Reviews

Bar Crusher 670HT

A RECENT trip offshore targeting marlin – we were lucky enough to release a striped of about 70 kilos after it ate a pink Pakula Sprocket – saw weather and sea conditions change from reasonable to crappy in a matter of minutes. A 20-knot northerly breeze, combined with a 1.5 to 2m swell, created a confused and messy sea. We’d found the bait down south and had to slog up into the wind for the 20-mile run back to port. Like most trailerboat gamefishermen, I’ve done that sort of run plenty of times, more often than not ending up crusted in salt, sopping wet and blasted by the sun and wind. This time was different, however, because we arrived back at the ramp dry, relaxed and comfortable. Such are the benefits of having a hard top cabin boat …

Hard tops of various brands and designs are becoming more and more popular with anglers dealing with the often unpleasant weather and sea conditions of Australia’s southern coastline. And Fisho’s latest project boat, a Bar Crusher 670HT powered by a 175hp Mercury Verado, is a prime example of an Aussie-built plate alloy hard top designed specifically for offshore sport and game fishing. Key features of this rig include excellent weather protection teamed with maximum fishability and performance, all in a package that’s light to tow and easy to clean and maintain. Outstanding build quality, great fuel economy and racy good looks round out what is essentially a very appealing package.

This boat is Fisho’s second 670. Our first one, which was purchased in 2011, was the popular C model which features a folding windscreen, removeable roof and side clears. I really liked the 670’s smooth riding hull, however, the cabin didn’t provide the protection I wanted when fishing offshore. The HT model, which was released soon after I purchased our first 670, features the same deep vee hull with the addition of the hard top cabin and glass windscreens. It was my first choice for a new rig when it came time to sell the 670C.

With more than 50 hours of offshore use, I can state with firm conviction that the 670HT is an awesome sportfisher. It’s big enough to provide a safe, stable and comfortable fishing platform yet is nimble and easy to handle. There’s plenty of storage, the layout is efficient and ride and performance is top class.

After having spent so many hours in the 670C, it came as something of a surprise to find that the HT is actually quite a different boat, even though it sports the exact same hull. It seems more surefooted and possibly a little smoother riding than the C model, probably because of the extra weight and bulk of the full height hard top cab. I always thought the 670C was a great riding boat, especially when running into the chop, so I’m pretty happy to find the new boat rides even better!

Bar Crushers come factory fitted with a comprehensive range of standard features. The only major extras I opted for when ordering the Fisho 670HT were a deck wash, upgraded bait station, Stress Free anchor winch, trim tabs, a windscreen wiper and clip-in rod holders. LED lighting, a plumbed livie tank, cast aluminium rod holders, rocket launcher and so on are standard. I also opted for a dual axle Easy Tow alloy trailer fitted with a Dexter braking system.

Easy Tow custom makes all Bar Crusher’s trailers to exacting specifications with the design on the alloy model cradling the hull nice and low on a system of rollers and skids. A standard feature is the Bar Catch, which makes driving the boat on and off a breeze. Although they add a few grand to the overall price, the alloy construction of these relatively new Easy Tows gives peace of mind in regards to corrosion plus knocking off about 100kgs of tow weight (off the largest Bar Crusher 780 models) compared to a traditional steel model.

The hard top cab with its curved tinted windscreen gives the boat a racy, almost predatory look. I opted for crisp blue paint work with white trim and a silver-grey Fisho logo on the sides. The boat looks great on and off the water. Inside the cab, the blue bunk infills are complemented by dark grey carpet on the sides and roof. There’s loads of storage under the bunks – I’ve used this space for spare fuel, tackle and PFDs. The helm station is neatly laid out with a triple decker row of illuminated switches handily mounted to port, the wheel central (I swapped the standard Bar Crusher wheel for a stainless steel “captains wheel”) and a binnacle style control for the Merc on the starboard side.

A 12-inch Raymarine a-Series sounder with separate CP100 and CP450 modules covering traditional sounder, down vision and CHIRP for deep water use takes pride of place in the centre of the helm. One of Mercury’s innovative SmartCraft VesselView display screens is mounted alongside the Raymarine and provides comprehensive engine data and management control. A rotary control for the windscreen wiper is located above the main switch gang – press down and you can wash the windscreen with fresh water from a container under the starboard bunk. Very cool!

A 700 series Fusion stereo (the speakers are mounted in the side bulkheads) provides entertainment via an iPod link, AM/FM radio and CDs. A sloping dash with lip and grab rails is great for temporary storage of used lures, rigs and other oddments. Extra cabin storage is located in generous side pockets to port and starboard. Although the hard top is much more substantial than the folding roof system found on the C models, I can’t say I’ve noticed any loss of fishing area in the 670HT.

Based on some measurements I took during a recent visit to the Bar Crusher factory, the HT cab only extends a few centimetres further back than the folding roof does. To all intents and purposes you have just as much deck space but far more weather protection. Personally speaking, I’d be happy to sacrifice a bit of fishing room if it meant I could get out of the spray and wind – especially during the cooler months. But the Bar Crusher designers seem to have done a great job in creating a a very usuable cabin space plus maintaining a good sized back deck.

When travelling, the pedestal seats (which come complete with nifty bolsters for driving while standing) are comfortable and stylish. Extra passengers have plenty of hand holds on each side of the full width cabin. In good conditions the rear transom seat can be utilised. As with most Bar Crushers, the 670HT features a centrally mounted fuel tank (with 190l capacity) which is filled direct via a floor mounted filler. Aft of the fuel tank is a sizeable kill or storage tank accessed via a removeable hatch. Hard against the transom is a floor-mounted well with pumps for the bilge, livie tank and deck wash.

Click here to see Fishing World’s video review of the Bar Crusher 670HT

More info www.barcrusher.com.au

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