Sometimes fly-anglers feel that the only boat that applies to them is a skiff. By and large the greater percentage of saltwater fly-fishing requires stealthy approaches in superskinny water. But honestly, have you ever really thought about what more you could accomplish aboard a bay boat armed with fly tackle? It goes without saying that the skiff is the boat of choice for most fly-anglers; however, in some scenarios, a bay boat such as Ranger’s 240 Bahia really does make better sense. Not to mention how many new angling possibilities it opens up.
As far as specific fishing scenarios go, when it comes to fishing for tarpon, cobia and other species from the beach, I don’t even think about it; the skiff stays at home and I hitch up the bay boat. Or, if I know that I’m going to be targeting snook or redfish in water that’s a foot or more deep, the Bahia gets the nod. When utilizing a Minn Kota i-Pilot trolling motor, I can pick apart mangrove shorelines and potholes on the flats as slowly and meticulously as I please. I often make long runs for the filming of The Gypsy Angler and even when I’m guiding my clients in south Florida. When I know I’m going to make these open water runs, my crew and clients appreciate the smooth, dry ride provided by my Ranger Bay.
Fly-anglers will also appreciate the Ranger 240 Bahia’s giant, flat casting deck up front and its built-in toe rail designed to keep fly lines at their feet and out of the water. Another aspect they will enjoy is the 240 Bahia’s 101-inch beam because it provides an extremely stable platform from which to cast. So instead of worrying about their balance, anglers can dedicate 100 percent of their concentration on making delicate and accurate presentations. Not to mention how stable it is for fighting big fish that force the angler to do laps around the boat during the fight.
Ample storage is another important factor for my needs, and that’s yet another feature of this boat that I really like. I’m of the mind-set that you can never be too prepared. I can carry virtually all the rods I could ever need in its large, lockable lockers that easily accommodate 9-foot fly rods. Also, there’s room to store all the fly boxes, gear bags and rain suits I would ever need.
When it comes to powering the 240 Bahia, you could go as low as a 150 and it would run great on just that. However, if you’d like to have the ability to extend your range a bit and have the horsepower to outrun afternoon thunderstorms, a 250 Evinrude E-Tec (like mine) is a very good choice.
Again, skiffs are great, and no doubt do they serve an important purpose, but if you are presented with a one-boat budget and want a craft the whole family can enjoy, the Ranger 240 Bahia is a great option.
Fuel: 72 gal.
Max Horsepower: 250
Weight: 2,350 lb. (approx.)
Top Speed: Low to mid-50s
Price: $49,995 w/ 200 hp
The 240 Bahia can easily get up and go on a 150 hp, but if you are into speed, try the 250 Evinrude E-Tec. For picking apart shorelines, a Minn Kota i-Pilot is what you need.