When Ranger began to sketch out the specs for a new aluminum multi-species boat, it had some key features in mind that it would transfer from its pinnacle brand of fiberglass boats: a solid transom and versatile fishability with an emphasis on safety and long-lasting good looks.
To build in Ranger’s ideal of safety, the company used injection-molded foam in the hull, just like in the glass boats. To ensure its welds were more durable than any on the market, Ranger invested heavily in area trade schools, training local craftsmen for its assembly line. Beautiful, protective paint is assured by carefully etching surfaces and then painting them in the climate-controlled, filtered air of its paint booths.
This boat’s ride on wind-chopped Bull Shoals Lake was proof that Ranger had made a solid, responsive hull that cut wakes and carved turns without pounding the passengers. In our rainy test, the available full windshield protected from spray and wind.
Below deck, tackle is spared the same pounding and rods are cradled individually and secured. Utility boxes fit storage slots, so gear doesn’t slide or clatter. Our Minn Kota trolling motor rested solidly on the bow, thanks to Ranger’s carefully welded, integrated mounting platform. Gunwale rails aren’t just durable and fancy-looking; they are that, but they also support aftermarket tool holders and other accessories to customize the boat.
Dual livewells feature aeration and recirculation. Access to the batteries and chargers proved easy via the aft deck.
Perhaps the coolest feature of the VS1780 is the available aft casting deck. When you’ve stowed the rods and hauled out a tow tube for the family, flip up the convertible deck to open the cockpit and add aft seating. There’s even a boarding ladder. It’s just one example of Ranger’s versatility in design.
Need more reason to give this boat a second look? Ranger sells it with a custom Ranger Trail trailer with Road Armor protective coating to prevent road chips and rust. The wiring and lighting are waterproof for long life. When it’s time to fish, you don’t need to be fixing.
*Custom fiberglass console is good-looking, and it’s weather-protected by the full windshield.
*Aerated livewell on the foredeck is ready for leeches and minnows.
*Aft livewell is divided and features an aerator timer for optimum refresh of the catch.
*Evinrude power was ideal for this rig: quiet and powerfully smooth.
*The Lowrance sounder/GPS is standard.
*Our test boat boasted an upgrade: Elite 7 GPS with broadband and down-scan sonar for ultimate detail.
*Optional onboard battery charger is enhanced by factory installation for turnkey fishability.
*Another valuable upgrade is the custom boat cover, color-matched, snug-fitting and road-ready.
How We Tested
Engine: Evinrude E-TEC 135
Drive/Prop: BRP 14¾” x 17″ 3-blade aluminum
Gear Ratio: 1.85:1
Fuel Load: 20 gal.
Crew Weight: 235 lb.
$30,885 (as tested)
Ranger Boats Flippin, Arkansas; 870-453-2222; rangerboats.com