Fishboats from Rampage Sportfishing Yachts have a well-deserved reputation for making offshore angling their priority, and for many years their largest offering has been the 45 Convertible. As the 2011 model year hits these basic facts remain the same, but the tried-and-true 45—which I first tested nearly a decade ago, during a full day of tuna fishing in heavy seas off the Carolina coast—has undergone a series of changes that warrant giving this boat new consideration.

The Rampage 45 is the biggest fishing boat in this company's line.
The Rampage 45 is the biggest fishing boat in this company's line.
Rampage took a long, hard look at the 45, and realized that a few tweaks could make it a little more user-friendly. The first: an upgrade for all of the gas-assist shocks on the boat. Swing open a cockpit hatch, and you’ll now discover shocks that are all stainless-steel, and will last for years longer than the less expensive versions you’ll find on most fishing boats. Next, they moved the electrical panel in the engineroom, so it would be closer to the entry and more accessible. Then they added fiddle rails to all of the countertops in the salon and galley, the lack of which was one of my few complaints about this boat when I tested the original version. While they were making these changes, Rampage also redesigned the cabin’s forward bulkhead and entertainment center to accommodate a flat-screen TV up to 46”.

Like other Rampage boats (including the 41 we’ve blogged about before), the 45 has some fishing features that are just plain smart. The integrated, removable fishboxes in the cockpit sole provide the best example: they’re five feet long, so everything from bluefish to bluefin tuna will fit in them; they’re macerated and drain overboard; and their hatches are split in the middle, so you can swing up one side or the other easily, without wrestling a lot of weight. The 36-gallon lighted, baffled livewell is another example. And as final evidence of the Rampage’s supreme fishability, check out the sheer size of the cockpit. It’s 130 square feet, while most competing convertible fishboats in this size range offer 110 to 120 square feet of fish-fighting territory. That’s another excellent indication of how this builder puts a premium on fishing. The bottom line? If you knew and maybe even loved Rampage’s 45 Convertible, it’s time to go back for a second look—because Rampage just did.

- Lenny Rudow