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Michael Gracie

Zen fishing (or is that sneezing?)

I received this electronic greeting card today:

zenfishing

Usually, the fish are sneezing on my flies then politely asking for a tissue. If they’d only eat the flies I give them first…maybe they’d get one. Nonetheless, I’m a long-time fan of the gentle release.

An excellent spring day

a fish that knows they are about to be let go
This is a fish that knows it is about to be let go

Review of the Scott G2 905/4 (Part I)

gear bagEvery fishing fanatic needs some new gear every now and again, and I’m no different. My present quiver was purchased between 1997 and 1999, so I thought the time had come.

My choice was a trout rod, slightly lighter than model I presently carry for general duty. After a few weeks of research and a bit of touch and feel, I chose a Scott G2 in a 5-weight…the 4-piece job. Everyone said I made a good choice, but then again, the ones talking were either selling me the rod or going fishing with me this weekend, so I thought I’d throw in my own two cents.

This review is coming in two parts; the first will be aesthetics, which many people find very important (if all the gear everyone wears on the river is any indication), and the second will be performance on water (which is not really what I care about – it is all about looking good – but I’ll humor you).

The rod was ordered last Sunday from Western Rivers Flyfishers in Salt Lake City, Utah (a damn fine bunch of folks over there, IMHO), and arrived on my doorstep yesterday. So here we go (and keep in mind, this review is not being done by a pro – I am a rank amatuer and plan on staying that way)…

Part I – Build and Finish

The rod comes in a nicely constructed tube, which will take a place in the back of the closet when I stuff this puppy in my homemade multi-rod bag. I did note that the tube cap screws on nicely, as compared to the old Sage tubes I ditched long ago:

new-scott-g2-rod-tube

new-scott-g2-rod-tube-1

The cloth is pretty sweet too (as if anyone cares about tubes OR cloth):

Scott rod cloth

Scott rod cloth

Now, for the rod – four fine pieces:

Scott G2

Scott G2

I found no blemishes anywhere on the finish of any of the sections. It is a natural finish, meaning heavy on graphite ribs and very light on epoxy. All the guides were set in place very nicely, with smooth, tight wraps; error free and epoxied flawlessly as well. The corked was initially covered in plastic wrapping, which is of course now in the can – the cork was epoxied over the top quarter-inch, I guess for protection – a nice touch.

The ferrules are the internal kind, and are designed for long wear. This means you don’t need to try jamming them completely together; instead they come out of the womb with a quarter-inch or so gap intended when you put the rod pieces together. Over time, the fit will likely become a bit less snug and the sections will draw ever closer together, but I suspect that will be a long time (unless you are prone to leaving fly rods in door jams). I wax my ferrules every now and then to ensure smooth put-together and breakdown, and on this rod it was no different. The ferrules were dry, and now they are not.

Scott G2 ferrules

Overall, this little joker is a beauty, but I did find one little flaw. The reel seat was slightly misaligned from the fly eye (or whatever the hell techies call it), and this carried on to the first alignment dot on the butt section:

Scott fly catch

The above pic was taken while holding the rod, with reel seated and upright/perpendicular to the floor.

A minor issue, for me in particular, since I don’t pay much attention to those little alignment dots anyway (and the alignment was fine on the other three sections). Inclusive of this “tropical depression,” the rod gets a 9 out of 10 for build quality and appearance.

By the way, this addition to the rod bag was married to a Lamson/Waterworks Velocity 1.5 wrapped with an SA Mastery WF taper (Trout, to be exact, in olive).

Seated, the whole setup is very light and feels well balanced in my hand:

new-scott-g2-with-lamson

I found the exact balance point three-quarters of an inch below the top of the cork, if that makes any difference to anyone.

And here is a close-up of the bride, pre-ceremony:

Velocity reel

Velocity reel

I did get this rod out in the yard, after the nuptials. A few false casts, with tissue-laden leader end barely touching the tree across the street, and a nice loop carrying over the top of the car parked in the driveway next door. Feels smooth so far, although keeping that new line from landing on the blacktop and/or the windshield was a chore.

Part II, the real meat (or fish) of the issue, is coming up at the end of the weekend.

Keeping your head when all about you…

Trout fishing isn’t usually about competition, but when you’re hot, you’re hot. This last Sunday, after briefly describing my morning to another fisherman – how I was hooking up on #16 Princes and #18 caddis pupae every other cast while others looked on in dismay – they noted:

“It’s a great feeling catching fish while others can only watch. Everyone on the river starts fiddling with their gear, switching flies over and over. Then, they just leave.”

Yes, it’s a great feeling.

Keeping your head, knowing it never lasts, is always the hard part.

long-way-out
Throwing dries to fish, while they try staying out of reach (not happening)

Trip that never was, but not for lack of guidance

Back around the time the dot-com bubble was preparing to burst, I was planning a trip to Alaska with an old friend from California. We had tickets, flys, and even had some maps put together by a local who knew the area well.

Unfortunately…

The next tech gig got the best of me, I wound up spending late nights in the office while my buddy took his wife to Denali National Park with those tickets. The flies have long since been given to friends headed that way.

Then, the other day, I pull out an old atlas and what drops out of it? Those maps!

Might as well share them (and if anyone gets up that way, let me know how it went):

alaska-fishing-map-1

and

alaska-fishing-map

USGS Streamflow Data by State