Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Moderators: MKA, Caudawg

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:18 am

As the title suggests I’m looking for opinions and experiences in deciding which boat to buy. I have the opportunity to buy 2009 285XL Stratos with 20 hours on the 150 mercury optim max motor from a elderly gentleman who bought the boat and wasn’t able to use it so it stays in storage for most of its life and has not been run in a while or a 2016 ranger z175 with 250 hours on a 115 Yamaha SHO vmax.

The boats are priced similar and the ranger has a little better electronics . They both have the same TM. The Stratos is in like new condition As it’s barely been used, The Ranger is also in good condition but you can tell it’s been fished out of which is A-OK with me .

I’m a weekend warrior fisherman that does not do tournaments but just likes to go out and have a good time and catch some bass Crappie and bluegill . I would love to hear some thoughts and opinions on which is the better boat and some experiences from you experts out there I need to make a decision pretty quick

Whoopbass
Posts: 687
Joined: Sun May 22, 2005 12:24 pm
Location: Modesto

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Whoopbass » Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:55 am

My buddy had a 08 294 Stratos. He owned it less then a year and snapped 3 rods in the rope cleats because they weren't recessed. He would catch a fish, set his rod down and when he would go to pick it up the rod would be under the cleat and snap. :lol: :lol:
I didn't care for the boat but he and others liked it. It chine walked and when you would stop water would rush over the back if you didn't hit the throttle. It rode kinda rough but he wasn't the best driver. It appeared to me it was a budget friendly type boat at the time it was made.
I don't know anything about the Ranger but I would pass on it because of its size.

coyote268
Posts: 51
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:15 am

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby coyote268 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:34 am

I've owned three Stratos and I liked all three. I really regret selling my last 285 as it was one heck of a boat. I might also add, even in rough water I never had to turn on the bilge pumps. Just my opinion

User avatar
ash
SpeedBump
Posts: 4673
Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 9:07 am
Location: DirtyD
Contact:

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby ash » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:10 am

Tough decision, the 18' Stratos is more appealing to me based on it's length alone. Low hours are good on a motor but not being ran can sometimes create hell, especially with fuel lines etc... Anyway to take the stratos to a dealer mechanic and have it looked at? At the very least i would want to replace the fuel hoses, fuel filters and other filters.

Electronics shouldn't be a determining factor - the longevity of the hull and motor would be my focus.
- JaJa Jigs - Get THUNKED
Links to Check Out -
https://www.instagram.com/jm_ash/
https://www.bestbasstournaments.com/

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 8:01 am

I have never ridden in a Stratos but if you look closely you will see the similarities between it and a Triton, since Earl Bentz designed both. I have a 2000 19" Triton and I love the ride and stable fishing platform. If I get off the throttle water washes over the back deck. Doesn't this happen with most bass boats? When I brought my boat new it came with a 25 pitch four blade Bass prop on my 175 and it chine walked. I was never able to learn how to drive it without it chine walking. What I've learned is most boat dealerships want their boats to go out the door with maximum top end speed, less concerned about hole shot and/or midrange responsiveness. I eventually had the prop worked down to a 23 pitch and I have never been happier with the way it performs. This took care of chine walk.

Consider where you plan to fish? Will you be fishing the Delta and/or big lakes? One foot of boat length makes a big difference in the way a boat handles rough water. Will you mostly be fishing alone or with guests? Nothing against the Ranger but boats are only "like new" once and I'll take a boat that's a foot longer and a 150HP engine over a 115HP every time. Both boats you're considering sound like good options, my advice is to spend a little money with a good mechanic to have one or both checked out prior to purchasing. Used boats have never in my memory demanded the amount of money that they do right now, and I'm not young! :mrgreen:
Last edited by monte300 on Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mark 1
Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 5:24 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Mark 1 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:40 am

So I've owned two Stratos boats, a 285 ProXl with a 175 Evinrude motor. It performed well in all situations considering it's length. Never a problem with the boat for the 11 years I owned it. The motor was a different story. Having known others who owned a Stratos helped me decide on purchasing it. I liked it well enough that I bought a 201 ProXl after the 285. No problems....ever. Great in rough water as I live on Clear Lake. As far as chine walking goes, if you're really driving a boat to its' max performance, a lot of boats will start to chine walk. Driving out of it is the trick.

