Northern "skeeters" grow big and mean. And so it seems appropriate that the new Skeeter ZX2050 is a big, mean boat, designed and built to take the rough-and-tumble elements encountered when fishing for walleye and other species in the upper Midwest.
I first saw the new Skeeter walleye boat at the fishing tackle trade show in Chicago, Illinois, last July, and it looked like a winner in the glitter of the showroom. After we agreed on the test, Skeeter Pro Angler Joel Lundquist trailered the boat to my home lake of Pomme de Terre in Missouri for the test. Unfortunately the day of the test turned out to be flat calm, not the best type of day for testing a walleye boat designed for rough water.
As luck would have it, I had just finished testing several bass boats, all in heavy waves and on the same lake. As boaters and anglers, you just never know what you'll get when you hit the water — but you won't have to worry if you're riding in the Skeeter ZX2050.
At 20 feet, 4 inches, with a beam of 94 inches, the ZX2050 has plenty of hull to take on big water and provide a comfortable ride. The deep-V hull slices through waves while the high gunwales provide as dry a ride as possible, even under the worst conditions. Although rated for a 250-hp engine, the boat we tested was fitted with a Yamaha 225 VMax. It was actually an older 1997 model, but it performed great on this boat, achieving a top speed of 63.1 mph.
The boat cruises easily at 4000 rpm with a speed of around 45 mph. It's like sitting in a rocking chair. Tracking is so stable and straight that you can stay on course even when you take your hands off the steering wheel.
Punching the throttle, however, makes the boat literally jump forward. Zero to 30 mph times were in the medium range at 8.14 seconds. Up and running, the ZX2050 doesn't wallow or ride bow-high as do some walleye-style boats. Instead, the boat rides up high on the pad a la bassboat style. The boat handles extremely well. Turns are easy with no skidding.
Composite hull construction
The ZX2050 fiberglass hull features X-Treme and X-Cel composite construction in the floor, stringers and transom for durability and long life. The boat is fairly heavy with a towed weight of 3,950 pounds, so you'll need a solid tow vehicle. Capacity is seven people/1075 pounds.
Lundquist had rigged the boat for tournament angling, and it carried several rod holders mounted on the rails. The boat is laid out for easy installation of a lot of rod holders, downriggers and other serious walleye angling goodies. The ZX2050 also comes pre-rigged from the factory with a Pinpoint Y-networking cable, allowing three Pinpoint sonar units to be connected together. This allows information from any of the units to be displayed on the other units at the same time, thus enabling anglers in the back or front of the boat to see what's happening with both bow and aft transducers. A third Pinpoint unit mounted on the console provides information while in route.
Lundquist had also mounted a Lowrance GPS on the side of the console. In addition, a Zercom flasher in the console is standard, as is a temperature gauge. A Pinpoint positioning trolling motor mounted on the front of the test boat provided easy control of the boat for a number of walleye tactics. The bow panel features a trolling motor receptacle with a 6-gauge 12/24-volt trolling motor system and trim switch. A bow traction mat is also standard.
The big boat offers plenty of storage with massive lockers in the front deck and a rod locker centered in the deck. Lifting the rod locker door at the rear of the front deck allows for easy access to the rods from the cockpit. The rod locker also carries rod tubes to keep the rods well organized. A step-up behind the rod locker makes it easy to get up on the front deck, which is spacious and easy to fish from. Additional rod storage is available in the aft gunwales of the cockpit.
There is also plenty of fish-fighting room in the aft cockpit. The walk-through consoles can be closed off with an optional walkthrough windshield for extreme weather conditions. Another option is a rear trolling motor panel with two 6-gauge wires for installation of a transom-mounted trolling motor.
I found the console and seating extremely functional, with hydraulic tilt steering and a comfortable driver's seat with a sliding feature. The cockpit command center features a tachometer, speedometer, voltmeter, fuel gauge, water pressure gauge, trim gauge, horn and 12-volt accessory receptacle. The tournament windshields and stainless steel handrails provide safety and comfort. A shelf conveniently located beneath the console can hold a marine radio, or it can be used to hold other gear. Transom height is 20 inches while the interior depth is 25 inches and overall height is 63 inches. You'll have to work to get wet in this boat, but it can happen.
A built-in cooler is located in the front deck and the stern carries two separate livewells capable of filling or emptying individually. The livewell control system features independent fill, recirculating and drain modes and pump timers. The livewells are easily reachable and feature large, easy-to-use lids. A manual 800-gph bilge pump and automatic 1500-gph bilge pump complete the plumbing and add extra measures of security for those rough water trips.
A dual 29-gallon fuel system offers plenty of roaming range, even on big water. An interior light package features four interior lights and lights in the rod boxes, storage boxes, livewells, cockpit and on the front deck. A retractable utility light is also standard. The bilge area holds three batteries and comes with three trays standard. A dual-bank battery charger with an external charge indicator and charging inlet is also standard. Four stainless steel pull-up cleats make tying up easy.
Fit and finish on the test boat was extremely good, with deluxe carpeting, all trim work neat and well done. The color features a sequin-finish deck, hull sides and stripes with sequin. A full sequin bottom is also available as an option as well as a sequin-shadow pinstripe or double "S" stripe.
The big boat comes on a matching Skeeter tandem-axle trailer with disc brakes and Aluma-Look wheels, a spare tire and a carrier. The trailer is built strong to handle the big boat. Also standard on the trailer is a swing-away tongue, which makes it easier to stow the package, as well as tie-downs and transom saver.
You can add a variety of upgrades, changes or options to the boat including an auxiliary engine setback for kicker installation. The setback is available in either standard or hydraulic/tilt versions. Moor Mates can be exchanged for the bow pull-up cleats. A fishing chair with adjustable pedestal or bike seat with adjustable extension are also options. Lowrance electronics are available as an option with transducers factory-installed. A boarding ladder can also be added, and the on-board charger can be upgraded to a triple bank.
Trailer upgrades include aluminum wheel exchange, trailer galvanizing, better tires, side guides, trailer loading lights and rear ratchet tie-downs. I've discovered the tie-downs make preparation for launching twice as easy.
The Skeeter ZX2050 is a big, bad walleye boat ready to take on the competition and challenges of walleye angling in even the toughest conditions. Check it out. You may discover that those northern Skeeters are not so bad after all.
|Hull Weight||1950 lbs.|
|Rigged Weight||2900 lbs. (approx.)|
|Trailer Weight||3950 lbs. (approx.)|
|Fuel Capacity||58 gal.|
|Livewell Capacity||1 @ 10, 1 @ 14 gal.|
|Base Price (w/ engine)||$34,995|
|Price as tested||$35,995|