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September 21, 2007

Low Rider

Stalk Puddles in Ranger's Banshee Extreme.


SPOT THE ACTION: Step right up to the poling platform, which is high enough to pick out tailers without tipping off your presence.
BUILT FOR BONNEVILLE: With the standard array of gauges including speedo, tach, fuel and trim, the helm is equipped to guide the boat across the flats, while a stainless steel wheel with assist knob and responsive hydraulic steering keep you in control.
CATBIRD SEAT: An elevated helm chair gives the operator excellent visibility, and its springy cushions are easy on the tailbone.
POLESITTER: With an overall weight of 540 pounds and an ankle-deep draft of 5 1/2 inches, the Banshee is easy to push around.
RODS TO SPARE: Stow conventional outfits and fly rods up to 14 feet long in the dual port and starboard rod racks.
HOOKED UP: Corrosion-resistant wiring with resettable circuit breakers and a 12-volt DC power receptacle keep the boat and accessories humming.

There are flats boats and then there are technical poling skiffs that operate in wet spit. Ranger's Banshee Extreme certainly qualifies as the latter. Designed with input from redfish gurus Bryan and Greg Watts, the Extreme is really a time machine since it extends fishing hours long into low tide-and right through dead low. If tailing redfish or skinny-water stripers are your passion, it has everything you need.

Performance

Length 16' 8" Beam 6' 8"
Draft 5 1/2" Deadrise 3 ¿
Fuel 17 gals. Price $18,160
w/ 50-hp Evinrude E-TEC outboard

Despite its modest deadrise, the Extreme is nimble and soft-riding. With a 50-horsepower Evinrude E-TEC and two anglers aboard, the skiff ran 35 mph and handled nicely. The modified-V entry parted the chop, giving a dry and comfortable ride. Tournament anglers report 70-mile-plus ranges with the standard 17-gallon tank.

How it Fished

Test Conditions
Charlotte Harbor, Florida
Sunny 65 ¿
Winds: 10-15 mph southwest
Seas: light chop
Target: Snook

Hull slap is negligible, and the boat tracks well while poling. I left the outboard skeg down slightly to keep the flat stern from kiting. We floated over oyster bars with centimeters to spare, getting into mangroves where the snook hid. This isn't a boat for the masses, but low-water freaks will love it. Ranger Boats; (870) 453-2222; www.rangerboats.com