It often times pays to have a good relationship with
your local fly shop, but occasionally it
is the only way you may get an opportunity like
I had in August.
My good friend Bob Atticks at
the Sportsmans Center in Bordentown, N.J. seeing me
prowling near the new rods inquired as to what it was
that I already had several of, that I absolutely had to
have today? Think this guy knows me or what?
Anyhow we got to talking
smallmouth bass and 9 foot 6wt rods. I was looking
at a middle-of-the-road well-known brand at about
$280.00 to be used as a backup, teaching, and
otherwise spare loaner rod. I teach a few people
individually each year who have expressed an interest
in the sport. Sometimes I enjoy getting them "hooked"
more than I do the fish!
He would not hear of that
purchase until I'd cast the brand spanking new, yet to be
announced Scott SVS906 he had in the back room,
which I readily agreed to do. Scott was not introducing
the new Voyager Series till October of 1998, but like I said,
sometimes having a relationship is more rewarding than others.
So onto the rod he attached a
nondescript reel with a line and out the back door of the
shop I scurried to put this new rod through it's paces.
After which I went back into the shop and instructed him,
"get your reel off of my rod."
Now I have been at this game for
some time, and am a fairly accomplished caster, but, this
rod impressed the heck out of me on the very first cast.
And as an entry level rod, it gets my vote hands down.
The action is crisp and clean and
while it is a progressive it propelled the line like a much
faster upper end second generation rod. Sorry guys not,
GLX or RPL, but, it may well be the finest rod in it's
Accuracy was superb. Distances
of 60 feet with no effort or hauling were not a problem,
and I was able to get out 90 feet with a haul. But this is
really not needed. As we all know, setting a hook at that
distance is risky at best. The wonderful part was that this
rod loads at typical dry fly distances of 30 feet or less,
marvelously. It lays the line as gently as you
like, or arializes as much as you can handle.
The weight is well balanced and very
comfortable. And at 3.3 oz it is a pleasure to cast all
day long. This is a two-piece rod.
There are upon it's well sanded, satin
waxed, charcoal gray blank, 9 guides. This follows the
formula of 1 guide per foot used in all quality rods. It
was furnished with 1 approximately 12 mm stripping
guide with an aluminum oxide insert. (This is generally
a bit small, but, did not seem a hindrance to performance.)
It is further appointed with 8 stainless steel snake guides
and a very generous pear-shaped tip top. The green
wraps are well executed, with no fuzzies, and are sealed
very nicely with no voids, under which water can hide and
lead to problems from within the wrap. The finish is only
as heavy as necessary, and does not affect rod action or
sensitivity. It is of tip-over-butt construction. (Have you cleaned
and lubed your ferrules lately?)
If you are into amenities, move on, these
are fishing rods, well crafted, but not fancy. The grip is
a serviceable grade of cork, referred to in the trade as
"extra select" It is of "western style", (the 8 weight model
SVS908 is standard with a full wells.) The pits are
not filled, but the structure is quite sound with no large
voids in evidence. The reel seat is an uplocking, black
anodized aluminum, no frills affair, but very sturdy and
capable of holding an appropriate reel.
Now, with an assortment of flies and bugs,
and the new rod I hit the stream. Large bugs are no problem
with this rod, and a typical stream-type wind fades into
non-existence with the power and crispness of it's action.
Into a fast riffle went a Hellgrammite ala Harry
Murray. The rod executed a nymphing technique as well as any
I have used. Plenty of length to reach out, enough strength to
dampen vibration, but sufficient sensitivity to "see the fly"
bouncing bottom, tic, tic, tic. A 2 lb. Bronzeback hooked in
the seam immediately dashed downstream, but even in this
fast water, the rod was sufficiently stiff to turn him and bring
him quickly to hand. A little further down was a nice riffle/run
with lots of grass, on went the Lefty's Bug and wham went the
rod. Again a nice fish, but now well into the grass. Another tough
situation, but that is fishing. Walking toward the Smallie and
using judicious leverage I got him out of the grass.
Next area was a well exposed flat, in the sun,
rocks all over, and just about two feet of shade near the far
bank at about 50 feet. Now Smallies can be as spooky as Bones
sometimes, so a longer cast was in order, and to make a long
story short, three fish were landed on five casts into that very
About now you are no doubt wondering if this
is a fish story or a rod story. Well actually it is both, because
I really think those fish in that stream are passing the word "to heck
with the Osprey, be careful of that SVS906, it will get you."
This rod performed equally well with 5, 6, and
7 weight lines. Giving one the versatility to cast a Griffiths'
Gnat in size 22, or a Dalberg Diver in size 2.
The Voyager Series consists of
serial-numbered rods rated from 4 wt. at 8'4", to an 8 wt.,
9 ft. offering with a fixed fighting butt.
I was originally looking for another
backup, or loaner rod, but I'll tell you what, it deserves far
more consideration than to be relegated to that position.
As an entry level rod, or for the angler
on a budget who needs "one rod", it gets my vote as number
The price, $139.95 retail. (This includes
an unconditional lifetime guarantee, rod tube and sock.)
Call Scott Customer Service at 1-800-728-7208
for the name of the nearest Scott dealer to give this one a try!
~George E. Emanual