When buying a flats skiff, you must consider two performance parameters, running and fishing, and the two often conflict. For example, anyone who has poled a skiff realizes that lighter is better. However, when running between poling opportunities, a little extra weight constitutes a benefit, not a disadvantage. After all, weight and waterline length are the two features (hull design is the third) most responsible for a smooth ride in a chop.
Fishing in the low country of Charleston, South Carolina, I discovered that with a 200-hp Yamaha, the 190 readily spun up in 15 inches of water, planed in a barely measurable two seconds and topped out at 51 mph at 5,950 rpm using 22 gph. However, back the throttle off to around 28 mph and the economy soars to almost 4 mpg, giving you a range of 160 miles.
Although it’s not the lightest flats skiff on the market, you can still tow this boat behind virtually any vehicle. Scout measures the 10-inch draft with the boat standing still. Expect the running draft to decrease to about 7 inches. The 190 carries a maximum power rating of 225 hp, but I consider the 51-mph top end a 200 provides plenty fast. I believe most people will opt for an even more economical 150-hp outboard. And with Scout’s ventilated hull (technology taken from offshore racing), fuel economy and higher speeds with less power come standard with every 190 Costa.
**Stu Apte has flung his share of fly line, so rest assured that the fishing aspect of the 190 is nothing short of superb. In fact, you have more choice and flexibility on the 190’s bow than on any other production skiff. First, the decks couldn’t be cleaner, thanks to exclusive use of pop-up cleats and flush hatch hinges.
The Stu Apte Tournament Edition also includes pull-up push-pole holders and trim tabs. But the most innovative option is a retractable casting platform – just in case you need that extra foot of height for better visibility.
Scout provides carpeted storage space for six rods under each gunwale, and each compartment accommodates a 9-foot fly rod. Not enough? You also get vertical rod holders on each side of the console. Standard equipment includes a 20-gallon livewell and a 35-gallon release well, and you can order an optional third baitwell if you need it.
**Design and Construction
|| |—| | Specifications LOA: 19 ft. 5 in. BEAM: 8 ft. 6 in. DEADRISE: 10 deg. DRAFT: 10 in. WEIGHT: 1,200 lb. (w/o power) FUEL: 45 gal. MAX HP: Yamaha 225-hp OB MSRP: $36,489 (w/150-hp OB) Scout Boats Summerville, South Carolina 843-821-0068 www.scoutboats.com| Scout prides itself on no-wood construction. All its boats boast composite stringers and transoms. Scout also builds a signature Air-Assist hull, a feature that improves static stability. This is especially important on a flats skiff with anglers walking to the extremities in every direction. Another feature Scout provides that I’ve never seen on a flats boat from any other company is stainless-steel drink holders that overdrain into the bilge, then over the side.
Certainly most flats boats get a push-pole platform. D-tubing and an unusually nice curve make Scout’s platform look much better than most. But given that climbing up and down the platform represents a dangerous part of fishing on a boat like this, the company does something else differently: It puts rubber inserts into these steps to keep your feet from sliding off.
– Dean Travis Clarke