I reviewed the Scott Meridian NZ Special about 18 months ago so high time for an update after extended love / love relationship with her. I still stand by the comment that I don’t think there is a better rod on the market today more suited to big water such as the Tongariro, lakes, river mouths or many of the larger South Island braided systems. The Meridian, whilst extremely light (yes it’s lighter than the Radian!!) is still proving its durability time and time again, wayward tungsten-bead hits and dropping it on granite boulders doing little to unsettle it. I have spoken many times about the benefits of un-sanded fly rod blanks in relation to strength and not sanding away valuable fibres helping enormously with a rods durability.
It’s easy to forget this is only a 6wt rod, a weight many anglers would reach for on smaller rivers and streams, but the Meridian has plenty of gun on large waterways. Based on a saltwater blank and having received Manic’s subtle touches for NZ conditions, it’s designed to suit New Zealand conditions which may not seem like much to the consumer, but facets like reel seats, componentry, guide sizing and placement, even cosmetics all play an important role. It’s an unassuming looking rod, nothing fancy, nothing bling, everything right.
It’s fast, faster than the Radian by quite some margin. Now fast rods do not necessarily equate to better rods, but under load and matched to an Airflo Super Dri Hero WF6, it will, in the right hands cast well into the back paddock, long leader and heavy nymphs in tow, even a stiff wind doing little to upset it. It also roll casts very, very well. A cast I use around 90% of the time on the Tongariro. Traditionally slower actioned rods matched with long belly lines have had the edge with roll casting, but I’m not sure what they put into the Meridian and I don’t pretend to be the Chris Dore of casting dynamics nor rod design, I just know it is an extremely versatile big water rod when you get that all-important timing right.
At only 9ft in length and merely a 6wt in rating, some would argue it is not a true big water or lake rod, it doesn’t even have a fighting butt! (which I dislike on rods personally). But it’s still the rod I grab over the 9’6 6wt Radian, the shorter length proving no handicap in the all-important mending game, in fact the rod mends so well I often over-shoot loose mends, moving the indicator through the drift in process, a huge no-no in pursuit of a hook-up. The Meridian is also a rod true to line weight, not requiring over-lining at medium to long casting distances, but for short work - it does struggle, but this is not a rod you would purchase for your short game. Constant roll casting does have a tendency to work the ferrules lose over time but you will get that with any rod and it should just become habit to be checking these occasionally.
One other major benefit is due to its light weight and versatility, I can use the same reel I use for back country and small stream work, in fact I only own ONE reel! My old mate, the Lamson Guru 2, that thing has had more play than a stag night at a strip club, but going on 7 years of age it’s drag is still silky smooth and it does what it does with Toyota-like reliability week in, week out. It’s a perfect size match to the Meridian and balances just right.
Is it a cheap rod? No. But life’s too short to count pennies in this fine sport, treasure every minute on the water with gear that “just works” and brings a smile to your face. The Meridian will do it in spades.
ALL PHOTOS: Matt Hince