Jim: My name’s Jim Harnwell, I live on NSW South Coast and I work as a fisheries manager. Before that I was the editor of Fishing World magazine for more than 20 years.
This is the fourth Bar Crusher I’ve had, the first three were when I was editor of Fishing World magazine and they were project boats.
The first one was a 5.5 cuddy cab, the second one was a 620C, and the last one was a 670HT.
This boat, this 615XS, is my personal boat that I bought from Bar Crusher and I bought this boat because I was really keen to get an all-rounder style of boat.
I like most types of fishing. Estuary fishing – bream, flatties… freshwater – Murray cod, yellowbelly [golden perch], bass… inshore fishing with kingies and snapper… inshore marlin… so I needed a boat that could do all those types of fishing in relative comfort and safety.
Like most people, I’m not in a position to have two boats – an offshore boat and an inshore boat – so I had to go for one.
I did a lot of research for quite a few months looking at different boats and reading boat tests and speeding a lot of time on the internet. I kept coming back to this XS Series from Bar Crusher. It seemed to offer all the things that I was after: a good capable hull that was fine for offshore work; a good clean layout; casting deck with plenty of storage underneath; the rear centre console with storage… and being a Bar Crusher owner I know that these boats are built really well. They’re solid, tough, dependable boats.
So, I bit the bullet and bought this boat in the middle of 2016 and after about six months of use I’m really happy with it. It is a great all-round boat. I can literally go bream fishing one day, surface luring for bream in my local river or the other estuaries around my home, and the next day I can go offshore chasing kingfish or snapper, and in the summer season I’ll get the outriggers out and go chasing inshore black marlin, and maybe out to the shelf line and target striped marlin.
There are not many boats you can really do that sort of thing in – go bream fishing one day and then marlin fishing the next – but this is one of those boats.
Obviously, there are compromises with it. Offshore, it’s not as offshore friendly as the 670HT, which is a full cabin hard top boat, but this boat allows me to do a whole range of other fishing that I really enjoy, such as casting plastics around the washes for snapper, actively lure fishing with a couple of mates onboard… you can all be casting lures, there’s plenty of room.
Even when I’m by myself it’s great for that sort of stuff as well. It’s big enough to go out in choppy conditions where a smaller boat wouldn’t be able to hack it, but it’s small enough to fish a creek with snags for bream or bass or whatever as well.
So yeah, I’m really happy with the way it’s worked out for me.
It is, I reckon, a perfect all-round boat.
Bar Crushers generally come fitted pretty much standard with most of the things that any fisho would need. I opted for a few extras: I put in a set of Reelax outriggers for game fishing, I’ve got an 80lb Motor guide XI-5 electric, which is really handy for all the lure fishing that I do.
I’ve got it rigged up with a set of Raymarine ES sounders: 12-inch screen at the console and a 9-inch one up the front.
I’ve got an anchor winch, because I’m pretty lazy and don’t like pulling anchors in; I’ve got the rod locker so I can put my rods in there and lock it, it’s good safe storage.
Deck lighting, deck wash, and trim tabs… most of the other stuff the Bar Crusher came standard with like live bait tanks and so on, so they’re a great boat if you’re just starting out with fishing because they come nicely put together, but if you’re a really keen experienced angler you can customise them to how you like as well.
The other thing I like about Bar Crushers, having had four of them now, is they are a really complete package. They come with their own custom-made trailers; so there’s no hassle with an inferior-quality trailer that doesn’t really suit the boat. These boats come with trailers that are custom designed for them, so they work perfectly every time.
Bar Crusher factory does a fantastic job with fitting the boats out. All the electronics work, their wiring and so-on is top notch. I’ve never ever had any problems with any of the Bar Crushers I’ve had with any wiring issues.
I can’t say the same for other boats that I’ve had, where the wiring wasn’t as good and you do have problems which are pretty irritating and can be quite expensive. The Bar Crusher boats are great in that regard.
I’ve got to say too, the workmanship and design of Bar Crusher is top class. Probably one of the reasons I keep coming back to these boats is they’re really well made. They’ve got a great design and they perform brilliantly out on the water.
You read in the ads how soft-riding Bar Crushers are… they really are a very, very soft-riding boat. For a plate boat, they are right up there with some of the ‘glass models; probably better than some fibreglass boats.
I really do rate theses boats as being particularly soft riding. As I’ve gotten older I can’t stand the idea of getting bashed when you’re going out to sea. Some of the other boats I’ve had when I was a a younger guy, basic little tinnies, they used to absolutely smash me when I was heading out to The Banks to go fishing, but in this boat and other Bar Crushers I’ve had the ride is really, really smooth and soft… and I think that is a big plus, just for the comfort level.
All up, I’m really happy with this boat. I think it really suits my needs for where I’m at with my fishing these days. I fish by myself a bit and I fish with a couple of mates or my sons, so a hardcore fishing boat is really where I’m at and it does a great job.
I’m really happy with it!