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Scout 355 LXF Boat Review…


In boatbuilding innovation, Scout has steadily made its way to the front of the pack. And the 355 LXF, the latest addition to its luxury fishing series, exhibits a number of innovative features, along with a wealth of creature comforts and fishing necessities that have become synonymous with the brand.

To begin with, the new 35-footer has an integrated, forward-facing fisheye camera on the bow that enables the skipper to check the through-hull anchor and windlass and see what’s going on directly in front of the boat from the helm. In addition, a specially designed deck allows for a Seakeeper 3DC gyrostabilizer under an aft-facing bench-style seat for reliable stability and comfort in any conditions. The Seakeeper option includes solar panels that supply a 5-amp trickle charge to the three required AGM batteries, eliminating the need to hook up to shore power before casting off.

When it comes to appearance, the Scout is no slouch. It sports a clean, sleek look, with a classic sheer line complemented by a recessed powder-coated grab rail and 360-degree coaming bolsters matched by elegant ­upholstery throughout.

Bow seating comprises raised compartments with cushions on the lids — one large with dry storage underneath and one small with a 10-gallon cooler inside — to both port and starboard. Bow seats double as lounges, and between them a pedestal table that begins flush with the deck rises with the touch of a button to reveal additional in-deck storage.

A step aft, the forward ­console accommodates a roomy double lounge with fold-down armrests and an insulated compartment to stash essential items or serve as a cooler. The double lounge is heated, just like the triple helm seats that, complete with flip-up bolsters and armrests, let the skipper and two crew members sit or stand during navigation. The helm-seat module houses tackle drawers and a trash compartment. Just behind, a bench-style seat faces the cockpit and hides either a large cooler underneath or the optional Seakeeper.

The standard hardtop with powder-coated frame merges seamlessly with the console and tempered-glass enclosure to form an integrated unit that, aided by the optional electric fiberglass cockpit sunshade, provides exceptional protection from the elements. Along with storage, LED lighting, and elevated mounting options for electronics, the hardtop incorporates various grab handles, twin skylights, and six fixed rod tubes in the rear that may be upgraded to Scout’s patented, actuated rocket launcher, which tilts down for easier access.

A glass-panel dash accepts three 12-inch multifunction displays or a pair of 17-inchers, leaving room for digital gauges, a Fusion stereo, switches, outboard controls, optional Helm Master or joystick ­navigation, and more surrounding the Edson steering wheel on the centerline. Meanwhile, a large glove box to port stows personal items and allows charging of mobile devices via dual USB ports.

A starboard console hatch opens to a shallow closet with hooks for dock lines and a rack for boat hooks, gaffs and brushes. A portside door affords entry into the roomy step-down cabin, with dark-wood flooring and accents, and appointments beyond the basics to overnight in comfort: a 19-inch TV, stainless fridge, marine head, porcelain sink with vanity and mirror, double berth, removable teak table, Corian countertop, storage cabinets, overhead lights and more. Windows to port and starboard let in natural light and ventilation, but Scout lists air conditioning among the available options.

In the cockpit, a swing-in side door to port makes loading a cinch, a removable, retractable ladder allows swimmers effortless ingress, and a section of the covering board flips up to hold four bottles, turning the area into a wet bar. A foldaway bench, 55-gallon livewell, storage hatch, and a door to pull in big game or access one of two swim platforms round out the transom.

Other key features include a pair of 47-gallon in-floor compartments, insulated to serve as fish boxes, and raw- and freshwater washdowns. In addition to the rod tubes on the hardtop, rod storage includes 10 strategically located flush-mounted holders and racks for two rods under each covering board.

During our test ride, the 355 LXF proved as soft-riding as it is fast, and the epoxy-infused, dual-step hull exhibited remarkable performance.

Scout boats are available with a choice of power. Our test boat carried a trio of Mercury 350 Verados that produced an impressive hole shot, yet squatting was negligible, and the transition to plane was short and smooth. ­Turning radius was surprisingly tight, and the responsiveness made driving a pleasure. The LXF averaged 7.5 seconds on zero-to-30 mph sprints, and it ­displayed excellent acceleration from midrange to wide-open throttle, reaching top speeds in the upper 60s.

This Scout isn’t a luxury cruiser masquerading as a fishing boat. Performance proved every bit as good as its looks, and the fishing features were clearly designed with input from seasoned anglers. Taking into account the ­innovations and the many choices in options, anyone looking for a top-echelon 35-footer should seriously consider the 355 LXF.


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