It’s fair to say that upon its introduction in 2014, the Scout 350 LXF was a ground-breaking boat, yet just a few short years later it’s already being topped by the 355 LXF. What was so new in 2014—the use of digital switching and helm electronics integrated with a CZone NMEA2000 networked system—is still cutting edge today, and is also part of the 355 LXF’s DNA. But there’s more to this story. Join us for a quick First Look Video to get a glance at some of the ways this center console fishing boat sets itself apart from its predecessors.
Deciding to design in the Seakeeper is, in our opinion, an extremely good idea. The difference these units make is huge, and we think anyone would be nuts to order the boat without one. But don’t take our word for it. You can get a look at it for yourself in the How Seakeeper Works: Gyroscopic Stabilization for Boats video we shot last year. This was on a slightly smaller center console, but we also experienced the Seakeeper effect on 35- and 65-foot boats. In all cases, the effect was dramatic.
Aside from the enhanced stability, there’s a lot about the 355 LXF to like. The twin-stepped hull, for example, is both fast and efficient. This boat can carry up to 1,050 horses on the transom (in the form of three Yamaha 5.3 liter, 763-pound F350C outboards) but matches up well with triple Yamaha 4.2 liter, 562-pound F300 outboards.
Obviously going with the 300’s saves a lot of weight, but it also provides more than enough power. Cruising speed at 4500 RPM is 47.9 MPH, and top-end hits 62.6 MPH. As for that efficiency we mentioned earlier, despite whipping 900 horses into a 4500 RPM frenzy, at cruising speeds this boat still tops a mile to the gallon. Pull the throttles back a bit more and set RPM at 3500, and you’ll do 36 MPH while getting just over 1.3 miles to the gallon. While that may not exactly sound thrifty, it is significantly better than much of the competition in this size range.
Another thing we think you’ll like is the boat’s uber-comprehensive standard equipment list. Scout tends to load their boats for both comfort and fishability, and in this regard, the 355 LXF is a shining example of how to outfit a boat right from the start. We’re talking about big-ticket items, here: Optimus electro-hydraulic steering, the digital switching systems, a Fusion Bluetooth stereo system with eight speakers, a Garmin 7612 at the helm, heated helm seats, and a Lewmar anchor windlass with both helm and bow foot controls. There’s even a standard fish-eye camera mounted in the bow which projects its image to the MFD at the helm. In fact, there aren’t many options you’ll need to consider beyond that Seakeeper—the one optional item we’re going to say is a must-have, even if it does add $54,000 to the boat’s $357,540 (at the time of this writing) sticker price.
Construction-wise, the 355 LXF doesn’t stray from the Scout playbook. Fit and finish is excellent, whether you’re looking at the underside of a hatch or the inside of a stowage compartment. Even the bilge is finished, since Scout molds a fully-gelcoated stringer system that gets pumped full of foam, bonded to the vacuum-infused hull with methyl-methacrylate, and acts as an under-liner of sorts. All of the larger hatches are supported by gas-assist struts, the hard top and its supports are integrated with the windshield, and marine vinyls are buttery-soft and anti-microbial treated to minimize the possibility of mold and mildew growth. A glimpse at the monstrous hinges on the dive-door in the port-side gunwale will give you an idea of just how over-built many of the boat’s pieces-parts are.
What about fishability? Like most center consoles of this size, the boat is replete with seating and sunpads, potentially to the point of being detrimental to angling. The cockpit is kept open, thanks to a fold-away transom bench seat. It’s also ringed by coaming bolsters, as is the entire boat. Forward of the console there’s a giant sunpad, with bulk stowage underneath. And in the bow, flanking and forward seating surrounds a dinette table that lowers to be one step up from the deck. Overall this means there’s room for a dozen or so people to lounge about on this boat, but when it’s time to fish you’ll probably want to pull a lot of those cushions and get that dinette out of the way.
Back in the cockpit, check out the transom livewell and 60-gallon fishbox, fresh and raw water washdowns, 10 flush-mount gunwale rodholders, and molded-in spreader lights. You’ll need to add a set of outriggers ($5,571 for the nicest ones, a pair of 20-foot carbon fiber Taco 380XLs), and if you plan on doing any overnighters at the canyon, we’d also suggest opting for the Lumishore underwater LEDs ($2,571). Be sure to specify green, because many builders put in blue lights by default, even though green draws in more marine life at night.
Speaking of overnighting: like many mega center consoles we see these days, the 355 LXF has a rather significant cabin located in the console. It’s on par with a small cruiser, with a forward dinette that converts into a double berth, stowage cabinets, a refrigerator, and a head. We wish the refrigerator wasn’t located right next to the commode, but in the same breath, point out that this is a center console fishing boat and the existence of a cabin is a pretty big perk, in the first place. When the fishing is slow at 3:00 a.m. and you and the crew decide to take turns napping between bites, the ability to go belowdecks and stretch out will be very much appreciated.
Considering all of these advancements, is the 355 LXF as groundbreaking as the 350 LXF was upon its introduction? Groundbreaking may not be the most accurate term in this case—the leap to digital switching is pretty tough to top. The 355 LXF does, however, represent a big step forward. It shows some significant evolution and improvement over older models. And in many ways, it’s one of the most advanced Scouts to hit the water to date.
Other Choices: Boston Whaler’s 350 Realm will be a boat to shop this one against, especially if you lean a bit more towards cruising and a bit less towards fishing. If the opposite is true and you want more of an angling machine, check out the Everglades 355T or perhaps the Pursuit S 328 Sport.
See Scout 355 LXF listings on Boat Trader.
|Fuel capacity||310 gal.|
|Water capacity||23 gal.|
Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on boats.com. Republished with permission.