For many people, 20 feet of LOA is a minimum cut-off point for a center console fishing boat. Smaller vessels just don’t have much room, they can beat you up, and they certainly don’t have any comfort features. On the flip side of the coin, boats 20 and up cost more, are tougher to trailer and launch, and require more maintenance. The Scout 195 Sportfish not only splits the difference to enjoy the best of both worlds, it’s also a highly-efficient fish-killing machine.

scout 195 center console running
The Scout 195 Sportfish may be under the 20 foot mark, but there's a lot more here than one might expect.

First, consider space aboard. Yes, 19 feet, five inches LOA is limiting, but this boat has a rather outstanding eight-six beam. That’s almost unheard-of once you get under 20 feet, and many 21-footer have half a foot less from gunwale to gunwale. As far as beating you up goes, the boat’s 19-degree transom deadrise and Scout’s stout construction provide as good a ride as you can hope for in a monohull this small. And when it comes to comfort, note that it comes with a “real” leaning post rather than the flip-back seats common to small fishboats, the forward console seat has contoured cushions instead of the usual el-cheap-o’s, there’s a pair of jump seats at the transom, optional bow cushions are available, and there’s even an option to put a head in the console. Yeah, you may have to contort a bit to get inside the console of a 19-footer, but few boats this size even offer the option.

Meanwhile, fishability is up to snuff for larger boats, with two flush gunwale holders and two more in the leaning post, four vertical holders on the side of the console, a livewell in the leaning post, under-gunwale rodracks, and a cooler in front of the console. We particularly like that there are coaming bolsters in the cockpit, a feature sorely lacking on many boats in this class.

Also of note: you’ll see pieces and parts superior to those found on many small boats. Look at the grab rails, cup holders, and rod holders, and you’ll see all stainless-steel and not plastic. The steering is Bay Star hydraulic, not some sticky old-style cable deal. Cleats are pull-ups, and if you get the ski tow bit, it’s powder-coated.

Now drop a Yamaha F150 on the transom, and see what happens. Cruise is a spiffy 35-mph, and top-end is 49.1-mph. On a boat under 20 feet. That’s pretty dang rowdy – and it’s one reason among many why it may be time to consider changing the cut-off point, if you’re looking at larger boats with a little bit of trepidation.

Scout 195 Sportfish Specifications:

LOA – 19’5”

Beam – 8’6”

Displacement – 2,150

Draft (hull) – 1’1”

Transom Deadrise – 19

Fuel Capacity – 43

Max. Power – 150 hp

Area DealersAnchor Boats, North East MD, (410) 287-8280.