In the mid 70’s, if you were a punk kid paperboy like me, you cast flies with a heavy, sloppy, and cheap rod made of glass or, if you had a grown-up job, you probably had one made of that Asian weed that is expensive as it is prolific. While everything about that, including the newspapers pretty much sucked, at least the internet was still blissfully free of recently arrived blowhards, nerdulant-know-it-all’s and Russian trolls arguing about which was better. Then graphite happened, the arguing magically stopped and we all lived happily ever after.
Though not the first to build with the new wonder material, Scott were the first to use it to it’s full potential with revolutionary for the time G series trout rods like the first ever 9’ 4-weight and innovations like light-weight hollow internal ferrules.
I became a rusted-on Scott G series fan in the 80’s and I’ve had my share of them over the years including my first ever twig rod, a 7’6 2 piece 2-weight, that’s still in my rod collection and several other 3- and 4-weights that have come and gone while chasing the latest and greatest in fly rods. As much as rods have changed since then that 2-weight is still the measure by which I judge all twig rods for feel and I still get the odd pang of regret thinking about others like it I have traded in.
Time marches on however and in 2006 Scott, having to keep up with the competition that was increasingly making lighter and more powerful rods out of higher and higher modulus graphite, created the G2 series that had more bottom end grunt less weight than the G’s
Now, almost a dozen years later, Scott have again shaken up G line-up, but this time with a major overhaul featuring a high-tech build with the latest and greatest in graphite, resins and taper design.
While, as ever, I’m not fully across all the techy graphite, resin and taper stuff, I can say that after the first swing it’s obvious that the new G series is now back up at the top of the class with their Radian cousins and all the best the industry has to offer and might well remain there for another 40 years.
Thanks to the Australian/NZ importer of Scott rods, Manic Tackle, I managed to get a loan of an 8’8 4-weight G for a few days fishing in the western US and review for Flylife Magazine before the launch of the new models and also managed to wiggle the entire range at the 2017 Icast show in Florida. (Flylife review) https://flylife.com.au/tackle-reviews/scott-g-series-2017
At the show, I asked Scott’s president and rod designer Jim Bartschi his favourite and the 7’6 #3 was first choice. While it’s a little cracker, I ended up ordering the 2-weight so I could directly compare it to the original G and G2 and the middle length 3-weight in 8’4 to plug the imaginary gap I created there and then in my rod line-up to justify buying another.
Now, after mostly using nothing but these two rods over summer I will say they are quite different from the original G’s and everything else in my collection both permanent or on review.
The key differences are not subtle and the new rods, while having the same very sweet medium action of a G now have amazing damping through the blank that have given them excellent tracking and accuracy and the potential for higher line speed should you need it.
Longer casts are easier not because the rods are stiffer, but because you can really lean on the rods while hauling without making the tip wobble like bowl of jello on bucking bull.
If I had to describe the action in one word it would be ‘smooth’ and I wouldn’t be exaggerating in saying the G’s are one of the finest communicators in fly fishing where every inch of the line and the full character of it’s taper are easily read through the grip.
I fished the 8’4 3-weight with big hoppers on the very upper reaches of the Eucumbene River where it was right at home picking pockets and stalking the long, quiet pools through the open meadow and quickly fell in love with the new accuracy and that feeling that the fly was going exactly where I wanted.
To really stretch the rod, I took it to my favourite big water, the Mitta Mitta River tailrace over a couple long days and fished with either a pair of nymphs under an indicator on a long leader or a double rig with a small nymph below a big hopper on a standard leader and though certainly pushed at times, and not soon to replace my 5-weights, it handled everything well enough thanks it’s new communication skills. At 8’4 I would consider it a bit long for an overgrown stream where the extra inches can get in the way, but will say, that over open water, it’s as good as you will find for quick pick-up and lay-down casts and a great all-around light trout rod.
Of the 2 rods, the 2-weight is, in my opinion, the most improved over the originals by the new graphite and is now more accurate on short and medium casts and much smoother throwing a long line. Obviously, distance isn’t my first priority for a short 2-weight rod, but this one, with a matched RIO DT Light Line, will chop out 60+ feet of line so easily it might as well be a longer fast three weight. Seriously, if there’s ever been a better 2-weight for casting on the stream, both at your feet and up the top of the pool, I’m yet to cast it. And for feel ? This is the new yardstick.
So how do the new G’s compare to their beefier cousin the Radian ?
Obviously the Radians have more power and are better for distance work and windy days while the G’s are more at home on smaller water. Both are brilliant in the hand being accurate, highly communicative and light, but it would come down to that age old question of weather you want to work harder at short casts while belting out long lines or work harder at long casts while easily and accurately fishing in very close. In reality, over most normal fishing distances, there’s not much in it. For me, In 3-weights and under, for the type of fishing I do, I would stick with the G series while in 4-weight and up, I remain a fan of faster rods and would stick with the Radians.
The build of the G series sticks to traditional Scott DNA with an un-sanded mid grey blank, new lighter and stronger internal ferrules and rich orange, cream and brown wraps that Scott tell me are representative of brown trout colours. There’s the classic fish length markers at 12 and 20 inches, hand written logo and model designation and a composite cork section at the front end of the reverse half Wells style grip.
The only real change in build style would be the modern up-locking wood insert reel seat from the same gene pool as the Radian model. In a word I would call the build ‘classy’ and if you have older Scott rods, you certainly wont be offended.
Models start from the twiggy little 7’7 2- and 3-weights with their sliding band over cork reel seats and go up to the more general 9’ 5- and 6-weight bigger water rods. In between there’s shorter 3, 4 and 5 weights in 8’4 and 8’8 lengths for more specific uses.