I’ve pulled off a few half-fast rod reviews in the past, only to find some quirk down the road that made me dislike the stick. And go looking for something new. Hence, this review is long term, as I’ve owned the Scott S4S 906/4 for better than eighteen months now.
As rods go, I’ve pared down my quiver considerably in the past few years. The goal: update my rigs while making them serve multiple duties. Let’s face it, premium fly rods are a significant investment—when you plow money into a business venture, you look for multiple revenue streams, so why not look to use your expensive fly rods for multiple situations and multiple species? Over the last year and a half I’ve spent more time with Scott’s saltwater six than any other rod I own. And as a result, I will likely spend more time with it going forward… than any other rod I own.
The S4S 906/4 is my go-to carp rod, loaded with (what else?) a Rio Carp. It’s the only rod I use for bass, slinging a Rio Bass. I use it for trout too, when ugly meat is required, on the end of a 200gr SA Streamer Express. And I’ve watched my flats-guide-for-a-day whip an entire Rio Bonefish (that’s a hundred feet, by the way) out with a swift wind smacking him straight in the face. He wouldn’t let me cast the stick off his boat, and after it was in his hands he wouldn’t give it up either—this was advanced casting lesson time, so I just thanked him for the instruction. And tucked my 8-weight between my legs.
As far as the rod fit and finish goes, everything is built just as precisely as the Scott S4s 908/4 I reviewed last year. And it looks exactly the same too, so you can take a look at pictures here. I acquired this puppy after inquiring directly to Scott – my specs were as follows:
I want a stick that is lighter than my average carp rod, bold enough to huck Meat Whistles around my (no longer secret) bass pond, and capable of joyful response while doing the sinking line/Sex Dungeon thing Kelly Galloup style. In addition, I want it to feel right with a skinnier reel i.e. under 6oz, and be willing to get the ever-living crap kicked out of it without looking like it needs a trip to the emergency room. Catch my drift?
The folks in Montrose replied: You need an S4s 906/4.
Since delivery I’ve doubled the rod over, exposed it to the salt, slung streamers all day long (tossing six pound rainbows overboard like dinks after this catch), and podium-ed in a tourney with it.
I spent hard-earned dollars on this rod, but it’s been worth every penny—it is, without question, the the most versatile fly rod I have fished with to date. It isn’t soft enough for really short shots—you have to overline it, like I did with the Rio Carp in 7-weight. But the fatter lines, like the Rio Bass, the SA GPX, and the sinkers like the Streamer Express, engage the stick like the shifter on a 911.
Did Scott get this rod absolutely perfect? Nope… I probably can’t easily turn over a #22 midge on the end of a ten foot 6X leader with it. But I haven’t bothered trying. That is cold-water “fancy” fishing—pristine conditions, smaller targets, fine scotch afterwards. The S4s 906/4 is all e.coli, barbed-wire fences, violent targets, and knocking off a case of PBR during the post-game show. I like those situations, but then again trudging around Denver’s South Platte hasn’t sent me to the hospital yet either. Knock on high-modulus graphite.
I’m not sure Scott was planning on offering anything other than a lightweight, light wind, light-prey, salty handler when they were designing the S4S 906/4, but they wound up with something much more special. It takes a little time to learn its intricacies (i.e. I went through several lines before I found the sweet spots), but everyone else can now fade those trades—the lines mentioned above fit like gloves. After the cast you’ll likely never feel outgunned either.
I definitely haven’t.
MG signing off (because you never show up to a gunfight with a knife, but you might be able to hold your own with this fly rod)
FTC Disclosure: The rod was acquired in exchange for cold hard cash. And nothing more.