When it comes to muti-species fishing the folks at Nitro -- which is owned by Bass Pro Shops -- know a thing or two about what it takes to catch the trophies in large lakes where muskie, pike, lake trout and walleyes reside. Big water means a bigger boat is needed. Multi-species means multi-tackle, multi-bait and multi-rods and reels. It also means a boat that has beam and weight for stability as well as low draft to be able to get into the weeds where big ones hide. But there is more...the ZV 21 may be the most comfortable multi-species boat to fish from.
Deep V hull design to take on rough waters
Heavy-duty gunnel-mounted fore and aft trolling rails
Port and starboard drop-in aft storage boxes with tackle tray holders
26 gallon aerated aft livewell with bait bucket and 5.5 gallon insulated bow baitwell with removable bucket
Deep port and starboard bow storage compartments
Dual consoles with fishfinder and GPS, easy-to-read instrumentation,and port glove box
36V, 101-lbs. thrust, 60'' shaft trolling motor
Custom factory-matched trailer with No Touch vortex hubs
Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) Specifications
21' 7'' 6.58 m
2,900 lbs. 1315.42 kg
100'' 2.54 m
4,087 lbs. 1,854 kg
18'' 0.46 m
64 gal. 242.27 L
Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.
The Nitro ZV 21 has a length overall of 21'7" (6.58 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m), and a draft of 18'' (0.46 m).
Mission of the Nitro ZV 21
In a word, her mission is to take anglers out on big lakes, provide them with all of the boat-related tools necessary to find and boat different species of fish -- all on the same day -- then make sure the anglers get home safe and dry. Secondly, Nitro is taking what it has learned in bass boats and the comfort they have, and applied it to multi-species fishing.
Further, this boat is designed to get anglers on their feet and moving around the boat with alacrity when fish are biting, something that is not advisable on many small aluminum multi-species boats. By creating raised casting decks bow and stern Nitro has gotten the angler up off the thwarts of small boats.
Overview. Perhaps the most important thing we learned during our test of the Nitro ZV 21 is she has noteworthy build quality. The company has clearly shifted its emphasis from being all about price, to being all about quality of build and in-depth functionality.
As we have mentioned before, Tracker Marine Group's volume, tremendous buying power, efficient production methods, and low margins both at the factory and the dealer levels, are what makes its boats so reasonably-priced, not cutting corners or cheaping out on hardware and equipment.
This is not to say that price is no longer important. Of course it is, and of course Tracker Marine Group's products are as competitive as always. The company -- and Nitro -- are not one-trick ponies.
This image says a lot about how the new ZV 21 can be used. Note the men are standing, moving around and one is even steering with the kicker. The boat's beam is 8'6" (2.59 m) wide.
• Heavy-duty gunwale-mounted fore-and-aft trolling rails • Patent-Pending port net storage • Dual consoles with Lowrance HDS-7 fishfinder with GPS, easy-to-read instrumentation • Anti-fatigue matting below bow and cockpit carpet • Illuminated storage (manual) • Fold-down molded fishing seat with power pedestal • 10" adjustable jack plate for the standard engine
A bird's eye view of the deck layout of the Nitro ZV 21.
• Standard fire extinguisher • Multi-colored paint scheme • 22-oz. plush, marine-grade carpet on decks • Elevated bow and stern casting decks • Minn Kota Terrova 36V 101-lb. thrust, 60" (1.52 m) shaft trolling motor
Snapshots of Fishing Features--
There are two removable bins in the stern quarters that each hold 24 tackle drawers.
This is a 26-gallon (98.4 L) livewell in the stern of the boat. Note the round collar for a bait bucket at left.
The forward bait bucket is just in front of the helm console on the bow platform.
Just forward of the companion console is an insulated box for ice. Use it for bait or beverages.
This rod rack is on the centerline just forward of the console under the casting deck. We’ve seen one filled with up to 25 rods. It’s also lockable.
This tackle box bin sits between the helm and companion seat.
The boat comes standard with four stainless steel mounting rails for trolling and spiders.
When in the hunt there is special rod storage close at hand under the navigator's console to port.
A clever piece of Velcro keeps the rods from rattling around.
