There's been a lot of talk lately about crossover boats, models that are part bowrider and part deck boat. Then there's the buzz over hybrid fishing boats, the ones with T-tops that can be used as wakeboard towers and with bows that convert from casting deck to deep-seating arrangements.
But perhaps the ideal multipurpose boat has been sitting quietly in its slip all along: the dual-console family fishing boat. Think about it. What other style boat is tricked out for fishing, balanced through the hull for pure water-sports pulls, and designed deep and safe for all-weather day cruises? It's a serve-all boat, and in this case a premium one.
The new 245 Dorado is Scout's most-impressive example yet of cockpit comfort and hard-core fishing in a singular boat. This new model rides on the same proprietary NuV3 hull design as the company's popular 24-foot center console, and will deliver similar advantages in fuel efficiency and big-water ability. It's built and tested on South Carolina's coastal waters, where the engineers fish. Lift a few hatches and you'll discover large fish boxes, well-designed bait wells, rigging stations, and plenty of rod and tackle storage.
Hatch lifting will also reveal another of the Dorado's exemplary qualities. Undersides, backsides and remote corners of the bilge all have sleek finished surfaces. The reasons aren't just cosmetic. Finished and gelcoated surfaces won't cause nicks and scratches to fingers or toes, plus they repel slime, resulting in a boat that is easy to keep clean — even in the places you can't always see.
The Dorado's dual-console design provides significant weather protection on the same cool and windy days that tend to keep owners of center- and single-console boats at home. The optional arch and sculpted hardtop add another layer of climate control (shade in the heat and shelter from the rain). This is especially crucial during long days of offshore trolling or runs to the islands. But we think the option becomes even more worthy of the investment when kids are part of the boating experience. Few things will turn them off boating more quickly than eight hours in the direct sun. It isn't real pleasant for adults either.
As testament to the efficiency of Scout's NuV3 hull design, we recorded a top speed of nearly 50 mph and a time to plane of just under 4 seconds. We were burning less than nine gallons of fuel per hour at a clip of 30 mph, which compares well against other nearshore recreational fishing models. As anyone who has operated a single-engine outboard of this size and style can attest, those are some impressive numbers across the board.
Key Note: The safety of an offshore experience will be directly related to what's on the dash — on the Scout 245 it's a chart plotter, compass and VHF radio.
• Folding rear bench seat and snap-out carpeting provide added creature comforts for nonfishing trips.
• Scout's sectional molding techniques create a boat with fewer seams and no rough edges.
• Storage areas abound, providing space not only for fishing gear, but also water toys, provisions and a full complement of offshore safety gear.
• The optional hardtop works with the full windshield to provide climate control in the cockpit.
* Length Overall: 24'5"
* Beam: 8'6"
* Dry Weight: 3,200 lb.
* Fuel Capacity: 100 gal.
* Maximum HP: 300
* MSRP(test boat w/Yamaha F250): $73,554
* NMMA Certified: Yes
* Test Engine: Yamaha F250 TXR
* Test Prop: 15.25 x 19
* Test Load: People (400 lb.); Fuel (40 gal.)
* Top Speed: 49.8 mph @ 6,100 rpm
* Time to Plane: 3.9 sec.
* Time to 30 MPH: 7.7 sec.