I was excited because, for once, water conditions on test-day perfectly suited the boats I was about to drive. The big lake on which I tested Ranger’s 2009 620T and 618T Fisherman multi-species rigs was wind-swept and choppy, just the type of water for which the boats were designed.
The boats’ deep-v entry and flared bows made for a smooth, dry ride. In fact, when I tested the 620T I deliberately tried to get wet by quartering waves at various angles in the stiff cross-wind and only managed to land a few drops on my shoulder. The hull pushed spray down and away that well. Anyone who’s spent time with a palm wrapped around a tiller throttle knows that’s important.
Both boats performed well in other areas, too. The 620T, at 20 feet, 1 inch in length, with a Mercury Verado 200 on a three-inch jackplate ran a 51 mph top-end and planed out in 4.8 seconds. It was also equipped with an optional Minn Kota Maxxum 80 and Lowrance LCX-38c HD.
Powered by a 90-horsepower Evinrude E-Tec and rigged with an optional LMS-520c, the 18-foot, 4-inch 618T came out of the hole in 7.6 seconds and topped out at 34.2 mph. And the ride was comfortable whether I sat in the driver’s seat or passenger perch.
Fishing time was built into the tests as well, and I was impressed with the amount of cockpit space each boat offered, as well as the intelligent thought given to storage. Each rig featured port and starboard rod boxes, separate bait- and livewells, a built-in cooler, sonar platform and instrument panel, two bow compartments, plus an integrated anchor locker.
For the 618T, however, I recommend investing in a buttseat for the bow. On the smaller boat’s front casting deck, there’s scant legroom for an angler of any size with a standard fishing chair in place.
If you’re a multi-species angler, especially a “tiller-guy,” these boats have it all-ride, roominess and ruggedness.
Price as tested: 620T Fisherman, $55,730; 618T Fisherman, $34,220; Ranger Boats, (800) 373-2628.