: Ranger 681vs
11-26-2010, 09:28 AM
I'm researching this model and if you have feedback or experience with a 681vs, please share your thoughts on this model introduced in 1996.
I'm looking at the specs for this boat and found this information from http://www.bassboatcentral.com/rangerspecs3.htm.
681VS 1996 6" Fisherman 17' 8" 79 3/4 130 1100 Single 23
I've seen a few of these boats with 135 motors and even some with 150's. I'm thinking there were some changes to this model in the late 1990's or these specs above are wrong as it lists max hp at 130.
If there were changes, I'd like to know the specs. I've know the boat that replaced this model (618vs) weighs in at 1445 lbs which is quite a bit heavier than the 681 so I' wondering if the 681 hull is suitable for larger bodies of water. I primarily fish small to medium sized lakes in Minnesota, but occassionaly hit Mille Lacs, Leech, and Lac Seul.
The 681 was updated ( not sure which year) so that you can put up to 150 on it, correct, but the newer model is the 618. The older versions were rated up to 130.
I own a 617, and looked hard at the 681 also. I would consider the the 681 or 618 to be kind of a hybrid boat, especially the 618 which has more bass boat characteristics. The 618 is no longer being built also.
As far as large water, like many things it depends on how you drive and what conditions you fish in. I think you would be just fine for your small to medium lakes, but you would want to be careful ( as always) for larger waters.
11-27-2010, 08:39 AM
I bought a new 681vs in 1998. It came with a 135 Opti Max motor.
Great boat for casting! I fished mainly Bass, Pike, Muskie from it. I live 45 minutes from Mille Lacs and fished there many, many times. In addition I fished Leech, Namakin, Rainy, Kabatogama and Eagle in Canada. Also I fished the St. Croix and Mississippi many times.
Be sure to sit in the drivers seat prior to buying it! The seat sits low and when it came from the factory the seat did not swivel. I put a swivel on mine and I know a lot of other guys did also. It can be a bit tough getting up and down out of the seat if you are a bigger guy.
The other quirky feature is the door on the live well right behind the drivers seat does not open all the way. It was a design error on that boat. It's not a big deal, I used mine as a cooler all the time anyway.
Be smart and it's a very safe boat.
Let me know if you have any other questions. :grin:
11-27-2010, 12:19 PM
Have a 1997 681VS. Bought it new in late 1998 but did not order it myself. It came with an Evinrude 115 Intruder. The 115 is quite a bit lighter than the 135's I compared it to and since I venture into skinny water the 115 worked out well for me.
The boat is not a true 18 footer, or even 17'8". It is 17'2" and has a built-in 6" setback.
The max hp the 681 was ever rated for was 135. Ranger originally replaced the 681 with the 617, which was also 17'8" long, but wider and heavier. Don't think the 150 rating showed up until the 618 came along.
The 681's are great fishing boats for their size, maybe the best all-around fishing boat of that size-range. I get a bigger boat but that's the only reason.
11-27-2010, 05:05 PM
The 681 was the first glass "multispecies" boat to turn my head. I only got to fish out of one a few times, but was surprised at how well it rode on my ugly home water. At that point in time I think I was running a Lund Baron Magnum, and that little 681 rode at least as well as mine did, and was a heck of a lot better to control at slow speed in the wind.
11-27-2010, 07:49 PM
I had a 2000 with a 135 Opti with a 6" manual jackplate. It flew, saw 56mph gps a couple times with a light load and it rode suprisingly well. In some ways I think it rode better than the 617 I had after it.(was not so nose heavy) It really is a 2 person boat but could fish 3. The reason I sold it was to get a boat that could fish 4, hence the 617.
11-28-2010, 11:05 AM
I had a 1998 681 that I purchased new. It had a 125HP Mariner which was sufficient until I put a kicker on it. It still was fine with me and a full load of stuff. It didn't come out of the hole very quickly with another person in it after I put the kicker on it. I have ridden in a 681 with a 135 Opti with a kicker on it and that thing flat out flew. I loved that boat!! I replaced it with a 619 with full windshield, in derference to my wife, who fishes with me quite a bit. :-)
No problems with big water, I had it on Green Bay one time in 5 footers and it handled them well. Rode well in chop.
11-28-2010, 03:28 PM
I have been doing research on both the 681vs and 618vs for the past year as one of them will be my next rig. I face the same situation, I mostly fish medium size waters with numerous trips to the big lakes mixed in.
I haven't found a single person who didn't love their 681vs and have heard mixed reviews (still mostly positive) about the 618vs. Only con from 681 owners I have learned is it's really a two person boat and can get a little tight at times with gear. To answer your question, I believe Ranger updated the model in 1996 along with the 690. The original 681 was rated for 115 and the updated models for 130/135. Regarding your question about big water, I believe how a boat handles the rough stuff depends as much on the person driving the boat as the boat itself. The 618vs might handle the bigger stuff a little better than the 681vs but this is just speculation...
Have you looked much at the 618vs? These boats are the updated 681 with larger specs and max hp size. If it matters, the 618vs model is newer. I couldn't tell you which one I'll end up purchasing. Both seem like great boats. I like the idea that the 618vs is bigger but also typically means paying more $$$.
11-28-2010, 04:44 PM
Let me add that this boat (681vs) sits very low in the water. It's very good for reaching down and lipping Bass or even Muskie & Pike if you are into PAIN. :D
Really, if you haven't ridden or driven one you need to try it out before you buy. They aren't for everyone.
11-28-2010, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys.
Mak51, I'm not sure a 618vs will be in my budget is the reason I'm first researching the 681vs, but I too have wonderd if the two hulls differ besides a few more inches in both beam and length.
If there are any other guys with 681vs feedback or can offer comparisons between the 681vs and the 618, that would be great.
11-29-2010, 07:30 PM
Have you considered the next size up boats from that era- the 690 & 692 Rangers? I'm guessing if length or weight is a concern you might have ruled them out. You might be able to find a deal on one of these in your price range.
I own a 1995 690 and I will tell you that it is a heavy boat. I've never had mine weighed on a certified scale, but looks like Ranger has the hull wt listed at 1425 lbs. Throw in 500 for the main engine, 130 for the kicker, 3 batteries @ 40lbs/piece, 30 gallons of fuel, and misc gear and tackle, and 800 lbs for the trailer it is probably around 3500lbs.
I thought that I might comment on the big water handling/performance of this boat. As mentioned, these boats do sit low in the water. I fish the Eastern Basin (PA) of Lake Erie about 5-6 times a year in my 690. The boat handles nicely in moderate seas (less than 3ft waves), and is more than capable in bigger seas. However, I would not classify the ride as ideal for such. You will get wet and tossed around a little bit. I've fished in 5-6 ft waves several times and it's doable but not that comfortable.
Also you really need to learn how to drive the boat in rough seas. Having enough motor really helps to keep the bow high and somewhat dry. Because of how low the boat sits in rough seas it has a tendency to stuff the bow into the waves.
So not sure if any of that helps, but hopefully you can draw some insight there. Another difference is that the 690 is rated for a 175 hp. For reference mine has a 150 Opti & 9.9 Kicker. The 150 has enough omphh for me, but I probably wouldn't want to go any smaller
11-29-2010, 10:29 PM
this boat is one of the most easy riding boats on the water. Its been in the tournament field for over 10 years, and you ca road in all types of boats and this one is really smooth on ruff and calm water and has enough storage for all of your equipment.