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:06 am

I have no intention of flooring the boat more than probably 2 times for the entire time I own it. Once when I test drive it and once when I show a potential seller down the line lol.

I have another question, since the boat only has 20 hours and has not technically been broken in over the last 12 years other than Hoses, is there anything else I should be concerned about ? I know I need to replace the trailer tires even though the tread is perfect but I know the motor is the biggest expense and although this motor looks new and has 20 hours it makes me think back to a car that has set up for multiple years and how expensive it is to get it up and running right

Thoughts

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 10:43 am

Will, your concerns are valid and drive home the value in paying a good mechanic $100 to go through the boat and motor, so you know exactly what you're getting yourself into. I don't know where you live but I'm a big fan of Boatmasters in Livermore.

User avatar
Mike
Posts: 3874
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 2:01 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Mike » Thu Jun 10, 2021 11:29 am

Both are good starter boats but I’d definitely go with the Ranger.
+ Better brand Recognition
+ 4 Stroke SHO (never pay for oil)
+ Better electronics
OG on WB since 1993

Larry Hemphill
Posts: 768
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 8:08 pm
Location: Yuba City, California
Contact:

Some thoughts

Postby Larry Hemphill » Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:29 pm

Totally agree with the previous post!
Name recognition is the name of the game for resale
Ranger has earned and maintained that for decades
It will be important to you when you sell the one you might buy
The motor brand might not be as important as they are all good now
Boat features are probably more important to a buyer these days

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 6:14 pm

I’m not thrilled when I have to buy oil for my two stroke. I’ve never ridden in a boat with a four stroke, do they rival two strokes in the hole shot?

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:14 pm

Mike wrote:Both are good starter boats but I’d definitely go with the Ranger.
+ Better brand Recognition
+ 4 Stroke SHO (never pay for oil)
+ Better electronics


I’m kinda new to the 4stroke so you would mind elaborating. You don’t have to buy oil with a 4stroke or do oil changes?

Also is the 115 going to last longer than the 150? And typically how many hours on average can you get out of them

User avatar
BIG DADDY BLUE RANGER
Posts: 665
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 5:21 am
Location: Guyle's water!

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby BIG DADDY BLUE RANGER » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:56 pm

I definitely prefer the four strokes...... oil change every 100 hours, similar to your car engine every 3k miles, and simple to do yourself. 2 strokes burn oil with the gas, which can get pricey... I used to average 16 gallons per year at $25 per gallon on top of the annual service cost. Even though the four cost more upfront, I definitely save $ not buying 2 stroke oil

Direct fuel injection 2 stroke outboards such as the Optimax, Fight, & HPDI are overly complicated by design and have well earned reputations for not being reliable. Sure, you may get a few good years or a few hundred trouble free hours out of it but eventually they will have issues. I've owned a few and have nothing good to say about opti's, lots of expensive problems and none of them made it beyond 1000 hours before being scraped

I'm told the four's are good for at least 3000-5000 hours, time will tell

As for hole shot, 2 strokes have never been known for low end torque.... they perform best at mid to high rpm. The Fours have awesome hole shot....think dirt bikes, fours have the low grunt, 2 strokers scream on top

I'd vote Ranger too btw... although I've been in a few 285's and they were decent boats, Ranger is just better quality

AVG.JOE
Posts: 58
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby AVG.JOE » Fri Jun 11, 2021 8:18 am

That ranger was on market before and had a lot of sun damage-they have recovered seats since. If this is the big will i know -bigger is better!
Custom rod builder/rod repair

