High on the dreamboat wish list of many freshwater anglers is a Ranger. But not everyone can afford (or needs) a state-of-the-art fishin’ war wagon like the tour pros use.
And for the non-pro angler, Ranger offers the VS1780, a multispecies aluminum boat less than 18 feet long but infused with Ranger’s DNA. Taken from its bass-boat lineup is the roomy, carpeted foredeck that can accommodate two large anglers without getting tippy. There’s even a lockable centerline rod locker that can hold eight 8-foot rods and tackle boxes. And for live-baiters, there’s an aerated baitwell up front in addition to the one in the stern. A standard Minn Kota trolling motor keeps things stealthy.Ranger managed to slip some fiberglass aboard the VS1780 in the form of two substantial consoles infused with sparkly bling to remind you the boat was built in Flippin, Ark. The tall windshield was highly effective at protecting us on a foggy, chilly, fall Missouri morning. At the helm, our test boat had an optional flush-mounted 7-inch Lowrance screen with room for larger gimbal-mounted screens.We had just finished testing a Ranger FS620 with an Evinrude G2 250 when the Ranger rep told us to make sure we were wearing a neck brace for this boat, only powered by an Evinrude E-TEC 135. I thought he was “Flippin” kidding me … until I jammed the throttle. Its acceleration was amazing.Time to plane was a don’t-blink 1.6 seconds and time to 30 mph was an astounding 3.7 seconds, which is one of the fastest times we’ve ever recorded for a boat in this class. Top speed was 47.5 mph, which is plenty fast for a boat that’s 17 feet, 8 inches long. Credit its easy-to-tow weight of 1,300 pounds, its fairly shallow 14.5 degrees of deadrise and the serious kick of the Evinrude E-TEC direct-injected two-stroke.Although the front and rear decks are carpeted, the cockpit sole is covered in Rawhide Vinyl for durability and easy cleaning. There are four pedestal receivers for the upscale foldable seats and room for two more passengers to sit on the carpeted decks. To customize your rig, there’s a track system for installing items such as rod holders and bait-rigging tables on the gunwales. Ranger even includes a Ranger Trail trailer in its low price.