Elite’s Lowen jumps on the ‘Xpress’ train

Shallow-water specialist to fish out of all-welded aluminum boat in 2018

Veteran Bassmaster Elite Series shallow-water specialist Bill Lowen is on a mission to change anglers’ perceptions — particularly tournament bass fishermen — on the advantages of an aluminum boat.

To that end, the Indiana angler will be running the original all-welded aluminum Xpress Xclusive Series X21 Pro for the 2018 season.

“I think aluminum has that misconception — it’s flat-bottomed and can’t do the things that a fiberglass boat can do,” Lowen said. “Well, I want to be the one that says to the world, ‘This ain’t your grandpa’s jon boat.’

“This is a padded hull that can handle big water, and the performance is exactly what you’re going to get out of a fiberglass boat, except it’s aluminum.”

In fact, performance-wise, the only thing Lowen said he’s lost is the ability to hold an extra 2 gallons of fuel — his new X21 Pro has a 45-gallon tank.

“But I feel like I’m going to make that up in not having to run as hard to achieve those types of speeds,” he said. “If anything, I’ve gained because it will give me the ability to fish 110 percent like I do, without having to worry about tearing up my fiberglass.

“And potentially, I have the ability to access shallow water that I never have been able to access before. So for me, it’s huge. It’s just going to make me attack things a little differently.”

Yamaha’s Performance Bulletin on the X21 was an eye-opener for Lowen, who has fished the Elites since its creation in 2006 and has nine Classic appearances and more than $1 million in career winnings.

“I think what really got my attention was at 5,200 rpms we’re in the low 60s on it,” he said. “Typically, on a big 21-foot boat, you’re having to pour the coals to her to get 64 mph out of her …

“I tell you, if I would have had a blindfold on during my first test drive and he would have run me across that lake, I would have had no idea that I was in an aluminum boat. None whatsoever. When I got out of that boat, I was shocked. It was really cool.”

A spacious front deck and plenty of storage space also made the Pro Series X21 stand out.

“I believe the front deck is bigger. I had it at home packing all my stuff — rods, tackle, gear, life jackets — and I was blown away at how much room I have in there,” Lowen said. “You might automatically think, ‘Aluminum — you’re not going to have any storage.’

“But the more and more time I spend in it, I don’t know what to say — I’m just amazed. I’m going to have a lot of fun this year when people ask, ‘Hey man, what do you think about your boat?’ I’m going to say, ‘Park yours and get in this one, and let’s go for a ride.’”

Xpress Boats has been family owned and operated by the Herndon family since 1966. Xpress operates out of a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Hot Springs, Ark. producing top of the line boats for nearly any application. See more about the Xpress Xclusive Series X21 Pro Lowen will run at xpressboats.com.

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Patrick Bonin is the former editor of Louisiana Sportsman magazine and LouisianaSportsman.com.