Hook,Line and Sinker
2019/2020 A.O.Y

WRB
Posts: 712
Joined: Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:47 pm
Location: Simi Valley

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby WRB » Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:59 am

If the Stratos was a garaged boat for 12 years with low engine hours it’s a good deal.
Tom

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:02 pm

BIG DADDY BLUE RANGER wrote:I definitely prefer the four strokes...... oil change every 100 hours, similar to your car engine every 3k miles, and simple to do yourself. 2 strokes burn oil with the gas, which can get pricey... I used to average 16 gallons per year at $25 per gallon on top of the annual service cost. Even though the four cost more upfront, I definitely save $ not buying 2 stroke oil

Direct fuel injection 2 stroke outboards such as the Optimax, Fight, & HPDI are overly complicated by design and have well earned reputations for not being reliable. Sure, you may get a few good years or a few hundred trouble free hours out of it but eventually they will have issues. I've owned a few and have nothing good to say about opti's, lots of expensive problems and none of them made it beyond 1000 hours before being scraped

I'm told the four's are good for at least 3000-5000 hours, time will tell

As for hole shot, 2 strokes have never been known for low end torque.... they perform best at mid to high rpm. The Fours have awesome hole shot....think dirt bikes, fours have the low grunt, 2 strokers scream on top

I'd vote Ranger too btw... although I've been in a few 285's and they were decent boats, Ranger is just better quality


Blue ranger, thank you for this detail it is extremely helpful! This alone makes me lean all the way towards the ranger but I will check on the condition of any sun damage as well. I know the motor is the most expensive part and if I can get triple the use and the name of ranger it’s a no brainer unless the Stratos drops by 5k

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:08 pm

AVG.JOE wrote:That ranger was on market before and had a lot of sun damage-they have recovered seats since. If this is the big will i know -bigger is better!


Sent you a pm

User avatar
BIG DADDY BLUE RANGER
Posts: 665
Joined: Fri Jan 26, 2007 5:21 am
Location: Guyle's water!

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby BIG DADDY BLUE RANGER » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:21 pm

In all fairness I'd prefer a little larger boat too so you may want to keep shopping. An 18 - 19.5 footer with a four stroke would be ideal...small enough to easily tow, garage store, fish tight and shallow...but still enough size for acceptable ride, storage capacity, and some tourney fishing..... you say no tourney's now, but you may change your mind and if so you would quickly out grow the Z175. If you're positive you never want to tourney fish and primarily stick to smaller bodies of water the 175 would be fine..... but going four stroke is a must

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Sat Jun 12, 2021 2:49 pm

I would only be concerned about resale value if I was buying a new boat and only planning to keep it a few years. I have nothing against Ranger because they build a damn good boat, but it’s not like the Stratos is chopped liver. One foot of boat and 35hp is a pretty big difference and the 150 isn’t even broken in yet. Regardless of two or four stroke I would rather go 60 mph in more comfort than low 50’s especially in rougher water. It has taken me 21 years to put 400 hours on my Ficht.

Whoopbass
Posts: 687
Joined: Sun May 22, 2005 12:24 pm
Location: Modesto

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Whoopbass » Sat Jun 12, 2021 5:00 pm

Big Will wrote:
BIG DADDY BLUE RANGER wrote:I definitely prefer the four strokes...... oil change every 100 hours, similar to your car engine every 3k miles, and simple to do yourself. 2 strokes burn oil with the gas, which can get pricey... I used to average 16 gallons per year at $25 per gallon on top of the annual service cost. Even though the four cost more upfront, I definitely save $ not buying 2 stroke oil

Direct fuel injection 2 stroke outboards such as the Optimax, Fight, & HPDI are overly complicated by design and have well earned reputations for not being reliable. Sure, you may get a few good years or a few hundred trouble free hours out of it but eventually they will have issues. I've owned a few and have nothing good to say about opti's, lots of expensive problems and none of them made it beyond 1000 hours before being scraped

