Heartland boaters seeking an aluminum built, multi-species fishing boat with a major league pedigree will find plenty to like aboard Ranger’s RP 190. I tested the new-for-2016 model fitted with a Yamaha VMAX SHO 115 outboard in and around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor this past summer and found it to offer a super combination of space and stability for stand-up fishing, and nimble-performance to boot.
Rigged with its maximum-rated horsepower, and courtesy of a padded hull, we got on plane in less than 5 seconds and topped 45 miles per hour at wide-open throttle with two anglers, three batteries, 20 gallons of fuel and a standard Minn Kota Edge 70 electric trolling motor on the bow.
At cruising speed, the 18-footer cornered well, pounded little and handled like a boat with a larger footprint. The new Ranger continued to display its notable heritage while under electric power, as we found space for two anglers at a time casting from the large bow deck and an equally roomy deck aft, separated by a feature-filled center console surrounded by a 24-inch deep cockpit.
Notable is that the console is fiberglass, unlike the balance of the marine-grade alloy boat, with the advantages of a glass dash including better ergonomics and flush-mounted gauges. The 190’s helm comes standard with six vertical rod holders — three to a side on the console — a Lowrance Elite 3X fish finder and BayStar hydraulic steering. The latter is sure to be appreciated by boaters who twist through rivers and creeks to get to the fishing grounds.
Forward of the helm is a cooler seat facing a huge front casting deck. Roomy storage lockers that can accommodate rods up to 8 feet long are found under the deck, while a panel up front offers control switches for the boat’s navigation lights and engine trim functions.
Aft of the helm console is a broad leaning post that flips forward to reveal a large aerated livewell with timer and divider. The helm seating station is flanked by flip-up jump seats to accommodate passengers; each hides storage compartments underneath. A hatch aft offers easy access to the boat’s 21-gallon fuel tank, battery banks, bilge and livewell pumps. There’s room at the transom on either side of the outboard for an optional shallow-water anchor, such as a Minn Kota Talon or a Power-Pole, as well as a standard boarding ladder to port.
A factory-installed Fishing Package is available for the RP 190, featuring premium aftermarket accessories including a 4-inch setback plate, full-size spare tire, 45-quart Yeti cooler with cushioned top, water pressure/trim gauges and two-tone paint.
The new model comes standard with a custom-fitted, NMMA-certified Ranger Trail aluminum trailer, boasting galvanized cross members for strength and equipped with a center swing jack, locking swing-away tongue, integrated load guides and waterproof lights. All in all, it’s a package suitable for conveniently traveling to and fishing in freshwater, brackish or salt — and for catching about anything that swims in Heartland waters.
Length Overall: 18’8”
Dry Weight: 1,150 lbs.
Fuel Capacity: 21 gals.
Base Price: $17,395
Author: Dan Armitage is a regular contributor to HeartLand Boating magazine