Scout 177 Winyah

Scout's 177 Winyah is perfect for those seeking an easy-to-handle boat.

We Say: Flats boats rarely hold surprises, but Scout's new 177 Winyah will startle you. The aft deck looks typical, but a huge section including the helm seat rises on struts, exposing a compartment sized for a 72-quart Igloo. That eliminates a big problem aboard small boats: where and how to secure the cooler. This isn't the only eyebrow-raiser you'll find.

Open the compartment under the forward casting deck. You’ll discover that Scout installed a starboard bulkhead, so you can keep the anchor separate from other stowed gear. Fly anglers will appreciate the raised lip and recessed hardware gracing the foredeck. Another unusual tweak is the helm seat, which is elevated over the aft deck to boost visibility. You can sit on top of it or slide down and wedge into the contoured bolster; either way provides comfort while zinging across the bay at speeds in excess of 30 mph. The console conceals a small livewell under the forward seat, six rod holders and little room for electronics. But there’s one last touch on the console you probably didn’t anticipate: a sturdy stainless-steel vent, where most builders would use plastic to cut cost.

Who'd Want One: Flats anglers tired of tripping over the cooler and in search of a small, easy-to-handle boat.

Other Choices: Ranger's 173 Ghost and Yellowfin Yachts' 17. Both take up to 115 hp. The Scout maxes at 115 also but ran great with a 70 hp test engine.

Bottom Line: $25,867; scoutboats.com