Sometimes it's major improvements to rod blank technology that set a new rod apart. Other times, it's little functional switch-ups and cosmetic changes that woo consumers. In the case of the new Scott Radian, it's both. In short, Jim Bartschi and his crew at Scott Fly Rods have hit a home run.
The Scott Radian uses Scott's X-Core design to create a wide, stable tube with thin, sensitive walls, along with ReAct technology to speed rod recovery times and reduce vibrations when the rod stops. Getting rid of these extra "wobbles" has been a goal of rod designers for along time, and Scott seems to have brought us a step forward with a rod that casts with crispness and authority, but still has the feeling of connection you need in a trout tool.
And while some might consider the rod handle "cosmetic" I'd have to disagree. Your grip and the grip on the rod can affect the way you cast, and a full wells grip reduces hand fatigue and is a better grip for a wider range of distances and conditions. Sage did it last year with the ONE series, and we may be seeing the beginning of a trend here.
Another improvement is the REC wood-insert reel seat with an uplocking ring Jim Bartschi calls "self-indexing." What this means is that you don't have to spin the reel seat ring to find a proper alignment for the reel foot. It's always perfectly aligned with the forward hood under the handle. It's a very small thing—
and no one has ever failed to seat their reel properly due to lack of a self-indexing reel seat—
but it shows that Scott is thinking about consumers, and considering about every possible path to make things slicker and more convenient. Other small details like Univeral Snake guides with curved, "radiused" feet that fit slimmer on a rounded blank, alignment dots, and measuring wraps on the blank, all add up to a rod that has forward-thinking design and higher performance in mind. The fly-fishing industry seems to agree as the rod won Best Freshwater Rod at the 2013 International Fly Tackle Dealer shows in Las Vegas, and also overall Best in Show.
The 4-piece rods are available in 4- to 8-weight models for $795. For more details, see the video below, or visit scottflyrod.com.