When the global financial crisis hit, United States boat manufacturers reacted in different ways. Some simply laid off staff, closed factories and retrenched, hoping to survive in a leaner mode until things got better. Others, such as South Carolina's Scout Boats, decided to produce a new range more suited to the times.

Recognising the problem was two-pronged - less disposable income and rapidly rising fuel prices - Scout Introduced the 191 Bay Scout. Still built to a high standard and full of fishing-specific features, the Bay Scout was designed to be both affordable and easily driven with minimal horsepower.

Affordable is a relative term but consider this: the 191 Bay Scout sells through its local agent, Orakei Yacht Sales, for as little as $46,500. And that's for a genuine 5.7-metre, US bass-style fishing boat complete with 90hp 4-stroke Yamaha.

Step up to a 115hp model and the price is still below $50,000. Even with a top-of-the-range Yamaha 150hp 4-stroke on the transom, the 191 Bay Scout retails for just $54,000.

Furthermore, this is no stripped down "bare bones" vessel. The 191 has Scout's stylish, almost retro, family look with its sharp entry, flared bow and modest freeboard. It also has a host of practical features designed for those who love to fish.

Scout have now chosen to fit Yamaha four-stroke outboards at their factory as standard. Because the four-strokes weigh slightly more, Scout has introduced a reverse transom shape which gives more lift at the stern and ensures the boat's shallow draft isn't compromised.

Described as being at home on lakes, rivers and in a choppy sea, the 191 Scout has an LOA of 5.7 metres, a beam of 2.6 metres and a draft (depending on the engine) of just 250mm. With hull and deck construction of 100 per cent hand-laid fibreglass and closed cell foam flotation, the boat is light, weighing 590kg.

The 15-degree deadrise also ensures that the 191 is very stable at rest, a real bonus when casting.

The 191 Bay Scout is, in typical US style, a central console design with space for fishing at literally every point of its perimeter. The console is of a good size and there is enough room to mount a sounder or a sounder/plotter unit. A wraparound windshield protects the crew and there's a solid handrail for when the going gets a little rough.

There's also a convenient built-in tackle centre under the helm, large enough for a couple of good-sized boxes.The seat base and pedestal are pure Scout, with room for two behind the console, a brace of rod holders and an integrated 56-litre aerated live-bait tank. This latter has been mounted slightly forward to ensure a favourable centre of gravity and to maximise cockpit area.

On the stern casting deck, there's another large compartment which can also be set up as a live-bait tank.

Immediately for'ard of the console is a nifty cooler/seat combo, offering both comfortable seating and storage for refreshments or the catch.

The bow area is basically a large casting or fishing platform and, for those who like to sneak up on their prey, it comes prewired for an electric trolling motor.

For those who like to sit when the fishing is slow, there are a couple of seats on either side of the transom, which can be removed altogether or one set into a fitting in the bow.

There are many standard fittings, including gunwale rod racks (storing three rods per side), a stainless steel rub rail and flush-mount cleats.

For those wanting to up-spec, there's a battery charger, raw-water wash down, trim tabs, cushion pack-ages and a choice of four colours.

Orakei Yacht Sales has already sold one 191 Bay Scout, to a keen South Island fisher who opted for the 150hp outboard. For those in less of a hurry, the standard 90hp Yamaha 4-stroke is said to be good for a touch over 33 knots.

191 Bay Scout
LOA: 5.7m

Beam: 2.6m

Draft: 0.2m

Construction: Hand-laid GRp/closed cell foam flotation

Weight (boat only): 590kg

Max Speed (90hp): 33 knots

Recommended engines: Yamaha 90-115hp 4-stroke

Maximum hp: 150hp

Price (w/90hp Yamaha): $46,500

Price (w/115hp Yamaha): $49,000

Price (w/150hp Yamaha): $54,000

Want to know more?

Check out the 191 Bay Scout in the December/January issue of Propeller magazine.