Scott Centric Fly Rod Review by Scott Pro Grant Houx

Scott Centric Fly Rod Review

On the Water Field Test & Model By Model Review

 The “Centric” by Scott Fly Rods has arrived and with its precise accuracy and unparalleled performance, fish of all species should be shaking in their scales. We at St Peter’s Fly Shop were fortunate to have the early opportunity to review & test the new Scott Centric fly rod through various stages of development.  The Centric is the lightest and most durable freshwater family of fly rods that Scott has ever put out. New technologies allow Scott to make a fly rod that is thinner, lighter in hand, and yet more durable than any rod that has hit the fly fishing market. Scott states: “Fresh, Fast and Unfiltered.”  They nailed it.

Alright, before I go off the deep end in technology, rod model evaluation, and overall performance of the new Centric, let me introduce myself. My name is Grant Houx and I am the operations manager of St. Peter’s Fly Shop. When I am not in the shop, you can find me out on the water guiding or exploring waters and fishing for my own pleasure. I am fortunate to be on the Scott Pro Staff enabling me to work closely with a group of wonderful people who are passionate about fly fishing, just like you and me. Additionally, I’m a certified Fly Fishing Federation Casting Instructor, so you could say that fly fishing is a passion of mine and casting might be one of my favorite parts of the sport. Since Scott makes some of the finest casting and performing fly rods on the water, it was easy for me to find the connection with them. In the following write up, I am going to reveal the new Centric family of fly rods. I will break down the new technologies, explain the performance benefits and break down each model, weight and length, being manufactured. Overall, it has been an absolute pleasure to test drive all the new Centric fly rods and I look forward to sharing the experience with you.

Scott Radian vs Scott Centric Comparison

“We hear the Radian has been replaced, what’s the big difference between Radian & Centric?

I think we should unpack that question one piece at a time.  True, Radian (which has been in production since 2013) will no longer be made after September 1st, 2020.  However, “replaced” is the wrong word as it implies “obsolete.”  Nothing could be further from the truth. Even by today’s rod standards, Radian remains extremely relevant as one of our shop’s top selling rods a full 7 years after it was introduced.  This is almost unheard of in today’s industry.

What Radian did was change our understanding of what a fast action rod should be.  Prior to Radian, a fast rod inherently meant a stiff rod that lacked feel & touch. What Scott innovated and proved so well in Radian is that you don’t need to make a rod a broomstick in order to achieve quick recovery speed.  Scott manipulated the taper and weight of each section in such a way that they were able get the tip to bounce back quickly, but not through stiffness. The end result was a fast recovering rod, that roll casts beautifully, had incredible mending ability, could fight fish on light tippet, but could still deliver a streamer to the opposite bank.

How do you make a rod that does all that any better?  In the times we have posed that question to Scott, the reply has always been, “We are always trying, and the day we can, we will.”  Yes, Radian left some big shoes to fill, and making a rod noticeably better than the Radian rod was certainly no small task for Scott Rod designer, Jim Bartschi.

In our careful review of Centric, we truly believe Bartschi has hit it out of the Park in improving upon the already firm groundwork that Radian laid. The Centric certainly feels faster than Radian, and much lighter in hand.  Make no mistake though, this rod still holds onto everything we loved about Radian in terms of roll cast ability and light tippet protection. These are the most efficient rods Scott has ever created. High line speed, and flat, stable loops are easily generated at any distance with minimal effort from the caster.

Like last year, when Scott surprised us by improving upon Meridian with the Sector, we were all initially skeptical.  In quick time however, it became noticeably obvious that the Sector was a vast improvement upon Meridian in so many ways.  The same will be true for Centric.

Speaking of Sector, you might notice that the Carbon web technology in Sector is absent in Centric.  Prototypes of Centric did in fact feature Carbon Web. However, the added weight of Carbon web as percentage of graphite in a freshwater rod was noticeably more than in a saltwater rod.  Ultimately, the added weight of carbon web in a freshwater rod didn’t justify any benefits like they do in a saltwater rod. Sure, Scott could have put Carbon Web in the butt section of Centric, just to say it has carbon web (with no performance benefit), but recall the blurb previously about Scott’s truth in rod building. The takeaway, if it makes the rod better, Scott will do it.  If it doesn’t, they won’t.


