RANGER 620VS FISHERMAN
The Ranger 620 displayed impressive speed, topping out at 63 mph, and did so without the slightest wiggle or wobble. The boat was the heaviest in our test, but it still delivered a good hole shot that averaged around 3.5 seconds.
The wheel doesn't tilt and because of the low seat position (14 inches from floor to lower cushion), I had to stretch a bit to reach the wheel.
The seat base slides forward to shorten the reach, if necessary, but that shortens legroom. This is the only area of the boat where space seems to be a problem; elsewhere there's lots of room. The rod box in the bow deck is literally big enough to get into to escape a shower and it has neat racks for 12 rods. There are even tip tubes-this was the neatest rod box we saw in any of our test boats.
The Ranger delivered one of the best rides, jumping boat wakes with barely a bump. The Fisherman has less freeboard than some boats of this length, but the flare of the bow should knock down most spray. The interior depth, 24 inches, is more than in most vessels of this class.
There's a 50-inch livewell across the transom, and you'll love the touch-pad digital controls on both the bow and main consoles.
Contact: Ranger Boats (Dept. OL, P.O. Box 179, Flippin, AR 72634; 870-453-2222; www.rangerboats.com).
From the 18-inch-tall windshield to the Garlick shock absorbers under the seats, the Triton 205 is built to make the tough world of the walleye angler easy. The Sea Star hydraulic steering transmits no wheel torque, and the boat rides flat and true all the way to full throttle. The test boat, equipped with Yamaha's super-quiet 225 four-stroke, got up to 58.9 mph. With a deep vee running all the way to the transom, the boat chops waves in half with ease; there's no banging and no shock to your tailbone even when you jump off a tall one. The hole shot took about 4.8 seconds.
I liked the bow panel, with its flush-mount LCD fish finder, livewell controls and battery gauge. There's a small "ready well" for leeches and minnows in the bow, plus a 50-inch livewell across the transom and a 35-inch starboard well with lift-out bait bucket. The lockable rod box centered in the bow deck could hold every rod you own now as well as all you're likely to own for the rest of your life. The eight-gallon auxiliary gas tank is designed to feed a kicker motor but can be switched on for the main motor.
Contact: Triton Boats (Dept. OL, 18 Bluegrass Drive, Ashland City, TN 37015; 888-887-4866; www.triton boats.com).
WARRIOR V 2090
Warrior's unique "Pro Tiller" rigging, a remote power-steering system for big V-6s, allows the company to equip its larger boats with more power than most people would want to try steering by tiller. The test rig, with 175 horses at the end of the handle, delivered 52.7 mph, enough to blow off all but the fastest console boats on the walleye circuit. Amazingly, you could steer it with just the slightest thumb pressure on the rocker switch, which rests comfortably under your right hand when you're seated at the aft workstation. It takes some getting used to. Turning is very quick and anything more than a slight "blip" on the button can put you into more of a turn than you want.
The deep-vee bottom combined with the aft seating position keeps the ride very soft even when wake-jumping. For trolling, you can shut the power-steer system off at the touch of a
button and work the tiller by hand.
Another unusual feature from Warrior is its "Power Charge" jumper cord that allows you to tap into the trolling motor batteries should you ever run down the main starting battery. The floor space is an eye-opener; it makes getting around the boat very easy.
The front livewell is a full 60 inches long. The test rig also had a Lexan splash guard on the transom. CConsidering the 25-inch transom height, you won't need the splash guard often.
Contact: Warrior Boats (Dept. OL, 400 Highway 55 West, Maple Lake, MN 55358; 320-963-5005; www. warriorboats.com).