Kayak Reviews • Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby Stevie » Mon May 07, 2012 7:21 pm

Thought Id share some thoughts on the relatively new Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro.

Stats and pics from wesbite:
http://www.barracudakayaks.com/products-2/sot-fish-pro/

My Own observations.
Please note, Im only an average Angler, though I have some experience paddling prior to fishing.

This Yak ticks a lot of boxes, and if you enjoy varied sorts of fishing in one yak, this badboy is a great option.
It's enjoyable to paddle, very light to carry and load, turns on a dime, accelerates quickly due to weight, internal bulkheads, reasonable storage in hatches and console, very stable with the tri-hull in the mid section, surfs reasonable well, can store rods horizontally (outside the yak) in the surf with the railblaza mounts that are standard, and looks smick! Theres a few things that stops it being perfect for my needs but Im being picky as an offshore paddler, such as top speed and ability to cut into chop and high wind.

Construction:
Ive had 3 Roto-moulded plastic Yaks and the lightweight thermo-formed construction is the most outstanding feature of this Yak in my opinion. Being able to put the Barracuda on your shoulder, with a paddle and rod in the other hand, and walk down the beach or steps to the water is fan-bloody-tastic. Obviously if you load it up with stacks of gear this wont happen and its back to a trolley. Last week I went for an estuary bash, parked at the top of a long series of stone steps near Lilli Pilli pools, carried the yak on my shoulder with 2 rods and paddle and some gear in a backpack all the way down to the water. Even with stacks of gear for an offshore trip, its easy to pull along down the beach over sand without a trolley, and the thermoformed plastic just doesn't scratch. Ive pulled it along grass and sand and its totally scratch free. The Baracuda looks sweet ,having that shiny Glass look about it . Before I purchased the Yak the guy in the shop gave me some pieces of this thermo-formed stuff and I bent the hell out of it 180 degrees, it just would not snap or crease. Very tough, so it didn't bother me that the yak is quite thin in some parts, such as the bow that does flex when pushed. The seat area leaves the decision up to the paddler whether to go for a high backed supported seat like a GTS (which I had in initially and fits well) or foam padding and back brace, which I moved to. I found it very comfortable using both, even after hours paddling or casting. Internal bulkheads are a nice safety feature not often found in plastic kayaks.

On water:
Flared bow , with a tri-hull 70cm width around the seat area, and angles back towards rudder. Predictably very stable, even at at rest and drifting sidways in wind/chop. I paddled out to some offshore reefs at a steady 7-8Km/hr easily maintained but its no speed demon by any means, and the bow, which helps in surf, does give some hull slap in chop, though it didnt bother me. I have some thigh braces which I purchased for the surf but have ended up leaving in. They really lock you into the Yak and I could really get a good stroke going. The rudder peddles are nice, as they are fixed and you keep the balls of you feet against, and just move your toes to control rudder.I like this as you can focus on paddling and your feet stay locked and braced. I found it comfortable to paddle for extended trips, and happy with with the foam paddling support being enough offshore. It does does not track too well with the rudder up however, being rather short and having that bow shape. In light to medium surf its a lot of fun, being lightweight it accelerates rapidly between waves, the 4 scuppers drain the water quick, flared bow pushes up over waves easily. No problems getting out, but as always trick is getting back in.... Yes, the buoyant and flared bow is great coming down the face of small to medium waves, but anything big/steep and rudder at the back is out of the water and uncontrollable. I would only use this in light to medium surf, but guys better able than me to ride waves would do much better, as I expect to roll in anything but light surf. I rolled enough times to know no water got into the hull, although there was a little in the centre console area after one particular wipe-out where the yak was upside down for minutes while I swam in.

