by Steve Morgan •
The last time I launched at the Elliott River in Bundaberg, I was headed offshore for the day with Spanish mackerel pro-line fisher, Peter Stevens. And on that day we made Fishing Monthly’s most popular YouTube video yet (about how to troll dead baits for Spaniards).
Pete’s boat is a no-nonsense plate aluminium workhorse that delivers day-in and day-out. Sea Jay’s new 4.6m Ranger is built with the same user in mind – maybe not commercial anglers, but anglers that use their boat hard every weekend and never expect any reliability issues, ever.
The new Ranger replaces the 4.4 and 4.7m models in the range and is built on Sea Jay’s Samurai hull. Featuring 4mm bottom sheets and 3mm sides, the test model had a fully self-draining checker plate deck, a massive 3.25m beam the similarly bulletproof Yamaha F70 (tiller) strapped to the back.
Incidentally, Mackerel Pete’s boat was powered by the same engine and recently closed over 2500 hours!
When we released the video for this test, it really hit the mark with anglers Australia-wide and the soft-launch of the model created a demand for the hull that Sea Jay worked hard to fill.
What I learned from the experience is that sometimes it isn’t the creature comforts of a hull that gets anglers excited; it’s about having a boat that does its job well. And that’s exactly what the Ranger does.
If you use your boat hard in estuary and inshore environments, you want the clean-up from a crabbing or prawning trip to be easy and to be achievable with a garden hose. The Ranger ticks all of the boxes here, with no carpet to clean or paint to damage.
Similarly, the built-in livewell drains straight to the outside through holes in the transom, reducing the need for electronic intervention to keep your baits alive.
The high front casting deck conceals massive underfloor storage. The Ranger holds a fibreglass EvaKool under the deck.
Up for’ard, the ability to mount a trolling motor next to the anchor well is great for those who like bait fishing as well as lure casting.
The small side console is one of the pro concessions to luxury in this rig and will probably be frowned upon by the tough TNQ anglers as being a bit ‘soft’, but it’s a great place to mount a sounder and keep your valuables out of the way of spray.
The other concession is some comfortable seats which slide into a baseless floor mount.
Twist the throttle on the Yamaha and the Ranger jumps onto the plane and it sounds just like an F-series Yamaha at full throttle.
Without fuel flow metering available, the Ranger delivered 51km/h against the tide and 56km/h with it. With standard F70 fuel consumption, that gives a range of well over 200km with the on-board 90L fuel tank.
Overall, this rig is as Queensland as XXXX Gold and winning State of Origin footy games. Check out www.seajayboats.com.au for more details and make sure you like Sea Jay on Facebook.
As tested, the Ranger came in at $31,530.
Floor ribs 10
Capacity 5 max
Hull weight 505kg
Max motor weight 155kg
Total length 6.15m