I'm told the four's are good for at least 3000-5000 hours, time will tell

As for hole shot, 2 strokes have never been known for low end torque.... they perform best at mid to high rpm. The Fours have awesome hole shot....think dirt bikes, fours have the low grunt, 2 strokers scream on top

I'd vote Ranger too btw... although I've been in a few 285's and they were decent boats, Ranger is just better quality


Blue ranger, thank you for this detail it is extremely helpful! This alone makes me lean all the way towards the ranger but I will check on the condition of any sun damage as well. I know the motor is the most expensive part and if I can get triple the use and the name of ranger it’s a no brainer unless the Stratos drops by 5k


****************************

You have to change the oil in a four stroke so that would probably add up to a few gallons of 2 stroke oil. One gallon of 2 stroke oil is good for 40-50 gallons of gas.

I doubt any of the direct injection 2 strokes are as complicated as a SHO or the new Merc 4 stroke. The SHO's were blowing up left and right but Yamaha claims they have fixed the problem. I doubt the 115 SHO's were part of the problem motors but not sure. Who knows how dependable the new Merc motors will be. Time will tell but if there is issues the Merc guys will probably swallow their tongues like they did with the Opti's.
The low performance 4 strokes is where you see longevity and dependability but you also had that with the older carbureted 2 strokes.

2 strokes have always had a better hole shot then a 4 stroke until recently and they still do if you own a G2.

I doubt that Ranger will hold its value any better then the Stratos because of its size. The Stratos should sell quicker because of its size.

The Ranger will be more economical in the long run and I would guess the SHO is going to give you less problems then the Mercury. The Mercury might be just as dependable because nearly all the info you're generally going to get from a bass forum is based off a 250HP motor that guys run the crap out of.

Water test both boats if you can even if you have to pay for launch and gas.

Fidlplr
Posts: 35
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:40 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Fidlplr » Sun Jun 13, 2021 2:05 am

Buy a Champion. Best ride ever. If you don’t get a Champion then get the Stratos. I owned one. Nice boat. Way better than that Ranger.

User avatar
Pat
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 7:04 am
Location: Olivehurst, CA

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Pat » Sun Jun 13, 2021 6:41 pm

I have owned a 2006 Stratos 285 Pro XL. I thought it was an excellent boat, performed well and handled rough water well. It also had plenty of storage. When the time came, I had no trouble selling it, even with a high hour ETEC. With that "new" Optimax that sounds like an excellent boat. I have a buddy with a Ranger 175 with a 115. It's a nice boat no comparison to my Stratos. My Stratos was way faster, rode better, had more fishing room and more storage. Pending a mechanic check over I would go for the Stratos.

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Tue Jun 15, 2021 7:53 pm

Thanks so much for all the help and replies, it truly is much appreciated!!

I do have 1 more question, if a boat has a quarter size gouge on the bottom/side what would that cost to get fixed and when it’s down to the resin can you still use the boat and will it take on any water?

User avatar
Pat
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 7:04 am
Location: Olivehurst, CA

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Pat » Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:05 am

Big Will wrote:Thanks so much for all the help and replies, it truly is much appreciated!!

I do have 1 more question, if a boat has a quarter size gouge on the bottom/side what would that cost to get fixed and when it’s down to the resin can you still use the boat and will it take on any water?


The cost for professional repair would depend on whether the flaw is in plain gelcoat or a metal flake surface. A do it yourself gel coat repair can be done with a product called "Marine-Tex." It comes in white, gray and black and possibly other colors to match your hull. https://www.amazon.com/s?k=marine-tex&i=automotive&ref=nb_sb_noss_1 It is pretty easy to work with.

Without seeing it, I hesitate to say if it might take on water if not repaired. Determining that would be a good question for a marine mechanic, which I agree with others is someone you should take any major boat purchase to before buying a used boat. The the hour of labor you pay for an inspection could save you a lot of grief later on.

