When Destin, Florida, charter captain Buddy Gentry met Steve Sauer in the late 1960s, neither could have foretold the impact they would have on the sport-fishing industry over the next four and a half decades. The pair built their first fiberglass boat in the offseason; after Sauer graduated from Louisiana State University, they formed G&S Boats, Inc..
At first, G&S built smaller boats primarily for the Destin charter fleet, but as orders came in for the high-end sport-fishers, they developed a line of custom boats that were incredibly maneuverable, especially in reverse while backing down on a hot marlin on light tackle or fly. G&S Boats quickly made a name for themselves, becoming a must-have for those chasing world records. Sauer and Gentry went on to build more than 50 boats together and established G&S as a top-shelf custom operation, with one of the most respected pedigrees in the world.
That legacy is ending on a sad note. Stephen Sauer, the founding partner in G&S, passed away on May 19, 2018, after a short but valiant battle with liver cancer. Buddy Gentry says, “Steve and I were lifelong friends and business partners. We both enjoyed building boats because it was our hobby as well as our livelihood. We built 52 boats over the 45 years we were partners. We had decided the 52-foot sportfisherman we have almost completed building would be our last. Which is good. It wouldn’t be the same building one without him. His design work was always perfect. He was one of the best in the business.”
The owners and the captains who run these boats are fiercely loyal. Among many others, they include Capt. Tim Richardson on Chaser (formerly Sound Machine); Capt. Skip Smith on The Hooker; Bert Bouchard’s Hebe, Gary Carter’s globe-trotting Silver-Rod-O; David “Doc” Conkle on Miss Babbie; while Hookin’ Bull, Gladius, Raptor and Deceiver continue to set world records and chase game fish throughout the four corners of the sport-fishing world.
Gentry and Sauer set an incredibly high bar for performance. Along the way, their boats amassed a string of world records that is unmatched by any other boatbuilder, forever changing the way we look at what a sport-fishing boat can do.