Scout 245 XSF

Boaters seeking versatility should check out the Scout 245 XSF.

We Say: Center-console boats outfitted with the comfort of a bowrider while retaining their open-water ride and fishability are all the rage. A great example is Scout's 245 XSF. Opening the capacious forward fish boxes, I noted deep gutters that prevent spray and wash-down water from getting in and melting ice intended to chill the day's catch. Closing the lid, I sat upon firm, elegantly upholstered removable cushions. The overboard-draining anchor locker is large enough to serve an avid bottomfisherman.

Scout also blessed the 245 XSF with a table that folds out from the horizontal front of the locker or folds away unobtrusively to keep the deck clear. Scout has a tradition of this kind of dual-purpose engineering, also evidenced by the folding wave gate aft. Up, this keeps splash from the selfbailing cockpit; down, it serves as a bench seat. Remove the cushion and it’s a casting platform. There’s a head, livewells, rod holders, two swim steps and great access to wiring, pumps and through-hull fittings. I suggest doubleclamping the raw water hoses, however.

My tester’s F250 Yamaha delivered exciting hole shot and a 53 mph top-end speed. Skiing, tubing and thrill-seeking are no problem. At 30 mph, it rode smooth, providing long range and opening up more days and wider grounds for anglers to vie for a trophy.

Who'd Want One: Boaters seeking versatility, ease of maintenance, seaworthiness and the shallow draft provided by outboard power.

Another Choice: Grady-White's new 230 ($73,640 with an F250) is a switch-hitting fish boat with seating for nine.

Bottom Line: $74,561; scoutboats.com