Date: October 2013 | View original article
Gamefisherman Sportfishing Boats
Like a lot of boat companies, Gamefisherman got its start when one man saw a need and decided to fill it. While working for Rybovich, Mike Matlack noticed that a lot of people were interested in buying a smaller-size day boat. "Nobody was building them," he says.
"I felt that there was still a demand for little 37-footers, so I left Rybovich, and the first Gamefisherman, a 40-foot flybridge, rolled out in 1986."
Eventually, Matlack expanded the line, going both bigger and smaller, but he never got away from his true purpose: building smaller, nimble sport-fishing machines. In 2006, he moved the operation to Stuart, Florida. "We still build the smaller boats," he says.
"Everybody else is building 80-footers. I don't want to get into that market. That's what they make Holiday Inns for. Our boats are first and foremost fishing boats. There are guys who will build you a nice fish boat slash condo, but our boats are fishing boats.
We are trying to start a mothership operation, since it just makes more sense. If you are traveling, it's better to have the mothership. An 80-footer can get there, but when the boat gets there and the boat has to go fishing, where are your nonfishing guests going to go? They have to get off. With the mothership, the game boat goes fishing and everyone who wants to stay back can relax on the mothership."
Matlack uses cold-molded, composite construction in his boats, which allows him to build a different boat for every customer. "If somebody walks in here and wants a 39, 46 or 62, I can build it because I'm not using a mold," he says.
As far as game boats go, only a handful of boats share Gamefisherman's reputation for nimbleness. "Our boat's handle very well," Matlack says. "That's one of the things we really work at. They are as fast as we can reasonably make them, and they back up and spin real well.
We have large cockpits — I build the boats from the back end forward. Out of the 17 40s that exist, there's only one here in the States, and the rest are all in the hottest fishing spots: three in Panama, Guatemala, Hawaii, etc. They all end up where the serious fishing guys want to be."