In the bow this recessed location for the trolling motor pedal allows both feet to be on a level surface for better balance. The bow fishfinder is optional.
Fishing Features. The ZV 21 comes equipped for comfortable fishing--
• There is a movable fishing seat that can be raised and lowered, along with a bike seat with adjustable height • A 5.5 gallon (20.8 L) insulated baitwell with removable bucket is in the bow • Aft there is a 26 gallon (98.4 L) insulated Guardian livewell with removable bait bucket • Supporting these wells are two 500 gph aerator pumps with timers, and two 750 gph recirculating pumps with timers • All of the wells have oxygen generators and pump-out systems • On the centerline between the consoles there is an organized locker for rods up to 8' (2.44 m) long
All of this is in addition to the fishing gear mentioned above in the "Distinguishing Features" and "Major Features" sections.
The helm console is larger than it might appear as this picture demonstrates with these two huge screens. A Lowrance sonar/chartplotter comes standard with a 6.4" (0.16 m) screen.
Helm Details. The helm seat slides fore and aft and under the console there is a canted foot rest and a place for the optional Hot Foot pedal. All of the diagnostic instruments are standard and are installed on the black panel which eliminates the glare often seen reflected from white fiberglass. The windscreen is acrylic and the custom tilt wheel has hydraulic steering.
(A) Courtesy light. (B) Tackle box bin. (C) Foot rest with room for a Hot Foot pedal. (D) Molding between the 22-oz. carpet and the fiberglass bulwarks. (E) Helm seat swivels. (F) Holder for tools of the trade.
The helm has a set of soft touch switches creating a comfortable work station.
Full -- and separate -- instrumentation eliminates the need for scanning to find the right piece of information at 60 mph.
The HDS-7 Lowrance screen can be viewed -- and seen! -- with the sun directly on it.
Standard Depth Sounder. The HDS-7 Lowrance unit is not a cheap depth sounder and comes with a number of important features. It has a 6.4" (163 mm) display with a 16-bit color and full SolarMax Plus TFT. The display is sun-viewable and it has LED backlighting. It has "Go-Free" wireless technology which makes it possible to view the sonar and chartplotter on a laptop or tablet.
The HDS-7 includes built-in charts or bundled map options. It is compatible with the most expansive selection of cartography on the market. It also has the TrackBack function that allows users to review their course history and save key fishing locations.
Look aft into the cockpit between the two casting platforms. An optional walkthrough windshield can be ordered for an additional $575.
The port console has a lockable compartment that is large enough for all sorts of stuff. Notice the net stored to the side and the rod holders next to the footrest.
The Nitro ZV 21's hull is built with conventional hand-laid techniques and standard industry scantlings. Her stringer system is all fiberglass with foam core. A 28" (0.71 m) high transom is made of all-composite fiberglass materials. The insulated deck hatches are aluminum supported by aluminum hat sections for strength.
We were impressed to see these two Johnson 1,600 gph bilge pumps with their solid state water sensors. These are good, industrial grade pumps and are unusual in this type of boat.
As every boater knows, the most vulnerable system on a boat is the electrical system. The folks at Nitro have worked hard to provide a class-A system on the ZV 21. First of all, connectors on pumps and navigation lights are water resistant. When the wire is laid into the boat it is carefully bundled and wrapped with an abrasion-resistant material.
Batteries. The boat comes standard with three heavy-duty Interstate Series SRM-29 trolling batteries and one heavy-duty Interstate 27M-XHD cranking battery. There is a 4-bank (35 amps total) onboard battery charger with an external receptacle. Nitro uses plug-in type automotive-style fuses which are labeled under a cover. The trolling motor has a 50-amp circuit breaker.
The battery compartment is in the middle of the cockpit deck and it allows for holding even more than those shown here.
The 9.9 Mercury kicker seen here is a $4,000 option.
The jackplate seen here comes standard. Note the 18-degree deadrise at the transom and the reverse chines. The transom is a high-density composite material (no wood) that is glassed into place.
No trailer should be without a spare and an optional one is available with the Nitro ZV 21 package. The trailer has standard disc brakes.
