In early 2013 I received a package. The note within said “play casually with the contents, and if you find the time drop us a few words summarizing your thoughts”. So yours truly delivered back
some long-winded blather a dissertation, finely detailed results of functionality testing across a myriad of conditions. The subject of the study was a generic nine-foot five that would later become the infamous Scott Radian. Breaking the non-disclosure agreement was an afterthought.
Then the inquiries began. “What if you built this same rod in a three-weight, say sub-eight feet?” “Hey, any thoughts on a 3-weight Radian?” “Don’t you think a Radian Three would be the coolest?”
YOURS TRULY: Man, a fast-action rod with this kind of sensitivity, this tippet-protection, seems perfectly suited for a light-line … uh um … three-weight rod, eh?
ANYONE WITH THE FACTORY’S NUMBER IN THEIR PHONE: Jeezus, will you shut the hell up about that already?!
What should a three-weight be able to do? First off, keep 6x-8x tippet intact. Add covering ten to twenty feet with minimal effort. Plus, make do with small flies on standard leaders. But what if it the angler wielding it could also stretch to twice that distance, entice the bite with fluffy terrestrial patterns, and tangle with fish bigger than a six-inch Colorado River cuttie?
“We thought you would leave us alone.”
The Important Part: How’s She Look?
Not going to bore you with the details; it’s a classic Scott. Flawless Portuguese cork, un-sanded blank with light clear coat, guides and ferrules impeccably wrapped. Fine touches include gracefully handwritten model number designation and a 12″ marker. Yea, the traditional 20″ marker is missing; a logical choice for a short 3-weight, but I think this gem could handle one. And of course the Radian family’s nifty black hard-anodized, no-spin up-locking reel seat over the burled box elder insert.
Does It Have Game?
Ask the same about Doug Flutie or Spud Webb, then get back to me. This is a shorty three-weight; it is supposed to be a small stream rod. But Radians are fast-action sticks, ending with the
thrice-divorced rod collector connoisseur of fine fishing tools scratching their head wondering “why did they build such a thing?” In a word, because magic.
What separates the Radian blank from the rest is the uncanny ability to feel fast (or stiff) until you start pushing it. Techies call that being “progressive”. We’re in an election year, so for the apolitical it means … pull it out of the tube and give it a waggle, you immediately think broomstick, but when you give it a shove it bends to your will. More line, more arc along the length of the blank, instead of just in the top section or two. Down to the business end i.e. butt section, where there’s power you can use. Case here: not to lay out a hundred feet in a Hoola-hoop, but fifty feet in … a Dixie Cup. It’s what you really need in a light-line rod, surgical precision. Something you rarely get with panda food, especially for eight-hundred bucks.
I paired this baby up with an Abel TR Light, lined Airflo Super-Dri Elite, and played hard and fast with dainty stick rules. Like airing it out to sixty-ish feet before it caved, fluffy-fat hopper pattern in tow. Handed it to some folks with bonafides, and had to fight to get it back. Even gave my golf instructor casting lessons with it; I bought the beers, and still wondering how a fellow gambler got the best of me there.
Where the 753/4 excels
1) Tight spaces
10.375 feet of line, 9.4675 feet of leader, leafy twigs 3.3625 feet out on either side, and a fish rising 17.314159265359 feet upstream while a breeze blows 10.25642 mph in your face … that is what the Little Radian LIVES for. Laser, and who doesn’t love LASERS?
2) Run and gun
In locales ripe with tailwater, covering lots of topwater is often referred to as a dry fly death march; you maintain constant motion, observing countless drag-free drifts, while your posted-up buddies flipping the San Juan Worm/Bead Head Pheasant Tail combos catch all the fish. Over a long day, blind casting ad-infinitum takes its toll on angler arms; with a light line and a rod barely pushing two ounces, it becomes a ticker-tape parade, hero not included of course. Every nook and cranny gets covered, and there’s still strength left for lifting twelve ounces when the day is done.
Where it chokes
1) Indicator nymphing
Let’s face it, you are dealing with a three weight line, too light for turning over even moderately weighted rigs; add the fact that you’ve got minimal reach – 7.5 feet just ain’t conducive to highsticking – and you’re better off not bothering.
2) Stiff winds
The Little Radian can make it happen, but the line weight suffers; further, the rod performs very well lined to spec, and while I think it could handle a 4-weight you’d likely end up needing a bigger reel (losing balance) and probably turn the in-bred action a touch mushy (losing feel).
The R753/4 is not for everything/everybody, “every” meaning streamers, tarpon, or Las Vegas strippers. Ok, maybe the last would enjoy it (at least as much as I would watching).
Over the years my gear closet has gravitated multi-use, finding and holding onto rods that could serve a variety of purposes, conditions, and/or circumstances. Retired indicators going on three years, and actually gave away the 5-weight I tested not long after. Fact is I like watching trout gulp surface flies. Don’t care so much anymore if I even hook them; I just enjoy the eat. Whether it’s a Chubby Chernobyl on the skate, a chubbier brown pouncing from its undercut lair, or my chub-esque ass rolling by quickly via land or sea, I’m now 100% confident the Little Radian has me covered. That opinion comes after nearly eight months of play; it’ll hold its well-earned place in the quiver for a long-time to come. That is if I quit loaning it out, because getting it back is about the only thing that’s proved difficult with respect to this gem.
MG signing off (having concluded size doesn’t matter, if it was built in Montrose CO)
FTC Disclosure: The credit card statement denoting the purchase of this very special piece of equipment can be provided upon presentation of a valid subpoena.