Scout 251 XS
Women sometimes complain that they aren’t taken seriously because of their looks. The same argument applies to pretty fishing boats. Even when casual observers whistle at a sexy craft sitting in the water, they’ll quickly dismiss its serious angling potential. But looks can be deceiving, as Scout Boats’ new 251 XS center console proves.
The unbroken sheer line and integrated, radiused T-top/glass enclosure were the first things I noticed about Scout’s latest model. The premium black gelcoat gleamed in the early morning sun, and the two-tone Cayenne-upholstery accents added highlights like subtle streaks in a flowing mane. A sharp stem and higher sides were also prominent. This was no ordinary hybrid.
“We had customer requests for a bay boat with more freeboard,” explained Alan Lang, Scout’s national sales manager, as we idled into South Carolina’s Wando River toward Charleston Harbor. “People wanted the flexibility to go offshore on a nice day without sacrificing the shallow draft to fish inshore. The 251 XS, which stands for extra seating, is our answer. It really is a versatile hybrid for fishing or a family fun day at the beach. And it turned out so well that it’s replacing the 24 Bay in our lineup.”
When we throttled up the big Yamaha four-stroke for the speed trials, the boat immediately showed its mettle. With a sharp bow entry and an 18-degree deadrise at the transom, it punched through the chop without spray or shudder. Handling was solid and predictable too, with no surprises in sharp turns or quick maneuvers. As we made our way toward the mouth of the harbor, an ominous squall line changed our plan to run offshore. With lightning flashing too close for comfort, we instead turned around and scooted back to the dock, almost making it before the downpour started. The accompanying wind whipped the bay into a froth of whitecaps, yet we shot across with ease, leaving no doubt about the boat’s offshore potential. The 251 is available with a choice of Yamaha four-stroke outboards, and our test boat came rigged with the top-end 300. It spun up to 54.4 mph while burning 26.3 gallons of fuel per hour. At a more miserly midrange pace, that equates to considerable range between fill-ups with the 80-gallon tank.
Even with its stylish looks and nod toward creature comforts (like the optional bow-filler cushion package or the JL Audio upgrade), the 251 doesn’t scrimp in the fishing department. The companion rod lockers in the bow casting platform, underneath the forward seating, will rack up to five 912 foot rods. The V-shape cradles inside let you remove one individually without untangling all the others. Those compartments drain overboard and lock for secure overnight storage. A transition step between makes it easy to get to the platform on a hot fish or set the anchor.
Vertical rod racks frame each side of the optional molded T-top, with convenient topside cutouts for the tips and rod-butt pads on the deck. A Taco outrigger package is an option, along with an upgrade for a deluxe leaning post with a large livewell, tackle station and backrest. The standard leaning post comes with rod holders. A lighted release well is standard on the rear deck, and if more bait storage is needed, the port stern compartment can be plumbed as a backup well.
The large console on the 251 features an easy-lifting forward door into the head compartment, access to wiring and battery storage. Up to five batteries can be housed there, with two dedicated for a trolling motor with an optional charger. The patented cored T-top design includes curved-to-aft D-tubing that fits snugly into molded pockets in the fiberglass for a clean look. It’s also exceptionally sturdy. The tempered-glass enclosure wraps around three sides for weather protection and visibility, but the open top still allows airflow. A powder-coated finish, LED lights and an overhead electronics panel round out the top’s features.
The console itself has more than enough room to mount a widescreen navigation display and convenient access to the trim tabs and system switches. The portside wheel adjusts for seated or standing operation, while an angled footrest offers long-range comfort. Besides classic white, the 251 is available in four hull colors, and the console panel matches. Other notable options include 6- or 10-inch jack plates, a porta potty, aft jump seats and raw-water/freshwater washdown systems.
Like the other Scout models I’ve tested, the 251 is solidly built with an experienced eye for detail. The wiring harnesses are neat and orderly, the pump and filter access points don’t require a contortionist for service, and hatches close without rubbing or flexing. The hand-laid fiberglass construction, with closed-cell foam flotation, is backed by a 10-year transferable warranty on the hull. Scout goes one step further with its three-year Stem to Stern warranty.
If you don’t mind drawing attention at the marina, the 251 is certainly worthy of a double take. You can always smile and nod at the gawkers as you unload all your fish.
Scout 251 XS**
Price……$68,831 (with 300 hp Yamaha four-stroke)
Scout Boats: 843-821-0068 • www.scoutboats.com_