The Standard Trailer
A division of Nitro's parent company makes trailers, so it is not surprising that the tandem-axle trailer that comes with the ZV 21 is loaded with features. We like the surge disc breaks on two axles and the custom-matched, color-coordinated powder-coated treatment. It makes the rig look like something from the Penske Racing Team. The wheels are 14" and an optional spare is available; lights are LED and are submersible. The frame is all-welded tubular for greater strength and is covered with Galvashield corrosion protection.
The standard casting seat that can be used on any of several places around the boat. It comes standard and raises and lowers.
This is the standard bicycle seat that raises and lowers. Notice the ridges around the hatches that show where the padding under the carpet starts.
Performance. The Nitro ZV 21 has a length overall of 21'7" (6.58 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m), and a draft of 18'' (0.46 m). With an empty weight of 2,900 lbs. (1,315.42 kg), 40 gallons (151 L) of fuel, two people and the 647 lbs. 300-hp Verado, we had a test weight of 4,685 lbs.(2,125 kg).
With the 300-hp Verado turning a 14-5/8 x 21 Tempest prop we reached a top speed at 6000 rpm of 60.1 mph. At that speed fuel burn was 29.8 gph giving us a range of 116 miles. Best cruise came in at 3500 rpm and 31 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 9.25 gph giving us a range of 193 miles and an endurance of 6 hours 12 minutes while still maintaining a 10% reserve.
We had a time to plane of only 3.2 seconds, and reached 20 mph in 5.3 seconds, 30 in 8.3 seconds and continued accelerating through 40 mph in 12.4 seconds.
Handling. Her high freeboard makes her a dry handling boat in a chop, which makes her ideal for big bodies of water like Table Rock or the Great Lakes. She remains dry even when we tacked back and forth across the wake of the photo boat. The power steering gave a solid feel to her handling and produced no feedback making her comfortable for long runs to the fishing spot.
Pricing and Power Options. The ZV 21 with a standard 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS engine and the tandem-axle trailer has an MSRP of $49,995 plus $495 prep and $850 for shipping (to Stamford, CT). For example, to ship this rig to our office in Stamford, CT. Total price: $51,340, plus tax. Upgrading to the 250-hp 4-stroke Verado, the total price will be $55,340. Go to the 300-hp Verado and the total price is $57,740.
Options We'd Consider. In addition to canvas to cover the boat, options we would consider are the walkthrough windshield ($575), the Keel Guard ($200) and Lenco electric trim tabs ($945). None of these things, except the canvas, are necessary, which speaks well for the way Nitro has equipped the standard boat.
The cockpit is 25" (0.64 m) deep, which provides security as the boat trolls along.
A Special Boat. It's hard to find a multi-species boat quite like the Nitro ZV 21. Several world-class anglers collaborated with Nitro on its design, and with its raised casting decks fore-and-aft, she certainly has elements that relate to tournament fishing.
Big Water. Several years ago we went fishing on Reindeer Lake in Northern Saskatchewan. The lake is 140 miles long and 37 miles wide and for a week we ranged over much of it in an 18' aluminum boat. The weather was perfect, so no worries. But what would the conditions have been like if a cold front had come roaring in from the Northwest Territories while we were 35 miles from home base?
More "What Ifs." What if we had to power into the teeth of 30 to 35-knot wind with waves breaking after a long fetch? It is for that reason that we think that there is a lot to be said for a large fiberglass boat with generous freeboard and a bottom that can provide a relatively soft ride at high speed in a chop as well as stability at trolling speeds.
There's nothing quite as much fun as pouring the coals to a big engine on a good hull when the water is flat. The ZV 21 can take rough water, too.
Other Thoughts. The ZV 21 is rated for 6 people but we think it would be most comfortable for two to four people. We can't imagine that more power than the standard 250-hp OptiMax is needed or useful for this 2,900-lb. boat.
Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) is 60.1 mph (96.7 kph), burning 29.80 gallons per hour (gph) or 112.79 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) is 22.3 mph (35.9 kph), and the boat gets 3.28 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.39 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 189 miles (304.17 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 300-hp Mercury Verado.
Time to plane for the Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) is 3.2 sec. seconds.
Time from 0 to 30 of the Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) is 8.3 sec. seconds.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Standard and Optional Equipment
Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Oil Change System
= Standard = Optional
Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) Warranty
Nitro ZV 21 (2014-) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.