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Michael Gracie

Long-Term Rod Review: Scott S4S 906/4

gear bagI’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.

Scott S4s fly rodThe 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.

Rod Review: Scott S4S 906/4

Scott Fly RodsIt has become my favorite stick for…just about everything except throwing the daintiest of dries on the tiniest of tippet (what a silly thing to do anyway, eh?) – the Scott S4S 906/4. It’s the baddest soldier in my squad, and it’ll remain that way until it dies or I find something better – the latter seems unlikely right now, and the whole if/or scenario is © Starship Troopers.

Read the entire rod review over at MidCurrent, where I conclude that the S4S 906/4 won’t guarantee you a case of angling-acquired tetanus, but will get you a little closer to the goal line. And that, my friends, is what fly-fishing [should be] all about.

MG signing off (because I wouldn’t use this rod for marlin or tarpon, but the average bear is more than fair game)

Thumbing it to Andros South

It’s about quality over quantity. Unless you’re standing on a flat with an empty fly box.

With all the chatter about what a pain in the rear it is to fly nowadays, I decided to stack the deck in my favor by doing FIBFest with the minimal amount of stuff possible. I’m carrying just one bag, a 2,600 cu.in. duffle, and going as cheaply as possible on everything besides rod, reel and line. The goal is to do the entire week without borrowing a single item from either the other FIBFesters or our gracious host (other than maybe a little CPU time). Here is the packing list:

bonefishing gearThe Essentials

  • Scott S4S rods(1) in #6, #8, and #10, in a heavy duty postal mail tube
  • Lamson Litespeed reels in 3X, 3.5X, and 4, plus some spare parts for each(2) (’cause I often leave reels directly behind the tires of trucks that are about to back up)
  • RIO Bonefish 6(3), Rio Tropical Clouser 8, Rio Redfish 8 (for when I trash the Tropical Clouser in the mangroves), and Rio Saltwater Tropical F/I 10(3)
  • Roughly 1,100 yards of 30# gelspun backing (don’t be a sissy, you fingers are going to get cut anyway)
  • A leader wallet with roughly a dozen tapered flouro and Toothy Critter jobbies in it, and spools of CFX flouro in 6#, 8#, 10#, 12#, 15# and 20#
  • A hundred flies in a five buck Plano box that doubles as bass bug storage, and another small ($3) Plano box for when we’re on foot

I’ll note that I’m carrying way more flies than I’ll probably need, but it’s a pretty wide assortment, including some weightier stuff for deeper water. Last time around Norman gave me a nice ribbing for not being prepared when we shot over to the West Side, and goodness knows I cave under pressure as it is.

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Rod Review: Scott S4S 908/4

gear bagI spent a few months in Florida over the winter, ostensibly for work. But with Tampa Bay just around the corner I decided that was as good an excuse as any to update my gear selection. After a bit of test casting and chatting with guides, I decided a Scott S4S 908/4 would be one of the new rods in the lineup. Unfortunately, Florida experienced a really bad, lingering cold snap, and I only got one day of wind-blown redfish chasing in before heading back to Colorado. Now, with a week of Andros Island bonefishing under the belt, I’ve had enough time with the rod to offer semi-credible thoughts.

What you should be looking for in a saltwater rod is a combination of casting and fighting performance. That’s correct…a quick test run in the shop parking lot alone doesn’t necessarily cut it – you need controllable power to push flies through stiff wind and tippet-safe force to turn those noses once you hook them. You also want a rod to have the general toughness to withstand a lot of time banging around in a rod well, being dropped on the deck, and finding itself on the receiving end of a liquid that can eat through steel-reinforced concrete like I eat through pepperoni pizza. Scott hit all points spot on, which means the folks in Montrose are either really fishy and whip-smart, or they have a spy camera hidden somewhere in my dining room.

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