This is the one we'd been itching to test.
Finally, we'd get to see if it was all everyone said it was.

Touted for months as the boat that would
hit 100 (actually 102 at Mercury's Lake X in
April last year) with the new 300, it looked
menacing enough as Stroker dealer David Webster
pulled it into Jaco's parkinglot for
the initial inspection and weigh-in.

This is one of those Eastern-Tennessee
little - knowns, but if our test rig's performance is
any indication, it won't remain a secret for long.

Fully loaded down with two men, all their
gear (all of it --- I mean tackle, cold - weather
wear, nets, rods, anchors, spare props, tools,
even a cooler - full of ice and soda !) and a 38-
gallon fuel tank that was 3/4 full,this Stroker
hit its stride and steam rolled through the
radar traps at over 97 mph.

With a few funs at 97.7 , it made believers
out of everyone present, including Jerry Jaco,
numerous others and myself who previously
doubted the claims.

Using a top -speed oriented 14 1/2-inch X 30
inch Mercury Lightning ET over-hub three-
blade, the only sore spot was its acceleration
from a dead stop to 30. It took almost eight
long seconds for it to break onto plane and
start its gallop to that mid-range mark.

That's the funny thing about this 300 engine,
though; watching it from shore, it looks
like it's laboring terribly to push the Stroker
up on plane.

Inside the cockkpit, however, it's an entirley
different feel. The distinct impression is not
one of intense laboring at all. Rather, you re-
ally feel the power of that 3-liter power head,
gearing up to start its big push.

The Bullet gave the same impression; using
an over-hub propeller makes it seem worse
than it actually is.

The Stroker has a unique design, from its
keel pad right up to the dual consoles. Remi-
niscent of Hydro Stream and Laser sport-
boats, it uses a multitude of small con-
cave surfaces to lend strength and give
character to what might otherwise be flat,
drab sides and decks.

This boat is extremely easy to handle,
thanks in part to the standard Teleflex
Sea Star Pro hydraulic steering.

I had no trouble hitting 94 mph on my
first attempt, and subsequent passes
brought me to within 1 mph of the Stroker's
best recorded speeds.

Test pilot David Webster knocked it
through a few big Champion wakes at 60-
plus mph and it broke cleanly and landed
straight each time.

It's a big boat, but not to big; while the lit-
erature lists it's length at 21 feet, it's actually
shorter than 20 feet when measured transom-
to-nose at the center line (the 21 feet takes the
rear wing protrusion into account).

Hull weight is listed at 1200 pounds; we
checked it in at 3380 pounds on it's dual-axle
Boat Mate custom trailer.

Subtracting the trailer's weight at 1020
pounds, the rigged weight is approximately
2360 pounds with 30 gallons of gas aboard (and
gear). No flyweight, but not on the heave side either.

The 300 sits heavy on the Strokers transom,
as it's pretty easy to wet the aft deck down
when coming off plane; the weight also shows
up on an annoying low-speed porpoise that
won't go away until the engine's trimmed com-
pletely in.

Our test hull was rigged with a 6-inch set-
back Detwiler Hydro-Jack mounted to a De-
twiler 6-inch setback, for a total of 12-inches en-
gine offset.

Best performance was achieved with the
prop shaft about even with the pad. This 300, a
Mariner, came with a 1.62:1 Sportmaster
gearcase; swapping to the 1.75:1 model would
improve acceleration times but hamper top
end speed.

I have no doubt that "average Joe" speeds
with a similar setup would be well into the 90-
95 mph range, loaded with gear.

With a more "normal" propeller, 90 mph
with a terrific hole shot should be no problem;
however, hitting the rev limiter @ 6400 rpm
may prove unavoidable with such a setup.

The Stroker was built for big power, and it
doesn't need any modifications to help it handle
the 300 Super Magnum. Hand-laid with a fiberglass
stringer system, it's custom-built in Chub Bryant's shop
in Maryville (near Knoxville), Tennessee. About the only com-
plaints i could muster were the drab, catlog-
issue bucket seats (they looked like they were
just purchased from Overton's !) and the pass-
enger's side console. The face was com-
pletely unused; I'd like to see a small Glove box
there for the passenger's items.

Gems like this Stroker are a real pleasure to
find and test-run, and i came away completely
impresses by this builder's hometown ap-
proach to bass boat design and manufacture.
The performance comes (relatively) cheap, too.

According to dealer David Webster, he sells pack-
ages like our test rig for $35,650 out the door
on a custom tandem-axle trailer.

Our rig included a Pinpoint trollig motor,
hot foot throttle, deck extension, pop-up
cleats, Detwiler jack and extension, and even a
four-speaker radio!

This boat was clearly the performance bar-
gain of the bunch, and it shows what can be
done when the everhead is low and the desire
to outperform the larger companies burns the
midnight oil.