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cbruinooge

Ranger RT 178 vs Stratos 176 VLO

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Hi guys, I am in the market for my first bass boat and I really need some advice. I have some concerns and deal breakers which I will list first. After that I will cover things I would like to have but are not must haves. So I have a 21'garage and I need to be able to store it in there so the way I see it that limits me to a 17'6" ish boat. I really need to keep the total cost below $22,000 (out the door), and I would like to go new, however I am flexible there if it were just a couple of years old or left over un sold stock. I drive a full size dodge ram so towing won't be a concern, and I am not that worried about gas mileage for the truck or the boat motor. Both of the above boat models max out at 75 HP and I plan on getting the ETEC 75. The biggest difference is the fiber glass vs the aluminum. I will be strictly fishing lakes and I will fish a couple of large (5000+ acre) lakes near lake michigan so wind could be an issue on those lakes. Most lakes will be between 500 and 3000 acres. I'm not planing on fishing too shallow where I would have to worry about hitting things with the boat but you never know. I am ready to take good care of either boat so thats not an issue. I will have the wife and son with me sometimes so ride is important. I also dont want to be rocking back and forth while fishing because because the boat isn't stable. I have read so many forums and it just seems people are so split. I really need advice on buying new, that way we can skip the advice on testing for compression, and wood rot, soft spots, etc.. So I am leaning towards the glass boat (which weighs 1200) with the 75 hp 2 stroke Etec which should make it hit the low 40's. I really love the idea of owning a Ranger boat, but I also love the idea of owning a glass boat. Since I cant do both I have to choose. Any advice would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. 

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I like the idea of the fiberglass, it should ride smoother and it is supposed to hit mid 40s with the 75 hp outboard. I fish with a guide in Kentucky that has run a 225 Etec  for 6 years and loves that engine. The Etec or the Yamaha would be the choice for me personally. If you can afford to do it I would have them mount the elite 3x depthfinder onto the front area and have them put a Lowrance Elite 7 TI in dash. That unit is so much like the HDS 7 Gen3, but for almost 1/2 the price.  The HDS series has a lot of functions built in that won't be relevant to those of us that do not own huge engines with expensive smart gauges and other items like Power Poles. What that unit will do, is provide excellent gps mapping, regular 2d sonar imaging as well as hd side and down imaging. Now you can go find the fish. The only other thing to consider is to upgrade the  trolling motor to a 70 or 80 pound thrust 24 volt trolling motor as well as a 2 bank 10 amp per bank on board charger. I know these options may put the boat a little above your original budget, but I did all of these things and more to my current boat ( I have owned 11 over 43 years). I have never been sorry I added them. If you do not do it now you will do it soon. Put it on the loan, it adds pennies to the monthly cost.   

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I have the 176 VLO's biggest brother (189), and it's a very nice riding boat and well thought out. I believe @RangerDanger has a RT 178 so maybe he can give some info on that boat.

I think if I was going to buy a smaller boat, I'd go with the tin boat. I used to have a 1652VPT Lowe Roughneck and fished a 7,000 acre lake often that gets very rough, never had any problems. I had it on Table Rock, Beaver, Bull Shoals, Lake of the Ozarks, and it handled all of them, although was not fun on the Ozarks the one time I went during the summer.  

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I have the RT178 with a 75 Merc and it doesn't fit in my 21 foot garage straight.  I have an oversize 2-car garage so I have to slightly angle the boat which is annoying but at least it does fit using the swing away tongue.  I can still fit my wife's car in the other spot with ease while the boat is in there, but I was expecting to be able to fit the boat straight in on one side without having to angle it.  Don't trust the specs that these boat manufacturers say on their websites in terms of exact length, width, and weight.  Bring a tape measure and do it yourself to be sure.

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That model VLO is a small boat. Have you seen both in person and crawled around in them?

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Take a look at this boat review video The boat layout works well and you can see two guys fit up front pretty despite the fact that it is not an 18 footer. There really is not a wrong answer both boats are designed to get a boater like yourself's attention.  Go sit in both and then decide. 

 

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As bluebasser said I roll a RT178 with a Yamaha 70.  The one thing everyone says when they get in my boat is how stable it is for an aluminum and it doesn't sound like an aluminum.  It will run 35 consistently, been as high as 39 with 2 guys and the right wind.  Ranger also foams the hull. Handles rough water pretty good up to 20mph.  i have fished 3 out of it a few times without any issues.  I'd probably stay away from the Etec mostly because I know a guy that has been without his boat the last 2 summers.  Partially because only select shops have the equipment to work on or diagnose it, and the shops that can work on them take 30 days to get it looked at.  Then you have to wait for parts, once they get the parts you gotta wait for them to fit it back in the schedule.  Not trying to get flamed here, just stating facts.  if you have any specific questions on the RT feel free to PM me.

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What sold me on Ranger 178 was the Scott Martin Video on the Ranger Website.I am ordering one tomorrow with a few goodies like boat cover,boarding ladder(I'm 69),stainless prop,spare,Lowarance 7 on dash,Mercury 75 4 stroke.

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3 minutes ago, Crowcommander said:

What sold me on Ranger 178 was the Scott Martin Video on the Ranger Website.I am ordering one tomorrow with a few goodies like boat cover,boarding ladder(I'm 69),stainless prop,spare,Lowarance 7 on dash,Mercury 75 4 stroke.

 

 

Nice!

Enjoy!

 

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