Fishing:
The Fish Pro comes with the usual two flush mounts at the back, two on the side rails and one Railblaza fitting in front of the console for a Railblaza rod holder (for rigging). I added one RAM ball behind the seat for additional light rod.Trolls well, great kayak on the drift due to primary stability, and comes with eyelets already for installing running sea anchor, which I did with a few pulleys and light rope. Actually there's no need to drill into this Yak unless you really need to. I did drill one hole for a Sounder cable into the front section which I fully sealed using grommet and silicon. The console is very user friendly with a top section for bait, lures, tools etc Underneath is a handy, but not so large, storage space. I can fit my tackle box, wet weather top, snacks, and a few other bits and pieces. I fish light though, others may need to use the front or back hatch, which can take lots more. Livebaiting was tricky as they sometimes swim under the rudder :twisted: Easily fixed by raising up the rudder but annoying. No easy fix unless you paddle a skeg style rudder. I found the Barracuda comfortable and stable for lobbing soft plastics, squid jigs and metals around in rough water around reefs and bommies. Being light it does drift quickly and I emplyed a Drogue to slow me down. While its pretty good for inshore fishing, I think there's better options for long range offshore fishing, as longer, pointer nosed yaks would move quicker through chop and in high wind. Estuary fishing this baby would shine in all aspects I think, though I don't do a lot of it any more. Its light, turns quick, paddles backwards easily, with easy access console for changing lures and jig-heads etc. You can pull the rudder up and paddle in 20cm of water, and I can imagine twisting and turning around oyster racks and mangroves with ease (though I have an old Tarpon for that sort of thing).

Summary:
There's not too many bad points I can mention. Great inshore, in small/medium surf, estuaries, drift fishing, trolling lures. So dam light its a joy to load and unload. It looks sexy :lol: If, like I have been for last few years, dabbling in all sorts of fishing I think it a decent all rounder if you can only keep one Yak. Will I keep long term? Tough call. As most of my fishing is offshore and Im looking to moving further out doing more long range offshore trips, next summer I will probably invest in a longer, (and unfortunately) heavier yak that is a little faster, as i want to hit some offshore reefs a long way out. But thats a specialist type of fishing, and I hope I can afford to keep this very user friendly Yak up my sleeve for quick session on the water. Check out The Paddle Guy's excellent website that has stacks of videos if you are keen.

Cheers
Steve




Last edited by Stevie on Wed May 09, 2012 11:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby Agent009 » Wed May 09, 2012 10:09 am

Nice review Steve!

I got mine last weekend and tend to agree with most of your review!

There is no 'perfect' yak...I think everyone will agree on that. Really, to get the best of everything you would have to purchase 2 (maybe 3) yaks. However, I really think that the Barracuda is the best ALLROUNDER on the market at the moment.

It really is above average in every aspect. There may be other yaks which excel better in certain areas (ie. Stealth EVO for speed, Tarpon 120 for stability etc.) but I really only wanted one yak and the Barracuda ticked all the boxes! Below is my report card on the Barra:


Manoeuverability - being so light, it turns on a dime. Score: A

Speed - I briefly had a Wavedance Kingfisher before the Barracuda, and the Barracuda is sooo much faster. I'm sure there's faster yaks out there, but really, I can't see myself wanting to go any faster. Score: B+

Surf - Handles surf really well. Besides the Stealth BFS and Supalites, this is probably the best yak on the market for surf launches and surf re-entries. In fact, I plan on just taking this bad boy out in the surf for a bit of "fun" and leaving the fishing gear back home. Being so light it handles the waves more like a surf ski than a kayak. The flared bow rides over the chop easily. I also found that riding waves in was a pretty simple affair. Score: A

Fishability - Really good. The centre consol is a must have in my opinion for a good fishing yak. With plenty of flush rod holders and the addtion of railblaza rod holders, this is a good fishing yak. Score: B

Construction - Firstly, it's a very handsome yak! Looks like glass and I think we'll start seeing many more thermo-formed yaks in the future. Very had to scratch also. I agree with Steves post above that this is an outstanding feature. Score: A+

