Last September, we had a chance to get our hands on an all-new Scott Centric rod. With a trip to Alaska in the works, and an eagerness to explore the hype of the “impossible to find rod”, we did what anyone would do: tied on some flies and got on the water. Here, you’ll find our thoughts and a recap of our experiences with the rod, as well as a behind-the-scenes look into the thinking behind the Centric with Scott CEO, Jim Bartschi.
Last Fall, the fly-fishing community was turned on its head by the release of the brand new Centric rod from Scott Fly Rods. Designed and crafted in Montrose, Colorado: the Scott brand has built quite the reputation for itself when it comes to being one of the highest performing, carefully crafted fly-rods on the market. This is why, as it came with no surprise, once the new Centric rods hit the market, they were gone in a flash. The mighty cult following that has developed around the American-made rods showed their true colors, as, within a few days of release, not a single rod was available for purchase or even demo. It was at this point we knew we had to try one out for ourselves. So, with a little bit of patience, and a lot of searching, we were able to get our hands on one of the new Centrics (9″6Line). It was only after just a few casts that we realized what all the hype was really about…
Rod Specs and Performance:
To put it out in the open, we’re no rod-experts. That being said, we’ve had the pleasure of casting quite a few at this point and can clearly identify a difference between a “good” and a “less than good” rod. For those that speak the language, here are the specs. (Don’t worry everyone else, we’ll put it in laymen’s terms below)
- Carbon Link: Centric rods combine new precision construction techniques with our innovative new resin system to bond carbon fibers in a very dense matrix.
- Arc 2: Scott introduced the world to ultra-lightweight unidirectional carbon fiber reinforcements over 15 years ago. Our Advanced Reinforced Carbon (ARC) adds directional stability and hoop strength while minimizing additional weight.
- ReAct: ReAct technology combines our X-Core design with a new complex materials and taper system to create a break-through in fast action rod design. Distance, control and accuracy are compromised by waves that vibrate in the rod, even after the cast has been made. Simply making the rod stiffer to stop these vibrations kills feel. ReAct counteracts energy sapping vibrations by speeding the recovery of the blank without the need to stiffen the rod with more material. This puts the feel in fast. And that’s a really good thing.
- X-Core: Diameter is proportional to stiffness and strength, and X-Core, or Expanded Core, technology delivers blanks that transmit feel and maintain stability better than any other design approach. We use fast taper mandrels with low-mass, thin-walled blanks and proprietary ARC reinforcement to create rods that have stiffness with feel, and stability with sensitivity.
- Multi Modulus: By varying the fiber tensile modulus along the length of the rod, we’re able to precisely control the stiffness and recovery speed of our blanks. The result is a rod that loads and unloads more smoothly.
- Fiberfuse Resin: Our all-new FiberFuse enhanced resin system uses new chemistry to create bonds between each graphite fiber that are over 20% stronger than conventional epoxy resins.
- Natural Finish: Natural finish blanks aren’t subjected to the rip through the sanding belt, nor are they covered with heavy paint to add pop in your fly shop.
- Mil-Spec III: Mil-Spec III anodize penetrates the surface of the aluminum, creating the hardest, most durable, and most corrosion-resistant finish available. Mil-Spec III prevents galvanic reactions with dissimilar metals and is resistant to temperatures above 900 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Titanium: With the highest strength to weight ratio and corrosion resistance of any metal, our titanium guide frames let you worry about the fishing, and not about the salt.
- Universal Guides: These new, patented, American-made guides from Snake Brand feature radius feet which conform to the blank, have the best corrosion resistance, and even have a self-lubricating finish to shoot line farther.
- Flex Profile: Fast
- Recovery Speed: Fastest
- Price: $895.00
Put in Plain English:
While the technical science jargon is great for those who really know how rod building works, what most will probably have on their mind is the question of; “How does it fish?”To answer that, we’ll break down all the tech specs above in an amalgamative response to summate: “Pretty damn well”.
The main thing anglers are going to notice is the rod’s flex profile and recovery speed. It seems the trend of today’s fly rods has been to deliver more fast action rods as opposed to your grandfather’s dry-fly launcher. Don’t get us wrong, having a fast fly rod doesn’t mean you can delicately place a size .20 parachute Adams in front of a rising trout, however, it does lend a hand to those looking to diversify their fly arsenal.
What some may be wondering is, what do we mean when we’re talking about a “fast rod”? The “action” of a fly rod refers to its rigidity. So, in the case of the Scott Centric, you have a more rigid rod with a little less flex. This is great for commanding larger flies off the cast, as well as casting in less than optimal conditions. The standard fly-rod of 10 years ago was a more medium, to slow action rod. These offered a little more casting forgiveness when it came to anglers with less than tuned senses of rhythm, however, also prolonged fish fight time, and (to the less experienced angler), could hinder their ability to consistently toss big streamers. The Scott Centric is built in a way that you’re still able to get that long, light tackle casts off, but in a more efficient manner. On top of that, you’re going to have a much easier time fighting that big fish.
