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Tested by Heinrich Kleyn
Length — 5.1m
Beam — 2.3m
Weight — 490kg
Min hp — 2 x 40hp
Max hp — 2 x 90hp
Buoyancy — Foam-filled
Power as tested — 2 x 50hp Suzuki 4-strokes
WHEN Ruli Sofilas of Natal Powerboats asked me to test the Gamefish 510, I thought I already knew what to expect. My fishing partner had a Gamefish 510, and we’ve fished quite frequently on her, but Ruli told me they’d made some changes to the craft.
When I got to the test boat, I was amazed at how many changes they’ve actually made, as well as they way they’ve done a wrap-around on the boat with all sorts of images, just like the craft you sometimes see on international TV shows.
My honest first impression of this entry-level boat was that she looks square and small. But do yourself a favour — get over your first impressions and have a closer look, then ask them to take you on a demo ride. I guarantee that if you are looking for an entry-level boat, the Gamefish 510 is well worth more than a second look.
With a slight northeaster blowing, the sea was a little choppy, but generally flat. We had to work very hard to get the boats to perform the way we wanted them to in order to take decent photographs.
LAUNCHING AND TRAILERING
The Gamefish 510 comes standard on a breakneck galvanised trailer. Towing this model is much easier than her bigger counterparts, and she ran straight and true behind the tow vehicle.
We pushed her down the slipway at the Natal Rod and Reel Club in Durban Bay, and even at low tide she slipped off easily without us having to use the breakneck facility. After the test, reloading her was just as smooth and easy, and one person could handle this boat with ease.
In the past I’ve often offloaded and re-trailered the Gamefish 510 on the beach, which was also very simple and easy to do, without needing a huge tractor or 4x4 to accomplish it. She is lightweight, and as long as you’ve had a fair bit of experience, you shouldn’t have any hassles on the beach.
MOTORS AND CONTROLS
The test boat was fitted with twin 50hp Suzuki 4-stroke motors with side-mount controls. These controls are generally smooth if they are fitted correctly, and the engines slipped into and out of gear very smoothly. The Gamefish would be able to handle anything from two 40hp motors to two 90hp motors.
I would say that the 50hp 4-strokes are more than adequate for this boat, because she is, after all, a light entry-level boat.
How was her performance? In short — alive. That is how this little boat felt when I got to put her through her paces. Out the hole she jumped on to the plane in a flash. As soon as that happened, I turned to starboard — a flat 360 degree turn with no hassles and no cavitation. I had the same response when I got onto the plane and did a 360 degree turn to port. Again, no sign of cavitation or leaning.
She is a fairly dry boat and runs true in the water. I only had to make very small adjustments to make her run level. That is a good indication that the installation was done correctly and that her weight displacement is correct.
From standing still to full throttle in the surf, her acceleration was very fast through the waves, making the craft perfectly suitable for surf launches as well.
As an entry-level boat, but with a lot of grunt behind her, performance wise I could not fault her. Her stability is awesome, and even for her size she wouldn’t have to stand back for any other boat in her class or even bigger.
The craft is very spacious, and despite the Gamefish 510’s entry-level tag, she comes with some awesome features more likely to be found on bigger boats. Her fuel hatches are in the middle at the stern, with seating on top of them, then she has two fish hatches — one on either side of the deck. Her batteries are fitted at the stern adjacent to the livebait well.
At the bow there’s a step which makes it easy to get to the anchor hatch.
There’s plenty of storage space on the Gamefish 510, including hatches in the front console where you can keep all the tackle.
One improvement I can think of is to customise the standard seats she came with. This would most definitely add to her comfort and appeal.
The Gamefish 510 is an entry-level boat for any facet of the fishing industry, from bay, estuary, offshore and light tackle boat fishing, to fishing for carp and barbel in the dams. She is for the fisherman who is not too competitive, but wants to relax, have fun and fish whenever he gets a chance.
The craft is very stable, which makes it safe to take mom and the kids out with you as well.
The Gamefish 510 could be classified as an all-rounder for the entry-level market, and her price is not too steep. The finish on her is superb, and for a bit extra, you could ask Natal Powerboats to have the boat wrapped in whatever design your heart desires. This trend has been around in America for quite some time, and I think we’ll soon start to see more and more of it here too.
With the recent tough times, many people are downgrading from their big boats and might find the Gamefish 510 to be just what they’re looking for. This is a snazzy little boat with a big heart that’s light to tow. Take her for a ride today. •