Zipping across the lake in Ranger’s new 1860 Angler, I had to admit that I’d been wrong. During the days it took to set up the test, I’d speculated on what to expect. The model number excluded it from the 600 “Fisherman” series, and it certainly didn’t fall into “Comanche” or “VS” bass boat territory. That left “Reata,” Ranger’s fish-and-play lineup.
On test-day, I met Ranger Sales Rep., Joe Carlson at a local marina, and a few minutes later, as I ran the 18 1/2 footer on a nearby lake, I knew that my initial assumptions were trash. Sure, its overall styling leaned toward the Reata line, and the optional bimini top was meant mostly for the pleasure-boating crowd. But the layout, rigging and instrumentation were all pure fishing.
The boat’s spacious front deck was the first clue.
“The 1860’s con-sole is placed 18 inches farther back, so there’s more bow space, plus a center (12-rod) locker,” said Carlson.
The boat’s beam is 98 inches, so there’s room enough for four fold-down seats (standard equipment). Or, remove a couple of them, and there’s space for a big-water trolling team to operate.
The added space also allows for a large portside storage compartment, and a cooler and baitwell starboard. Rounding out the rig’s storage are two more compartments aft, as well as a 47-inch livewell, and a two-tray tackle bin on the passenger side.
The interior is refined. Standard in-dash instrum-entation includes a tach, speedometer, and fuel, trim and water pressure gauges. A switch panel controlled the aerator, nav lights, bilge pump and other features.
On The Water
Though the hull is rated for a 175, the test boat was rigged with Yamaha’s powerful 150-horsepower, four-cylinder in-line, four-stroke outboard, a good match for this rig. The boat, GPSed a top end of 49.9 mph and turned in consistent 4.6-second hole shots.
Handling was a breeze. The hull tracked solidly on straight runs and through high-speed turns, with no chine walk or porpoising when trimmed properly.
A Minn Kota PowerDrive 80 (a PD70 comes standard) pulled the hull with authority. Matched with the 8-horsepower kicker (optional), the 1860 is sure to be at home on all waters. The list of standard equipment includes Lowrance’s X-135 in-dash sonar and a 15-volt, three-bank charger.
Yes, when you look for the boat on Ranger’s website, you’ll find it on the “Fish-N-Play” page, but don’t let that fool you. They don’t call it the 1860 Angler for nothing.
Ranger Boats, (800) 373-2628
Length: 18 feet, 6 inches
Beam: 98 inches
Max. Horsepower: 175
Max. Capacity: 1,700 pounds
Price as tested*: $32,384