The Lure of Family Time

Author: BoatingWorld Staff

The Ranger name is world famous for tournament bass boats. Any company that’s been building boats for 40 years, however, knows that man does not live by fish alone. There’s a growing need for versatile craft that can fish hard one day and show the family a good time the next. The 181?2-foot Ranger 186 Reata Fish-N-Play is perfectly designed for such multitasking. It boasts performance and fishing features to satisfy avid bass anglers, with the speed to beat the competition to the spot, plenty of room to cast and all the right fishing â goodies.⠝ At the same time, the 186 Reata comes with the type of cockpit layout, storage areas and amenities you’d expect from a high-end family runabout. If you’re the type of boater who likes to do it all, this might be the boat to do it all with you.

The angler in the family will love the spacious bow deck featuring two carpeted dry storage compartments, built-in tackle storage with Plano boxes and a recessed center rod locker. A standard Minn Kota Power Drive 70 trolling motor with a quick-release bracket also adorns the bow, perfect for sneaking up on the fish. The boat’s rear deck features a port livewell with a filter screen and automatic timer to keep tournament catches lively. Front and center on the Reata’s sporty console is a standard Lowrance or Humminbird LCD fish finder.    Watersports enthusiasts will appreciate features such as the Reata’s walk-through curved windshield, sound system, large ski/wakeboard locker under the cockpit sole and a built-in aft cooler. Tubers and skiers will like the transom hideaway boarding ladder with a nonskid cover (port) and towrope storage with a nonskid lid surface (starboard).

   Equipped with a 150 hp Evinrude E-Tec outboard, our Ranger 186 Reata test boat got onto plane in 3.7 seconds and took just over 7 seconds to reach 30 mph. This kind of holeshot is just the ticket for shotgun starts or popping a skier up. Wound up to 5400 rpm, the Ranger flew across the waves at more than 48 mph. Even at WOT, this efficient boat/motor combination still delivered nearly 3.4 mpg. At its optimum cruise speed of 31.4 mph and 3500 rpm, the Reata/150 E-Tec logged 4.24 mpg for an effective range of 100-plus miles on the 27-gallon tank.    In addition, the Evinrude’s outboard only registered 83 dBA in the cockpit at optimum cruise, allowing for casual conversation with fishing buddies or family members.    The 186 Reata features Ranger’s patented pultruded fiberglass construction for strength, structural integrity and superior performance. Pultrusion generates more consistent parts with a higher glass-to-resin ratio for greater strength in the transom, floors, decks and hull. In addition, Ranger fills every cavity with closed-cell flotation for a much quieter ride, a solid feel and added security. Much as we expect from Ranger bass boats, this Fish-N-Play model’s hull design provided a smooth, stable ride in all kinds of water and gave the driver a feeling of confidence in any maneuver. This comes in handy whether tearing upriver to a fishing spot or ripping up the slalom course.

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