The name Blue Fin Boats is synonymous with customer service and producing fishing boats that the public wants. We often see the Blue Fin company associated with tournaments or social events run throughout Australia as an active sponsor.
In these trying times of rising living costs and global meltdowns, you would expect this to come to an end but instead, Blue Fin has come up with a budget boating package to keep us out on the water.
Bigger boats, although great to go for a ride on, are not always practical to own. Many of Australia’s waterway users are looking to multi-purpose boats and Blue Fin’s new 4.75m Ranger is just that.
This boat would be quite at home fishing the offshore reefs for mackerel and snapper or towing the kids out on skis, while not being too big to accommodate a session for flathead or bream in the local creek.
The test boat was supplied and fitted out by Tweed Coast Marine and I met the crew at a Tweed River ramp for the afternoon’s test.
I liked the layout of the Ranger from an angler’s point of view. The deck was carpeted and uncluttered.
The console was fairly standard with a good set of hand rails on either side of the steering wheel, which was mounted at a comfortable height even for my 6’3” frame.
The console top housed the gauges, VHF radio and had a recessed compartment in the dash where the sounder was mounted. We used this compartment to stow our keys, mobile phones and wallets.
The Ranger comes standard with a fold-down console so that trailering or storing the boat doesn’t impose any height restrictions. The bottom half of the console had adequate packing space for small bags, camera equipment or any other sundries you might want to keep close at hand.
Everything was neat, tidy and very simple, which to me meant easier operation and fewer things for the little ones to get their hands into.
Behind the console was a padded seat that doubled as a large storage area. I could easily fit my camera case, along with the safety equipment which we took for the test.
The stern incorporated a wrap-around upholstered cushion which, when used in conjunction with the fold-away seat, acts as a comfy backrest. If you chose to fold the seat away, the padding would be welcomed padding when fighting a large fish or fishing in the rough stuff offshore.
Two well-placed handrails and two flush-mounted plastic rod holders completed the gunwales leading to the stern.
Directly below the handrails were two side pockets for stowing any items that might be needed for the activity of the day. The rails were just in the right spot for you to hold onto when reaching into the side pockets to pick up something, an exercise which means you would have to take your eyes off the water and inexperienced water goers could come unstuck while doing this.
A built-in, plumbed live-bait tank was on the port side stern. A bait board was mounted over the centre of the stern and housed another two rod holders.
The 60hp Mercury two-stroke was mounted on a pod that gave the Ranger a lot more enclosed deck space. The gunwales were of a good height, which in conjunction with the closed-in transom would make a safer option for taking the little ones out on the water.
There was no shortage of space to move around the sides of the console if you needed to follow a hard-running fish or make your way forward to cast slugs off the bow. The standard model Ranger actually comes with a motor well, while the deluxe model comes with the pod.
The 60 Merc two-stoke had no problems getting this rig out of the hole. Antony and I are big blokes and even when I sat on the rear lounge there was no hint of stern squat, with the Ranger jumping up onto the plane.
The boat handled the chop reasonably well and I took it out through the Tweed bar to find some rougher water than we had in the river. It proved to be a very dry boat even when I ran beam on to the bit of chop.
The Ranger had an extremely low planing speed and fell off the plane only at around nine to 11 knots and would jump onto the plane with a little squirt on the throttle.
We got the boat up to a very respectable 31 knots (58kmh) with the 60hp. Its maximum power rating is 75hp and would go like a scalded cat if you chose the larger option.
I needed to trim the Mercury in slightly when throwing the boat into tight turns but then I generally run the motor trimmed well out when travelling any great distance. If you were towing skiers this would probably not be the case.
I was very happy with the overall performance of the Ranger and expect to see quite a few of them traversing our waterways in the not too distant future.
|Length on trailer||5.6 m|
|Sides, bottom and transom||3mm|
|Total weight||767kg on Dunbier trailer with 60hp Mercury 2-stroke (dry weight)|
|Price||without pod $24,790|
with pod $25,485
Tweed Coast Marine can give more info on putting together a package deal. Call in at 147 Pacific Highway, Tweed Heads South, NSW 2486, call 07 5524 8877 or email --e-mail address hidden--