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Review: The Scott Flex 904 – the real deal

This rod is punch you in the face good!

Let’s be clear right off the bat, we are unsure of where to place emphasis on the Scott Flex 904: the Real or the Deal. Read on to find out what we mean.

There is only a single way, in our opinion, to make comment on the Scott Flex range of rods, and that is to put them up against their direct Scott Fly Rod counterparts – which in this case is the Scott Radian 904. Gulp! What a challenge! We LOVE the Radian 904, in fact we adore it & why would anyone want to purchase a 4wt Scott & not buy the Radian? Wait, what? Cost .. oh yeah, that! Fair enough. (stupid money, what ever happened to the barter system anyway)

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The Scott Radian is a premium rod incorporating eight unique Scott Fly Rod technologies plus the handmade in the USA tag that does push it toward the premium price scale too. So, Scott Fly Rods wanted to make their much-loved tapers & technologies more accessible, and they introduced the more cost-effective Flex range of rods. Thank you Scott Fly Rods!

Let me see if I’m getting this right?! The Flex is a poor mans’ Radian right? Absolutely not! This Scott Flex is a competitor for your attention in its own right & we found some superb applications to prove it. Let’s talk you through our love affair with Scott Fly Rods & why we are adding the Flex to that list.

The Review Lab – Tormenting Yellowfish

We planned to run the Flex 904 next to the Radian 904 on a fish-by-fish comparison during our annual hosted trip to the Makhangoa Community Camp on the Bokong River, Lesotho. This is a dry fly, sight-fishing mecca worthy of pilgrimage status and we knew that the fish populations would give us shot-after-shot at yellowfish, but we also knew that these skinny water specimens don’t do sloppy presentations & inaccuracy either.

Sounds about right for an epic trip, let alone the staging for a rod shoot-out.

The test lasted approximately 3-hours & BOOOM! We broke the Radian. User error in haste and well what can you say for stupidity… but the fishing must go on, and given that the Radian 904 has become something of a family member to both Vagabond Fly editors we agreed that the comparison could resume. So, we continued to chase scenarios we believed the average angler would at some point find themselves in.

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Long leaders & dry flies – the standard set-up for the Makhangoa Community Camp is ‘long as your dare’ leaders connected with 6X to any hopper or ant pattern. The Flex 904 could not be faulted in either the accuracy or ability to turn over flies at short to medium distances. Plus mending was a treat utilizing the 9ft to its max.

The hopper dropper – when you find a difficult fish the first option is very likely to add a dropper nymph to the rig, New Zealand style, & double your chances of success. In this instance, the extra weight was unnoticeable on the Flex 904 & we made zero adjustments to the casting stroke at both short & medium distances while picking off these fish. These tricky fish are usually in faster water so mends were small but ongoing with even micro drag receiving the flat-out spook refusal.

Indicator nymph rig – on the Bokong River it is considered cheating throwing nymphs at these yellowfish, but this is science so we forgave ourselves. The Flex 904 is a fast action & fast recovery rod that made us conscience of tungsten beads & tight loops. We should not have worried; this rod tracks beautifully & the slower reload compared to the Radian could be a real benefit, especially for those without perfect casting strokes.

Long cast & mends – although this is not a necessity on the river we figured some ‘ego casting’ would certainly pique an interest & we took turns over lunch trying to cast full fly lines over a slow-moving laminar run. Nobody quite managed the full line but we did get some eats while mending through the seams in the pool. Long casts, long drifts & multiple mends all come naturally to the Flex 904.

Where does the Scott Flex 904 shine?

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The most obvious ‘shine’ (read it as angels singing hymns) is that of the Deal. For approx. $475 for the Flex 904 vs. the $795 for a Radian 904 you are in for a treat. The Flex 904 brings you as close as you could expect to the Radian for almost half its price point.

This rod is also the Real thing… we’ve cast a few premium rods that do not have the same feel as the Scott Flex 904, nor the fish pulling backbone. Setting hooks, even on the longer casts was easy & we missed very few fish; this was true for some of the more amateur anglers we had fish the Flex 904 too. Likewise, we felt confident that our 6X tippet was always protected on the pickup and during the fight. The real deal? You bet!

So where do you miss out

PC Stu Harley
PC Stu Harley

Components! That is the simple answer, & unless you are a complete & utter gear slut (insert images of Pieter & Colin here) only the very discerning will notice the difference between the Radian & the Flex 904. The only significant technology difference is the React Technology found in the Radian that increases the reload speed and apart from a different finish plus some component alterations your Scott Flex 904 will still boast:

  • 100% hand-made in the USA tags – you want quality? There is no better than the team at Scott Fly Rods.
  • Scott’s X-Core Technology for superb stability – an impressive system that to the laymen reduces the rod thickness to increase feel without losing strength.
  • Multi Modulus Design for fast recovery – multiple fibers with different tensile qualities layered within the rod blank make the recovery of each Flex 904 very precise indeed… and it is.
  • Advanced Reinforced Carbon – ARC technology further reduces wall thickness, minimizing weight & improving feel & accuracy. Tested & agreed!

Closing Thoughts

The Scott Flex 904 is every bit of a contender for your money as any other premium rod out there; the only difference, it is not priced at a premium level. If money was not an option it would be hard to not go all in for the Scott Radian 904 but for the common angler the fact that you get so close to a rod so special for as little as $475 should make the Scott Flex 904 a very important rod to test cast before making any expensive decisions. This rod truly is the Real Deal… we just don’t know what part of that is most important to you? Go cast a Flex 904 today & get back to us on our Real vs. Deal conundrum.

 

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