Our experience with the Scott Centric
Enjoying the Local Scenery:
Speaking of big fish, we had no problem getting out and taking this rod for a ride. Just in time for the pre-spawn season for big browns, we had a chance to float some of our local waters to satisfy our streamer fix. Equipped with the Centric 6 weight and some of Airflo’s new Power Taper lines, we had no trouble hurling dungeons into the mouths of some mean and hungry fish. We were extremely satisfied with the rod’s ability to accurately huck our large articulated flies exactly where we wanted them with minimal efforts from the anglers. With only 1 or two false casts, we were able to slam undercut banks and tail-outs with ease, all while rolling down the river in a loaded drift boat.
While we could spend days on end running the same stretch and catching whole families of fish, this local jaunt was nearly a warm-up for what was to come the following week. After getting home, we rinsed the boat, tubed our rod, and packed our bags for the great North.
Fishing the Centric in Alaska:
After 3 Covid tests, 2 puddle jumper flights, and a boat ride that’ll change your perspective on the world – we were dumped off on the docks of Iliamna River Lodge, located in Pedro Bay, Alaska. The sights were breathtaking, the smells were… somewhat vomit-inducing (considering 3 months of deceased spawning sockeye were not piling up on the shores), but most importantly: the fishing was ON.
On our first day, we headed upriver to target some of the area’s world-famous rainbow trout. This was sure to be the true test of the Centric’s abilities, as these hard-fighting fish were known to closer resemble escape artists rather than trout. Sure enough, it wasn’t long before a delicious egg was too much for an eager Alaskan Rainbow to resist, and we were hooked up for a good fight.
The entirety of the day progressed as such, with some “win some’s and lose some” moments. However, the highlight was getting over to a conglomerate of feasting Char, bedded underneath a school of Sockeyes. When it comes to fighting freshwater wish, there are few that fight like Arctic Char. Imagine setting the hook, only to find out you’ve got an Akula class WWII submarine on the other end of your line. These fish are heavy, they’re determined, and unfortunately – they’re smart. Having the strength of the Scott Centric was a clear factor in being able to heave some of these beasts to shore.
The rest of the week was met with more of the same. Hard fighting fish who wanted nothing more than to embarrass the angler in front of the camera, and good times had by all. Eggs were eventually subbed for streamers, and the team was able to wrangle some pretty impressive ‘bows from a raft headed down crystal clear waters.
While there’s no substitute for a dialed guide and the proper flies, we have to contribute a portion of our success to the rod that performed in rain, wind, and… more rain. Upon conclusion of this trip, we had all the proof necessary in labeling the Centric a technological masterpiece when it came to fly rods. The engineering and labor put into each aspect of the rod clearly showed out on the water, and we were grateful to have such a weapon in our arsenal.
A Quick Chat With Scott Fly Rods CEO, Jim Bartschi:
After returning back to the lower 48, we had some time to talk shop with Scott CEO, Jim Bartschi, to get some insight surrounding the Centric and what this rod means to him.
FL: Can you tell us what goes into making a Scott fly rod? The inspiration behind the rod? The testing? What makes a Scott a Scott?
Jim: The first question is, why? If we can’t answer that honestly, there’s no reason to move forward. Once we have that settled, it’s time to start solving the puzzle of taper, material, and lay-up choices. When we have prototypes that we feel are closing in on our goal, they go out into the hands of our Pro Staff and specialty fly shop partners who focus on the techniques and fisheries we’re targeting.
FL: What is it about being manufactured in the States that makes a difference in the rod-making process?
Jim: For us, it’s about control of the process from raw materials to finished rods. We like getting our hands dirty and we like to know exactly how and when each rod was made.
FL: How has being stationed specifically in Colorado affected the production behind Scott’s products?
Jim: It means we come in very early and leave while there’s enough daylight to get some afternoon fishing in. Colorado is home to a community that values the outdoors, fishing, hunting, friends, and family. Working together to craft great fly rods creates a special bond in our shop.
FL: When was the decision made to keep Scott in the US as opposed to sending manufacturing over to a cheaper location?
Jim: It’s very intentional. Making fly rods is a tight-margin business. It just meant that if we wanted to continue building our rods from start to finish, we had to get really good at managing the business.
FL: What can someone expect when using the new Centric? What changes have been made to updated the rod technology to be best suited to the modern angler?
Jim: The attribute most people cite is, easy. Little effort is needed to produce desired results.
Thanks to Jim and all the great folks over at Scott for helping us get a rod in hand so we can get it on the water. If it’s not apparent, we’re very excited about this rod and the standard it’s setting for the entire fly fishing industry. To learn more, or see how you can get your hands on a Centric yourself, Click HERE.