Find the Right Boat

Determine What is Most Important

As I pulled my Ranger 620 VS out of the garage the other day, I started to think that many anglers don't realize that a boat is an extremely important part of their fishing presentation. Hundreds of articles have been written about how important your rod, line, and bait selection are, but few, if any have been written concerning your boat and how it is a factor in helping you to catch fish.

I know what you are thinking at this point. You probably think that a boat gets a person to a specific spot that they can't reach from shore. That is true, but your boat does more than that. Think about what you have in your boat. Yes, it is true that it not only makes it easy for you to reach the spot, but also your tackle, thermos and cooler. Again, your boat is more than an object to carry items, it is part of how you present your bait so that fish find it attractive enough to bite.

What then do you need to look for in a boat.? The answer of course will describe what kind of fishing you prefer and what items in a boat, "creature features" you can't live without. For example, how does this particular boat drift? Will it drift faster from the stern or bow? What or how do you need to compensate for an uneven drift? Do you need a bow mount trolling motor or a stern mounted trolling motor? Does your boat give you a dry ride? Are there places in the boat that are advertised as dry storage, but in a torrential down pour you discover that your expensive camera is ruined? How does the wind effect the boat? Does this boat have big enough side boards to take rough water?

My answer to all of these questions have been addressed by Ranger Boats. The Ranger Fisherman series boast an entire line of formidable fishing machines. From walleye and musky to bass and crappie, these multi-species rigs are among the most versatile anglers have to choose from. Whether it’s the rigorous demands of professional walleye trails or simply a weekend get away, this series is specifically geared to deliver superior performance both on and off plane. The 620 VS sports a deeper, wider vee hull to crush rough water. It’s bog 50” aerated livewell is positioned at the stern so re-entry in rough water carries a softer; more stable feel. Fuel capacity measures 50 gallons and is located on the center line of the hull for faster hole shots, solid tracking and responsive boat control. The 620’s integrated engine set back not only enhances acceleration, but virtually eliminates backwash from sudden stops.

Inside there’s a world of lockable storage and a built in cooler sits just in front of the passenger console. Gauges and electronics are positioned on the upper portions of the instrumentation panel while an all new digital switching system lines the lower panel. The 620 VS is a console boat that is 19’10” in length. If you are a tiller person Ranger has also included a the 620T. This is a beautiful boat that is 20’ 1/2” and is rated for a 115 – 125 HP motor.

When a person spends as many days on the water a year as I do, it's important that they fish in as much comfort as possible. The comfort level also is important when it comes to selection of a motor. My choice are Mercury Motors.

Mercury’s newest form of motors incorporates an onboard computer system called SmartCraft. SmartCraft operates in conjunction with the company’s 2001 OptiMax outboards to gather data from sensors all over the boat. It then uses that data to monitor over 15 different systems, including speed and fuel flow, then automatically adjusts each operation to peak efficiency. Like your car, SmartCraft responds to operator input, so you can program your engine and boat to perform exactly the way you want. Functions include Troll Control, which sets rpm up to 1,000. This function alone is ideal especially if I am pulling trolling boards or if I have multiple lines out forward trolling. It allows me to sit at my console and monitor my depthfinder and use the steering wheel to follow the active fish.

Although the backtrolling technique is still ideal for vertical jigging and live-bait rigging in deep water, walleye professionals today favor trolling forward with a small “kicker,” typically a 9.9 to 15 hp outboard. Why? It allows them to fish large bodies of water such as reservoirs more effectively at higher speeds than electric trolling motors can sustain. Forward-trollers commonly use crankbaits, bottom bouncers or weighted three-way rigs with crankbaits, spinners or spoons.

My Ranger 620 boat is equipped with a small four-stoke kicker motor from Mercury. It allows me to fish all day without using much fuel. This small engine is extremely quiet which makes for a more pleasant angling experience.

Your boat is as critical as the rod you select or the bait that you tie on. It delivers you to the spot to fish but it gives you the confidence to arrive there safely and works with you so that you can get the most fishing pleasure. It provides you with the tools you need to enable you to harvest a days catch and gives other members of your family a relaxed enjoyable experience. If you have selected the right boat you will notice that it stays in the family for a long time, because it has become part of your presentation. If you have selected the wrong boat you will see it in the classified section, because it just didn't fit the bill for your presentation purposes.

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