is still on the rise by yearly introducing new models to capture boaters’ attention. This year, Ranger is the surprise player that is expanding its line of premium bass, walleye and fish-and-ski boats to include pontoons. Not just everyday pontoons either, but high-performance, triple-tube models with luxury seating, high-horsepower outboards, and beautiful powder-coated pontoons and rails. Further, Ranger includes more luxury appointments as standard equipment than the competition.
The 26-inch-diameter powder-coated tubes (the coating is done in Ranger’s proprietary factory kiln) and beautiful complementary side rails give the Reata a sleek look that raw aluminum tubes cannot. True to its durability DNA, Ranger Reata boats are built using 0.04-inch-thick aluminum panels, while most builders use 0.032-inch-thick panels. Even the performance-enhancing aluminum underpinning below deck is standard on the Reata.
A deck forward of the bow gate has curved corners and adds convenience for anchoring or mooring to the dock. Aft, the swim platform boasts rounded corners — a beautiful look that we found also offers easier close-quarters maneuvering, lacking aft corners to catch on the dock. A stainless-steel boarding ladder adds to the gleam of this new entree, and the optional tow pylon adds fun.
From a performance standpoint, triple tubes add plenty of buoyancy for crews of up to 12 people. Lifting strakes improve performance by reducing drag and increasing hole shot and top speed. The ride is solid too, thanks to extruded, full-length M-brackets welded to the tubes and bolted firmly to the deck.
To pamper your ride, all lounges have multidensity foam and rich marine vinyl nicely contoured with deep bottoms and thick backrests. A fiberglass helm gives an excellent view over passengers lounging forward, and aft seats and a changing room complete the comfort package.
All this is surprising from a premium fishing-boat builder, but what is not surprising is that Ranger offers Reata pontoons in fishing models as well, complete with locking rod storage, livewells and a Lowrance Hook 5 fish finder at the helm.
Comparable Model: Bennington SX 24 Swingback