To my eye, the hipster is like the lovechild of two hippies and a lumberjack—you can guess the sexes of all involved yourself because I’m not going there.
The hippies are all peace, free-love and that natural deodorant that smells worse than actual body odour, while the lumberjack, a practical and tough chap, get’s the job done wearing flannel.
In a way, the humble fibreglass fly rod is similar having the peaceful qualities of the hippies without the smell and the tough work ethic of the lumberjack.
Glass is SO not dead, man!
Scott can take a lot of the credit for the new millennium rebirth of glass thanks to their F or ‘Fibretouch’ series of glass rods. At one point, I had most of them and can say without fear or reservation that the 7’ #3 or ‘703’ was the pick. The 5’5 #2 was better in the stupidly tight stuff, and the #4 might have been a bit more of an all-rounder for trout or bass on bigger water, but the 703, in the trout streams and rivers I like to fish was close to perfection.
If glass had a downside then it was ponderous swing weight and that same sloppiness and lack of damping that made you love the ‘feel’ of it could also become tiring when extreme accuracy was required or when the wind kicked up.
Graphite rods at the same time were getting lighter and the balance between power and feel was rapidly being perfected as well.
So where did the F-love go?
Well, graphite didn’t take the slow-is-good glass thing lying down and soon a brilliant new and very touchy-feely Sage SLT 8’ #2 weight stole my heart and the F was adopted out to an easier life.
Of course glass has changed as well now that it’s back in vogue and the various reviews I’ve seen around on the new Scott F2 glass rods have had me intrigued for quite a while.
I did some research and asked my American glass guru and mate Cameron Mortenson from The Fibreglass Manifesto what he thought and got the heads-up that the new F2 703 was all kinds of sweet, like the original, but better again.
After a little bit of pestering Rene from The Manic Tackle Project—the Australia/New Zealand importer of Scott—one was in the mail for review just in time for summer.
Straight out of the tube the rod is beautiful with it’s butterscotch-coloured blank, brown wraps and black sliding-band reel seat. The handwritten model and logo on the blank are a great touch as well. In my opinion, Scott have always made beautiful rods, but the F2’s raise their already lofty bar.
Over grass I tried my favoured Rio Perception in WF#3 first and the rod sang like Aretha Franklin flat-out and to be honest, I’m yet to try another line—such is the quality of that tune. With the low-stretch core the accuracy and distance comes easier than it should on glass, yet it keeps all of its short casts talents and also roll casts beautifully. Win-win.
The original F 703 was labelled as weighing 2.2 ounces and even though glass was thought of as heavy, at the time that was reasonable for any 7’ #3 rod, but the new F2, in the same dimensions, is lighter again at a very graphite-like 1.7 oz and you feel that in the hand, from the cork right to the tip.
The feel of the rod is incredible and except for a slight weight-forward bias and thicker blank it is very much like a medium-slow actioned graphite rod.
A heavier reel than my Abel TR1 might be the answer for balance and I’ll be trying it with a slightly heavier Super 2 or Big Game ‘0’ over summer to find its perfect match.
On the water, the F2 703 is an absolute pleasure to fish with and gives little, if anything away to twiggy graphite rods. On longer casts there’s more control and damping in the tip than I remember with the original F and it’s clearly gained some serious accuracy at distance as well. For short casts or roll casts, it’s the same sweet I expected.
It’s first day out was on a stream I’ve never been to before, which turned out to be mostly shallow with very small patches of holding water. It was tight and tricky casting water and not somewhere I would ideally like to test a new rod, but within a couple casts the F2 felt like an old, trusted friend.
Like the upgrade from Scott’s original G-series rods to the G2s, the new F2s have lost weight and gained talent over the original models yet retain all the sweetness that makes them so special in the first place. Kudos to Scott for keeping the old glass thing alive, but with some modern thinking. This one is going into the rod cupboard and will be staying.
There’s 5 models in the F2’s from a twiggy little 6’ #2 up to the 7’7 #4.
The Scott F2 rods cost $645. (US) in the US and around $900. (AU) in Australia.
Like all Scott Rods they have an excellent warranty.