Ever since Scott sent our testers a couple of rods from their new Scott Sector range, we’ve been gagging for a verdict from their long-term test. After all, the Scott Sector has retired the legendary Scott Meridian. Both of our salty guinea pigs, Fred Davis and Peter Coetzee, are unabashed long-term Scott fans,. But, they’re also hyper-critical SOBs who demand a lot when it comes to gear. They put both the 8-weight and the 13-weight (the latter designed specifically for GTs) through their paces in various spots around the Arabian Peninsula. Here’s Fred’s verdict on the 8-weight.
Rod: Scott Sector 9’ 4-piece 8-weight
Tester: Fred Davis
Test areas: The Saltwater Flats of the Arabian Gulf and Sea, Qatar
Species caught: Queenfish, Arabian bream, black head sea bream, Sobaity seabream
I came into possession of my first Scott, a 2-piece, 8-weight Alpha series, in 2002. I’ve never looked back. Back then, as a relative greenhorn in terms of saltwater gear, that rod blew all others away. Over time I’ve developed an affinity for the Scott and their fast, full action rods. So, when through a series of unfortunate circumstances my Scott Meridian 8-weight disappeared on a trip, it was time to upgrade. A Scott is not cheap, but dealing with the team over the years I’ve realised that they live up to their lifetime warranty and the service is always good.
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The 8-weight comes in three lengths. An 8’4”, 8’10” and a 9’. Each brings its own subtle but important differences. The shorter rods are designed more with the flats skiff angler in mind. Most of my fishing is done wading and I tend to mix up fly weights quite a bit depending on the species I’m targeting, so the 9’, which provides the best option for keeping line in the air and being able to hold a tighter loop with a heavier fly, was the natural choice. Plus, I travel a lot so a 4-piece was a no-brainer.
Even after chatting to Scott President Jim Bartschi about the Sectors, I was sceptical about just how much better than the Meridian the Sector would be.
“The beauty in the Sector is the balance between a soft tip, a robust middle and a powerful butt section.”
“We put a turbo in the Meridian!” was how Jim responded when I asked about the difference between the two rods. Having now fished both rods, I might consider that an understatement. Without a doubt the Sector is a fast action rod – it has a quick recovery (or return to being straight) and is clearly a ‘tip-flex’ rod. But the beauty in the Sector is the balance between a soft tip, a robust middle and a powerful butt section that creates a rod action that is smooth and keeps tight loops through long casts. It does this without ever making you feel that you need to force or overpower the rod to get those last 5-6m (20 feet) of line out, yet allows accuracy at pretty much all distances.
The components are simply next level. The Zirconia inserts in the Cerecoil stripping guides are epic – super slick for minimum friction when casting. A well-known guide was skeptical about their durability so I made sure to test them thoroughly – the Ceracoils have now survived the abuse of six months of banging about my SUV in the desert, of lying on boat decks and being laid on (and even dropped!) on rocks. They’re still unscratched and solid. The titanium snake guides are coated in a low reflective PVD coating and are also recoil.
The rest of the rod’s finishes are superb too. High quality cork has been used for their modified Wells grip and it sports a solid fighting butt with a sturdy high density end section. The ‘Mil-Spec III’ anodising on the machined reel seat is classy and bulletproof. Scott has kept the rod finish to their recognisable un-sanded blank. I love the rough feel. You know that the craftsmanship is top class and there are no blemishes hiding under the paint job. And, of course, the final touch of hand-painted branding and beautifully finished binding rounds it off.
Most of my fishing with the 8-weight Sector has either been on skinny water sand flats, casting small, light flies to super spooky bream or bombing poppers and streamers at marauding queenfish from my SUP.
I have never cast a better 8-weight, period.
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From 5 m (15ft) ‘quick flicks’ to full 30m (90ft) presentations, the Sector keeps a high line speed and accuracy. The real ‘wow’ moment for me was realising just how much power this rod has. In hand it feels like a 6-weight, yet it can pick up 15m (45ft) of floating line off the water without any effort at all, load deeply and then softly drop a 30m presentation right on the intended spot all without the angler losing the feeling of a well-balanced rod.
I’ve paired the rod with a few lines, including the #8WF Rio DirectCore Bonefish and the #8WF SA Bonefish. I’ve also played with over and under-lining the rod with a #9WF Rio DirectCore Bonefish line. This is a rod that does not need to be over-lined, not even on windy days or for heavier flies. When paired with either of the 8-weight lines, the rod comes alive. The loops are tight and the recovery of the rod is super quick with no noticeable vibrations
The Sector has a softer tip which means it is extremely accurate for close and middle distance work. It does lose a little accuracy at the end of the distance spectrum. But, to be honest, I’ve never needed really accurate casts at a full fly line distance. The soft tip also protects thin tippets when chasing those shy, ‘educated’ fish.
“I just keep thinking of chasing kob on the Breede River with this rod when I get home…”
A powerful middle and butt section gives it the backbone to make long casts and effectively turn over heavier flies despite the softer tip. But it’s the well-designed taper (this determines where the rod bends according to the power used by the caster and the weight of the line) that makes over-lining the Sector completely unnecessary. This taper also means that it deals with short heavy tapered fly lines really well. The Sector is far happier casting an #8 Rio Outbound Short than the Meridian was and it performs really well casting bigger streamer-type flies on the aggressive outbound taper. I just keep thinking of chasing kob on the Breede River with this rod when I get home…
The power of the rod is also noticeable when fighting fish. As long as you keep the big fish fighting through the butt, the 8-weight Sector boxes well above its weight class.
The Sector has blown me away. It’s an all-round rod that I will most certainly be dragging along on all my trips. I really can’t wait to stalk grunter or throw Charlies at bonefish with it. In fact, I’d be happy to cast it at almost any fish. Retailing at $985, the Sector is not a cheap rod. But it is a lifetime purchase and Scott has always looked after me – they have a really good and comprehensive warranty plan. So, if you are planning to fork out on a top end, all-round rod that will perform in a variety of scenarios, I’d strongly suggest the Sector #8.
For the rest of the Scott Sector review, check out Issue 22 of The Mission for free below.