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October 26, 2001

Scout 240 Bay

If you want the fishability and skinny-water capability of a flats skiff but prefer something more utilitarian, Id bet a bay skiff design would be just the ticket.

Generally, backcountry fishing seems to be a kinder, gentler type of fishing. Rarely do you get seasick, beat up or spend hours just getting to your fishing destination. In fact, with bay skiffs like the Scout 240, getting there constitutes a great deal of the pleasure in your day.Cruising at 40 mph with the wind in your hair cools you off on a hot day, and the tower affords a viewing angle that really helps you spot fish more easily. And once you get to your hot spot, you can enjoy the absolute peace and quiet of nature. PerformanceWhat little rough water we encountered on a beautiful, Southern summer morning didn't faze the Scout 240 one iota. I ran the boat with a single Yamaha 200 HPDI that allowed us to comfortably cruise at 43 mph turning 4,700 rpm. Expect fuel efficiency at 30 mph to be about 5 gph. With three people, full fuel and a load of gear aboard, we just touched 48 mph. I expect top speed would hit 50, given the right circumstances.Our guide, Capt. Bob Goodwin (727-784-0098), has done most of his own custom rigging, such as designing the folding tower (fabricated by Quality T-tops in Tarpon Springs, Florida) and putting in his own Morse controls and jack plate. By the way, getting a boat like this without a jack plate is like buying a car with no tires on the rims. You can move it, but certainly can't take advantage of its true potential.The Scout proved it could run in a mere 6 inches of water. And though sea conditions don't really enter into a boat test such as this, suffice it to say that with a sharp entry like the one on this 24-footer, running across open bays shouldn't present a problem. Tunnel hulls typically run at a flatter hull inclination angle than nontunnels, and the 240 proved no exception. It cleaves waves rather than smacking into them. Nonetheless, I feel that trim tabs (optional) should be standard on this type of boat. Trim tabs make a huge difference in keeping dry and smoothing the ride in a beam sea or when several fat passengers all stand on one side while under way.FishingThe Scout 240 definitely doesn't scare away fish. While we were anchored off a nondescript island near Tarpon Springs, Florida, the tiny wavelets generated by wind and tide made hardly any noise against the hull, and the hatches didn't creak when we walked on them. We had a healthy supply of lively bait, thanks to a huge 60-gallon main livewell aft and another 30-gallon well forward. We cast pinfish into the shallows and pulled several small jacks, snapper and snook off the edge of the beach. One blind-cast into the deep rewarded me with a large fish that rolled like a tarpon. Capt. Goodwin quickly dropped the anchor line and float over the side, and we gave chase. You simply don't overpower a big fish on 8-pound-test - you must also use the boat. About 10 minutes later, when we finally got the fish alongside, I discovered I had bested a 40-inch, 20-pound snook.Making the transition from being in an anchored position to chasing a fish requires moving about the boat to keep the line clear, as well as easy movement for the helmsman while freeing the anchor line. All of this was accomplished so effortlessly that at the time, I didn't even think about it. The other angler aboard never got in the way. All things considered, the Scout 240 qualifies as a terrifically easy boat to fish. One other custom feature Goodwin devised bears mentioning. He made a great sunshade for the T-top part of the tower that moves easily between the front and the back.Design/ConstructionScout employs both biaxial and triaxial fiberglass in its laminating schedule. Each hull remains in its mold a full 24 hours while the stringer system and then the deck get put in place, thus eliminating any chance that the hull will twist or warp.In an unusual reverse shoebox hull-to-deck joint that Scout uses, the deck fits inside the hull flange. The company believes its chemical bonding system reduces the chance of hull/deck separation and increases strength. And, of course, Scout touts its all-glass construction. In fact, if you look underneath things - where most people never do - you'll discover that Scout uses gelcoat on the backs and undersides of just about everything. While you're looking, be sure to notice how easily all the wiring and hoses can be accessed in the lazarette.If you want the fishability and skinny-water capability of a flats skiff but prefer something more utilitarian, I'd bet a bay skiff design would be just the ticket. Might I suggest Scout's 240? They've done an exceptional job.