Fishability Test: Scout 235 XSF

A 23-foot center-console chock-full of comforts and fishing features.

Fishability Test: Scout 235 XSF
Specs: Length: 23'8" | Beam: 8'6" | Draft: 19.5" | Deadrise: 20 degrees | Fuel: 100 gal. | Weight: 3,655 lb. plus power | Max HP: 30 | Price: $110,978 w/ Yamaha F300 | scoutboats.com Test Conditions: Weather: Partly cloudy | Location: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina | Wind: Northeast 12 knots | Sea State: 2- to 3-foot chop | Test Load: Two adults, 30 gallons of fuelCourtesy Scout Boats

The result is the 235 XSF, a boat that makes a great ­impression at the dock and on the ­water, ­loaded with features we’ve come to ­expect on larger craft.

Scout’s typical innovation and ­attention to detail are evident on the 235 XSF, which was built on the ­fuel-efficient NuV3 hull and designed to be powered by a 30-inch-shaft outboard, with a taller transom and a full-width, integrated swim/fish platform — accessed via a starboard transom door — complete with recessed ladder instead of the transom splashwell often seen on center-consoles.

Along with ample deck space for a boat this size, the layout incorporates substantial storage, and generous seating fore and aft.

Raised compartments at the bow provide 31 gallons of storage to port and starboard. Bridged at the forward end, and fit with comfy cushions and coaming bolsters for back support, they ­afford seating for three or four, and ­constitute a natural social zone that brings the forward console seat into the fold.

Removable, forward-facing backrests turn them into twin loungers, while low-profile grab rails add an element of safety at the bow, and four cup holders rest at arm’s length on both sides.

Fishability Test: Scout 235 XSF
The hardtop is integrated into the console and weighs under 100 pounds.Courtesy Scout Boats

Considerably larger than the typical console seat with a cooler underneath, the Scout sports a cushioned forward lounge box with armrests and a cavernous insulated fish box with overboard pump-out inside. The hinges on the lid move the seat slightly forward for ­easier opening.

The console itself is an improvement over many 23-footers. Not only does it offer additional dry storage and access to breakers and wiring inside, but it ­also has space for an optional port-a-potty or porcelain marine toilet.

The business side of the center console features a broad dash with a Garmin 12-inch display to port, a ­similarly sized glove compartment to starboard, and a slew of digital switches between them.

Below the dash, the tilt steering wheel and binnacle controls leave more than sufficient ­real estate for a pair of gauges, trim-tab ­switches, and Fusion marine stereo with Bluetooth. A 12-volt plug and USB ports add convenience, and an integrated footrest permits the skipper to drive either leaning or standing.

Contoured safety glass and a cored fiberglass hardtop with grab rails on both sides effectively keep the ­skipper and a companion out of the elements. The hardtop was designed as a seamless, integral part of the center console, and weighs under 100 pounds so it doesn’t adversely affect the boat’s ­intended center of gravity.

Fishability Test: Scout 235 XSF
Helm seating includes dual bolsters, a backrest rocket launcher, and a pull-out cooler.Courtesy Scout Boats

The elite, leaning-post-style helm seat includes dual flip-up bolsters, a tall, comfortable backrest, three cup holders, and a cooler underneath. It also incorporates a full-width grab rail and a rocket launcher for four rods in the back, facing the cockpit.

Rod storage is augmented by four flush-mount holders — two to port and two to starboard — on the transom, racks for two rods under both covering boards, and four vertical rod tubes on the aft side of the hardtop frame, as an option.

Fishability Test: Scout 235 XSF
A bench on the transom accommodates two and folds out of the way for fishing.Courtesy Scout Boats

A stern bench-style seat in the center of the transom accommodates two crew- members comfortably, and folds up and out of the way to clear the ­cockpit and gain fishing room.

Meanwhile, a 30-gallon livewell with a clear acrylic lid to ­easily keep tabs on the bait supply sits strategically in the portside corner.

Fishability Test: Scout 235 XSF
The 30-gallon livewell has a clear lid to keep tabs on the bait.Courtesy Scout Boats

Testing the Scout in Charleston Harbor with a customary complement of passengers and fuel, the deep-V hull sliced ­cleanly through the wakes of large passing boats while maintaining a smooth, comfortable ride that was as easy on the driver at the controls as it was on the seated crew.

Spray, despite the 12-knot wind, was negligible, and there’s no creaking or rattling to report.

Fishability Test: Scout 235 XSF
With an F300 in back, the Scout planes swiftly and boldly accelerates to wide-open throttle.Courtesy Yamaha

The test boat came rigged with a Yamaha F300 on the transom, meeting the builder’s maximum power rating and providing ­plenty of pep.

The 235 averaged 7.75 seconds to go from a dead stop to 30 mph, and displayed excellent midrange acceleration on its way to a top speed of 54.3 mph. It ­also remained on plane at 19 mph, a perfect pace for scouting or running and gunning.

All said and done, the 235 XSF proved comfortable, quick, roomy, and smartly outfitted for inshore and coastal angling pursuits. A terrific turnkey proposition, it still leaves room for customizing, ­furthering its versatility and making this very ­trailerable ­center-console even more attractive.