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John Duggan, Eric Panzironi, Earl Bentz at Knoxville Bass Master Expo

Earl’s Early Years

Earl Bentz is an iconic name in the boating industry, revered for his contributions to boat design and manufacturing. Born in 1947 in Jackson, Tennessee, Bentz grew up in a family that shared his passion for boating and fishing, sparking his own love of the water. Starting his career in a boat factory at the age of 16, he later went on to become a professional bass angler.

Earl’s got the Midas touch

However, it was his pioneering work in boat manufacturing that would cement his place in history. In the late 1970s, Bentz began designing and building his own boats, setting the stage for the founding of Stratos Boats in 1983. Within a short period, Stratos Boats became one of the top boat manufacturers in the country, thanks to its innovative designs and commitment to quality. Its boats were known for their speed, stability, and durability, quickly becoming a favorite among professional anglers.

Bentz’s contributions to the boating industry did not end there. He founded Triton Boats in 1997, another top boat manufacturer that soon became known for its groundbreaking designs. Bentz’s boats won numerous championships during his career, including several Bassmaster Classic titles.

Bentz sold Stratos Boats to Outboard Marine Corporation in 1996, continuing to work for the company until 2000. In 2005, he sold Triton Boats to Brunswick Corporation, but stayed on until his retirement in 2014. During his career, he set the standard for boat manufacturers around the world with his innovative designs and commitment to quality, earning him a place in the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.

Everyone’s Favorite Humble Hall of Famer

Earl Bentz is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the boating industry. His innovative designs and commitment to quality have set the standard for boat manufacturers around the world. He has been inducted into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame.

Earl Bentz’s impact on the boating industry cannot be overstated. His contributions to boat design and manufacturing have left an indelible mark on the industry, inspiring countless manufacturers and boat enthusiasts around the world. You’d never guess it just from meeting him, but this softspoken and gregarious southern gentleman changed the sport of fishing in ways that can’t be denied, and won’t soon be forgotten.


  • “Earl Bentz.” Triton Boats. https://www.tritonboats.com/
  • “Earl Bentz.” Bass Fishing Hall of Fame. https://www.bassfishinghalloffame.com/
  • “Earl Bentz.” International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame. https://igfa.org/2020/05/26/earl-bentz/



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