By: Mark Bracks

With an enviable power-to-weight ratio, the 400 Bass Elite from Stacer is quick, easy to handle, and would make a great entry level craft for lake, dam, or estuary fishing

Bass boats are deceiving craft to look at. My first thought when seeing one on the water some years ago, with its fill-in floors and raised fishing platforms, was that it would be unstable and hard to handle. But, as any bass bloke will attest, if you continue with those impressions, you will be normally accused of talking from somewhere other than your mouth.
The thought that goes into the hull design of bass and estuary boats from many manufacturers, including Stacer, ensures that they can be thrown around like a hot potato.
The hull of the new Stacer SV 400 Bass Elite, combined with the startling performance of the maximum-rated 40hp Mercury two-stroke, guarantees that it is one craft with an enviable power-to-weight ratio with great handling.
The stability of the craft at rest was demonstrated when I jumped aboard from a pier – a feature that my guide, Mike from Lifestyle Marine at Toronto, NSW, was waxing lyrical about before we headed off for a spin. I landed off centre, but the craft hardly moved.
In relatively calm water, even two men standing at the bow didn’t challenge the Stacer’s stability.
There is a sideways cleat at the bow with a 160mm-wide gunwale, so there is plenty of stepping space. The smaller hatch on the spacious (1.32m x one-metre) forward fishing deck is for the anchor well.
Behind the anchor well is a self-draining storage locker that can double as an esky or catch tank. There’s accommodation for a seat as well.
The 1.96m x 1.65m deck has plenty of room to move about and features two more seat holes. The forward part of the deck also hides the battery away from excessive moisture at the stern. The depth of the battery case demonstrates how much underfloor flotation there is. Besides aiding buoyancy, it also assists in its lateral stability when moving about.

There is a raised fishing platform behind the deck, either side of the Merc. The 25lt removable fuel tank is underneath the starboard lid, and on the other side there is a plumbed livebait tank and another little storage box. The switch for the pump is on the front of the port platform. There are also two positions for the pilot’s seat, the aft-most one sitting higher and welded to the front of the fishing platform. This aft perch is more suited to fishing, as I found the seating position too high to reach the tiller comfortably when underway.
There are five holes for seats overall, so there is plenty of variation to suit your needs.
This particular model didn’t have any storage underneath the gunwales, but the pair of oars along the side of the deck didn’t move or get in the way. There are also two rodholders on the gunwales.
There are grabrails fore and aft. The starboard rail is perfect for both of the pilot seating positions but, as far as the passenger is concerned, the real grabrail could extend a little further forward to prevent them from reaching behind if facing forward. This is a small gripe as one solution could be to move the passenger’s seat hole back about 30cm, but that may place too much weight at the stern when just two up.
The 40hp Merc punches the Bass Elite out of the hole quicker than a shot cat. It charged us along at a great clip, skimming across the early afternoon nor’ east wind swell on Lake Macquarie. If performance is not a major factor, the 400 Bass Elite would still be a very capable craft with a 30hp engine.

For what is basically a small tinny, the Bass Elite provides a very soft ride even when tapped out. There is no crashing of the hull, even with a bit of porpoising. The Elite handled without so much as a twitch the wake of a big cruiser motoring along nearby.
This boat would make a great entry level craft for those attracted to an ever-growing list of fishing tournaments.
It excels in manoeuvrability. No matter how hard it is steered, the 400 Bass Elite is fast, precise and remains very level when put under pressure. The only downside is if you’re not hanging on you’ll be hanging over the side quicker than a sea-sick landlubber!
Quality of finish hasn’t been overlooked in the $12,216 craft. The Elite has a solid paint finish that could handle a bit of rough stuff. Other nice touches include quality stainless steel hinges on all lids and, as Mike was quick to point out, the covers are all Ally-core aluminium, eliminating timber rot and rust 
At four metres in overall length, it is plated for a quartet. But, with seats fitted, it’s more comfortable for two because the extra people and seats could make it a bit hard to move about.
For a budget-priced craft, the Stacer SV 400 Bass Elite is another welcome addition to the shopping list of fishos. It’s a delightful craft for lake, dam, and estuary fishing, and could provide hours of enjoyment towing the kids around – if dad can be dragged away from a dangling line.

Specifications: Stacer SV 400 Bass Elite

Price as tested $12,216, 
Options fitted: 40hp Mercury two-stroke
Base price:  $10,888 with 30hp Mercury two-stroke, livebait tank, three-year boat, motor, and trailer warranty, registration, and safety package

Material: Aluminium, 2mm bottom, 1.6 topsides
Design: Evo-hull
Length overall: 4.05m
Beam: 1.74m
Weight: 210kg hull only

Fuel capacity: 25
Carrying capacity: Four adults

Make/model: Mercury
Type: Two-stroke
Max rated HP:  40

Originally published in TrailerBoat #205


Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.