Ranger Boats, based in Flippin, Arkansas, made its bones many decades ago as the pre-eminent maker of raised-deck freshwater bass boats. Over the last couple of decades, the company has grown to be a powerhouse in the saltwater arena as well, releasing a compliment of solid bay boats and flats skiffs.
Today, Ranger offers saltwater fly-anglers 13 models of inshore boats, ranging from a beefy 24-foot bay model to a 16½-foot micro skiff that weighs only 540 pounds. Somewhere in the middle of the pack resides Ranger’s 184 Ghost, an attractive flats boat featuring many characteristics shallow-water anglers will find appealing.
Design and Construction
The 184 Ghost is a center-console design stretching to 18 feet, 3 inches in length. With a stable beam of 7 feet, 2 inches, the boat is constructed with solid fiberglass stringers and Ranger’s patented Pultruded fiberglass transom, which the company says eliminates the need for high-density foam in the transom’s core, reducing the risk of transom compression and loose motor mounts.
The 184 is designed with the kind of features you like to see in a flats boat, including flared bow contours, spray rails and an integrated engine setback that help ensure a smooth, dry ride. Meanwhile, rounded hull chines and dense foam insulation work to keep the boat’s hull nice and quiet, minimizing splash in the shallows. Stainless-steel construction prevails throughout, including on all hatch latches and through-hull fittings.
Featuring bench seating and an additional built-in seat directly in front of the console, the 184 also comes standard with heavy-duty 6-gauge TM wiring with a 50-amp breaker, flush-mount navigation lights, recessed trim tabs, a self-bailing cockpit and retractable push-pole holders.
It’s all packaged with a custom Ranger-Trail aluminum trailer that incorporates a swing-away tongue and torsion axles, which offer independent suspension on all wheels.
Running and Fishing
That trailer will deliver your 184 safely to the boat ramp – and then you’ll be able to put the boat to the test. Rated for up to a 175-horsepower outboard, the Ghost is capable of delivering plenty of punch. And running is a pleasure thanks to smooth hydraulic steering. The 184’s console is similarly loaded with everything you might expect, including a speedometer and tachometer, as well as fuel, trim and water-pressure gauges.
With a hull weight of 1,050 pounds and a draft of 9½ inches, the boat will reach its share of skinny-water fish, and it comes equipped with a poling platform. Built with flush-mount, skid-resistant decks that wrap around the console, it offers anglers great mobility when fighting a big fish and gives fly-fishers plenty of room for snag-free casting.
Should you decide to install a trolling motor, you’ll be pleased to find that the batteries are located in a convenient hatch under the front deck, maximizing efficiency and offering great accessibility and balance. Also, for days you want to stow the fly gear, a 15-gallon aerated livewell resides just behind the bench seat.
With three dry-storage bins and two 10-foot under-gunwale rod compartments, your gear will be safely transported to the grounds – then you can enjoy the 184 Ghost’s great fishability. – MM
**(with 150 hp Evinrude)
_Ranger Boats / Flippin, Arkansas / 870-453-2222 / _www.rangerboats.com