Scout 231 XS

A hardcore fishing machine.

by Suzi DuRant
The stepped hull on Scout Boats’ newest innovative design, the 231 XS center console, is more designed for fishing; it’s not simply a pleasure boat.

Specifications

  • LOA: 23'1"
  • Beam: 8'6"
  • Draft: 12"
  • Weight: (dry w/o engine): 2,100 lbs.
  • Fuel Capacity: 60 gals.
  • Water Capacity: 6 gals.
  • Power: 300 hp
  • Price: Base: (w/Yamaha F200XB): $67,737

scoutboats.com

But that doesn’t mean it’s just a run-of-the-mill fishing platform. This 23-foot bay boat is a beautiful inshore fishing machine. Scout spent more than a year developing the second in the XS series, to compliment the popular 251 XS. An important part of the process included consulting with charter captains and fishing guides. The results translate into a range of amenities that should please any fishing enthusiast.

Starting at the bow, casting platforms are located on the flush deck. There are also two locking horizontal rod storage lockers, a plug for a 36-volt trolling motor mounted in the anchor locker and an optional 11-gallon livewell. Another option forward is a deck base plate to hold a butt-seat extension.

Vertical rod storage is featured on either side of the console. An added feature to the rack storage is an upper bracket that provides more rod protection underway. Two stainless flush rod holders, as well as four stainless dual cup/rod holders, round out the choices of rod placement.

Aft, 26-gallon lighted livewells to port and starboard bracket the fishing platform; both are designed to be release or bait wells.

Plentiful options

Seating consists of a bench seat attached to the front of the console with a cushion and backrest; another bench seat is located at the stern. The helm seat is a standard high performance leaning post with a curved cushion; one of its cushions slides down to make a seat. The leaning post accommodates two people and provides an added sense of security, especially when running at high speeds.

Other innovations include a storage compartment forward between the rod lockers, which holds a 45-quart Yeti cooler and still has room for life jackets and other gear. The entire front of the console opens upward, much like the cargo door on an SUV, revealing space for batteries, storage and an optional Porta Potti — my first option recommendation. Rather than folding up onto the transom, the swim ladder has its own built-in storage compartment, keeping the area clear for fishing tackle. The aft seat also folds down, offering yet another fishing platform.

Another notable Scout feature is the easy accessibility under the aft seat to the bilge where livewell pumps, raw water pumps and a toolkit are installed.

The console and its windscreen incorporate Scout’s curved design. The console houses the steering wheel that drives the Sea Star hydraulic steering, as well as an integrated navigation system, a storage area, Yamaha gauges and controls, a Fusion stereo system and a jack plate control.

Other options include an Edson steering wheel, an LED trim indicator switch and power poles with bracket mounts. An optional powder-coated T-top can be ordered, and buyers can opt for four different hull colors and different cushion color packages.

One last option has the most impact on the 231 XS: The engine. Prospective owners can choose between a 200-hp Yamaha that tops out at around 50 mph, while the 300-hp model has reached up to 66 mph. My test drive was on the model with the F300 engine. But as luck would have it, the weather offered up dark gray skies, gusty winds and pouring rain that hindered having an extensive test drive.

Run like a thoroughbred

Scout founder and CEO, Steve Potts, describes the 231 XS as having “sexy, aggressive lines.” As I looked down from the main dock at the 231 XS and her older, larger sister, the 251 XS, I could understand what he meant. On the 231 XS, the flush deck accentuates the height of the bow and, coupled with the line back to the reverse transom, the boat just appears, well, racy. It looks really different from the 251 XS. Or, as my husband notes, “It’s kind of like looking at a thoroughbred next to a regular horse.”

When it was time to see if the 231 XS could also run like a thoroughbred, she didn’t disappoint, giving us an exhilarating (although short) ride. The boat felt solid beneath our feet, accelerating smoothly but powerfully to plane. During the two high-speed turns we made, the helmsman position still felt safe and dry (except for the rain). The boat retained its feeling of stability throughout. It was only when we briefly approached top end speeds that it started to feel the slightest bit skittish — but still racy.

In normal conditions, the Yamaha F300 had the best cruise performance at 3,500 rpm traveling at 32.5 mph for a fuel burn of 8.8 gph or 3.70 mpg.  It topped out at 6,000 rpm at 60.5 mph with 26.1 gph and 2.32 mpg.

Once again, Scout Boats has achieved Potts’ quest to create “a hardcore fishing machine” packed with innovation and performance. The 231 XS is designed to not only be used chasing redfish fish and tarpon in the saltwater, but can double as a tournament fishing machine looking for that limit of bass or walleye in the Great Lakes.

A family legacy

Scout Boats is a family-owned manufacturer based in Summerville, South Carolina, focused on center console fishing boats. Over its 25 years in business, Potts has held firmly to his desire for designs that work. When he decided to build boats himself, he turned to a builder he had worked for in his youth; bought a shed and 13-, 14- and 15-foot molds; secured permission to use the Scout name; and then began building flats-style boats.

His son, Stevie Potts, joined him in 1992 while he was still in school. He came aboard full-time in 1995. Together, Steve and Stevie develop innovative construction methods that increase not only performance but also strength and safety. The creativity of the various models universally appeals to all levels of boaters, leading Scout through an easy transition of building a basic flats boat, to center console fishing boats, to even more elegant multi-purpose center consoles in the LXF series. Scout Boats has now built more than 30,000 hulls in 50 models. 

 

South Shore JUN17
Prestige 750 Skyscraper