When you pick up a Centric, immediately you notice that the rod is super light in hand. In turn, by the end of the day you’ll notice less fatigue and that the last cast of the day was just like the first. New resins and ARC2 technologies are the main two contributions that allow this to happen. The improved resins create a stronger fiber connection allowing the rod to be more accurate, rebound quicker, and increase fishing performance. Advanced Reinforced Carbon(ARC) is a material that Scott has been using while building their rods for many years. ARC2 is a new generation material that is 35% lighter than its predecessor. Essentially, it’s an additional scrim that is used to increase break strength and creates stability allowing for light weight construction of the rod walls. Stronger, lighter, and better overall performance in short. After spending some time fishing Centric rods, these attributes became apparent immediately.

     When it comes to performance, I think of it in two realms: casting and fishing. The new Centric is an all-around package that scores extremely high in both of these fields. I was able to cast every rod in the family and no question, some models spoke to me more than others. With that being said, overall, each model has been thoughtfully designed to adapt to what the angler may want to do with it. The 8 foot 6 inch 4 weight (854/4) was a gem that shinned on our smaller local water: the Cache la Poudre river. Precise enough to present tiny dry flies, yet diversely powerful enough to throw dry dropper rigs into the wind. Certainly, the 9 foot 5 weight is the all-around do it all model, and the rod that I fished most extensively while testing. It was nice to have the opportunity to fish it in a multitude of scenarios allowing for me to really evaluate its performance. I’ve fished Scott Radians for a number of years, and there’s no question the Centric is an improvement from what was already a magnificent fly rod. The rod casting performance is adaptable with the ability to present delicate small dries like Trico’s, to throwing giant foam Salmon Flies. Additionally, the 5wt still has the backbone to handled heavy weighted nymph rigs as well as streamers.
Did someone say streamers? If heavy bugs and larger waters are your game, this is where the 9 foot 6wt and 7wt stood out. Plenty of power, yet still a pleasure to fish even in the heavier weight fly rods. The outstanding fishing performance stands out even more so in the larger weight rods within the Centric family. Potentially, that is because we demand more from a fly rod when fishing larger waters and heavier flies. Everyone who has fished heavily weighted nymph rigs in large currents knows the importance of line management and mending. I’ve casted a lot of fly rods that cast beautifully, but when it comes time to “fish” and manipulate line across many currents, they’re useless. If you want a rod that casts and fishes well, the Centric is just that.

After spending some time with the Centric family of rods, it became clear to me where they stand compared to other Scott models. The Centric is a fast action fly rod, built to perform in a multitude of angling scenarios. From medium to larger rivers, from trout to bass and from dry flies to streams, that is where this rod shines. It’s a perfect rod for most all trout conditions, minus creeking. If you want a nice soft dry fly presentation rod, I’d recommend looking toward the Scott G Series. If you want a streamer rod that can throw sink tips all day, or is built for chasing larger species, I’d look to the Scott Sector. If you want an all around trout rod, no need to look further than the Centric. Now let’s take some time to break down the models.


Scott Centric Fly Rod Model By Model Review

     The above gives a rounded overview of what improvements have been made to the Centric family of rods and how that translates into performance. Now let’s take a minute to look at each model individually. I’ve had the opportunity to cast and fish the majority of the available models. As mentioned, the design of these rods is built with specific applications in mind, but their versatility allows you to adapt to the required fishing conditions.

Scott Centric C8544 (8’6” 4 wt fly rod)
      This was one of my favorite rods I was able to fish, mostly because it was perfect for our smaller streams. The 854-4 is the smallest rod in the family and struck a note for me especially using dry dropper rigs or small dries. Extremely accurate and the shorter length allows you to properly place dries to rising fish. Pocket water and shorter shots were the name of the game with the shorty in the family. I paired it up with an Elite Rio Gold WF4W, which loaded the road beautifully and delivered tight loops to surfacing trout.
Line used: Rio Elite Gold WF4W

