REVIEW: SCOUT 205 SPORTFISH

By: David Lockwood, Photography by: John Ford, Coastcolour


The Scout 205 Sportfish has the lines, practical layout and eye candy finish you would expect of a serious American sportsfishing centre console, writes David Lockwood

After many years testing boats, you develop the ability to size up a product in a short space of time. Of course, there are sometimes surprises, some good and some not so good, mostly apparent only after you turn the key(s) and advance the throttles. But the way a boat looks usually says a lot about its intent and the way it performs.
I mention this because the Scout boats from South Carolina evoke that love-at-first-sight response. Currently available from 14 to 28ft, the boats — whether the Abaco offshore express models (new 35-footer on the drawing board), the Sportfisher centre consoles or the Bay Scout skiffs and Costa flats boats—have purposeful lines, practical layouts and a wonderful eye-catching finish that points to their serious saltwater sportsfishing intent.
The integrity of these boats – or at least those I have drooled over to date – can be traced back to the fact that they are made by an independent company which, unlike some dollar-driven multinationals, isn’t out to make its profits at the expense of quality and milking greater efficiencies.
So there I was on a camera boat, admiring the pretty lines of the 205 Sportfish with optional flag-blue hull. The 6.1-metre (19ft 11in) sportsfisher with Suzuki 150hp four-stroke outboard was zipping down the estuary. And it got me thinking of all the possibilities: tow the boat north, south, to wherever the fish are on the chew; anything from anchoring on the reefs for snapper and jewfish to chumming for tuna or chasing marlin along the 100-fathom line; as well as family days off a beach in summer.
Obviously, this is a well-made boat as evidenced by the heavy-duty deck gear, feeling of solidity and surefootedness. Typical for Scout, there are plenty of smart fishing/family features, storage and amenities built-in and tucked away so as to keep the interior clean and uncluttered.
Although a modest 20-footer, the boat is also self-draining and, though we didn’t test the claim, apparently unsinkable. Then came the surprises…

PURPOSE BUILT
The construction of the Scout boats is worth a paragraph or two. As with the best trailerable fishing boats, the 205 Sportfish has a monocoque or one-piece hull achieved by first laying up (by hand) the running surface, then chemically bonding the deck in place, before spraying liquid foam inside. The resulting hull is backed by a 10-year transferable warranty.
There is not a splinter of timber in the boat, the fuel system is an integral part of the craft so there’s no risk of the 246lt tank moving when powering seaward, and the wiring is tin-coated with heat-shrunk connections.
On the 205, the hull is a convex design with variable deadrise and a sharp 21º at the transom. Incidentally, the transom is designed in such a way that it’s linked to the stringers to spread the engine load.
As you might suppose, the 205 is designed for offshore work first and foremost. But it’s not until you set foot aboard that you find the points of difference and the nifty design details… the pleasant surprises.

TOUR OF DUTY
As touched on, the 205 is exceedingly stable and, as such, ideal for a team of lure casters, saltwater fly anglers or tuna fishers to fish from. The hull listed or heeled only slightly with two of us leaning into the gunwales and, as such, the boat’s high freeboard will remain when you are perched up one side during the closing stages of landing a fish.
As with a lot of American centre consoles, the helm is well aft and there’s a big bow casting area. A good deal of hometown Carolina flare up front keeps you dry, while the gunwales step down with a sweet sheerline for better access from the cockpit to the water for, say, de-hooking fish. The moulded liner is finished with diamond-pattern non-skid for extra grip.
The bow, which will be used as the boat’s primary fishing area in places like Florida, is traced by flush-mounted snag-free deck fittings such as a popup anchoring cleat, low-profile nav. light and recessed stainless steel grabrail. There’s a dedicated anchor well for a spade or fortress-style soft-bottom anchor, but you’ll need to fabricate a holding tube for carrying the reef pick.
Subfloor, the bow has a nice big insulated fishbox with, of course, overboard drain and bronze through-hull fitting. With the lid over the fishbox closed, you get a casting platform from which to pitch lures or baits. And while chasing schools of fish, that integrated bowrail offers something to grab hold of.
Last but not least, there’s a mother-in-law seat, a padded upholstered cushion, over the 88lt or 144-can portable Igloo cooler mounted ahead of the centre console. It’s a great place for carrying lunch and drinks, and soaking up the rays after your Sunday swim.

CLEVER TRANSOM
The so-called Wave Gate transom with removable stern seat is unique. 
There’s a fold-down washboard that, when locked in position, creates a second aft casting platform. And don’t worry about putting water aboard, the 205 Sportfish is especially buoyant and, as such, it would make a wonderful platform from which to cube or chum for tuna.
Access around the motor is excellent for clearing your rod tip and fighting a stubborn fish and, with the wave-gate down, you can easily drag a behemoth (be it a fish or diver) aboard. Just a great set-up, and another nice surprise.
When not fishing, the fold-down washboard can be returned to its original position and the heavy-duty rear lounge dropped in for extra seating for two or three kiddies or crew. The sturdy stainless steel fittings and mechanism allowing this conversion even at sea.
I noted four heavy-duty rodholders, two of which are transom mounted, with the remaining two angled in the gunwales. There is a huge plumbed livebait tank in the port corner with pump and pickup, and a big storage compartment in the opposite corner. Drinkholders, grabrails and cleats are all stainless steel.
Rod storage is a real highlight, with two vertical racks in the aft quarters of the boat, four holders behind the helm leaning post, four more holders in a rocket launcher attached to the optional T-top, and three under-gunwale holders. That’s 15 spots to stow rods or space for a dozen sticks, plus gaffs, tag poles, landing net and so on.

