Boat Test Videos
Content courtesy ofWhen it comes to multi-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 ZV21 may be the most comfortable multi-species boat to fish from.
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.
Mission of the Nitro ZV21
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.
Perhaps the most important thing we learned during our test of the Nitro ZV21 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.
Snapshots of Fishing Features--
The ZV21 comes equipped for comfortable fishing--
movable fishing seat
that can be raised and lowered, along with a bike seat with adjustable height
with removable bucket is in the bow
insulated Guardian livewell
with removable bait bucket
All of this is in addition to the fishing gear mentioned above in the "Distinguishing Features" and "Major Features" sections.
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.
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.
The Nitro ZV21'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.
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 ZV21. 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.
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 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 ZV21 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 Nitro ZV21 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 kg), 40 gallons (151 L) of fuel, two people and the 647 lbs. 300-hp Verado, we had a test weight of 4,087 lbs.(1,854 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 and 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.
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 ZV21 with a standard 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS engine and the tandem-axle trailer has an MSRP of $52,595 plus $495 prep and $1,050 for shipping (to Stamford, CT). For example, to ship this rig to our office in Stamford, CT. Total price: $54,140, plus tax. Upgrading to the 250-hp 4-stroke Verado, the total price will be $56,940 . Go to the 300-hp Verado and the total price is $59,340.
Options We'd Consider.
In addition to canvas to cover the boat, options we would consider are the walkthrough windshield ($750), the Keel Guard ($215) and Lenco electric trim tabs ($970). None of these things, except the canvas, are necessary, which speaks well for the way Nitro has equipped the standard boat.
A Special Boat.
It's hard to find a multi-species boat quite like the Nitro ZV21. 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.
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.
The ZV21 is rated for six 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. (1,315 kg) boat.
Test Result Highlights
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Pricing Range: $52,595.00Prices, 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.
Test Results - Change Measurement Unit
All fuel consumption numbers are the total for all engines in the boat. Speeds are measured with Stalker ProSports radar gun or GPS. Fuel consumption (gallons per hour) measured with Floscan digital fuel-flow meter or by on-board factory-installed diagnostic instruments. Range is based on 90% of published fuel capacity. Sound levels determined using Radio Shack digital decibel meter on A scale. 68 dBA is the level of normal conversation. Time to plane is measured from start of acceleration to formation of rooster tail behind boat.