Nitro Z-9 CDC

You'll either love Nitro's new center-console bass boat or you won't. Rick Clunn, one of the top bass anglers of all time, loves it. So do we.

What we think: You'll either love Nitro's new center-console bass boat or you won't. Rick Clunn, one of the top bass anglers of all time, loves it. So do we.

"The idea is to get all the weight on the centerline. That makes the boat more stable regardless of passenger load," Clunn told us. He throttled up and hit a top speed in excess of 70 mph with one of the steadiest rides we've tested in bass boats. We switched seats and did the same.

Traffic patterns in bass boats matter as much as performance. In a day of fishing, tournament anglers who have to wait for each other to pass through the narrow passage between consoles lose time and casts. Fish in the livewell are a function of the number of casts an angler executes. Really, it's about winning.

"When I'm standing in the bow and hook a fish, I want to swing it aboard. Here's my swing zone," Clunn said, sweeping his hand in an arc over the open walkway between gunwale and console. "In a side console I have to swing a fish over the helm." That's a risky move that costs lots of anglers lots of money.

Another benefit Clunn likes is enough space behind the helm to allow stand-up driving at slow speeds. "That way I get a better view when picking my way through sunken timber."

Most anglers don't swim, but the CDC is equipped with a boarding ladder for safety. Clambering aboard with a load of soggy clothes is not possible for many anglers without the ladder. Tackle storage abounds for both anglers. Digital livewell controls make it easy to keep big catches alive through the weigh-in and release process. What's not to love?

Who should buy it: The Z-9 CDC is for the serious angler who enjoys tournament-level fishing or who aspires to compete for prize money in leagues. The boat is visible on some of the most prestigious bass circuits.

Vital Stats * Length Overall: 21' * Beam: 8' * Dry Weight: 1,975 lb. * Seating/Weight Capacity: 4/2,150 lb. * Fuel Capacity: 55 gal. * Max HP: 300 * MSRP: (w/ Mercury Pro XS OptiMax 250): $51,895 plus freight and prep * NMMA certified: Yes

Power Picks
* Mercury OptiMax 225 -- $47,995 plus freight and prep
* Mercury Pro XS OptiMax 300 -- $56,395 plus freight and prep

Also consider ...
Z-9
Length: 21'
Beam: 8'
Max HP: 300
A traditional deck plan with a single console and enormous forward casting deck is all many anglers need.

929 CDX
Length: 20'9"
Beam: 8'
Max HP: 300
Available with a dual console, the 929 is total tournament power and the deck is devoted to one thing -- hard-core fishing.

Test Drive * Test Engine: Mercury Pro XS 250 * Test Prop: 26P Tempest * Test Load: People (400 lb.); Fuel (45 gal.) * Top Speed: 73 MPH @ 5,950 RPM * Time to Plane: 5 sec. * Time to 30 mph: 9.1 sec.