DRIVING STATION
The aluminium frame supporting the T-top, from which you can mount optional outriggers and bases, is a solid number with forward and rear floodlights, and the aforesaid four-rod rocket launcher from which you could troll a shotgun (centre lure) when bluewater fishing.
Though it doesn’t intrude on deck space or the walkarounds, the centre console is a big one with windshield and enough internal space to mount a chemical toilet. As it was, I could crawl inside and, with some handy storage tubs, it offers a ton of dry storage. There are hatches to the boat’s batteries – mounted amidships where their weight has the least impact on the ride – and access to the boat’s weather-protected wiring.
Back outdoors, you get a decent leaning post for two with fold-down footrest, scope to mount a second portable cooler for, say, the bait under the seat frame, plus those four-rod storage holders. Plenty of grabrails are within reach for skipper, co-pilot and crew riding shotgun.
Additional dry storage and plenty of mounting space for electronics can be found at the helm, along with a sturdy stainless steel steering wheel, big waterproof rocker switches, an overhead radio box, compass and drinkholders.
Put it all together and you have a sportsfisher with a great sense of purpose. The local dealer bundled the boat with a decent Dunbier Rollamatic Tandem trailer, too. A nice rig.

SEA TRIAL
I turned the key to the Suzuki 150 four-stroke outboard but wasn’t convinced that I heard an ignition noise. So I turned it again and heard the starter motor try and engage with the outboard engine purring astern.
There was more hilarity when I advanced the throttle; it was a tad sticky, as in fresh out of the box, and coupled with the at-call acceleration of the big inline four-cylinder block, the boat lurched forward. Hey, I almost lost our cameraman such is the poke at hand.
We headed around Barrenjoey Headland alongside famous Palm Beach where a residual 1.50m ground swell with plenty of holes and bumps remained after a previous day and night of onshore winds. Now here comes the surprise: the 205 Sportfish didn’t produce the smooth ride I anticipated.
There wasn’t enough negative trim to glue the fine bow to the water and, instead, we were landing on our flatter aft sections. Also, as top-end speed trials on flat water suggest, the boat was over-revving.
From my previous experience, such things aren’t typical for Scout boats. The demo boat’s 19 x 14in stainless steel prop wasn’t right nor, I suggest, was the mounting height.
But with some fine-tuning, I expect this to be a wonderful sea boat. 
Just looking at the hull on its trailer tells me as much. And thanks to the construction, the harder landings didn’t result in that horrible hollow sound you get in some lightweight fibreglass craft.
With full in-trim, the boat planed with the bow up at 8.5kts at 3000rpm. The hull levelled out and cruised better at 3500rpm and 17kts. At optimum cruise revs of 4000rpm, we were heading east at 21 to 22kts, but I needed to trim the bow right down to prevent porpoising. Hence the above comments.
On the flat, 5000rpm gave 30kts, 5500rpm returned 34kts and top speed was 39kts at up to 6200rpm whereupon the rev limiter kicked in. With the right prop you can count on the Scout 205 Sportfish being a real racehorse. It’s got all the ingredients to tame rough water and perform as a wonderful platform from which to boat big fish. Scout’s Honour.

WHAT WE LIKED
Terrific build quality for serious saltwater sportfishing
A real feeling of solidity and stability underfoot
Self-draining and ‘unsinkable’ foam-filled hull
Lots of built-in fishing features, storage and a clever convertible transom
Suzuki four-stroke 150hp is a nice outboard, with plenty of poke for bar work
T-top and leaning posts are high-quality fittings
Well-respected badge in America

NOT SO MUCH
The boat wasn’t propped quite right and could do with more negative trim
It’s a pretty big 20-footer on trailer, necessitating a decent tow vehicle
As with most centre consoles, you will get sunburnt and salt-splattered
Above-deck cleats in transom aren’t ideal for serious fishing
You will need some kind of custom storage tube for carrying a reef pick

 

Specifications: Scout 205 Sportfish

HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $84,302 w/ Suzuki 150hp four-stroke outboard, Dunbier Supa-Rolla tandem trailer and options
Options fitted: Engine upgrade, flag-blue hull, T-top with radio box, swim platform, trailer upgrade, safety gear, regos and more.
Priced from: $70,580 w/ 140hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard on Dunbier tandem trailer including registration. Base boat (hull only) from $47,415

GENERAL
Material: Foam-filled handlaid GRP or fibreglass w/ composite stringers
Type: Variable-deadrise convex planing hull
Length overall: 6.10m excluding optional swim platform
Beam: 2.50m
Deadrise: 21º at transom
Draft: 0.30m
Weight: Approx 898kg (base boat, hull only dry)

CAPACITIES
Berths: n/a
Fuel: 246lt
Water: n/a but raw-water deckwash provided.
Persons: 8
Recommended HP: 150
Maximum HP: 225

ENGINE
Make/model: Suzuki DF150
Type: Four-cylinder petrol four-stroke outboard w/ multipoint sequential fuel injection
Rated HP: 150 at 5000 to 6000rpm
Displacement: 2.867lt
Weight: Approx 211kg
Gearboxes ratio: 2.5:1
Props: 19 x 14in stainless steel

SUPPLIED BY:
Neken Marine,
Unit 8/9 Apollo Street,
Warriewood, NSW, 2102
Phone: (02) 9918 4120
Website: www.neken.com.au

IMPORTED BY:
Sportsfishing Boats Australia,
105 Batt Street,
Penrith, NSW, 2750
Phone: (02) 4732 5249
Website: www.sfba.com.au (for dealers)

Originally published in TrailerBoat #224

 


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