My first thought when I walked up to the new Scout 255 LXF center console: not only could I take the entire family fishing, I could invite a few friends along as well. This isn’t usually the case on mid-20-something center console sportfishing boats, due to a lack of deck space, seating capacity, and sometimes also amenities. But on this boat? Bring the entire crew onboard, then pick up the phone and invite a friend or two to join you. Or heck, just jump right aboard with us, right now, in the First Look Video.
Finding enough seating is always a problem when you go cruising out to the fishing grounds with a big crew, but Scout has addressed the issue in a number of ways. First off, the forward bow seats are actually useable underway thanks to the substantial but removable backrests. Will you still get bounced around up there in heavy seas? Of course. But on calmer days or quick runs across the bay, the bow is a comfy perch for two.
Then, there’s the forward console seat. On most boats this is a single box of a seat, and in many cases, it’s a cooler seat (talk about uncomfortable). Here however, tall cushy backrests have been built into the front face of the console. Not one but two people get to sit here, in absolute comfort. They will still catch some spray on rough days, of course. But as far as seating forward of the helm goes, the arrangement on the 255 LXF is as good as it gets.
As usual, the captain and one passenger are ensconced in a leaning post with drop-down bolsters. And passengers in the stern get to enjoy a flip-down transom bench seat.
That added seating does eat into deck space, but the aft bench folds away and the forward seat cushions and backs can be removed, adding some of that fishing space back. In the world of boat-design trade-offs, all but the hardest of the hard-core anglers will probably consider the trade a good one. Plus, thanks to the boat's 8'11" beam, five inches more than the norm, you have more space to work with in the first place. In some states that'll mean you need a permit to haul it down the road, but what do you want: a boat designed for use on the water, or one designed for a legal advantage on asphalt?
So far as amenities go, Scout packs them on as usual. You can’t fit the same creature comforts that models like the Scout 350 LXF or the 320 LXF have room for. But the console houses a head, the T-top has a tempered-glass enclosure, the upholstery is plush, and the boat comes with perks like a freshwater system and a stereo.
That stuff rightly plays second fiddle to the fishing amenities. The livewell is a bit on the small side at 20 gallons, but there’s gobs of tackle stowage (two boxes built into the transom and four in the leaning post), and fishbox capacity is massive for a boat of this size: the big box in the deck holds 220 quarts; the two in the bow seats hold 70 each; the forward console seat serves as a back-up; and in an absolute fish-catching emergency, you could always dump your drinks and food out of the Igloo under the leaning post and gain another 128 quarts of fish-stowing capacity.
Another way the 255 LXF sets itself apart fishing-wise is with standard rodholders. Most boats of this type have four flush-mounts, two in either gunwale. The transom is bare, as often as not. But here you’ll find a total of seven flush-mounts, with five lining the top of the transom. The two additional rodholders in the gunwales should be standard instead of optional (who wouldn’t want those, too?), especially considering the boat's price-tag. In fact, it breaks the $100K barrier by 10 or 20 grand (depending on power choices, options, etc.), so the builder clearly isn’t trying to save a hundred bucks here or there to offer an artificially low “base” boat price. Anyway, thanks for that transom, Scout—when I look at so many of your competitors' boats, I always hate seeing all the bare fiberglass where rodholders so clearly belong.
Speaking of looking at those competitors: another thing most of them don’t offer is the clean, sleek bow with a standard integrated windlass and roller. As an angler I’m not in love with windlasses (they all seem to get wedgies sooner or later). But as a guy with a bad back I adore them. And from a purely cosmetic point of view, this arrangement is light years ahead of the old pulpit and crooked Danforth.
Though the particular boat Scout brought to Annapolis for my test was rigged with a single 250 HP Evinrude G2 ETEC outboard, this model can also take twins, for up to a total maximum horsepower of 400 on the transom. Going with twins will not only add speed, it’ll boost that price tag. And the 255 LXF I drove did just fine with the single 250. Well, better than fine—it’s a 50 MPH boat, which, loaded lightly (two people and about a quarter tank of fuel) tops out at 50.7. Cruise speed is over 40 MPH, and economy at that mark is three miles to the gallon. Do you really need to pick up a few more MPH? Probably not, and considering the reliability of outboards these days, the argument for twins just gets weaker and weaker. The one exception may be those who regularly run offshore beyond their insured towing distance, and in that case, a pair of 150s should offer similar performance without too steep an efficiency penalty.
The bottom line? This isn’t a particularly large boat for its cost, but all things considered, it does offer an awful lot for its LOA. It serves both serious anglers and the not-so-serious as well. And when the entire family wants to head out for a trip, this is one of few boats its size that allows you to ask them the question: who should we invite along for the ride?
Other Choices: Another high-end center console in this size range is the Everglades 255c. If you want a boat that leans more towards die-hard angling and worries less about creature comforts, the Regulator 25 might be of interest. If you take the opposite approach, then have a look at Chris Craft's Catalina 26.
View listings for the Scout 255 LXF.
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|Fuel capacity||132 gal.|
|Water capacity||15 gal.|
|Test conditions: Calm, two POB, 42 gallons fuel. Performance figures courtesy of Scout Boats.|
|Power||Single 250 HP Evinrude ETEC G2 two-stroke outboard, swinging a 15" x 19" stainless-steel prop.|