My experiences with the Pro Mariner Pro Sport 20 Plus
Where I live small lakes are the norm and horsepower ratings limit the size and type of boat. Horsepower restrictions vary from 10 hp to unlimited, but the lake I fish the most has a 10 hp limit. Looking for a boat that provides the fishability of a big boat being powered with a 10 hp is tough. Speed is not really an issue, but you do want a boat that has the accessories and width but also the ability to move around. I have owned and again looked at several different aluminum johnboats, but most were narrow or too large for my horsepower considerations. I finally decided on the Ranger 168.
When I began to rig out the Ranger Banshee 168, there were a lot of considerations taken into account. First, I wanted my small boat to fish like my big one. I wanted the same features. I wanted a 24-volt Minn Kota Trolling Motor, the best electronics, the best pumps and switches, the best wiring and the best batteries, and I wanted the BEST on board charger at the best price. I wanted this boat to be as comfortable as my big one for good reason. I spend more time in it.
The Ranger Banshee is a fiberglass flats boat. I was converting it into a bass boat and because of the layout and width and 4-inch draft, it was perfect. It has an 84-inch beam and is a light 675 pounds dry. It has three storage compartments and was laid out perfectly for what I had in mind. With a little elbow grease and a some creativity, I had the exact boat for which I was shooting. Believe it or not, performance and comfort can be accomplished in a small boat.
Back to the charger. I looked at all of them and was torn between the Minn Kota, Guest and the Pro Mariner. I had always had Dual Pro chargers in my big boats, but I was looking for lightweight, four-battery capability, 12/24/36v, with self monitoring, and definitely wanted reliability and 100-percent waterproof functionality. It also was going under the back deck so being able to stand up to the elements was very high on my list.
The first thing I did in my research was look at the specs and start reading other angler reviews on the internet. I went to Bass Boat Central, Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, and West Marine for these reviews. I found it interesting that Cabelas has a Pro Mariner Cabela’s branded. That fact did positively impact my decision To be honest, the reviews were a mixed bag. Some had glowing reviews and loved them while others were so-so on a recommendation. I tried to read between the lines on these reviews and really keyed on three items:
1. Was durability a concern? Would it hold up?
2. What were the strengths? What were the reasons for dissatisfaction?
3. Were the good comments exceedingly good or just so-so?
Without minimal prior experience with either the Minn Kota, Guest or the Pro Mariner choosing between them was tougher. I had owned a Guest on another aluminum boat but only had it for a short time and it was on it as part of the package. I wanted to dig further. This is where the reviews paid dividends.
Based on those reviews, discussion with several boat dealers, and talking to a trusted friend in the boating business, I decided on the Pro Mariner. Most all of the reviews had information that this was a durable unit and would do the job. Boaters like the automatic multi-stage charging, distributed on demand charge where the least charged battery gets the juice, the versatility of battery types including flooded(lead-acid) /STD AGM, GEL & High Performance(HP) AGM, and the fusable links to the batteries. All of these factors were important to me.
They also liked the LED display where at-a-glance status of: AC Power, Charge Mode, Battery Type, and Ready/Maintenance Mode was present. The negative comments were a bit of concern but most were cosmetic, size and color, or price. This unit weighs 8 pounds.
It is very compact, installs with 4 screws and has long enough cords to reach all batteries. The power cord is 5′ long too. This charger came in at a fair price of $189.99 and has a two year warranty.
This unit installed in about 40 minutes and has been working in the Banshee for almost 3 years without any issues. I plug it in and in about 2 hours all batteries are fully charged. There has been no boiling issues and all batteries test full when placed on a meter.
I would highly recommend the Pro Mariner Pro Sport 20 Plus for big or small boats and because it is compact, approximately 11-inches x 7 inches x 2 inches, it takes up very little space in a storage compartment. They are available at Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops.
You can learn more about his unit by clicking here.