Scott Centric C9044 (9’ 4wt fly rod)
The 9 foot 4 weight was the master of versatility for the Colorado Streams I tested this rod out on. Perfect for pin-point dry fly fishing, yet bold and stable enough to throw nymph rigs when the occasion arose. Plenty of back bone to land trout over 20 inches, but really ideal for fish in the 12-16 inch range. I spent a full day in the North Platte Canyon with this fly rod as I knew it would be ideal as the conditions changed throughout the day. Upon arriving on the water, tricos were swarming and fish were sharking the adults off the surface. After fishing a size #22 dry for a hour and landing a few well fed browns,  air temps warmed and the hoppers came to life. The 9 foot 4 weight brought life to a size 8 Chubby and moved it through the air effortlessly. Temps continued to warm in the afternoon and all surface activity disappeared. Just like the fish, I made the adjustment to present flies deeper in the water column with a nymph rig. The longer length on the 9 footer enabled me to make the proper mends and line management techniques. Performance both in casting and in fishing…that’s what makes a well-rounded fly rod.

Scott Centric C9054 (9’ 5wt fly rod)
     If there’s one rod in the Centric family that I could pick from to have in my quiver, the 9 foot 5 weight would be the one. As a Scott Pro Staffer, I got the opportunity to fish the 5 weight prototype for the last few months and the final version for a portion of that. “Wow,” is what comes out of my mouth and joy is what comes out of my heart when casting and fishing this rod. Giant Double Salmonfly rigs to tiny Blue Wing Olives, the 5 weight gets it done. Heavy nymph rigs or light streamers, you got your match here. I do a lot of float fish guiding on tight quarter, demanding rivers; many of which I won’t mention. These rivers require an angler to present flies accurately and on time. Gold stars here folks! Like a pitcher throwing a strike out slider in a baseball game, you as the angler have complete control over fly placement with this rod. Zip a giant dry fly along the bank with a manipulative aerial mend, now all you have to do is wait for the gulp! I did notice that the Centric 5 weight was more capable for fighting larger fish that are 20 plus inches compared to it’s little bothers in 4 weights. With all that being said, that is why the 5 weight would be the one stick I’d gravitate to in the new series. Blown away!

Scott Centric C9064(9’ 6 wt fly rod)
     The 6 weight begins to show the power of the larger rods in the Centric family. As you move into a 6 weight, you expect a rod to begin to get a bit heavier to the hand.  Not with this rod. The combination of light weight and pure power is evident when fishing this rod. Large waters and larger fish are where you’ll see the 6 weight excel. I spent a couple of days fishing the Grey Reef on the North Platte drainage with the 6 weight putting it to the test. This rod has lots of game whether I was throwing monster foam hoppers to grassy banks in 20mph winds, or long heavy nymph rigs. It was dialed. As we floated through some larger structure, I switched over to a Rio Intouch 24ft 200 grain sink tip line with an articulated streamer. The 6wt has the backbone to get the job done and not wear you out. Now if I was going to throw streamers all day, which I thoroughly enjoy, I’d go with the Scott Sector 9 foot 6 weight. For a few hours I did huck the heavy set up it handled the rig surprisingly well.

Scott Centric C9064FB(9’ 6 wt with fighting butt)
The fighting butt version of the 6 weight Centric casted and performed very similar to the non-fighting butt model. I feel as though this option is a preference of the angler. I prefer a fighting butt on my 6 weights and up. The reason is that with a 6 weight, I’m normally chasing larger fish that likely will put up a longer fight. The fighting butt allows for leverage when placed on your hip. I wish every day were a 20 plus fish day, and up at the Grey Reef it’s not uncommon. Not only 20 fish, but with an average of 18 inch fish and a handful over 20. That is when the fighting butt comes into play for me.

Scott Centric C9074 (9’ 7wt fly rod)
The 7 weight is the heaviest model in the new family of Centric rods. If you want a rod that pushes all the performance highlights of the 6 weight to the next level, you’ve got it in the 7 weight. It’s redundant, but worth noting again how feather light the rods are for all the power they have. With that being said, I’ve come to fully understand that is one of the largest improvements in this series over the Radian. I casted a 7 weight Scientific Angler Amplitude smooth and it seemed to pair very well. I really tested it with a Rio Intouch 24ft 300 grain sink tip line for the necessity to get deep with big bugs. The 7 weight had the rigidity to power up a large streamer with no problem. Again, if I was going to fish this way all day I’d go with the 9 foot 7 weight Scott Sector, but perfect for a quick rig switch over.  I envision this rod being ideal for those anglers that love to chase giant trout, with Alaska in mind. If you are into the warm water game, you could also classify this as a wiper or carp chaser. Plenty of backbone in the 7 weight which comes stock with a fighting butt.