Weight - LIGHT! I can pick it up one hand and won't even be bothering with a trolley. For me, one of the major pros of kayak fishing is the ability to get on the water quickly and easily (opposite to a stinkboat really). However, a lot of yaks these days are so bl00dy heavy it makes it anything but a simple affair. With the Barracuda I'll actually be on the water more because it's just so damn easy to pickup and launch. Seriously after owning this yak I don't think I could ever own something 25kg+. Score: A+

Stability - Good. It took me a few minutes to get used to it but at no stage to I ever feel like tipping it. Score: B

Tracking - With the rudder up it leaves a little to be desired. With the rudder down, simply awesome. The rudder on the Barracuda is top notch. Score: B+


As you can see, my lowest score for the Barracuda was a B! Obviously this is my opinion but a very strong opinion at that. I honestly can't see myself upgrading anytime soon and don't feel compelled to own another yak as Barracuda really is a great allrounder.


Am installing my fish finder (which has been sitting at home for months) this weekend. Have purchased cable grommets from Jaycar (see picture below):

http://www.jaycar.com.au/ShowLargephoto ... 359&IMAGE=


Few questions, being thermo-molded and "glass-like", what is the best drill bit to use on the Barracuda??? I'm a little nervous about drilling into my baby haha.

Secondly, I have no idea what size hole I should be drilling. The thickest part of the grommet is at the bottom, which means the grommet will just go all the way into the hole (which I obviously don't want). But if I make the hole too small, the grommet won't fit inside? Probably a stupid question but this is frustrating me as I want to do a perfect job on this hole lol.

Cheers all
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Re: Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby Stevie » Wed May 09, 2012 10:49 pm

Stevie
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Re: Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby Stevie » Wed May 09, 2012 11:11 pm

Agent009 wrote:Nice review Steve!


Surf - Handles surf really well. Besides the Stealth BFS and Supalites, this is probably the best yak on the market for surf launches and surf re-entries. In fact, I plan on just taking this bad boy out in the surf for a bit of "fun" and leaving the fishing gear back home. Being so light it handles the waves more like a surf ski than a kayak. The flared bow rides over the chop easily. I also found that riding waves in was a pretty simple affair. Score: A

Stability - Good. It took me a few minutes to get used to it but at no stage to I ever feel like tipping it. Score: B


Am installing my fish finder (which has been sitting at home for months) this weekend. Have purchased cable grommets from Jaycar (see picture below):

http://www.jaycar.com.au/ShowLargephoto ... 359&IMAGE=


Few questions, being thermo-molded and "glass-like", what is the best drill bit to use on the Barracuda??? I'm a little nervous about drilling into my baby haha.

Secondly, I have no idea what size hole I should be drilling. The thickest part of the grommet is at the bottom, which means the grommet will just go all the way into the hole (which I obviously don't want). But if I make the hole too small, the grommet won't fit inside? Probably a stupid question but this is frustrating me as I want to do a perfect job on this hole lol.

Cheers all


Agent,
You can surf SKi's better than me obviously, as I breach as soon as a decent wave picks me up. I can, if I expect it, brace using the paddle into the whitewash but is a sideways affair. On small waves no issue.

Stability. Paddling or drifting on a 70cm tri hull is as good as it gets offshore. Its super stable, though that's a personal thing. Id go A+ on this using your ratings.

Drilling: Any drill bit will work, its very thin surface. Make the smallest hole possible for the cable or gland your using. Its easier to go bigger but no chance going smaller :D Its not that hard just do it. Dont have your cable going through a flat surface into the hull, pick a vertical or sloping surface so water runs off it quickly. Use rubber grommets and shit loads of silicon on the edges. I put silicon around every bolt and always use Nyloc nuts.

Go nuts!
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Re: Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby Agent009 » Thu May 10, 2012 10:33 am

Hey Steve,

Mate, I've only taken the Barra out in surf once and don't consider myself an expert at all! It was probably medium swell on the day I took it out and I seemed to go ok. I'm sure bigger waves would clean me up for breakfast...although I'm keen to give it a go! :)

Thanks for the advice regarding drilling.

