For more than 20 years Al Stinson has been building fast, efficient hulls. That's his passion. Stinson melded speed and angling prowess in the new 201 XL Evolution — a fisher of an inestimable competitive nature.
With a tournament-tested hull in place, Stinson widened the deck by an inch. He also added slightly higher gunwales for an even drier rough-water ride and to help keep rod or tackle secure on the fly. To strengthen performance, Stratos balanced the batteries and gear compartments, but more importantly, lowered the center of gravity by molding the seats lower on the cockpit bulkhead. The effect gave us a feeling of greater security while we were trying to break the 75 mph barrier. We never exceeded 72, but Evinrude engineers dropped to a 25-inch prop and increased the top speed to 75 mph.
Speed got us to the fishing hole first. Then we noticed the rod lockers, with individual tip-tubes and cradles for nine 8-foot rods, were going to be useful in keeping rods secure in rough waters. Slots for 20 Plano tackle boxes meant nobody had to leave a tackle bag out or buried in a compartment. Dual-aerated and recirculating livewells refreshed the fish for weigh-in, and a built-in cooler in the bow step refreshed anglers.
To make fishing comfortable all day, Stratos added extra padding to the bow deck and recessed the trolling motor pedal. Both reduce fatigue, letting an angler focus on casting, not on back pain.
Key Note: A 40-gallon livewell, on-board battery charger and Humminbird 767 GPS keep fishing performance toe to toe with running performance.
• The 201 is wired for three batteries and a two-bank charger. Opt for the three-bank charger and an extra battery for tough tournament fishing.
• Actia instruments communicate with a second GPS module to give accurate speed and fuel flow for managing the longest fishing range.
• Powder-blue livewell interior makes it easy to sort and cull fish.
* Length Overall: 20'9"
* Beam: 8'
* Dry Weight: 2,350 lb.
* Weight Capacity: 1,575 lb. (people, motor, gear)
* Fuel Capacity: 50 gal.
* Maximum HP: 250
* MSRP (test boat w/ Evinrude 250 E-TEC HO): $49,995
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: Evinrude 250 E-TEC HO
* Test Prop: 26" Raker, 3-blade
* Test Load: People (235 lb.); Fuel (30 gal.)
* Optimum Cruise Speed: 35 mph @ 3,000 rpm @ 8.4 gph
* Top Speed: 72.9 mph @ 5,500 rpm