I’M sure plenty of fishos out there have a brand-new or even second-hand 6-7m offshore rig on their wish list.
And while I have one on my list, this larger type of boat will not suit everyone.
First, you need adequate space to store it, a suitable vehicle to tow it and some mates at the ready when you want to take it out to help with launching and retrieving as well as the fuel bill. Often you want the features of a large boat but in a smaller and cheaper package without having to sacrifice on quality.
One solution is the Formosa Sea-Rod 455 DLX side console in the Classic series. This is a small boat that feels much bigger than the measurements indicate.
Although branded a 455, Brisbane-based boat manufacturer Formosa states this particular boat has an overall length, including the bowsprit, of 4.7m. Combine this with a beam of 2.2m (which is only just under 50 percent of the boat’s overall length) and you have what I would describe as a “big little boat”.
While that’s not grammatically correct, this smaller model definitely packs a punch in terms of build quality and strength. This can be attributed to the structural ribbing design under the floor and 4mm bottom and 3mm side sheets.Combine these features and you end up with a very stable yet manageable plate boat that is tough enough to handle a mix of conditions.
Another feature of the Formosa Sea-Rod that makes it stand out in terms of finish is the fully welded topside gunnels and side decks. By having such a high standard of base product, you ensure the painted finish not only looks good but will continue to look good after many years on the water.
This standard of work is evident throughout the boat, including the optional inclusions such as the solid and functional bait board and electric motor bracket.
The Formosa Sea-Rod 455 DLX side console I tested was fitted with a 70hp four-stroke Yamaha outboard. This engine matched with the Sea-Rod hull enabled the boat to plane easily at 15 knots and 3600rpm. A punch of the throttle saw you quickly climbing to a solid 23 knots at 5000rpm. While this engine was more than adequate at getting the boat on the plane and punching through some chop, the harder you went, the better it performed.
This model has been rated to a 90hp outboard, which will be a bit heavier than the 70hp and may actually give the boat an even better attitude on the water. Obviously your engine choice will depend on how you are going to use the boat and what you will be carrying.
This boat had been set up to house the additional battery for the electric motor at the stern, which transfers a bit more weight to the back. Having the option and ability to customise your boat to your needs is a big advantage when buying a new boat and is something the teams at Formosa and Marine Tune are prepared to do, ensuring your boat is set up right.
The beauty of the Sea-Rod DLX is it comes in a variety of sizes, so if you want this layout and build quality but as a bigger boat, you have the option of choosing from a range of sizes from 4.45m to 5.95m in overall length. You can also have the same hull configuration in a centre console, so again, plenty of customisation is available.
As for fishing room, the side console gives you heaps of usable space and easy access from the helm to all parts of the boat. The front casting platform is slightly raised, giving you a better vantage point from which to flick lures or access the anchor.
However, plenty of freeboard gives you a safe and secure fishing platform, especially if the conditions are not favourable. You can also lean against the high sides, which is often necessary when fighting a fish. In addition, the large reverse chines on the hull provide good stability at rest, so moving around the boat is very easy.
Another design feature I see as a big plus in this smaller style of boat is the full fast-back transom and pod. Again this gives you a sense of safety and ensures water and waves do not come over the back of the boat. The pod also allows easy access into the boat via a solid ladder and plenty of standing room. You also have the option of a transom door if you want to make access even easier.
Overall, this Formosa is a high-quality boat with plenty of functionality. You have ample storage options, with a large storage area under the front casting platform, side pockets and space in the transom. The helm also has enough room to install pretty much whatever sounder and GPS you want. It has plenty of leg room underneath too, so you end up with a comfortable driving position that provides good vision over the upswept bow.
One of the best things about this boat is the price, with the base model starting from about $26,000 with a 70hp two-stroke. Not a bad starting point for what is a true plate boat with a high-quality finish and heaps of functionality.
If you are after more information on the range of Sea-Rod boats or to find out what options or upgrades are possible, give the team at Marine Tune a call on 07 5576 7388. You will also be able to view and climb over a few Sea-Rods at the upcoming Brisbane Boat Show from August 19-21 at the Brisbane Exhibition & Convention Centre.