Formosa Boats need little introduction, having quietly gained a reputation for turning out quality alloy fishing craft over quite a few years. Formosa doesn’t spend a motza on fuss and fanfare but just goes right on producing good boats for appreciative owners.
In common with most progressive boating manufacturers Formosa do not stand still, hence the introduction of their all-new Sea Rod range from 4.8m to 6.2m.
Design changes for the Sea Rod range include noticeable chine sheer and four water ballast tunnels to enhance the already good stability at rest.
Along with these noticeable changes there are sufficient standard fishing features to appeal to the dedicated offshore angler and the family fisho seeking a robust craft for the team.
Construction is of 4mm bottom, 3mm sides and nine ribs mated to a series of underfloor stringers ensure a high standard of rigidity. The four under-hull tubes form part of the structural strength of the hull.
Serious fishing rigs need a certain number of ‘standard’ features to make them successful and the Sea Rod Classic Centre Console makes it easy to tick off down that list.
A large, carpet-lined anchor well and decent bowsprit are standard, as is full carpet for all floors. The bow rail offers decent hand holds while up forward attending the pick and there is plenty of storage under the raised casting deck, along with along with a rod holder each side up there.
It’s a 20cm step down into the cockpit, with its 1.5m side pockets, handy-sized centre console and plenty of fishing room.
The fold-down console has a flat surface behind the windscreen ideal for top-mounted electronics and a decent grab rail all round. There are two shelves in the console, the upper one carpeted.
The instrument panel has plenty of room for the two engine gauges, the hydraulic helm and an array of switches.
The engine controls were on the starboard side of the console. A seat was not fitted to the test boat, on the buyer’s instructions.
The removable bimini top is standard.
The 700mm deep cockpit gives the Sea Rod definite offshore fishing qualifications. There are two rod holders per side, wide gunwales, and a decent-sized bait station with live well sits on the full-height transom.
The 98L in-floor kill tank takes fish storage to a new level: this strong, lightweight metal box is removable.
The wide shelf under the transom allows easy access to fuel filter, oil bottle, and engine battery and there’s some storage room there as well.
Any water coming aboard is taken care of by an 1100gph pump in an underfloor sump.
A locking boarding gate is to port, with a grab rail, ladder and wide boarding platforms making access great.
The Sea Rod Classic has plenty of work room in the usual centre console style, enough storage to be comfy, ample seakeeping ability thanks to the high sides, and great stability under way and at rest.
The raised side pockets allow somewhere to brace the feet when playing a strong fish in a bumpy sea. In all, this is a very sound fishing set-up.
The Sea Rod’s fine bow slices through waves while plenty of flare limits spray. Reversed chines also deflect spray under way and offer stability at rest, while the 17° transom deadrise provides a soft ride. The keel also plays its part in the easy tracking and handling.
The Sea Rod’s offered an easy and totally predictable ride throughout the test. Wave action in the Seaway offered no challenges; the hull simply rode over chop and swells with an easy grace.
As we stopped in the swells to test stability, the hull settled and sat very steady, even with two of us walking from side to side. Stability is ideal for offshore fishing.
The Sea Rod is a very easy-handling rig, and the hydraulic helm made steering a fingertip exercise. Such was its ease of handling, this craft would suit a newcomer to boating just as much as an old hand.
Engine rating is from 90hp to 140hp, putting the 115hp Evinrude E-Tec in the mid-range in power but it lacked little in performance.
The rig planed at 7.7 knots (14.4kmh) at 2350rpm and at 3000rpm recorded 12 knots (22.4kmh). At 4000rpm we were running at 17 knots (31.6kmh), at 5000rpm a lively 29 knots (54.1kmh) and at a wide-open 5800rpm we hit 33.8 knots (62.6kmh).
Sound levels were very good with only the higher engine revs intruding into the cockpit to any degree.
At a cruisy 18 knots (33.8kmh) at 3600rpm the Evinrude I-Command gauge showed 18L per hour fuel burn, or a nautical mile per litre – good economy for a boat this size.
The new Formosa Sea Rod 550 is an angler’s boat through and through, yet it will have appeal to family groups as well. The new hull design is certainly a winner and offers enhanced ride overall plus easy performance from modest power.
Finish was quite good, with an excellent paint job and neatly smoothed welds.
As supplied by Bermetto Marine of the Gold Coast on a Dunbier Centre Line trailer, price as tested is $41935. For more information call Bermetto Marine on 07 5568 0904, or email --e-mail address hidden--
|Length on trailer||7.10 m|
|Height on trailer (console folded)||2.05m|
|Power||90hp to 140hp|
|Towing||Family six or 4WD|