Nitro Z9 vs Bass Cat Cougar

This was a busy weekend. I spent the weekend at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic tournament at Lake Fork. It is a great lake that receives tons of fishing pressure, yet it still kicks out big bass.

There were several bass boats on display at the exhibitor displays: Nitro, Ranger, Legend and Bass Cat. Friday nite I went for a ride in the Bass Cat. I really liked the boat a lot. The next day I rode in the Nitro Z9 as I had planned. I rode in the center console Z9.

It was different driving the center console. It will take some getting used to. The boat drove better than I expected. I spent a lot of time with some of the Nitro guys. Some were local pro staffers, some were factory people and I spoke with one of the Nitro pros who was fishing the tournament. The boat was more expensive than I thought it would be. I could see myself in the boat, but it was a $53,000 boat. If I spend that much, I might opt for a Ranger or a Bass Cat or?

There is only a few thousand dollars difference.

Every person I spoke with told me their boat is the best riding boat out there! The water was rougher when I drove the Bass cat than when I drove the Nitro so it is hard to compare. We cut through some wakes in the Nitro and it handled well. In a sharp turn I did get some spray from the Nitro, even in the center of the boat.

The Nitro has 4 seats across from gunnel to gunnel but only 2 are behind the console. I was hoping I could maybe strap down rods in the center of the front deck so both sides would be free, but the deck is too short for that. I found several draw backs: if you strap down your rods on the sides, there is a chance they could get stepped on when you walk up to the front deck. Also, the backs of the 2 outside passenger seats stick up rather high so when you step down from the back deck you have to lift your foot high, which might be tricky in rough water. Also, the area where your foot comes down is rather narrow, so you have to be quite agile to hit the mark and not fall onto the floor or into the console.

Furthermore, the opening from the console to the side is narrow so when you come off the front deck it is easy to hit your knee on the console and there is nothing to hold onto. It would be easy to fall. You could even fall overboard if you were somewhat clumsy.

The Nitro didn't feel perky. It planed quickly but it didn't seem to snap to attention like the Bass Cat. The Cat came up on the pad quickly and really is fast.


Nitro Bass Boats

I have been running behind in my quest to buy a new boat. No excuses, but things are starting to shape up now. I have some appointments set up to demo some boats starting with a Nitro Z9. I am still working on setting up other demos but I have to squeeze in some real work too.

In my homework, I've pretty much settled on a 20 or 21 footer. Not all boats are created equal as we all know. Some 21s are way too big and some 20s are too small. Ride is so important but even more important to me is fishability.

I hadn't considered a Nitro until I looked at one at the San Antonio boat show. They sure seem far more improved from a few years ago. I am even considering the center console bass boat, which I will be riding in this next week at Lake Fork.

Remember the center console Skeeter? I thought it looked ... well, not exactly my favorite look. However, as I thought about it, and I said last time, I hate stepping on rods while fishing. I like to get right up against the gunwale so my rods are always under foot.

What would happen if the rods were down the center of the front deck and the sides were kept clear? That has some merit. I like the idea of the anglers each getting out from the consoles going in opposite directions. In most boats, one guy has to wait a second for the other guy to move to get out of or in the seats. Not an issue in a center console boat!

Hey, it might lead to one or two extra casts at every stop. Casts = Fish.

After I ride the Nitro this week I'll make a full report. Today is Saturday and I leave for Lake Fork on Tuesday, ride in the Nitro Wednesday. Then on Thursday I have to set an exhibit space at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic tournament. I'll be working the show Friday through Sunday and come home Monday.

Then I leave on Wed. for Corpus Christi Texas to set up an exhibit space at an on the water boat show. That will be fun!


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