Even at WOT the 4.8 Barracuda was easy to drive.

Refinements to Bluefin 4.8 Barracuda

WHEN you have a proven formula for producing a popular fishing boat, sometimes all that is needed is a little tweak here and there to make it even better.
This is the case with the Bluefin 4.8 Barracuda that I took for a test run recently in the Broadwater.
As you can see from the photos, the test boat had a very impressive wrap designed by Bonza Graphics.
While this actually has nothing to do with the refinements, it does catch the eye and makes the boat a little unique.
Something else I hope you can see from the photos is the new console.
At first glance while peering over the side of the boat before launching, the console looked quite large.
And when I sat behind with the throttle at my fingertips and the wheel in a good position, it felt very comfortable.
It is larger than the previous design, but the increased size gave a feeling of security as we wound the boat out to full throttle and full trim.
Whether it’s because you are more protected from the wind or just the solid construction, I’m not sure; probably a combination of both.
The new console has also been designed to allow anglers to fit larger electronics, stereo systems and more gauges.
These days it is not uncommon for smaller boats like this (test boat was 4.8m) to be fitted out with 10, 11 or even 12-inch sounder and GPS combos.
But to do this you need a bit of room, which is what this console has.
The affordability of all these add-ons often means that anglers are keen to deck out their new boats with all the mod cons and various gadgets.
Whether you have a boat used by one person or a family, it is important to deck it out the best you can.
Traditionally, larger sounders, radios and stereos were predominantly confined to offshore boats, but not anymore.
These days you can fit and run (with the aid of a good battery) many electronic devices to smaller boats.
The test boat was fitted with a Fusion iPod Dock sound system which pumped out a nice tune.
Another improvement to the Bluefin 4.8 Barracuda is the bait board.
There are a number of bait boards on the market from your basic roto-moulded plastic to fully optioned alloy models.
However, I think it is a good move to have a factory option for anglers.
Having it fitted by the factory means your boat will be ready to hit the water when you get it, with the added bonus of a specifically designed bait board.
The final modification has been to the hull.
While not a new design, the Eziride hull has now been integrated into the Barracuda range, which comes in 4.5m, 4.8m and 5.2m sizes.
This hull is designed to be efficient through the water and quick on to the plane.
The test boat was fitted with the maximum recommended horsepower of 90 with the new Mercury 4-stroke.
Even with two people sitting at the back, half a tank of fuel, and the maximum engine capacity, a punch of the throttle saw us up and going in a matter of seconds.
While I don’t have an exact time, at a guess it would have been about three seconds.
The 90hp Mercury revved very smoothly throughout the whole range and the Barracuda sat nice and flat on the water.
I was very impressed with how easy it was to drive, even when pushed to its limits.
In fact it was a joy to drive and I spent quite a bit of time playing with it and trying to make it do something unexpected, but that didn’t happen.
While you don’t have to drive to its limit all the time, it’s good to know it can handle it if you need or want to.
Another point worth noting is the charge rate of the Mercury 90hp 4-stroke, with a maximum 50amps, which places it top of its class.
This figure can be important, especially when you’re running larger and more electronic devices.
Overall, there is nothing outrageously new in terms of the Barracuda.
But why change something that works?
The side console with large casting platform is a style that appeals to a wide variety of people and lends itself to many different fishing applications.
Obviously you can add an electric to assist with your lure fishing.
And if you are a diehard bait fisho, you will have plenty of room to soak a bait.
A larger size console provides protection for the driver and more places for electronics.
A larger size console provides protection for the
driver and more places for electronics.
Good size casting platform with plenty of storage.
Good size casting platform with plenty of storage.
The battery and deck wash are neatly fitted.
The battery and deck wash are neatly fitted.
The new removable bait board has a couple of rod holders fitted.
The new removable bait board has a couple of rod
holders fitted.
While not specifically designed as an offshore boat, with the right weather and safety gear I would confidently head offshore, say out of Mooloolaba and chance a few longtails.
Conversely, this boat would be even more at home on the inshore, bay and estuary scene.
Other features I like include the large side pockets, big front casting deck, fully welded gunwales, and the enclosed stern with pod.
The pod has a couple of positives such as increased waterline for improved planing and for keeping the water out in rougher or offshore conditions.
It also acts as a step when boarding, and you are able to lean against it while fishing.
Overall the performance was top-notch and I’m confident anyone could drive this boat with relative ease, which is important, especially for those looking for their first boat or upgrading from a smaller vessel.
The wheel hasn’t been reinvented, and there was actually no need here, but the subtle changes have refined what was already a good all-round package.
You can be assured of a quality finish, with everything down to the battery switch, deck wash and live bait tank all properly fitted and working.
I would opt to have the battery located on the starboard side to centralise the weight when using it by myself.
The test boat was supplied by Nitro Marine on a Dunbier trailer, 90hp Mercury, and a Fusion sound system fitted.
For more information on this boat and to find your nearest dealer, check out www.bluefinboats.com.au or see it at the Brisbane Boat Show.

About Ben Collins

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