While well-known for its luxury center-console models, Scout is no stranger to bay boats. In fact, it now offers three models in that class, all boasting the quality construction and fit-and-finish that made the builder a standout. The 231 XSB, the latest, shares many traits with its popular 231 XS sibling.
It also offers improvements in three important categories: performance, comfort and fishability. And in typical Scout fashion, it sports an innovative feature bound to leave the competition wondering why they didn’t think of that: the patent-pending Scout Post, a clever yet simple through-hull anchoring pin that enables staking out in shallow water from the bow, complementing or even replacing the pricier Power-Pole also offered as an option.
The forward casting deck, the tallest point upfront, has space for a bow-mount trolling motor, a dedicated anchor locker, and elbow room for a pair of anglers fishing side by side. A step aft, raised storage boxes comprise U-shaped forward seating with removable backrests for lounging to port and starboard, while an ample forward console seat/lounger accommodates two crew and provides generous, coffin-box-style insulated storage.
Scout offers three different helm-seating alternatives for this model. Our test boat sported the aluminum leaning post with flip-up bolsters that seats the skipper and a companion, and includes a grab rail, three cup holders and a four-rod rocket launcher on the backrest, plus space for a 45-quart Yeti cooler at the base.
At 34 inches wide and 51 inches tall, the center console leaves room on both sides to pass comfortably, and offers good protection without hindering the view from the helm, which accommodates a 10-inch multifunction display, VesselView display, waterproof switches, gauges, trim-tab rockers and a Fusion stereo, with real estate to spare for other essentials, like a VHF radio.
The console also has 56 inches of headroom and space inside for a port-a-potty. For shade and more shelter from the elements, a three-sided windshield integrates into the aluminum frame of the optional fiberglass hardtop, which can be augmented with a cockpit-facing four-rod rocket launcher.
Horizontal racks complete with reel pads hold a pair of rods on each gunwale, and six flush-mount holders on the covering boards and transom come standard and are easily supplemented on request. Individual removable backrests add comfort to the bench-style seat for three on the transom. Twin 26-gallon recirculating livewells book-end the seat, which lifts to reveal a sizable storage tray that pulls out for access to the bilge. A hatch on the outside of the transom opens to release a telescoping boarding ladder, and a freshwater washdown on the cockpit is among the available options, which also include a Lumitec light bar, hardtop storage, underwater lights, a bow-mount Minn Kota trolling motor and more.
When it comes to performance, the 231 XSB certainly hits the mark. Not only does this bay boat scoot, it also responds without hesitation to slight turns of the steering wheel, and minimal adjustments of the trim tabs change its attitude to improve the ride, increase speed or both. The standard 6-inch outboard setback on this Scout can be replaced by the optional Sea Star hydraulic jack plate, which improves overall performance as well as skinny-water capability, increasing the outboard’s clearance to enable the boat to take off and run in shallower depths.
Read Next: Fishability Test: Scout 330 LXF
Powered by a Mercury Verado 300, our test boat jumped on plane and accelerated from zero to 30 mph in under 8 seconds, with only negligible bow rise. And while the Scout cruises effortlessly at 30 mph sipping just 9.6 gph of fuel, punch the throttle and you’ll feel it race to more than 56 mph.
The boat’s responsiveness, tight turning radius and steady tracking made every kind of maneuver simple and predictable. While the hull of the 23-footer leans some on tight curves, it feels natural and never unsafe.
Although freeboard at midship (19 inches) and aft (14 inches) is tailored primarily for inshore boating, neither crossing open water nor tackling the light-to-moderate chop from an unexpected storm will be a white-knuckle experience aboard this Scout, which has the ability to handle 2-foot waves without pounding or dowsing the crew.
Overall, the 231 XSB proved a comfortable, smooth-running and well-rounded fishing boat, one that’s bound to fit the bill for anglers looking for a versatile performer under 25 feet that’s also easy to launch, tow and store.
- Weather: Sunny, 71 degrees
- Location: Sarasota, Florida
- Wind: NE 11 mph Sea State: 1- to 2-foot chop Test Load: Two adults, 40 gallons of fuel
|Price:||Starts at $87,777 w/ power|
Scout Boats – scoutboats.com