Ranger Boats Banshee Extreme

A Review of Ranger's New Shallow-Water Skiff

09banshee

09banshee

Ranger has earned a solid reputation as one of the top manufacturers of production flats skiffs and bay boats. Their latest entry in that field - the Banshee Extreme - is sure to bolster that reputation.

Built on the same bare-bones hull as the original Banshee, the Extreme lives up to its name. It is built for extreme shallow-water fishing like that along Florida's Mosquito Lagoon, Snake Bight in Everglades National Park or the skinny water along Texas' Laguna Madre - all places where you don't want to get stuck when the water leaves.

Running and Fishing
The skiff is 16 feet 8 inches in length with an 81 1/2-inch beam, providing a stable fishing platform for such a light boat. Weighing in at 540 lbs., the Extreme is light and responsive on the pole and features an advertised poling draft on the skiff of 5 1/2" of water.

Power is provided by several manufacturers, including Evinrude. With an E-Tec 50, the Banshee Extreme tops out at 31 mph at 5,500 rpm, burning a little over 5 gph. Throttling back to 4,500 rpm, the skiff cruises at 27.8 mph, sipping a miserly 3.8 gph.

The Extreme differs from the standard tiller-driven Banshee in that it features an elevated console and seat, putting you above the gunwales so you can see exactly how shallow you are going - a design borrowed from the Texas potato chip boats. It also features a hydraulic jack plate, allowing anglers to get into and - more importantly - out of extremely skinny water.

Design and Construction
The Banshee is a fiberglass skiff with rolled gunwales. It has along-the-gunwale rod storage capable of accommodating rods to 14 feet in length, so it's more than

 ** Specifications**
 LOA:  16ft. 8in.
 BEAM:  6ft 8in.
 DRAFT:  5 1/2 in.
 WEIGHT:  540 lb. w/o power
 FUEL:  see dealer for options
 MAX HP:  50-hp OB
 MSRP:  $21,395 w/50 hp
  www.rangerboats.com

fly-rod friendly. A word of caution, though: The rolled-gunwale design doesn't offer any shelter for the rods from clumsy, clod-footed anglers.

This boat is designed for fly-fishermen with a fairly snag-free existence on the bow. An optional trolling motor can make things a little tricky, but what you give up in castability you make up in maneuverability. On the subject of trolling motors, each Banshee features a reinforced surface specifically for mounting bow units.

The hull design features rounded chines and upright, level foam flotation, which gives the Banshee a stealth-like approach to most shallow-water species.

All casting surfaces and deck areas are covered with non-skid, and the four locking storage hatches (two forward and two aft) are Gel Coated for easy maintenance and cleaning. As mentioned, the Extreme includes a hydraulic jack plate. It also comes standard with hydraulic steering.

As with the other skiffs in its line, Ranger offers a number of custom options. The best way to take advantage of their expertise is through the Ranger Precision- Matched Performance System, which allows you to have your options - from color to power to custom tower options - factory installed.

If you're looking for a hard-core shallow-water skiff, the Ranger Banshee Extreme is one that you'll want to take a look at, especially if you want to get where others can't.

 - Capt. Ted Lund