I use three fly rods for trout, all five weights. Each has a slightly different purpose, and has strengths and weaknesses that make them good in different situations. They all have different actions, and this is what makes them different.
The three rods are a Scott G Series 905/4, a Scott Radian 905/4 and a Sage TCR 590-4.
I do not change rods often, and had not bought a new trout rod since 2004 until this season. I had been using a Sage SP 590-3 for fishing the evening rise, but it was never a rod I liked very much. It was too in between slow and fast for my liking, and was not as accurate as I liked. There were plenty of good reviews about the Scott Radian, so I picked one up in 2014 after the election.
A fat brown taken after dark with a perfect cast with the Radian. It hit a Deer Hair Caddis #14, and I struck on the sound of the take.
The Radian is an awesome rod. It is very consistent and very accurate, but still has enough grunt to lift a long line off the water and put it straight back down without a false cast. It works well with both a long leader and a short leader, and is good on the take.
Action: Scott claim this is a fast action rod. It is relatively fast, but not as fast as my Sage TCR. It has good feel and accuracy with very good line speed.
Uses: I bought the Radian for fishing the evening rise. There are two things I am looking for in a rod for fishing the evening rise, being able to cast 50-60 ft without making a false cast, and being good on the strike. I’ll go into detail about fishing the rise in other articles, but the short version of these is the Radian is just about perfect for fishing the rise and is a beautiful rod to use.
I also use the Radian with my long leader and while it doesn’t have the grunt of the TCR it is an easier rod to fish.
What it is good at: The Radian is a very accurate rod and casts well. It recovers quickly and does not require many false casts to cast a reasonable distance. It is great on the evening rise, and good on the strike so is a good rod when my timing is out or I have not been fishing for a while.
What it is not good at: Really heavy nymphs don’t cast well with this rod, and without the right long leader set up it can feel a bit under gunned. It is not good at casting really long distances, so I prefer to use my TCR for lake fishing where quick casts and few false casts are the best technique.
While the Radian works well on the evening rise it is not as good as the G Series for close range casting, so I would not use it with a short leader if I were fishing a small stream or fishing to fish on the drop off.
What I use it for: This is my evening rise rod, as it is very easy to cast relatively long casts without false casts. I can pick up 40ft of fly line and put it back down accurately without a false cast.
I have also been using it in smaller streams when I am using my long leader. It is not as good a caster of heavy flies, and doesn’t cast quite as far as my TCR, but it is much easier on the take so I connect with more taking fish when I have not been fishing much and my timing is not perfect.
Who should use this type of rod: This is a good rod for a reasonable angler who wants to cast a long leader. It is beautiful to use, good to cast, good on the take, and an all round lovely rod.
Line This rod works best with an Airflo Double Taper
Leader This rod works well with either a level 5lb leader of a little less than nine foot, or a longer leader based on a 10ft Airflo Polyleader.
The Radian comes with a handle that is too thick for my liking, as it does not allow me to really feel the cast. I got the guys at Laver & Wood to sand it back using a drum sander.