Stratos Bass Boat

Stratos bass boats resulted from the bass boat craze which was at an all time high and in 1975 when Earl Benz, the creator of the stratos bass boats,  took a job with Hydra-Sport in Nashville Tennessee. He started in the research and development division and then accepted a position in customer service, finally moving to sales and marketing. Earl advanced to the position of Vice President/General Manager in 1981. That career move spelled the end to Earl’s involvement in Team Mercury racing.

Earl resigned from Hydra-Sport In September of 1983 to form his own boat manufacturing company, Stratos Boats, Inc. Although the move was risky, he said to himself, “What else can be done to make bass boats more user-friendly?” – That thought was his motivation to form the company and work began to bring the stratos bass boat to life.

Being inventive, Earl first did away with fuses and substituted circuit breakers. At the time trolling motors were rigged with10 gauge wire. At the time the boats were advancing as well as the trolling motors. Because of Earl’s inventiveness Stratos, and the stratos bass boat,  became the 1st company to usher in a six gauge wire standard. Due to Earl’s creativity and invention, the Stratos bass boat company quickly became a leader in the fiberglass sportfishing boat industry. Earl’s 201 model was the Stratos bass boat flagship and dominated tournament competition. The Stratos bass boat was created in various models ranging from 16′ to 20′ to suit various fishing needs.

Stratos bass boat – changes on the horizon

Earl sold the Stratos Company In 1987 to the Outboard Motor Corporation but he stayed as the president of the company and was instrumental in the founding of Javelin Boats under the OMC banner.

At the time, OMC was acquiring boat building businesses in an attempt to dominate out-the-door hull sales in an attempt to gain market share from the much bigger Brunswick (Mercury). At the time, Stratos bass boats seemed to dominate the boat building industry with offices then located in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

During the late 90s, OMC concentrated on purchasing technology targeting the fuel injection competition. Stratos motor design, known as Fichts, was plagued with difficulties. Most affected were the 150-175 horsepower models. Attempts were made to remedy the situation, however with mixed results.

Due to the burden of oppressing warranty work expenses, OMC reluctantly accepted an offer by George Soros to prop up Stratos, injecting funds into the faltering company. Consequently, ownership of OMC belonged to Soros. Soros only enjoyed a brief stay of power and made terrible management decisions that only benefited himself and not the company, consequently OMC fell into bankruptcy.

As a result of the Ficht horsepower warranty issues combined with OMC-held boat builders loyalty to OMC, sales abided for all boat motors affecting OMC-held boat building companies, including the Stratos bass boat company.

In February of 2001 the federal bankruptcy courts approved the sale of OMC to Bombardier Inc. and the boat- building assets of the company to Genmar Holdings Inc.

As a result of the transition, the Stratos bass boat company went from a newborn, to suffering greatly under OMC, to and suffering even further under Genmar where Irwin Jacobs was controlling the direction. One of the benefits for Stratos was that the company was no loner confined to being a “single motor-maker” and the newest stratos bass boat produced at that time could be ordered with various engine options. Additionally Genmar’s technology of producing hulls, referred to as VEC, allowed the company to offer lifetime hull warranties including a one year warranty against bubbling and surface cracks.

Stratos Bass Boat hits an all time low

As luck would have it, In June of 2009 Genmar filed bankruptcy because of the economy at the time. Although the continued production using material stock piles. During the bankruptcy procedure, public opinions varied pertaining to Jacob’s underlying motives for filing bankruptcy. Unbelievably Jacobs resigned as CEO of Genmar in order to bid on portions of his own company which was in bankruptcy, accusations of cheating we debated among patriotic possessors of the Genmar-built boats. The sentiment among Stratos owners was that they simply wanted the situation resolved and have the company released from Jacob’s control.

In January of 2010 three companies’ bids were accepted, Jacobs, Platinum Equity, and HydroBoats LLC ended up dividing the original company three ways.

Stratos bass boats continue to be built and an entire list of all stratos bass boats ever built can be seen by clicking here.

A list of all of the stratos bass boat “cc” models can be seen by clicking here.

If you are looking to find stratos bass boats for sale click here.


Stratos Bass Boat

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