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Nitro Z20 (2016-)

1 x 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS

Brief Summary

The Nitro Z20 is a turn-key tournament bass fishing package. She comes complete with a Minn Kota bow-mount trolling motor, a basic sonar, dual aft livewells and a low-rider tandem-axle trailer. The rod boxes are "stepped" to keep tackle separated and easy to remove, and there are several added storage boxes where Plano tackle boxes can be stored vertically. Powered with the optional 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS, the boat ran an impressive 71.2 mph in our tests.

Key Features

  • Nitro Vortex Technology (NVT) hull with Rapid Planing System
  • Huge 38 sq. ft. anti-fatigue padded bow deck
  • Unitized hull, foam-filled stringer system and deck for superior durability and flotation
  • Room at the bow and console for flush-mount 12'' (30.48 cm) fishfinders
  • Improved cooler with more insulation, a trash receptacle and snap-in sandwich tray
  • Oversized, lockable port and starboard bow rod lockers with lid assists for rods up to 8'
  • Large lockable center bow storage locker with Tackle Management System
  • 2 aft 19-gal. Guardian aerated, divided livewells with timers
  • Partner rod ramp with rod handle organizer and rod holder strap
  • Factory rigged with a Mercury outboard, Minn Kota trolling motor and custom-fit trailer

Test Results

700 3.3 2.8 0.4 8.13 7.07 402 350 77
1000 4.3 3.7 0.6 7.17 6.23 355 308 76
1500 6.3 5.5 1.55 4.06 3.53 201 175 82
2000 7 6 3.45 2.01 1.75 100 87 85
2500 8.3 7.2 6.55 1.26 1.1 62 54 85
3000 28.1 24.4 6.45 4.35 3.78 215 187 86
3500 32.5 28.2 8.15 3.98 3.46 197 171 87
4000 39.9 34.7 9.85 4.05 3.52 201 174 93
4500 49.3 42.8 10.75 4.58 3.98 227 197 96
5000 57.3 49.8 12.4 4.62 4.01 229 199 97
5500 67.2 58.4 17.5 3.84 3.34 190 165 98
5800 71.2 61.9 22.2 3.2 2.79 159 138 99


Length Overall 20' 2'' / 6.15 m
Beam 96''
2.44 m
Dry Weight 2,000 lbs.
907 kg
Tested Weight 2,668 lbs.
1,210 kg
Draft 16''
0.41 m
Deadrise/Transom 16-deg.
Max Headroom open
Bridge Clearance N/A
Fuel Capacity 55 gal.
208 L
Water Capacity N/A
Total Weight 2,668 lbs.
1,210 kg


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Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 4.1 sec.
0 to 30 8.5 sec.
Ratio 1.78:1
Props 25'' Fury 3-blade SS
Load 2 persons, 3/4 fuel, no water, 50 lbs. of gear
Climate 79 deg., 64 humid.; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: calm

Engine Options

Tested Engine 1 x 250-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS
Std. Power 1 x 200-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS
Opt. Power 1 x 225-hp Mercury OptiMax Pro XS with Torque Master
1 x 250-hp OptiMax Pro XS with Torque Master
1 x 250-hp Mercury Verado Pro 4-stroke

Captain's Report

Nitro Z20 running shot

The Nitro Z20 can be packaged with a 200-hp outboard in the base package or for guys who want to go big, she can have a 250-hp motor clamped to the stern.

Mission Statement

The Nitro Z20 is aimed at the price-conscious bass boat buyer who wants a 20’ (6.09 m) boat that can top 70-mph and do some serious fishing.
For the Z20, Nitro uses the NVT (NITRO VORTEX TECHNOLOGY). She has a 16-degree deadrise at the transom and the Rapid Planing System helps with quicker holeshots and better handling. She’s also designed with more bow flare and a lower profile. That combination helps knock down spray while improving aerodynamic efficiency.
To appeal to buyers who want a turn-key package, the Z20 comes with a trolling motor, a fishfinder, fore and aft livewells and a tandem-axle trailer.


Top Speed 71.2 MPH.

The Nitro Z20 is a bass boat and one of the first things people want to know about a bass boat is her top speed. We tested the boat with a 250-hp Mercury 250 OptiMax Pro XS 2-stroke outboard, turning a 14 5/8 x 25 Fury three-blade stainless-steel propeller and hit a top speed of 71.2 mph at 5800 rpm, while burning 22.2 gph. This gave the Z20 a range of 159 miles at wide open. Best cruise came at 5000 rpm where we ran 57.3 mph and burned 12.4 gph, giving the boat a range of 229 statute miles with a 10% reserve.

Rapid Planing.

During development of the new model, Nitro worked on improving holeshot and overall performance with what the manufacturer calls its Rapid Planing System. When we stomped on the optional foot throttle, the boat planed in 4.1 seconds and darted to 20 mph in 5.9 seconds before continuing to 30 mph in 8.5 seconds. The new hull was also designed to reduce backwash over the transom when the boat decelerates quickly and when we came to a sudden stop, no water made it past the splashwell.

Nitro Z20 keel

Note the double strake inboard closest to the Z20’s keel. The boat has four strakes per side plus reversed chines to help her plane quickly.


Bass boats have long been thought of as being one dimensional, as in they’re only good at going fast in a straight line. With the Z20’s bottom, Nitro wanted to dispel that notion and when we put her through slalom and circle turns she completed every maneuver with ease.

Nitro Z20 casting deck

The Z20 maximizes fishing space with a 38-sq. ft. (11.6 sq. m) forward casting deck and an aft only that is only slightly smaller.

