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The Scott 754/3, An Accomplished All-Arounder

By Joe Cornwall, Photos by Jim Stuard

 

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On the Scott web page, the company asks the question "Why Fiberglass?"  They then answer the question with a perfect level of marketing polish.  "Our special S-glass helps us build short, light line rods that have moderate progressive actions. That means you can cast accurately in close and enjoy the pull of a small fish."  Of course it wasn't always that way.

Once upon a time there was only fiberglass.  The rods were neither short nor necessarily for just light lines.  They were 7 to 8-feet and more in length and matched well with 5, 6, 7 and even 8-weight lines.  There are many, myself included, who'll argue that the day of the mid-weight, mid-length fiberglass fly rod is far from over.  But in today's marketplace most of the new fiberglass rods from the "recognized" brand names seem to assume an angler will only want "soft" glass for those tiny brooks, small fish and close presentations.  That's a curious situation, especially considering the personality of this rod.

Scott's built a powerful, versatile and tough little utility player in the form of the Fibertouch 754/3.  While their marketing prose may paint a quaint picture of pocket water and brook trout, this rod is anything but limited to tiny flows, petite fish and short casts.  This is as good a general-purpose small rod as I've cast in quite some time!

The Scott 754/3 glass rod features an all-cork, sliding-band reel seat.  As with other Scott fly rods, the cork work is impeccable, Rather than use a winding check at the forward end of the grip, Scott uses a single ring of cork, impregnated with epoxy, that is slightly sculpted. 

The blank is black and un-sanded.  The spiral "snake belly" marks left by the manufacture of the glass blank on the metal mandrel is slightly reminiscent of the look of the old Shakespeare Wonderod, but more refined and contemporary.  The metallic green thread wraps and sparse but delicate detailing on the sliding bands and butt cap all reflect a dedication to quality manufacturing.  Nothing about this rod other than its (slightly) portly butt diameter is blatantly indicative of its glass nature. 

There's no flash or "bling" to get in the way, either.  If the Scott 754/3 were a car, it would be a Volvo.  Form follows function. Each of the spigot ferrules features a dark gray reinforcing wrap, on top of which is an open spiral-wrap on the male end.  The epoxy coating looks like it was airbrushed in place by the most precise of craftsmen.  This is a high quality tool and it neither offers nor needs unnecessary frills.

The 754/3 has a belying mass for its small 7-foot 5-inch frame.  Don't be conned by the sliding band reel seat, this rod doesn't want the lightest reel you can get. In fact, I found it balanced best with a large arbor reel.  A little weight below the hand allowed the tip to show its lively feel.  An Orvis CFO II was too light and made the rod feel a bit dead in the hand.  This rod might be designed for "creek specialists...rock hopping up little mountain streams, searching pockets and tailouts with bushy dries for beautiful little natives," but it's not some wimpy little piece of plastic.

The Fibertouch 754/3 is a true 4-weight rod.  I was very happy with a 4-weight Rio Selective Trout double taper line at distances to 50-feet or so.  An aggressively tapered Orvis "pocket water" WF4 worked nearly as well in close and shot line better, albeit with less control over accuracy than a long false cast offers.  An Orvis Wonderline WF5 trout line didn't overload the Scott and a Rio Clouser WF4 (really 4.5) had a synergy with the moderately fast (for glass) rod that let me know air resistant hoppers and foam bugs wouldn't pose a problem.  Dropping to a 3-weight line diminished both control and feel; this little Scott is  punching solidly in its stated weight class.

While I'd love to have a chance to fish this rod for a full season, the review loan was only for a few weeks (which I pushed to a few months, sorry Will).  Even so, the weather worked against getting much fishing time in.  Torrential rains followed record snow storms which themselves followed relentless rains and wild swings in temperature, making January, February and most of March fruitless for even the most dedicated Ohio angler. That said, I had a chance to spend a few quality hours probing passable flows for cold-weather opportunity. The 754/3 is comfortably capable of punching small streamers into brisk winds and has no qualms about controlling a weighted size-10 nymph and indicator..  Its 7  foot reach is more than sufficient to effectively mend line and control casts at all real fishing distances.

Even when there's no chance of catching a fish on top, I'm one who can't resist putting on a small dry fly and watching it drift.  With the Scott I can make easy, accurate casts to small targets with aplomb.  Dropping the rod tip at the end of the cast had the fly landing lightly amidst lazy loops of leader.  The keen feedback provided by the rod made positive and negative curve casts seem almost easy.  The Scott Fibertouch is a fun fly rod to cast.

The 754/3 isn't a "slow" glass rod.  If' you haven't cast one, put aside your preconceived notions of what a glass rod "should" feel like.  This rod is easily as punchy as my Far and Fine graphite rod, but slightly softer in the tip.  It's got nearly as much "grunt" power in the lower third of the blank as the TL Johnson 7 foot 4-weight, with perhaps a notch less speed available from the middle of the blank.  It's a rod that provides lot's of feel for the cast, plenty of flexibility to protect light tippets and enough control to make it more than confident in battle.  Scott describes the rod as having a "moderate progressive action" and I don't know a phrase that describes it better.  You won't mistake it for a carbon canon, that's for sure!

I like this rod a lot.  It's a solid 4-weight that won't complain if you ask it to fire a 5-weight line when conditions demand a bit more horsepower.  It's not intended to cast over the horizon, but it will accept your best efforts if you're inclined to place a fly farther than you should. It's accurate, balanced and refined.  At $525, it's not inexpensive.  It is a powerful, versatile tool that can present flies from size-8 to near invisibility with authority, delicacy and control.  If you're in the market for a light fly rod for trout, panfish and smallmouth bass on demanding creeks you owe it to yourself to cast this Fibertouch.  Highly recommended!

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