Stacer Barra Pro 519 Sportfisher Review

Stacer have created a new range of sportsfishers to finally stop Warren Steptoe complaining.

After harping on about lack of rod storage in Aussie-built fishing boats, it’s with some satisfaction I note the (optional) rod racks and (optional) fully lockable rod locker available in Stacer’s latest Barra Pro models. This is probably the most exciting new sportfisher I’ve seen recently. Please ignore this boat being a “tinny”, it handles very well indeed and is a lot of fun to play around in.

There are three new Stacer Barra Pros, a 4.6m 459, a 4.9m 489, and the flagship seen here, the 5.2m 519. The latest hull is clearly reminiscent of past Hornets, thanks to a new stretch-formed bottom. Racing around the open estuary between the Gold Coast and the ‘Pin showed the Barra Pro hull rode at least as softly as any of its type; and much better than most. Even if pushed well past where fishing boats should go, it remained predictable and was simply heaps of fun! The 43-knot top speed the 115hp EFI four-stroke Mercury provided is probably excessive (but was great fun too.) 

Room for rods 

There are two versions of storage on Stacer’s options list, the “lockable locker” seen here, and a simpler open “rack”. Good as they are, there is room for improvement. They leave your reels rattling against an unprotected metal surface, and because they are shallow, rods can fall out when the Velcro retainers are released. Neither of these issues will take much fixing.  The new rack/lockers are also a little short for fly and other longer rods, although Stacer’s R&D people were already onto that, and there’s ample room beneath the bow casting deck to cure this. Despite these minor criticisms, I’m really happy about the new Barra Pros’ rod storage. We can now anticipate that competitors will follow Stacer’s initiative. 

Now, before getting away from the number of rods we all expect to take fishing these days, we find some more rod storage in a vertical rack across the front of an all-new console. Four rods rack vertically here in an immediately accessible position. It means that with two people fishing, an ideal number in my opinion, there’s an immediate choice between two ready to go outfits each. Which is exactly what you need. Other rods in the horizontal rack/locker are mere seconds away too. Love it! 

The rigged rod storage in the new Stacer Barra Pros is a significant, even historic step in the right direction. 

Comfy console

Another regular complaint of mine about boats of this type is that it’s uncomfortable to stand at the helm (to negotiate situations where you need to stand at the wheel to see what you’re doing, not to mention to avoid hitting things. Again, the new Barra Pro console has my complaint well in hand with a substantial grab bar set about right for someone my height (170cm) at least.

A neat looking new steering wheel adds good looks to a great side console. Stacer’s new transom arrangement for the Barra Pro models is one of the best I’ve ever seen. It makes the whole transom area neat and tidy, and intrudes hardly at all on aft casting deck space. Once again, well done Stacer! And there’s more, the bow casting deck too is well proportioned. And all of the casting deck hatches have piano hinges “so no more stubbed toes” leaving me wearing a broad smile still. 

Fuss free fish pit

Under the aft deck there’s a (central) 70lt-plumbed live well (standard in Barra Pros) and batteries. Oil bottles are taken care of in separate lockers each side. I’m still dreaming about an onboard icebox and one look at the livewell had me imagining it’d be a perfect icebox if only it was insulated. But then I don’t use bait, let alone live bait. Under the bow deck there’s a total of four stowage lockers, paired anchor wells right in the bows, and behind them is a largish locker actually big enough to use as a fish pit. Yes, somewhere to put a fish if you bring it onboard, and that’s without painting blood and slime all over the nicely carpeted deck. So yet another pat on the back for Stacer for shutting Steptoe up about one of his eternal, or is that perennial whinges. Sorry though, the fish pit would be better if it drained overboard instead of into the bilge, because overboard is where that messy stuff belongs. 
Mounting a bow mount electric motor is taken care of in Stacer’s options list. A 75lt underfloor fuel tank (with gauge) is supplied with the 519 model tested.

Smaller Barra Pro models get 65lt tanks. Seating is arranged to balance best with two aboard, and once again I must note with approval that the passenger seat can be shifted into a forward spigot and then faced aft for trolling. Finally, praise is due the new pressed sides, which I thought completed one of the most exciting new sportfishers we’ve seen in a long time. I guess I don’t need to tell you I liked it very much.