Anglers Journal

THE ACCIDENTAL BOATBUILDER

Before he was a boatbuilder, he was a fisherman. And fishing is the activity that continues to define Scott Deal.

“Fishing is the way I connect with family and friends,” says Deal, who is the president of the Maverick Boat Group, which builds four brands of fishing boats. “It’s challenging and focused and relaxing at the same time. Many of my customers have the best days of their lives fishing. I think of the saying about fishing being hours of boredom interrupted by moments of panic. That I get to play some part in that experience is humbling and challenging.”

Deal grew up in Winter Park, Florida, years before nearby Orlando became a Disney-driven tourist attraction. It was a sparsely populated area of spring-fed lakes and interconnected canals that generated a fascination with fishing among the local kids. The largest lake, Osceola, was populated by largemouth bass, panfish and gar.

“My family had a 14-foot Orlando Clipper aluminum boat that had what could loosely be called a forward casting platform,” Deal recalls. “It was powered by a mechanically challenged 35-hp Evinrude outboard that would break down at the most inopportune times, and I would have to MacGyver it back to life. It was actually a blessing in disguise, as it forced me to learn the fundamentals of how things worked because if I couldn’t figure it out, I wasn’t getting home.”

Deal was using the boat and the canal system to get around for years before he could drive a car. The Clipper was transportation to meet up with friends, and the skiff whisked him to his early fishing adventures. He spent most of his time fishing for bass in the evenings, throwing unweighted rubber worms on a $5 Zebco rod-and-reel outfit. “It was pretty unsophisticated stuff, but we caught a heck of

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