Scott Centric C9554 (9’ 6 inch 5wt fly rod)
As the Centric rods lengthen, I noticed very little drop off in casting ability, but more so increased performance in fishing and line management in particular. The longer rods give better control of mending and controlling a better drift over multiple currents. If nymphing is your game, the 9 foot 6 inch and 10 foot rods will be right up your alley. I’d have to say I enjoyed casting the 9 foot rods better and I always feel more connected to the fly, but the longer rods do have their place when on the water. Out of the boat, these rods also excelled when using a nymph rig. Plop a 20 foot cast across multiple currents and you’re still in the game with plenty of tip control to mend. Another area where the longer rods tend to be advantageous is on lakes. When in a float tube, the extra length can really help with leverage. I’ll get to that a bit more in the 10 footers.

Scott Centric C9564 (9’ 6” 6wt fly rod)
     Very similar to the 5 weight version of Centric, the 6 weight just felt beefed up. A bit more all the way around. More casting and fighting power, yet not fatiguing to cast over and over. If you plan to fish out of a boat and hook some larger fish, the 6 weight becomes a necessity in the quiver. I can think of a ton of rivers that the extra length would be great for from the Madison or Big Horn, to the San Juan or North Platte. Again the main advantages being better for line manipulation, high banks or leverage in lakes.

Scott Centric C10044 (10’ 4wt fly rod)
Overall the 10 foot version of the Centric play a similar theme in that they are beautiful casting rods, built for more specific use. In the case of the 10 foot 4 weight to me this is an ideal rod for high stick and Euro nymphing. The 4 weight is fast action, but comes with a sensitive tip ideal for those styles of fishing. The 4 weight particularly is ideal for our local river the Cache la Poudre. It made casting over the high willows on the bank easy and was ideal for reaching far seams where the fish were feeding. The extra foot from the 9 foot version is also exactly what you want when in a float tube. The extra length does make the rod more specialized, but offers an option for people who fish those types of conditions.

Scott Centric C10054 (10’ 5wt fly rod)
     A beefed up version of the 4 weight, the 5 weight Centric is a step up for those who want to chase larger fish and make longer casts. The 5 weight isn’t quite as tip sensitive as the 4 weight so if Euro Nymphing is your gig then I’d stick with the lighter version. At the same time, if you’re getting into powerful fish with lots of current, the 5 weight is going to be advantageous. More backbone and fighting power. The 10 footers still make some nice loops and for those looking for more reach this rod will fit you perfect.

Scott Centric C10064 (10’ 6 wt fly rod)
Last but not least is the 10 foot 6 weight Scott Centric. Definitely not least as the 6 weight continues to climb up the scale of power. Stiff, fast and a tool for getting the job done. I took this rod out to a local lake that is surrounded by tall grass to hunt Carp. I normally like a 7 weight for Carp like the 9 foot version of the Centric, but the 10 foot 6 weight was plenty powerful enough for the 10 pound carp that were tailing. The recovery and tip traction is tremendous for a 10 ft rod. I was able to softly yet precisely present to shallow water fish. The extra length was a bonus to keeping the fish out of the reeds. It helped me to gain leverage and steer the fish back to hand.

Overall, I can say I am really excited about the new family of Centric Rods. One of the many things I admire about Scott as a manufacturer is they only put out new products when there’s actual improvements to design. The Centric Rods are a perfect example as they are superior to previous models. Fast, crisp, accurate, powerful are all attributes that these new rods encompass. For the angler looking for the all-around trout fly rod and much more, the Centric is the rod for you. It is easy to embrace the products that Scott is putting on the market. Fine hand-crafted fly rods being built in Colorado with folks who share the same passions about angling that you and I do. It’s all in the details, and how those details are brought together, and it has a whole lot to do with the people who make your rods. Sure, materials are important. In fact, they are extremely important, but that is just the first step in making a great fly rod.
For any of you looking to try out a Centric for yourself, stop by the shop and check them out for yourself.