By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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Stacer’s 435 SF Barra Elite is an entry level estuarine and lake fisher with the now mandatory flat casting deck, writes Rick Huckstepp




Not too long ago the majority of recreational boats that plied tropical rivers in the north, searching for barramundi, were 12-foot, low-sided, punt-style craft with 15hp two-stroke tiller controlled engines. If you were real cool, instead of a 15hp, you were Johnny-on-the-spot with a 20 or even a 25hp power plant and then some bright spark came up with the idea of a flat casting deck.
It's been all uphill since then with trends evolving to a point that has seen small boats become too heavy for car topping and the trailer manufacturing industry has quickly taken up the slack with a variety of purpose-built trailers to suit.
Stacer is nailing this segment of the market with their 435 Barra Elite which comes into the marketplace at a respectable price and has enough assets as standard from which to build an economical fishing platform.




Stacer's Evo hull lends itself to comfortable open estuary and lake travel, because in long stretches of straight river where wind is against fast tidal flow or in the open expanse of lakes such as Proserpine (Qld) chop up to one metre is not uncommon and water conditions that heavy will slow even big trailerboats.
The heavy swaging of the bottom side down into a pointed keel line at the forefoot sees this hull, small as it is, able to cut through steep walls of water with reasonable ease. When dead in the water or on anchor and moving about the deck, the flat bottom well forward to the forequarters gives the stability appreciated by those casting lures.
Typical of boats coming from the Telwater factory, there is a heavy use of rotomoulded inserts. These are strong and sturdy, and raise stowed gear off the alloy hull and framework to stop wear and tear and rattles.
The forward casting deck sits about 75mm below the surrounding gunwales giving some foot security so one does not walk off the edge of the platform and into the water.
There are five compartments under hatches and three of these have rotomoulded inserts - they being the front two hatches which house rope and ground tackle, and the aft centre one which is large and may be used for safety gear.
The anchor wells will handle a suitable Danforth anchor, but a grappling might struggle to fit in here under a closed hatch due to its shallow depth. The larger hatch would make a good live fishwell if plumbed.




The deck is constructed of Alloy Core which is carpeted and the hatches are swung on either full or partial stainless steel piano hinges. This deck material is very strong across its thickness, but the individual top and bottom sheets on their own are quite frail. The hinges are riveted to one side of the material and on the test boat the rivets were starting to pull through their anchor points. Complete bolts and nuts with washers to spread the pressure need to be utilised here.
A seat-post base is fixed into the casting deck and one of the seats from the cockpit may be installed as a lean while fishing.
A rail featured on each side of the casting deck and a split cleat on the bow point allowed for the ground tackle to be secured.
The aft end of the cockpit has a short casting deck with a removable hatch on the starboard corner which covered an area in which to stow a 22lt tote tank.
The opposite corner has a hinged hatch opening to the cranking battery and a small live fish/baitwell which was plumbed.
One sidepocket featured on the port side of the hull and ran from the rear platform forward to about three-quarters of the length of the cockpit proper.
Being at the same top level as the rear platform, put the bottom of the sidepocket about one centimetre off the deck making it difficult to clean and to retrieve lost gear from underneath.
A more practical position for this pocket would be coming off the aft bulkhead of the forward casting platform so it could be kept well clear of the deck and then stop it short before it reached the much lower-in-profile rear casting deck.
The helm seat sat in a post tube welded to the front bulkhead of the rear platform.
Honda's 40hp four-stroke tiller-controlled engine was fitted and when seated in the skipper's chair, the engine could not be put into position for a hard turn to port without the tiller stopping short of its full arc due to contact with the chair.
It could if the tiller arm was lifted to the vertical, but then one lost contact with the hand throttle and maximum leverage over the engine was lost.
Maximum horsepower for this boat is 50 but the 40 did just fine with one person aboard. While it did not have a tachometer fitted, the engine must have been revving above 6000rpm at full throttle as the built-in rev limiter cut in at 49kmh (GPS speed) WOT. An extra passenger might slow the engine enough to avoid testing a different size propeller to alleviate this issue.
Manoeuvrability, other than the lack of it caused by the issue with tiller and seat, is excellent and there is no aeration at the propeller in hard turns.




Holeshot is also brilliant and noticeably superior to some other similar powered four-strokes on the market in recent years. Honda puts this improvement, that increases holeshot and top-end speed, down to Boosted Low Speed Torque (BLAST) which is their trademarked innovation incorporating the company's MBT (Minimum advance for Best Torque). They wont get any argument from us, it performed very nicely indeed and the engine is typically, Honda quiet, even at WOT.
Ergonomically, the tiller is set up well with the key start and the emergency stop lanyard installed on the opposite side of the arm, to the skipper's seating position so it is out of contention for being accidentally knocked. The power trim/tilt button is on the side next to the skipper rather than on the top which would cause the left arm resting on the tiller to activate the mechanism.
The engine is easily trimmed on the run without having to take the other hand off the throttle and it has a radius to dampen the ease that the engine turns on its swivel hub.
All up, a tidy package but a hull that needs a few adjustments at the point of manufacturing which should not be too difficult or expensive to remedy.




Plenty of power and torque throughout throttle range




Deck-hatch fasteners need bolts
Cockpit sidepocket could be relocated forward and raised
Skipper's chair-post base too close to centreline of boat causing tiller to contact seat before full lock to port is achieved





Specifications: Stacer 435 ST Barra Elite




Price as tested:                          $21,055
Options fitted:                           Accessory kit and bow-mount plate
Priced from:                             $20,219




Material:                                   Aluminium, 3mm bottom, 1.6mm sides
Length overall:                          4.43m
Beam:                              2m
Weight:                           272kg (hull)




Fuel:                                         Tote tank(s)
People:                                     4 to 300kg
Rec. max. HP:                           40
Rec. max. engine weight:     120kg
Max. load:     480kg (including engine)




Make/model:                             Honda BF40
Type:                                       Fuel injected tiller-steer four-stroke outboard
Weight:                                     98kg
Rated HP:                                  40
Gearbox ratio:                           2.08:1
Propeller:                                  12in Solas
VELS rating:                             3-star




Northside Marine,
2294 Sandgate Rd,
Boondall, Qld, 4034
Phone: (07) 3265 8000



Originally published in TrailerBoat #234

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