Boating - - FEATURES - — Randy Vance


Af­ter test­ing dozens of Ranger boats, we’ve come to ex­pect ex­cel­lence in boat­build­ing. Whether it was the her­alded Z521 Co­manche bass boat or an alu­minum fisher, the per­for­mance and our phys­i­cal eval­u­a­tion have proven top-rate. Would the new Reata line of fish­able pon­toons equally im­press?

First, Reata boasts pow­der-coated tubes to stop the ugly cor­ro­sion that al­most im­me­di­ately tar­nishes raw-alu­minum pon­toon logs. This elec­tro­stat­i­cally charged pow­der clings to the metal and is baked on in an enor­mous oven. The re­sult is a fin­ish that re­sists the el­e­ments for years, keep­ing the pro­tected alu­minum struc­ture look­ing fresh and stylish long af­ter other pon­toons have turned dull and gray. Sec­ond, sturdy cross­beams are fas­tened to the in­te­grated pow­der-coated M-brack­ets, and the struc­ture is shrouded by a pow­der-coated ex­truded mold­ing for a sleek look. Top­side, the deck is through-bolted to beams, and the solid ride was im­me­di­ately ev­i­dent as we throt­tled up.

Lift­ing strakes let the pon­toons rise up on top, re­duc­ing drag and giv­ing us a re­ward­ing speed and solid hookup in hard turns. The fi­nal re­sult is a fun cruiser and a plat­form that will bring kids and adults laugh­ter and squeals when tow­ing a tube.

On this fish­ing ver­sion, a pair of fore and aft bucket swivel seats boost the fisha­bil­ity. Com­fort is what boaters think of when pon­toons are pe­rused, and this one does not dis­ap­point there either. The fur­nish­ings are lush with sup­ple vinyl. Bol­sters are thick, giv­ing com­fort in the nas­ti­est chop. The re­clin­ing helm chair and cen­ter lounges seat your crew in lux­ury.

Fish­ing con­soles hold rods and tackle, and a livewell keeps your catch fresh. The Hook 5 sonar/GPS combo is com­plete and ready to help you find and catch fish. LED cour­tesy lights add a soft glow to the deck, and stor­age lights make gear easy to find in the dark. Dock­ing lights il­lu­mi­nate your post-sun­set cruise, and LED nav­i­ga­tion lights mean you can spend hours on the hook at night with­out drain­ing your bat­tery.

Con­ve­nient op­er­a­tion, long-last­ing good looks, and state-of-the-art con­struc­tion tech­niques make the Reata 223F a cruis­ing, tube-tow­ing, fish-catch­ing pon­toon for your fam­ily fun for decades.

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