Tested by Heinrich Kleyn (May/June 2010)
Tel: (031) 305-8081 • Fax: (031) 305-8083
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org • www.natalpowerboats.co.za
Length – 6.25m
Beam – 2.50m
Min hp — 2 x 90hp
Max hp — 2 x 175hp
Buoyancy — Optional
Power as tested — 2 x 115hp Mercury Optimax motors
I HAVE known the people at Natal Powerboats for quite a few years now, and they have always impressed me with their drive. They don’t believe in resting on their laurels and always try to improve and keep ahead of their competitors.
In line with this thinking, I was recently approached by Nick Landzanakis to formally test the Gamefish 625 — the big sister of the other Gamefish boats they already have on the market.
When I first saw the Gamefish 625 a couple of years ago, I thought, “Wow, what a big boat.” Her size is indeed striking. Since then I have spent a great deal of time on different Gamefish 625 boats, either fishing from them or testing them.
I’ve gotten to know this boat inside-out, and I feel as though I know most there is to know about her. And do you know what? I’m still just as impressed with her today as I was when I first saw her.
Though she looks big and bulky, with plenty of space, she performs fantastically on the water.
She comes standard on a galvanised double-axle, braked breakneck trailer. She is a big boat and it takes time to get used to towing her in traffic, but the more you do it the easier it gets.
Putting her into the water from a slipway is easy, and so was reloading her. It’s a little more tricky on the beach, but not too difficult.
As with any boat, the more you do it the easier it becomes. As you get to know your boat, you learn how to make things easier and simpler for yourself.
For this test we launched off the slipway at Natal Rod and Reel Club in Durban Bay. Two people can easily perform this task.
MOTORS AND CONTROLS
The Gamefish 625 that we tested was fitted with 2 x 115hp Mercury Optimax motors with the normal cable sidemount controls. She slipped into and out of gear easily with no grinding or stiff controls, confirming that the installation had been done correctly.
The Gamefish 625 was fitted with hydraulic steering. These days most if not all of the boats with big engines go for this option. It makes it just so much easier to handle and control the boat, and your arms are not worn out by the end of a day’s fishing. One doesn’t need the hassle of fighting the steering while out at sea, especially when there is the hydraulic option available.
CONDITIONS & PERFORMANCE
It was another perfect day off Durban — the sea was calm and there wasn’t a breath of wind. Unfortunately, that’s not quite perfect weather for a boat test. Ideally, you want a bit of wind with some swell to put the boat through her paces, but you can’t have it all. I knew I would just have to work harder to get her to perform in simulated conditions to show what her capabilities were.
I had Ruli and Sean from Natal Powerboats with me, which always makes it interesting.
I pushed open the Gamefish 625’s throttle almost all the way, and a couple of times we were virtually airborne. However, she remained stable and didn’t swing to the sides. She rides very comfortably under these conditions — anything between 35 and 40kph, and occasionally up to 60kph on flat water.
From a stationary position she jumps out the hole very quickly, and when I pushed her into a turn like you would do during a surf launch, I didn’t experience any cavitation. She has a very tight-turning radius and I have surf-launched her before, so I know she is indeed very suitable for surf launching.
Putting her through the usual test routine I could not get her to broach or cavitate at all. Although we had beautiful calm weather, I have been out on this craft in very bad conditions and know from experience that she can handle rough water.
With the two 115hp Mercury engines she got onto the plane very quickly, but I believe that she rides better with a little more weight at the stern. The best set of engines I have had on the Gamefish were either 2 x 140hp or 150hp motors. The extra power and weight gives you a much better ride.
This is a very stable boat, and even when I had six people on board she was big enough to handle the weight and maintain her stability.
LAYOUT AND FINISH
Each Gamefish model’s layout is different, depending on the client, although the basics like the normal fish hatches and fuel hatches are all the same.
The craft has a large livebait well in the stern, and Luna tubes could also be fitted for the fisherman who wants to go marlin fishing. You could also opt for a fighting chair and stainless-steel T-top, depending on your personal preferences. Indeed, the possibilities for extra fittings are endless.
The finishes are impeccable and include a choice between carpets or a non-skid deck finish. She comes full-house with everything that you would require, and at the end of the day you would need only to decide what your main application for her would be, and then order your fittings accordingly.
The Gamefish 625 has plenty of storage space, but you could add to your comfort by customising her layout according to your requirements.
My honest opinion is that the Gamefish 625 is an tremendous boat. Most fishermen dream of owning a big boat like this, and she is suitable for any facet of fishing — from bottomfishing to vertical jigging, right up to big game marlin fishing.
In summary, she is a very reliable, stable boat that could take the hammering of a huge sea; her quality is of a very high standard; you can customise her layout to your liking; although she is a big boat, she is still easy and legal to tow on the road; and she is not too difficult to handle on the beach and in the water.
Overall, this is a boat for the more serious angler who likes comfort and space. Take one for a demo ride today. I’m sure you’ll be impressed.