Here is the cable gland I bought from Jaycar...it has a nut so you can tighten this around the cables:
http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.as ... ATID=996#1

I'm guessing this is suitable? Not sure on the hole size because the end of it is like a hexagon shape...I'm sure I'll figure it out though. You mentioned rubber grommets, silicon and nuts. I don't think I need a rubber grommet and nuts as I purchased the above item...is that correct? In regards to silicon, is this something like Selleys All Clear? I was planning on smearing some Selleys All Clear around this cable gland once installed.
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Re: Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby keza » Thu May 10, 2012 1:25 pm

I paddled my on a 20k paddle around the south head cliffs recently and found I was a lot less tied than if I had been paddling my scupper pro.
The scupper pro has is know as being a good off shore kayak but at this stage I can't see myself choosing it over the barracuda.
The barra seems to do a similar speed with a lot less effort.
Are you guys coming in through the surf with your rudder up ?
I haven't tried coming in with it down as I know that was a recipe for disaster on the scupper pro.
I found it hard to hold it straight on short steep waves but did survive riding side ways with a braced paddle (most of the time).
Great for going out through the surf although a wave that appeared from nowhere took me back over the falls and entertained everyone on the beach.
I put a rubber seal on my centre hatch and after a dozen wipe outs I had 1/2 a cup of water in the consul and not a drop anywhere else.

I carry it on my shoulder sometimes but if i'm loading up with sounder, 4 rods and a fish bag then i'll put it on the trolley.

I usually install my sounder with a bung and a rubber plug, so I can put the plug in when not in use but my hds5 needs the plugs cut off anyway to run through the keel, so I may rethink that.
paddleguyjas has some good videos on barracuda mods
http://www.paddleguy.com/tips-advice/ho ... -fish-pro/
I'll be doing some mods on mine soon and will post them.
We should start a thread for barracuda mods, to keep them all in one place.
kerry
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kingfish 90cm, flathead 65cm, snapper 56cm, salmon 60cm, trev 56cm, barracouta 75cm, YFT 65cm, spanish 20cm (sharked), hairtail 156cm, bonito 68cm, spotty 85cm, tailor 55cm, LTT 101cm, bull shark 2.5m
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Re: Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby Agent009 » Thu May 10, 2012 3:21 pm

I agree on the Barracuda SOT thread!

Kerry - since you have owned yours the longest I'll let you do the honours and create the thread :)

Yeah I've seen paddleguys Fish Finder install...I have the exact same sounder and will be installing mine exactly the same (except I'll be gluing the transducer directly to the hull and not using a wet mount). Other difference is I'm using 10 x Sanyo Rechargeable Double A batteries...should get at least 5 hours which is more than enough for me. I'm trying to keep this yak light!

Just want to make sure this bloody Jaycar cable grommet does the trick...prettty sure it will.

Haven't got a seat yet doh! Leaning towards just a bum-pad and backrest...again, gonna keep it nice and simple and light.
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Re: Barracuda Ultralight Fish Pro - The all rounder?

Postby Stevie » Wed May 16, 2012 8:04 pm

Hey guys
Yep coming in through surf is tough sounds likes you have tried more than me Kerry. I agree I think having the rudder up is better if the wave is steep as its not doing anything anyway, best to steer with paddle. To be honest Im a bit over surf launches in a dedicated fishing mission with all my gear unless its smaller stuff thats can ride in easily. I guess locally when the swell is up there's plenty of options or I can paddle around in 30mins anyway with a dry launch. On holidays up or down the coast, well I don't get a choice, cowabunga dude!

Rubber seal on the hatch is a good idea, I was thinking something similar.
I saw Paddleguys install too late. I went with the Echo 300c (only by chance being the same as his, used the 500c on last kayak and liked it). I just have the battery and transducer in front area as didnt want to drill into the base, kept it simple. 4.2AH battery is not too heavy. Agent, I used the U seal that came with the 300c, its a little U type seal with two holes for bolts, you can run both cables through it and silicon it up. Just did it on the flat section that slopes down towards foot pedals. Keeping it on slope drains water away quickly.


Cheers
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