Ranger On Duty – Stacer 649 Ocean Ranger

Stacer’s new 649 Ocean Ranger is the company’s first foray into the world of serious offshore plate fishing boats. Scott Thomas reports.


The announcement of Stacer’s 649 Ocean Ranger signalled the Queensland tinny company’s intentions for producing boats aimed at the more serious offshore fishing market. While the Stacer brand is well known for its range of affordable “tinnies”, the 649 Ocean Ranger is a very different beast, with a more robust construction and slick design to match. And best of all it’s still an affordable option for someone looking at a trailerable offshore sport fishing rig.

The Ocean Ranger is built using 5mm aluminium plate bottom and transom and 3mm sides. It also features Stacer’s new fully welded sub frame rib structure below a self-draining tread plate floor. The deadrise is a sharper 19 degrees for a comfortable and dry ride in sloppy conditions.

Stacer this year unveiled  a new transom design across its boat range. The slimmer transom makes for 200mm more space inside the boat and lowers the centre of gravity for a better ride. It also allows easier access to the battery and hides messy cables which would otherwise exit the transom.

The boat as tested carried mostly standard features. Of course you could always go to town and include a host of neat options, but compared to many other similar boats, Stacer’s package is ready to go fishing.

Standard features include a fold-down rear lounge plus a bait board which sits neatly on the transom and features five rod holders. Gunwales are nice and wide and are a decent height for fishing the rougher water. There’s also handy grab rails placed on the rear gunwales and additional rod holders.

This boat is rated to carry a maximum of seven people and features plenty of space in the cockpit. Ideally  a boat of this size would suit three or four fishos or a small family.

The helm is fairly basic, but well appointed for a offshore fishing boat. The test boat featured two seven-inch Lowrance HDS units. Stacer set this up to display the potential for displaying the full range of gauges on the screen, while leaving the second sounder free for finding fish and navigating. The dash size would probably allow a 10-inch sounder and still leave enough space for two small gauges.

There’s also adequate space on top of the dash for compass and perhaps a smaller sounder or chartplotter.

Stacer didn’t skimp with comfort on the helm and passenger seats. They were very comfy and fully adjustable depending on your height or preference.

Moving forward in the boat this is where, in my opinion, Stacer really exceeded in utilising what’s often a neglected space. The Ocean Ranger features walk through access to the bow via a large flip-over hatch. It’s quite roomy. This also makes the bunk area especially easy to access. No crawling around on your hands and knees looking for that box of lures. The bunks feature extra storage underneath for lifejackets and gear.
On the water
As mentioned above, the sharpish 19 degree deadrise helps slice through the bumps offshore. We had some ordinary conditions with a run-out tide on the Gold Coast’s seaway creating a good test ground for Stacer’s new boat. It performed well with a good solid ride through the rougher water. The sharp bow entry doesn’t impede on the stability, which I found quite satisfactory at rest. While the hull provides a dry ride, clears are an optional extra, and for this style of boat, essential if you’re planning an offshore fishing trip. The Ocean Ranger comes standard with trim tabs. This feature is a real bonus for this type of hull design to keep an unbalanced boat level in certain offshore conditions.

Maximum horsepower for the 640 Ocean Ranger is175 hp. I found the 150 E-TEC as tested more than sufficent.

A comfortable and economical cruising speed was reached at 18 knots and 3000 RPM. Other speed readings included: 24 knots at 4000 RPM; 30 knots at 5000 RPM; and WOT was 35 knots at 5400. Stacer fitted this boat with a Rebel propeller, which Stacer said allows the boat to stay on the plane at slower speeds, therefore keeping the fuel bill to a minimum while trolling. An alternative Viper prop had provided some extra top end speed, however, as it’s a fishing boat the Rebel prop option is  a smart choice.
Other features
Other notable features include a live bait tank, telescopic boarding ladder and ample storage under gunwales and around the helm. The fuel capacity is 160 litres and there’s also a 130 litre plumbed underfloor kill tank for keeping the odd fish in a slurry.

Scott Thomas

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