The Scout Sportfish 175 comes from a factory in Summerville, South Carolina, yet is perfectly suited to sport fishing in many Australian scenarios.
This fine-looking fibreglass centre console is one of 23 models from 14’ to 35’ in the Scout line up.
As it sat gently at rest, the hand-laid hull certainly had a business like look about it, staying level as our testers walked around, sorting out various items out prior to our test runs.
This very solidly made craft has plenty of fishing features and a flawless finish throughout. The 13º deadrise hull, with its reversed chines, planes easily, rides well and is remarkably stable. The package also comes with a lot of confidence-inspiring features for Australian owners.
There’s a foam filled 100% unsinkable hull, totally timber-free construction, 10-year transferable hull warranty and three-year stem-to-stern limited warranty and and corrosion-resistant tinned wiring with heat-shrink electrical connections.
The 175 Sportfish is the largest of three craft in this series and is a useful size for up to four anglers to enjoy time in.
As is the case with other similar US-made boats, storage is abundant. Up forward behind the spacious lockable anchor well there is a 100L-plus insulated storage area that can double as a fish box.
The forward fishing platform is around 30cm above cockpit level and is ample for an angler or two to enjoy time casting lures, flies, or plastics. The area is entirely open with no snaggy items to obstruct tackle, tender toes or tangle fly line.
Stepping down into the self-draining, non-skid cockpit there is plenty of room to fish either side of the large centre console.
The console itself is neat and functional with an upholstered ice box seat in front and a solid grab rail around the windscreen.
There is vertical rod storage to the right of the console.
There is a generous amount of fishing space in the cockpit. Aft quarter seats take up little room and there’s an upholstered bench seat for skipper and mate.
The console is large enough to offer space for a full-sized dash and glovebox, and the Scout’s beam of 2.3m means there is enough space for an angler to fight a big fish all around the boat unhindered.
A door on the starboard side of the console accesses plenty of internal storage.
The console features major instruments, switches and such to left, with the five-spoke steering wheel linked to non-feedback steering. The ignition key is in the centre of the dash, with binnacle engine controls and a glovebox to the right within reach of the skipper.
The test craft included a pair of Humminbird units: a 798D GPS to port and a 788D sounder to starboard. The Mercury gauges and switches, which include circuit breakers, are neatly fitted within a timber-look insert resplendent with the Scout logo.
The neat bimini tucked in its sock above the helm area will be very useful for Summer. The framework is sturdy and rigid enough to serve as a handhold in rough weather.
Strangely, the Scout lacks side pockets, something we take for granted in most craft plying our waters. But there are two rod holders per side at each aft quarter.
The folding jump seat to port can be raised (a gas strut keeps it open) to allow access to the plumbed livewell below.
There is a full-height transom and a boarding platform with grab rail and folding ladder to port.
It was immediately apparent that the Scout 175 Sportfish, rated for engines from 90hp to 115hp, has a very slippery hull. The 90 Mercury EFI four-stroke was minimum power but very good, just the same.
The hull rose to plane at just 2600rpm and 9.5 knots (17.6kmh), thanks to its massive moulded strakes and relatively shallow 13º vee.
At 3000rpm the GPS read 13.3 knots (24.7kmh), 4000rpm at 23 knots (43kmh) and 5000rpm at 26.3 knots (48.8kmh).
With such respectable performance, I think a larger motor might be required only should an owner regularly plan to have four or five people aboard.
As can be expected from a builder that has been in the industry since 1989, the Scout’s hull delivered a very soft ride. Aided by very pronounced moulded strakes and other clever design, the high but fine bow entry kicked through wash with little impact. The dry hull weight of 572kg also added to the ride quality.
Handling was impressive. It was very hard to put the 175 Sportfish off course despite sharp turns and quick direction changes.
The progressive sheerline rises from about midships to help occupants stay dry in most conditions.
The Scout 175 Sportfish could double as a very useful bay and estuary craft, with the ability to also take a run offshore in suitable conditions.
The uncluttered interior would allow several anglers to work simultaneously without much effort in most conditions.
With the excellent ride and inherent stability, I give the Scout some big ticks as a serious all-round fishing craft.
The 175 Sportfish was well suited to the Oceanic trailer supplied and there were no issues with driving the craft back on or simply using the winch to retrieve.
The excellent hull design and interior layout mean the Scout is a useful fishing craft for either casual or quite serious anglers.
The ride, handling and overall stability are up there with the best of local or imported centre consoles of this size.
The finish throughout was very good and there is an overall emphasis on comfort.
Neken Marine, of 3/4 Taronga Place, Mona Vale, can offer a Scout 175 Sportfish fitted with a Suzuki DF90 four-stroke and Dunbier Rollamatic trailer for $47,166, ready to fit the electronics of your choice. For more information call Neken on 02 9979 9649 or visit www.neken.com.au. Neken will move to 83-85 Darley Street, Mona Vale early in February.
|LOA on trailer:||6.4m|