In the old days, before instant internet know-it-alls and fan boyz, if you wanted to know what was happening in fly fishing, you needed to go to a fly shop.
My favourite was the Australian Fly Fisherman in Sydney where my good mate Andrew Brzoz (RIP) and later Gregg Jones, regularly and with great skill relieved me from the burden that is money in exchange for trinkets, baubles and the odd bit of fly fishing gear.
One of the more memorable and useful bits was my first twig rod, a 7’6 Scott G series two-weight in two piece.
At the time, around the end of the eighties, it was the duck’s feathery little nuts of two-weights and stole my heart on first wiggle in the shop. Even though I couldn’t really afford it, Andrew sorted me out an easy payment plan that never pinged my wife’s highly tuned radar and allowed me to take it home.
He was a good guy like that.
To be honest, I chose the Scott two-weight for it’s good looks as much as anything else because there wasn’t much to compare it with in the shop other than an 8’ Scott G three-weight and a Loomis two-weight that was actually closer to a four by the time you lined it up where it felt anything like useful in close. After casting all of them in the park the Scott, even with my then-limited casting skills, stood out.
That first season with the little Scott, I completely ignored bigger water and fished only the tiny tributaries or headwaters. If it couldn’t be stepped over, went above my knees or had any real room for a proper cast, I wouldn’t fish there, end of story.
All the small streams that feed the Turon River near Sofala were explored from junction to trickle along with a few of the Snowy Mountains’ finest.
Recently, while testing the new RIO DT LL lines (review here:) I pulled the dusty Scott out of the rod cupboard for the first time in a while to see how it would get on with a modern line and after a short casting session in the yard, made a note to myself to get it out on the stream again.
That finally happened the other day after a conversation with my friend Bob Norris about twig rods, the old days and favoured Northeast Victorian small streams that led to a trip.
We drove high into the mountains looking for small water and went to a stream I’ve heard about, but never fished. It’s small, beautiful and has the full range of Northeast casting challenges.
Like a lot of the tiny headwater streams around here, the fish are generally small and fish over a pound are both rare and exciting on light gear.
It’s two-weight water without question, and the Old Scott is right at home.
Bob, within a couple pools calls it the best twig rod he’s ever cast and has the old thing humming and declares he want’s one.
Good luck finding one second-hand, I say, but in reality, this model and other G’s pop up second-hand every once and a while.
In my own hands, everything I initially loved about the Scott is still there in spades and it feels instantly familiar and I can’t help but wonder, with a little guilt, why it’s seen so little use in the last few years.
For anyone new to fly fishing wanting to know what they mean when they say ‘feel’ in a fly rod, this one is the yardstick, though several of the other G models could boast the same. Really there’s only one weak area and that is, unsurprisingly, distance casting.
In close it’s still right up there with the latest and greatest and can hold its head high, but at fifty feet the party has run out of beer and everyone is heading home. I’m comfortable with that in a two-weight rod of course.
The new line helped and I can’t help but wonder that if RIO made a Perception line in two-weight how much more distance the low stretch core would add.
Hint hint, nudge nudge, RIO!
Over the years I’ve bought and sold a lot of rods, always looking for change or something better or something different or, more lately, something not as yet rediscovered and then made instant internet famous by hipsters, but the Scott always seemed to get ignored when I needed a rod to trade in or sell to raise the money.
Rods like this were big bucks when new, costing similar to what they do today, but on 1980s pay. They can be bought second-hand at roughly the same money as the modern Asian-made stuff, making them good value in my opinion. In a lot of cases, they hold their used value much better as well, meaning it’s possible to resell them without getting skinned when you feel like a change.
Yes, rods have improved over the years, but it’s always in small steps between generations.
The rod that replaced the G series in Scott’s range, the G2, improves on midsection power while maintaining a lot of the original rod’s slower charms. Better? Certainly, but not wildly so.
Fly lines, on the other hand, have improved a lot since the 80s and older rods will find new talents with something like the RIO LL or, for three-weight and up, my current favourite, the RIO Perception.
I buy and sell second-hand locally through the Flylife Magazine forum. Check it out; it’s a great resource. (registration required)