I have a Will Rogers attitude when it comes to fly rods: I haven’t met one that I do not like.
Sure, I prefer some above others. I think some are overhyped, overpriced, and overrated. I think three quarters of the marketing-techno speak that promotes fly rods is sheer hogwash. But if you put any rod in my hand, it’s hard for me to hate it, and on rare occasions, I will fall head-over-heels in love.
Such is the case with the new “Radian” fly rod from Scott, which deservedly won “Best in Show” in the New Product Showcase of the recent International Fly Tackle Dealer trade expo. I have actually been playing around with the new Radian (9-foot, 5-weight) for over a month now. While it impressed me right out of the tube, the more I actually fish it, the more I like it. It seems like every few years a new rod design comes along that legitimately changes the performance paradigm like the G.Loomis GLX, the Sage XP, or the Orvis Helios. As for the Radian, it didn’t so much shock me in terms of lightness in hand like the Helios did several years ago and it didn’t immediately impact my casting stroke like GLX did many years before that. Rather, it’s an all-around feel that’s best proven on the water, with actual fish, that makes this rod shine.
The premise from the company is that they’re using a new technology (I’m not going into it because I’m not sure I fully understand it) that minimizes vibrations in the rod and improves recovery in the blank, without the need for added material. What you ultimately get as a result is both the feel and power normally associated with fast action rods. I’ve always appreciated Scott Rods for their feel. And some of the company’s saltwater models in particular are fast and powerful. In this case, imagine a total “gun” that can turn big hoppers in the wind and also micro-mend delicate tippet and tiny bugs on a spring creek.
I, for one, am totally buying the “fast meets feel” claim. It’s actually pretty obvious. Whether you do is up to you. And the $795 price tag is no easy ask. But I think this may now be the best production rod available (it’s also the prettiest rod Scott has ever made). It’s worth stopping by a fly shop just to pick one up and play around for 10 minutes or so.