Formula Fishing Team – the 2024 Season Begins

Formula Fishing Team – the 2024 Season Begins

May 21, 2024
IMG 1594

Summer has come at last, and for Formula’s new Center Console line, that means fishing. Serious fishing, as in tournaments! There is no better way to test the Center Console Fish models than to actually do the work. Our design team actually spent a couple of years fishing with local captains to see what did and didn’t work and what they did and didn’t like. The results are obvious in what has been presented to the market, and reviews from the media after walking through the boats and test rides have been enthusiastic and positive, but the next logical step was to get our people on the boats and doing the real thing.

We had teams assembled for two tournaments in April and May. The first was the King of the Beach Tournament the last weekend of April in Madeira Beach, Florida, just west of Tampa. This tournament focuses on King Mackerel (a.k.a. King Fish), with subcategories for single-engine boats, ladies, youth, Spanish Mackerel, and traveling anglers. Crew for this adventure included Product Specialist Abe Haines, Product Design Coordinator Ron Gephart, Formula Sales Specialist Ryan Van De Weg, and local captain Chris Altman. Honing our angling skills and design is a large motivator in investing in these tournaments, but we also aim to give our sales team plenty of experience so they have the expertise to match and sell these great boats to our clients.

The team took their Formula 387 Center Console Fish out for a short ride on Thursday the 25th before going to registration. Ryan managed to land a nice Kingfish for his first catch, then it was off to the check-in line. Team Formula ended up being assigned boat number 387 (out of 400 teams), which they hoped was a sign of good luck!

Friday was more experience and bait day. This gave Captain Chris a chance to become more familiar with the boat and to stock up on the kind of bait they would need for their quarry. The team tried fishing some buoys with Sabiki rigs, but finally found a little chumming and bait casting filled their livewells. They spent the day trolling and acclimating to the sporty sea conditions before cleaning the boat and getting some sleep before the Saturday tournament.

Saturday started dark and early so the team could be ready for a 6:00 a.m. lines-in start. They headed out around 11 miles west of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge into 2’-3’ seas, rigging their gear and getting set. The team found themselves passing boat after boat, the 387 CCF easily dealing with the chop and rollers, eventually finding themselves in the company of just a few others. At lines-in, Chris took charge of the 387, while Abe and Ron sent the bait back off the Gemlux outriggers, and soon the fish were coming over the gunnel. Within two hours, six Kingfish and Spanish Mackerel were in the fish box. Ron managed to take a treble hook in his thumb, but Captain Chris set him right with a practiced tug with some braided line, and soon they were back at it. The day ended with 27 Kingfish and 10 Spanish Mackerel, including a Spanish Mackerel caught by Ryan that scored first-place when initially weighed in…but with 400 other vessels competing in the tournament, it still earned an impressive Seventh Place, a remarkable achievement for the new crew in a 31-year-old tournament, vindicating and rewarding the years and investment of design, research and learning. Now the fishing world was seeing what the Formula 387 CCF was capable of!

IMG 1286

After the awards banquet Sunday, Team Formula went back to clean the boat and have it hauled to be trailered to Keystone Point Marina in North Miami for the next challenge, the 18th Annual Tom Thumb Bull and Cow Dolphin Tournament in Marathon Key, Florida. This trip Ron and Abe were joined by local Formula sales agents, Tony Vega and Jamie Clawges, and the kid from the Formula factory, Corporate Sales Representative Maverick Shifferly, coming from Indiana for his first offshore fishing experience.

Watch for the next 2024 Formula Fishing Team tournament report soon!

To view the tournament website, go to

Previous ArticleWhat Size Fishing Boat Do I Need? Next ArticleFormula Fishing Team Earns Top 15 in Dolphin Tournament