by Dom Wiseman

In the mid sized plate aluminium fishing boat market the Bar Crusher name is one that sits right near the top with a proven pedigree in the offshore fishing market. There wouldn’t be many serious anglers who haven’t at least considered the Bar Crusher brand and given the regularity with which you see them at fishing grounds all around the country lots have made the decision to buy one.

There are a host of proprietary design elements built into every Bar Crusher hull including their full depth longitudinal stringers with cross members producing a strong rigid framework braced in every direction. In addition, the top deck is welded on creating individual cavities for buoyancy. They also have created the Gen2 hull which includes a planning plank for improved planning efficiency while the void that runs up the centre of the hull fills with water lowering the boat’s centre of gravity and improving stability at rest.

They are a plate build which means they are strong and more than capable of handling the rigours of hardcore offshore fishing. The Bar Crusher 535C is a smaller platform designed as a cost-effective family and fishing boat that is not only capable of serious fishing, but also a day on the water with the kids.

Bar Crusher 535C 12

WHAT YOU GET

Bar Crusher 535C 9I’m not a huge fan of the look of the Bar Crusher boats but the advantage of having the cabin pushed forward is that it delivers more room in the cockpit, the angle of the front of the cabin and lack of bow space, to my eye at least, does not create the most attractive lines. The benefits from a fishing point of view is more space is made available in the area you spend most of your time on a boat of this size.

The Bar Crusher 535C has a boarding ladder on the port side of the transom and while there is no transom door, climbing over the top of the bulkhead to get aboard is simple enough. For serious anglers, a generous live bait tank also sits on the port side. The perspex lid provides visibility while in the centre of the transom there is a large bait prep station, complete with cup and rod holders. Below that is a shelf that is big enough to accommodate the battery and other everyday items. It’s not covered but doesn’t need to be.

The cockpit floor of the Bar Crusher 535C is made of checker plate aluminium and is reasonably comfortable underfoot. It also houses a small kill tank near the bait prep station. Either side, shelves provide space for fishing gear while the gunwales feature welded rod holders and have non-slip grip on top. They are comfortable to sit on too, which you will find yourself doing often, especially when bait fishing.

The small cuddy cabin has a bench seat either side with a walkway through the centre to access the hatch and the anchor. I like that you do not need to exit the boat to deploy the anchor, it’s a great safety feature. The anchor well also has space to fit a drum winch if you would like to make this task even less taxing. The seats in the cabin are not quite long enough for a comfortable sleep but provide a place to escape the sun. I expect most would use this space as storage leaving the cockpit free of clutter. Over the top of the cabin is a rocket launcher accommodating five additional fishing rods. If you’re like me with a propensity to take the whole garage of fishing gear, I’d have one fitted.

The Bar Crusher 535C helm seats are pedestal style and sit on welded aluminium box with a void and opening on the inward facing wall for storage. They are welded to the floor using small tabs of aluminium that looked to me as though the could cause some pain or even be dangerous if you were rushing about the cockpit in bare feet and caught one at the wrong angle. That said the gap between the seat boxes is wide enough to be able to easily access the cabin or stand between the seats. The seats themselves are sturdy and comfortable, although I prefer driving standing most of the time.

Bar Crusher 535C 11

Bar Crusher 535C 9The dashboard space is somewhat an issue for anyone looking to fit a large screen multi-function unit. The Yamaha display on the test boat was mounted in the centre of the available dashboard space leaving the only option for a large screen on the shelf above. In that position, it will need to be free-standing, and is only protected by the windscreen leaving it in a high light area, so choose a unit capable of dealing with such. The other switches and radio are found down the right-hand side of the wheel and the radio is just underneath. A stereo could only be fitted behind the wheel in the front bulkhead.

POWER

The test boat was fitted with the just released Yamaha F90XB. This unit is a four-stroke platform that is 10kg lighter than the previous generation engine. It’s a single overhead cam four-cylinder 1.8-litre multipoint fuel injected unit. It also has better speed, acceleration and fuel economy than the engine it replaces. Yamaha claims it uses nearly 10 per cent less fuel than the current F100.

Most of the weight savings are courtesy of a redesigned mounting system and in a good result for the modern demands of boat owners the alternator has been improved with a 35 amp charge at wide open throttle and an impressive 28 amps at a mere 1000rpm.

The new unit is impressive and has torque and efficiency in bundles.

Bar Crusher 535C 3

ON THE WATER

Bar Crusher 535C 1It wasn’t particularly rough on the day we tested the Bar Crusher 535C as we were well inside the Broadwater in Queensland. The driving position is comfortable and provides good access to the controls including throttle. The hull slices through chop easily courtesy of the deep vee design of the hull. It does well to keep the spray out from the sides of the boat but perhaps isn’t quite as efficient at keeping it down meaning when it does push spray, some of it can come back at the boat in cross wind conditions.

I also felt that due to the driving position being pushed forward the boat tended to seem nose heavy or feel like it’s driving the sharpest point of the boat into the water. This is a handy trait when running into chop at a slower speed, though it feels a little strange when it’s relatively smooth. You can adjust the trim and therefore ride angle, however with three largish passengers in the helm area it didn’t seem to lift it enough.

While the Bar Crusher 535C hull is made of 3- and 4mm aluminium, it’s also loud with the water noise evident when at rest and running. It’s almost like the internal cavities amplify the noise coming from beneath the boat.

Stability is impressive, which is crucial for a fishing boat, and with three adults onboard we found it most comfortable in this regard. It also performs well in a turn bedding in nicely and not rolling over too much onto the side of the hull.

Bar Crusher 535C 7

ON THE TRAILER

Stones Corner Marine in Queensland, who supplied the test boat, sell the Bar Crusher 535C on a single-axle Easy Tow drive-on trailer with self-centring keel rollers. It also comes with Bar Crushers Bar catch system that makes it much easier for single-handed launch and retrieval. When driving the boat back onto the trailer the system literally catches the boat and automatically locks it onto the trailer. While we did not get to see the trailer at the review I have used this set up previously and it is extremely easy and effective.

The Bar Crusher has a dry weigh of 1150kg with the 90hp Yamaha engine on the back giving it a trailerable weight of around 1300kg which means most medium sized SUVs and sedans will be able to tow it with no problems.

OVERVIEW

Fishermen swear by these boats so hundreds of owners cannot be wrong. The smaller platform of the Bar Crusher 535C makes it more than manageable while the design lends itself well to delivering massive space in a small package. Geared towards fishing with a family edge, the Bar Crusher will appeal to anyone looking for a small but immensely capable fishing platform.

Test boat supplied by Stones Corner Marine, Queensland, 07 3397 9766.

POSITIVESBar Crusher 535C 15

  • Great space
  • Built for purpose

NEGATIVES

  • Noisy

NUMBERS THAT MATTER

Price: (as tested) $55,000
Construction: Plate Aluminium
Length Overall: 5.35m
Beam: 2.15m
Weight on trailer: 1400kgs approx.
Engine: Yamaha Four-Stroke 90hp
Fuel Capacity: 100-litres

 

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