One can’t think of bass fishing and bass boat history without the mention of Forrest Wood and his Ranger Boats company. Although Forrest didn’t invent the bass boat, his company was one of the first to design boats specifically for the bass angler at the genesis of tournament bass fishing. Today we look back on Ranger Boats, not to 1968, but twenty years later and present to you the Ranger Boats 1988 Catalog.
I am by no means an expert on Ranger Boats. Frankly, I was never a fan of them preferring other manufacturers’ offerings. But I will say, I always admired Ranger’s fit and finish. There was no doubt that Forrest and his team held quality at a high level. Their boats were solid fishing machines that held up year after year to the abuse of bass fishing.
The 1988 catalog, presented below in full, happens to be the 20th Anniversary of Ranger Boats. It’s 38 pages of Ranger Boats; how they were built, models, and options. In 1988, Ranger offered 24 models that included 22 bass boats from 15’-10” through 20’-1” and two fishing boats both, at 16’-11”.
If you look closely at the floor plan for each boat, you’ll notice that Ranger still hadn’t embraced the flippin’ deck in their boats, except for the 361V, and in that boat, it’s an option. All boats have limited under-deck storage and the front deck still doesn’t go past the front pedestal mount.
Here’s a short breakdown of each model. The full description of each model can be seen below in the photo gallery. I have also compiled a table that presents the basic dimensions of each boat.
395VS and 395V I/O
The 395VS and 395V I/O are the biggest boats offered and are built off the same hull and were 20’-1” in length. They differ in deck configuration as well as the inboard/outboard option. Maximum rated motor was a 235 horsepower for the 395VS while the 395V I/O came with either a 260 horsepower Mer-Cruiser, 350 Magnum, Bravo One 320 horsepower, or an OMC Cobra 260 horsepower inboard.
390V, 393V and 396V
The 390V, 393V, and 396V are all 19’ 3-1/2” in length with an 88” beam, built off the same hull, but differ in deck configuration. The 396V was the fish and ski model with two rod/ski lockers and a dual console. The 393V was a dual console with a single rod locker and the 390V was a single console with single rod locker. The maximum horsepower for this model was 200.
370V, 371V, 373V, 374V, and 375V
The 370 series, which had five models, was 17’-10” in length, had an 88” beam and was rated for 175 horsepower except for the 373V, which was rated for a 150. This is a bit curious to me why this boat would be rated for a lower horsepower motor.
All the models again differed in deck layout with the 375V being the fish and ski model. The 375V also had fore and aft livewells. The 374 was a single console, single rod locker model, and both livewells were positioned behind the driver/passenger seats.
The 373V was a dual console boat with a single rod locker that had a padded top for lounging. It also featured fore and aft livewells. The 370V and 371V are both single console boats and differ in that the 371 has extra dry storage in front of the driver console. Both had livewells fore and aft.
360V, 361V, 363V, 364V, and 365V
This series is really confusing to me in that the hull dimensions are the same as the 370 series. The only difference, and a significant one at that, is Ranger touts the Dual Stepped Hull in this model compared to the 370 series. It appears what they’ve done here is make an adjustment to the 370-series hull and renamed it the 360 series. Maybe someone who has the knowledge can jump in here and enlighten me.
The 360V was a single console boat with a single rod locker and dry storage up front. It also featured rod storage behind the cockpit and dual rear livewells. Another feature that made this boat a popular tournament boat was the dual 21-gallon gas tanks – the largest of all in their 17-foot boat line.
The 361V is where things finally take a change for the future of bass boats. The boat was a single console boat with dual rear livewells. Where the boat differed from any boat coming out of Flippin, AR was the front deck.
The main boat itself had a ton of under-deck dry storage up front as well as a lifted deck to better serve for flippin’. But the cool option for this boat was the deck extension that brought the front deck all the way back to the consoles. Ranger wasn’t the first company to do this but it’s nice to see they are starting to think a little forward with this design.
The 363V and 365V are sister ships in that both are dual console boats with dual rear livewells. The 365V is a fish and ski model where the 363V is a pure fishing boat. The 363V also offered a folding deck extension that covered the tackle storage area in front of the driver’s console. The 364V, on the other hand, was the single console version of the 363V.
350V, 354V, and 357V
The 350 series boats were all again 17’-10” in length but differed in their beam width compared to the 360- and 370-series boats. The beam width for the 350-series boats was 82” and that dropped the maximum horsepower rating from 175 to 150.
Where these models differed was again in floor plan, with the 350V having fore and aft livewells, compared to the 354V having dual rear livewells. Both the 350V and the 354V were single console boats. The 357 was a fish and ski model with a wrap-around windshield, bench seat for driver and passengers as well as a single livewell positioned at the far back of the boat.
330V, 333V, and 335V
The 330-series boats were the 16’-10” series of boats offered by Ranger. All featured an 82” beam and were rated for a 140-horsepower motor. Differences between the 330V and 333V models were the 330V was a single console with fore and aft livewells, where the 333V had dual aft livewells and extra covered storage in front of the driver’s console. If you wanted a fish and ski model, that was available in the 335V.
For those in need of a smaller boat, Ranger offered the 320V at 15’-10”. This boat was rated for a 115-horespower motor, had fore and aft livewells and a rod locker. Behind and under the seats was dry storage. Dual livewells were located between the driver’s and passenger’s seats. The boat had a 78” beam and weighed 790 pounds.
680C and 680T
These two fishing boats were boat 16’-11” in length and had 79-3/4” beams. Looking at these boats, they resemble what bass boats were in the late 60s and early 70s, before the development of the pad hulls. Today they resemble walleye boats and look like they were good platform to fish out of.
The difference between the two was the C model had a console and the T model was tiller steering. This changed up the horsepower rating between each boat, the C model being able to handle a 115 horsepower, while the T model was rated for a 60-horsepower motor. Floor layout was essentially the same.
That’s the quick run-through of each boat in the catalog. As stated at the start of this article, below you will find the complete catalog that you can scan through. And, if you have any information that can clear up some of my questions regarding the boats, please let me know in the comments below.