Features Inspection


The tandem-axle trailer is custom made for the Z20 and has a swing-away tongue, jack, a spare tire and mount. There’s a step at the bow plus one on each side behind the fenders so it’s easy to climb into the boat from either end when she’s on land. It’s finished in the manufacturer’s Galvashield finish for corrosion resistance and comes with custom-aluminum rims.

Nitro Z20 trailer

Notice how low the Z20 sits on the custom made trailer, which should make it easier to tow. Total package weight is estimated at 4,050 lbs. (1,837 kg).

The Stern.

The aft casting deck has a receptacle for a portable fishing seat and with that seat removed, there’s space for an angler to do his thing. In the aft port corner, there’s a folding ladder that clips in place.

Aft Storage.

There are a total of four in-deck hatches. The outboard locker to port has a removable bin about 6” deep and beneath it is a spare propeller mount. The locker to starboard also has a removable tub that has slots for seven Plano 3700 Series tackle boxes. The large center hatch in the stern accesses the batteries, charger and oil injection tank. Forward, two hatches open the 19-gallon (71.92 L) Guardian livewells.

Nitro Z20 port locker

The port locker in the aft deck has this spare propeller mount plus some additional space.

Nitro Z20 aft locker

This locker in the aft deck has slots for seven Plano 3700 Series tackle boxes. Many anglers buy extra tubs and re-pack them with gear before trips.

Nitro Z20 battery access

The large hatch in the center of the aft deck opens to access the oil injection tank, batteries and charger. Nitro reinforces the panel with an aluminum hat section so it won’t flex and supports it with a gas strut.

Nitro Z20 livewell

Twin hatches open the Z20’s livewell, which has aeration and recirculation systems. These Velcro straps are part of the boat’s net storage that extends to port behind the bucket seat.

Racing Seats.

Bass Pro Shops, Nitro’s parent company, sponsors a team in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and not surprisingly the boat manufacturer got some input from the car racers to improve the seats in the Z20. The boat comes standard with a third fold-down seat or buyers can order the boat with a carpeted step between the two buckets.

Nitro Z20 bucket seats

The standard carpeted hatch between the bucket seats provides for easy passage to the aft fishing deck.

Nitro Z20 fuel tank fittings

The same hatch opens to access the fuel tank fittings. It is wise to inspect them from time to time.

The Cockpit.

The port console on our test boat is an upgrade that installs with three thumbscrew-style plastic fasteners. It has a locking glovebox that’s lined with carpet and there’s more locking storage in the angled footrest.

Nitro Z20 port console

For fishermen who like to go out in all types of conditions, the port console could be a worthwhile option that provides some protection from the elements as well as a hand hold for the co-pilot below the glove box. The glove box and locker in the footrest adds storage.

The Helm.

To starboard, the helm console is finished in glare-killing black and has a removable acrylic windscreen. The instruments are easy to see as is the centrally positioned with blue blacklighting Lowrance Mark-5x Pro fishfinder and there is space for the optional 12'' fishfinder. The optional turn-signal style trim switch and foot throttle are worth considering because they allow a captain to keep two hands on the wheel at high speed. To starboard of the wheel, the boat has a touchpad-style accessory switch panel that includes a Master Power switch. It shuts down the DC power so an accessory can’t be left on accidentally.

Nitro Z20 fish finder

The Lowrance Mark-5x pro fishfinder comes standard but there’s plenty of panel space for a bigger unit.

The Bow.

The business end of the Z20 has a 38-sq.-ft. (11.6-sq. m) bow casting deck that has a trolling motor and a forward electronics panel with space for a 12” fishfinder. There are two receptacles for the fishing seat to accommodate anglers with long and short legs.
Beneath the step to the bow area is an insulated cooler with a snap-in tray that keeps sandwiches from getting soaked in the melting ice. In the forepeak, the boat comes with switches for trimming the outboard motor and the navigation lights and a panel that will accept a 12” screen.

Nitro Z20 trolling motor

The Minn Kota trolling motor comes standard and there’s a recessed spot for the foot control.

Bow Storage.

In the center of the bow casting deck, a large hatch opens to reveal a locker that has removable dividers so owners can decide how to use the space to store gear. Outboard to port is a large rod locker and to starboard is a large open space that is home to the fire extinguisher.

Nitro Z20 cooler

The cooler in the step up from the cockpit to the bow has a wastebasket to port and a sandwich cooler to starboard.

Nitro Z20 bow locker

The large locker in the Z20’s bow has removable panels that let owners customize this large storage area.

Nitro Z20 locker

Outboard to port, this locker has space for eight rods that measure up to 8’ long.

Nitro Z20 starboard locker

This locker in the starboard bow opens on a gas strut and it has an aluminum reinforcement on the underside so the long hatch doesn’t sag when people walk on it.


$39,595 with a Mercury 200 L OptiMax Pro XS 2-stroke outboard and tandem-axle trailer.

Options to Consider

• Carpet embroidery ($165)

• Elite four-color option ($350)

• Removable port console and hardware ($1,095)

• Mercury SmartCraft gauges ($755)

• Tackle management system ($75)

• Keelguard (black or white) ($250)

• Hot foot throttle (Non Verado engines only) ($130)

• Trim lever on wheel ($75)

• Nitro rope ratchet cover ($785)

• Tandem-axle trailer upgrade ($1,200)

• Bow graph upgrade (see dealer for choices)

• Dash graph upgrade (see dealer for choices)


The Nitro Z20 is for the bass fisherman who wants a 20’ (6.09 m) boat that can run 70 mph on conservative power and still do some serious fishing.
With the new model, Nitro has improved fishermen's comfort with padding beneath the casting deck and the new bucket seats in the cockpit. The manufacturer also improved the insulation for the in-deck cooler.
It’s important to know that Tracker Marine Group has switched its emphasis from low price to high quality. And while the quality is competitive with any brand bass boat, its price is usually considerable less.

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