We venture into the world of bait boats for this month’s Object of Desire review, and the very well priced Cult Ranger series…
RRP: from £649.99 | www.culttackle.com
Bait boats still divide opinion but if they are good enough for Terry Hearn – who openly admitted to using one to help him catch the Parrot from Wasing – then they are certainly a more mainstream tool than they were 20 years ago.
With this growing acceptance of remote-controlled boats has come a mini explosion in manufacturers, and Cult is part of this new breed.
Part of the Total Fishing Tackle family, Cult offers a range of specifications all housed within this sleek-looking shell.
The boat on test here is the cheapest, but you can specify the same chassis with additional GPS functions and fish finders if you have more money to spend.
First impressions are very positive. It looks good and the large central handle makes it easy to carry without fuss.
The plastic moulding is high quality and you can instantly tell that it is well sealed.
The hull and the upper section are joined by stainless bolts with a silicon gasket in between for complete protection from water, while the two battery compartments, either side of the bait hopper, snap shut with magnets for added reassurance.
Your destination is lit by three white LEDs at the front (two smaller ones on either side of a larger central lamp) and the rear has car-like tail lights and three battery-indicator LEDs that can be seen at long distances.
They do, however, stand clear of the bodywork making them a little vulnerable to damage.
We found setup to be a little bit fiddly. The written manual does not explain how to connect and charge the two batteries, but Cult’s own online video largely explains the process.
Once charged and ready, though, the Ranger is effortlessly paired with its controller and very simple to operate. The controller is precise and the boat is very responsive.
We found the hopper system to be reliable and well designed. It can be used as a single large bait store – holding about 3kg of boilies – or, with the divider supplied, can be turned into two hoppers that act independently.
There is also a hooking point on the rear of the boat which can be remotely triggered for dropping a back lead or for dropping rigs or markers without disturbing the hoppers – great if you want to place your hookbait just off the main baited area.
A built-in safety feature is the Cult’s ability to detect lost radio signal and automatically tell the boat to perform a large circular route until it comes back into range.
Another neat part of the package is the custom-fit bag that is supplied as standard.
Batteries can be stored in a zipped-up end pocket, while the boat and its controller are housed in the main compartment which is partially meshed to aid breathability and stop condensation build up.
Claimed range is 400-600m using the 5.8GHz radio system and battery life is said to be a continuous four hours with delicate control inputs, or two hours on full throttle.
Overall, the Ranger is a quality package that’s particularly attractive at this price in its base spec.