The Scout Sportfish had to come a long way from where it was originally built to sit on the placid waters of Jacobs Well in southeast Queensland.
From Summerville, South Carolina, USA this fine looking fiberglass centre console craft is one of 23 models ranging from 14’ to 35’ in the Scout line up.
As it sat gently at rest, the glass hand-laid hull of the 175 Sportfish certainly had a business like look about it. The craft’s level attitude was not disturbed at all as Trevor Rowe of Karee Marine and his offsider walked around sorting various items out prior to our test runs in Jumpinpin.
This boat is a very solidly made craft with plenty of fishing orientated features and a flawless finish throughout. The 13º deadrise hull, with its reversed outer water line chine, 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 hull construction, ten year transferable hull warranty and three year stem to stern limited warranty, heat shrunk electronic connections, and tin wiring throughout to avoid corrosion. Aft there’s an integrated swim platform without bolt-on sections plus a fully integrated pressure tested fuel system.
The 175 Sportfish is the largest of three craft in this series and is a useful size for up to four or five anglers to enjoy time in.
Storage is a priority in this craft, as is the case with other similar US made boats. Within the bow there is a 100L plus storage area behind the big, locking, anchor well. This space can also double as a fish box, thanks to plenty of insulation around it.
The height of the bow fishing platform was around 30cm, which is ample for an angler or two to enjoy time up front 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 finished cockpit there is plenty of room to fish either side of the large centre consol. The console is neat and functional with its padded ice box seat up front, grab rail and windscreen up top.
Rod storage is via an upright rack set to the right of the console. There is a generous amount of fishing space in the cockpit area, thanks to rear seating consisting of paired quarter seats, which take up little room behind the well-padded, full width bench seat for skipper and mate.
While the console is large enough to offer space for a full sized dash area and glove box, the Scout’s beam of 2.3m also allows plenty of room to move around the side of the console unit. There is enough space for an angler to fight a big fish around the boat unhindered. The internal storage space in the centre console can be accessed via a side door to starboard.
The console in the 175 Sportfish 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 forward controls for the outboard and a glovebox to the right within reach of the skipper.
Navigational aids on 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 resettable circuit breakers, are neatly fitted within a timber-look insert, resplendent with the Scout logo.
The neat bimini tucked within a sock above the helm area will be very useful for our summer climate. The bimini framework is study 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 rod holders on board; two per side adoring each aft quarter.
Also of note is the folding jump seat to port that can be raised (a gas strut will keep it open) to allow access to the plumbed live well under the base.
Stern features consist of a full height transom and a boarding platform with grab rail and folding ladder set to port.
As we put the craft through its paces it was immediately apparent that the Scout 175 Sportfish had a very slippery hull. With engine ratings from 90-115hp the 90 Mercury EFI four-stroke was a minimum power choice but a very good one just the same.
The Scout’s hull rose to the plane at just 2,600rmp and 17.6km/h, thanks to its deep fore foot, massive moulded strakes and relatively shallow 13º Vee. At 3,000rpm the GPS measured 24.7km/h, 4,000rpm at 43.1km/h and 5,000rpm at 48.8km/h. With such respectable performance, I think a larger motor might only be required should an owner regularly plan to have four or five people aboard.
As can be expected from a manufacturer that has been in the industry since 1989, the Scout’s hull delivered a very soft ride. Aided by very pronounced moulded strakes and clever design characteristics, the high but fine bow entry section of the craft kicked through wash with little perceived impact. The dry hull weight of 572kg also added to the ride quality.
Handling was impressive as well. It was very hard to put the 175 Sportfish off course despite the sharp turns and quick directional changes.
The graduated sheer line of the craft, which sees an increase in gunwale height from around the middle of the craft to the front, also ensures occupants will stay dry in most conditions.
At rest stability left nothing to be desired either, thanks to the grip of the massive strakes incorporated within the Scout’s under water lines.
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.
Although the cockpit area is a tad lower than the bow, (cockpit freeboard is 60cm, the bow is 70cm high,) which sees the bow as a bulwark against sea entry, the overall design does ensure a standard of sea keeping ability that offers a multitude of uses.
The totally uncluttered interior layout would allow several anglers to work simultaneously without much effort under most conditions. With the excellent ride and inherent stability of the craft, I’ve given the Scout some big ticks as a serious all round fishing craft.
The 175 Explorer was well suited to the Oceanic trailer supplied and there were no issues with either driving the craft back on or simply using the winch to retrieve it.
The excellent hull design and interior layout sees the Scout as a useful fishing craft for either casual or quite serious anglers.
The craft’s ride, handling and overall stability are up there with the best of centre console style boats of this size whether locally made or imported.
The finish throughout was very good with an overall emphasis on comfort and buyers can be reassured with the warranty offered by this long established manufacturer. The rig as reviewed is $49,000.
The rig reviewed was supplied by Karee Marine of Rocklea, Brisbane, for more information phone them on (07) 38751600, fax 07 38751622 or email --e-mail address hidden--
|Length overall on trailer:||6.4m|
|Engine fitted:||90hp Mercury EFI four-stroke|