Believe the hype. This is the next level, cutting edge, Scott Centric fly rod.
I don't know how they do it. This isn’t a case of just whacking out the same blank year after year, giving it a gaudy colour, a new name and hiking up the price tag under the guise of some new “hyper-super-fast-action” marketing hyperbole. When it comes to designing fly rods, Scott aren’t like that and the Centric is a perfect example of that ethos. Model releases are few and far between, I think it was 2013 when the Radian came out! Shit, that’s a better run than Winston Peters almost! Rather they develop, test, refine, and then go to market once perfected. I honestly thought it would be an impossible task to improve on the Radian, the single rod that has become embedded in fly fishing folk-lore and arguably the most successful freshwater rod ever in Scott's armoury, but they have. I could have pumped out a review of the new Scott Centric fly rod the day after I first used it, but I wanted to give it a chance to prove itself against my beloved fast action Radian in a variety of scenarios. I’m not limited to one form of fly fishing, I do back country, lakes, spring creeks, nymphing, dry fly, streamers, shore based and boat, so I can honestly give you an opinion how it performs in all scenarios anyone would likely encounter.
I can hand on heart tell you that the Scott Centric is one of the best fly rods you will ever pickup.
Now, let's answer everyone's burning question with this Scott Centric review. Is it like the Scott Radian? Yes and no, the first thing you notice is its feather weight and it feels ridiculously light in the hand, but this isn’t always a good thing as many manufactures will sand away those crucial wraps to gain a smooth finish at the expense of wall thickness. Not on the Scott Centric, those crucial trademark wraps are still there and contribute HUGELY to a blanks strength. Much of the weight savings comes down to new componentry, the reel seat is stunning, probably the best I have used, the guides are so damn sexy, and the butt? Not line-wrappingly long, it’s light, strong and self-guiding on screw-up. The cork is the familiar Radian style, chunky, full wells and damn comfy for 10hr+ days on the water. New resins and ARC2 technologies are one of the factors that contribute to the Centric’s weight saving, it’s an additional scrim that helps increase stability during the cast and it shows. It’s fast but not silly broomstick fast. And one of my absolute favourite Scott rod features still remains, the simplest feature that means so much, alignment dots on the ferrules!
The Scott Centric Hits The Water
The first outing was on a tiny Wairarapa stream that is barely 2m across at its highest flows and completely dries in summer which is a good test adaptability of fast action rods. Bringing 9’ 6wt fast action rods to a stream like this is akin to driving a Hummer down Queen Street, total overkill! But matched with the Lamson Guru S, beloved Airflo SuperFlo Universal fly line and an 18ft leader, what I got was a surprisingly sweet outfit for dropping a tiny size 18 dry to super weary fish. It’s more delicate on delivery than the Radian for sure, thanks to its easy flexing tip sections, but it's also faster so the rod created high line speed, flat, stable loops when the wind came up, which is a daily 10am occurrence where I live, hence taking a gun to a knife fight! I haven’t measured the blank diameter, but I’m positive it’s a whisker smaller in diameter than the Radian. Beautiful loops are easily generated with new levels of stability and it’s tighter in loop control than the Scotsman I often fish with, who shall remain nameless (Peter de Boer). I found there wasn't much need to double haul the Scott Centric from my end unless you’re pushing large streamers into a stiff wind. The tube (now black) and sock are Scott's usual high quality, everything simply works.
The Scott Centric Fly Rod Has A Date With A Lake
Lake Otamangakau was the scene of the second outing, and this tiny lake needs no introduction as holding some of the most powerful trout in the country. If you hook ten fish here, you’re having a good day and if you land three of those, it’s exceptional! Due to the nature of the lake, its expansive weedbeds and huge fish, it’s little wonder you will loose more than you hook. I have broken rods on this lake trying to stop fish getting into the weed, however the Centric when pushed, simply screamed out “is that all ya got”! Serious pressure unfazed it and winching 8lb fish out of the weed was no problem. I can see commercial cray boats in Kaikoura being keen on the Centric as a pot hauler!
The Scott Centric Series Fly Rods Deliver
Despite days on end of shitty weather conditions the Scott Centric fly rod just did it all, and does it so well. It’s a sad day when a Radian sits in the cupboard, lonely and weeping but he’ll get over it. He'll have to because there’s a new object of my desires, “My Precious”.
ABOUT ANDREW HARDING
Andrew Harding is a die hard fly fisherman that spends more time on the water than most of us do at work. Check out some of his amazing fly fishing film work over on his Youtube channel.