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 7:36 am

Big Will wrote:Thanks so much for all the help and replies, it truly is much appreciated!!

I do have 1 more question, if a boat has a quarter size gouge on the bottom/side what would that cost to get fixed and when it’s down to the resin can you still use the boat and will it take on any water?


I'm more concerned about the depth of the gouge than the diameter. Back in the day when my very first bass boat, a 1984 Bayliner got a gouge on the underside of the hull, I used Marine Tex. It gets hard as a rock and it doesn't look pretty afterwards, but it did what I needed it to do. As previously mentioned, having the boat and motor checked out by a pro before purchasing is the best $100 you will ever spend.

User avatar
Pat
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 7:04 am
Location: Olivehurst, CA

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Pat » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:01 am

monte300 wrote: gouge on the underside of the hull, I used Marine Tex. It gets hard as a rock and it doesn't look pretty afterwards, but it did what I needed it to do.


Marine-Tex can be finished just like body putty on a car. Use progressively finer sandpaper, then rubbing compound, then polish and finally a good wax. That will take the ugly out of it.

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 8:31 am

Pat wrote:
monte300 wrote: gouge on the underside of the hull, I used Marine Tex. It gets hard as a rock and it doesn't look pretty afterwards, but it did what I needed it to do.


Marine-Tex can be finished just like body putty on a car. Use progressively finer sandpaper, then rubbing compound, then polish and finally a good wax. That will take the ugly out of it.


You're right, I'm simply not that patient :lol:

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:03 pm

Thanks for all the info, I think I may jump up in price a bit and look for a bigger boat based off all the info here. Looking at a ranger 198vx now or something similar, maybe even a nitro z7.....

So many choices and my gosh boats are so over priced right now lol

User avatar
Pat
Posts: 523
Joined: Sat May 07, 2005 7:04 am
Location: Olivehurst, CA

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Pat » Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:19 pm

Good luck! It is definitely a sellers market right now. Maybe wait until the fall to get better prices.

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:55 pm

Big Will wrote:Thanks for all the info, I think I may jump up in price a bit and look for a bigger boat based off all the info here. Looking at a ranger 198vx now or something similar, maybe even a nitro z7.....

So many choices and my gosh boats are so over priced right now lol


I don’t know what your budget is but Marine Unlimited in Santa Rosa is advertising a brand new 18’ 8” 2020 Ranger Z185 with a 150hp G2 Evinrude ETEC with a three year warranty on the engine for $37,900. I’m a big fan of Evinrude and even though they have gone out of business, it’s a solid product with spare parts for decades to come. The Evinrude is one of the cleanest running two strokes on the market. Back in 2000 my 175hp Evinrude Ficht was the only two stroke allowed on Lake Tahoe. With the prices on used boats being what they are that makes this one even more attractive in my eyes.

It’s a bad *** looking rig IMO and can be seen in the classified section or on their website. The only thing it seems to lack are big time electronics. https://www.marineunlimited.net/product ... 85-ranger/

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Thu Jun 17, 2021 9:16 pm

Thanks for the info on the boat. I think I will just be patient and see what happens, but man this money is burning a hole in my pocket and dying to be spent on a boat lol

monte300
Posts: 632
Joined: Thu Mar 02, 2017 12:18 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby monte300 » Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:31 am

Between prices and availability of used boats it’s a good time for guys to upgrade to a new boat, probably not a good time to get a deal on a used boat.

Big Will
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Jun 07, 2021 1:55 pm

Re: Need help & feedback on deciding between Stratos and Ranger boat

Postby Big Will » Fri Jun 18, 2021 7:23 am

monte300 wrote:Between prices and availability of used boats it’s a good time for guys to upgrade to a new boat, probably not a good time to get a deal on a used boat.


You can say that again!!!


Return to “Fishing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: opgarlic and 100 guests