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Nitro Z8 Reviews
Western Outdoor News tests the NITRO® Z-8
A sweet bass boat for under 30 grand?
NITRO’s Z-8 screams ‘Absolutely!’
Nowadays, shelling out cash or making payments on a brand-new bass boat can be akin to buying a new car; for some, even a house. When you truly break down the value of owning your own rig, however, considering the amount of time spent on the water should be a major purchasing factor. That said, forking out 50-plus grand on a killer boat may not make much sense for the recreational basser who fishes his or her favorite local lake on the weekends. Sure, for the tournament anglers or bass pros, it may be standard operating procedure, however, for a majority of western bass chasers, it resides well out of the realm of possibility.
Hope is not list, however, as NITRO has officially created the “affordable professional bass boat” category with the introduction of their latest and greatest achievement, the NITRO Z-8.
I had the opportunity to “test” the rig during a recent outing to Diamond Valley Lake with Tracker Marine Group (TMG) Manager Gerald Russell.
At first glace, the Z-8 screams quality and aesthetic appeal. Truthfully, it looks as sleek as any other boat on the water; matching rigs costing twice as much in the aspect of visual appeal.
Before even boarding the Z-8, the most notable feature of the boat is its impressive size. Its length of 20 feet, 1-inch is ample in terms of spaciousness, however, the 8 ½ foot beam truly makes the Z-8 stand out amoungst its competitors.
I’ve tested and fished aboard contless bass boats over the years, and few, if any, compare to the deck space aboard the Z-8. And as any seasoned basser is well aware, when you’re tournament fishing or even fun fishing during a tough bite, it’s not uncommon to have a stringer of rods littering the deck. On the Z-8, such scenarios provide not even the subtlest hint of an obstacle when chasing large-mouth.
And for the SoCal big-bait chuckers, the oversized port and starboard rod lockers provide an overabundance of space when stowing the 7- and 8-foot plus sticks required to throw the heavy trout imitations. We had no problem storing 10-or-so rods during the outing, and had more than enough room to spare.
Another noteworthy storage feature on the Z-8 is the massive dry storage compartment located in the center of the forward deck. It came in handy considering the layers of clothes we shed in the first few hours of hitting the water; as the temperature jumped from the 30s to nearly 60 degrees.
Performance-wise, the Z-8 is a veritable dream to operate. Out of the hole, the boat gets on plane in no time flat, thanks to the patented Rapid Planing System; and I assure you the 35 mph speed limit imposed on most western lakes and reservoirs leaves much to be desired. Get this baby on Mead or Havasu, and you’d have no trouble keeping up with most anyone on the water. Well, besides the siz-figure speed machines that cost as much to fill up as a mortgage payment.
Where others guzzle gas, however, this rig sips; attributed largely to the fuel-efficient Mercury optiMax strapped to the transom. The Z-8 can accommodate up to 250 hp, however, unless fishing the expansive desert lakes happens to be your fore, stick with a 200 hp powerplant. Not only will the 200 ponies suffice for any western fishery, but when outfitted with a 200 hp Mercury OptiMaz Pro XS, the rig retails for a mere $29,995. That’s a price point beyond compare.
But how can a boat offering unmatched performance, fishability, safety and comfort, not to mention all the bells and whistles of rigs costing nearly twice as much, retail for less than 30 grand? There has to be something missing, right? Wrong.
NITRO left no stone unturned in the development and production of the Z-8; especially in terms of fishing-specific features. For the tournament-types, a pair of 20-gallon Guardian livewells in the aft deck feature recirculators to ensure your catch stays healthy. And both livewells incorporate NITRO’s Max-Air induction system, which has proven to be one of the most effective methods of keeping water within the livewells fres… a crucial component to the success of any tournament anger.
The rig also comes standard with a MotorGuide 24-volt, 70-pound thrust, foot-controlled motor, and Lowrance X96 TX fishfinder flush-mounted in the driver’s side console.
As if the standard features weren’t enough, NITRO affords prospective buyers the opportunity to literally customize their Z-8 down to the battery chargers and fiberglass fenders on the tandem-axle trailer. And you don’t even have to make a trip to the dealership to do so.
NITRO has created a unique feature on their Web site, www.nitroboats.com, to allow interested buers to “build” their own Z-8 from the comfort of their home. You can select a specific motor, and then choose from nearly a hundred options to design the perfect rig for you and your style of fishing. And the updated price is displayed with each click of the mouse. It’s almost as fun, simple and easy as fishing from a Z-8. Unfortunately, our day at Diamond Valley ended with the big “skunk-o,” but in all honesty, I spent more time focusing on the Z-8 and conversing with Russell about the attributes of the boat itself. I’ve fished more during previous boat tests, but this time I had less of a desire to wet a line. The rig didn’t disappoint, in any aspect; so much so that I’m beginning to think a new Z-8 wouldn’t look so bad in my driveway.
May/1/2010, 11:12 pm
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