Scott Centric 9 foot 5-weight

David Anderson Reviews the New Scott Centric fly rod

Due to time constraints and the seemingly endless 2020 off-season, I didn’t even open the new Scott Centric 905 sent for review before taking it fishing with my second-favourite fly fishing guide (after the great Hank Patterson of course) Cameron McGregor, near Mitta Mitta.

Assembling the Centric 9-ft 5-weight for the first time, I was a little surprised by its stiffness, particularly in the bottom three quarters of the blank. Even after lining it up, I would still call it very fast for a Scott trout rod. It’s certainly faster than the Radian model it replaces.

Given the high spring flows and heavy flies required to have any chance with the fish, I initially put an aggressive line on — a new WF #5 RIO Grand Elite — and Cameron tied on a pair of tungsten bead-head nymphs under a substantial wool indicator.

While a heavy rig, this is one of the jobs I expect of a 9-ft 5-weight trout rod, and once on the job, the Centric offered no complaints in delivering, mending and re-casting the whole show in the 30- to 60-foot range. However, at greater distances, it did feel a touch over-lined.

Where it differs most from the Radian, at least compared to my 4-weight, is that the Centric’s tip is actually softer and the lower three quarters of the rod faster. The transition between these sections is very short. If all that sounds odd, trust me, you won’t care once it all starts working on the river where it’s both more powerful and more refined than the Radian.

When I asked for his opinion, Cameron offered: “For a fast 5-weight, it really came to life with 20-plus feet of line out, but it was still exceptionally good in close. It is a rod with a lot of feel and inherent accuracy. I never felt I had to muscle it to get the most out of it, which is pretty rare for fast tapered fly rods.”

Back in the lab (local park), after going back and forth between the RIO Grand and Perception several times, I would agree with Cameron that the Centric doesn’t need to be leaned on for long casts and, uncharacteristically for such a fast 5-weight, responded better to a more relaxed casting stroke. 

The less aggressive line taper would be my pick, unless casting larger streamers or very heavy nymph rigs, because it never overworked the rod, even at extreme distances. Also, for a fast 5-weight, I found this combination good for very short casts.

In the more practical 30- to 60-foot mid-ranges — where it counts — the Centric is an intuitive and communicative casting tool that’s very accurate. Loops are easily controlled thanks to the excellent recovery, and the swing weight is best (by being least) in class. 

In looks, the rod is very much grey number 48 of the 50, and more modern than a Radian. It’s still very obviously of Scott DNA with the unsanded blank, beautiful black wraps with metallic red accents and dark ‘low glare’ titanium snake guides.

Where the look strays from the classics is the flat black anodised single up-locking reel seat with its very modern Micarta insert. While this may be polarising to the wood-and-tweed crowd, I think they might soon forget the infrastructure after a quick cast. The rest of the hardware consists of a high-quality cork full Wells grip, fish measuring wraps at 12 and 20 inches and Scott’s always classy handwritten logo and model designation.

The Centric range consists of eleven 4-piece models in 8’6″ to 10′ lengths from 4- to 6-weight. They come with Scott’s lifetime warranty for the original owner. Really, all that’s left to ask is: where’s the 8-foot-something 3-weight for us small stream fast rod guys?