Boating Bits

REVIEWED: Bar Crusher 620C

Scott Thomas takes a ride in Bar Crusher’s new cuddy cabin and finds a purpose built fishing boat that’s sure to keep the fussiest of fishos happy.

THE image I associate with Bar Crushers involves a dark, stormy day, big waves and an airborne boat jumping a breaking wave. While this review doesn’t feature anything so extreme – although we did hit a floating pylon – Bar Crusher, as its name suggests, isn’t immune to such treatment. They’re tough fishing boats built for the sort of conditions we all hate, but unfortunately are faced with all too often. However these are more than showboats, they’re designed with “must have” fishing features and a few extras that other boat makers leave off the plans.

Bar Crusher is a Melbourne based fishing boat maker. Regular Fisho readers would remember Jim Harnwell’s 5.5 metre Bar Crusher powered by a 115 Evinrude DI two-stroke. Jim spent a good three or four years fishing from his Bar Crusher on the NSW South Coast catching boatloads of fish that never stood a chance!

Bar Crushers feature a unique water ballast system made up of a cavity running along the keel, which is designed to capture water at rest. The contained water aids stability by lowering the entire boat and chines further into the water. When the boat attempts to pop on the plane, the water simply flows out the back allowing the boat fast acceleration; sounds simple in theory and it really works.

I’d arranged to meet Blakes Marine’s, Paul Mills-Westley, at one of Sydney Harbour’s decrepit boat ramps. In typical fashion I was late, and when I finally arrived, the shiny new boat floating alongside the wharf had attracted its fair share of interested onlookers.

I hopped onboard the 620C and we headed in search of rougher water. The decks were clean and there was plenty of available fishing space – pity we didn’t have time for fishing! Sitting on the transom was a 150hp Evinrude E-TEC Ð more on that later.

The 620C apparently features the same cabin size and configuration as its small brother, the 560C, only with a longer fishing deck (the 620 is slightly wider). That’s great news for anyone who appreciates an uncluttered and safe fishing space. The 620C is constructed from 5mm (bottom sides) and 4mm (top sides) plate aluminium. The transom/pod has a built-in berley bucket with a drain hose leading down from the bait board – very nifty idea.

The cutting board itself isn’t too big, which in my opinion means more room for fishing. It also features a few rod holders and is positioned over the transom, rather than cumbersomely in front. Alongside there’s a doorway, which allows passage to a fold-down ladder. The fold-down seat at the back spans the boat’s width and is securely positioned. When folded, it tucks away and can barely be noticed.  

Typical of this style of boat, the gunwales are high and wide, which fishos will really appreciate. Not only do they reduce the risk of falling overboard, these wide gunwales also provide somewhere to sit when you’re feeling lazy.

There’s an in-floor kill tank towards the stern and a live well on the transom.

The 620’s cabin is easy to squeeze into. It’s not overly big, but after all this is a fishing boat and cabins are generally used for storage only. This area is easy to access, with an open design. And rather than feature some sort of leprechaun-friendly doorway (like many boats) the hatch can easily be walked through to the bow and anchor well. The helm was neat, featuring all the usual gadgets, and both helm and passenger seats could be swivelled to face any direction.  

The cabin also features a nifty pop-up hardtop roof which can be elevated and lowered with one hand. In rough water, this offers a solid, foolproof way to keep out nasty weather and matches the solid windscreen. The test boat didn’t have side clears, although they are an option and would be a necessary feature on any outside fishing boat. The hardtop also folds down easily for stowage and Paul demonstrated its simplicity on the water.

On the water

The conditions were hardly rough at our launching spot so Paul and I took the boat to some of Sydney Harbour’s more churned up areas to “test” the 620C’s rough water capabilities.

The sharp deadrise accounted for a soft ride. Cruising at 23 knots the boat remained steady in the messy water and very easy to handle. The aforementioned water ballast system appeared to work, however with only two people onboard, stability at rest was difficult to gauge. Even so, the boat did remain steady at rest and jumped on the plane very quickly indeed, in fact coupled with the 150hp E-TEC, grab rails weren’t just an option. As mentioned the Bar Crusher held an easy cruising speed of about 23 knots and 3400rpm. At this speed, most conditions could be tolerated and fuel economy wouldn’t be a big issue. WOT achieved 38 knots @ 5500rpm – plenty fast enough for this style of boat.  
The overall handling of the boat was good and the E-TEC provided more than adequate power. The maximum power rating is 175, but in my opinion the 150 was powerful enough.  

In the short time spent onboard the Bar Crusher 620C Ð unfortunately without having tested out its fishing credentials Ð I was impressed with the overall design. Once inside and standing on the solid chequerplate floor, you realise this is a boat built purely for fishing. The amount of workable fishing space and rough water capability should see it lend itself nicely to serious small boat game fishing.


Length: (Hull only) 6.2m
Beam: 2.35m
Weight: 1800kg (Towing weight)
Power: Max. 175hp; as tested 150hp Evinrude E-TEC
Price: As tested $63,990
Contact: Boat supplied by Blakes Marine (02) 4577 6699;

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