The recent release of the Scott Wave has had a lot of people sitting up excitedly. At a time when most high-end rods require a kidney donation or a friendly trip to the bank with a bag and shotgun, the competitively priced Wave got people asking about how it might compete with the likes of the Scott Sector and other top brand ranges.

In preparation for getting a thorough review out (watch the mag), we had a chat with the driving force of Scott Fly Rod designs, Jim Bartschi.

What’s your favorite thing about the Wave?
Performance to price ratio. It’s a fun rod to fish, delivers the goods from a performance perspective, and is in reach of many more anglers.

Tidal, Wave… Interesting name progression. Does this give insight into how the wave has progressed from its predecessor, the Tidal?
Unintended consequences.  Playing along, you could say Waves concentrate more energy than Tides!

The Wave is fast – possibly the fastest rod Scott has produced – why the change from Scott’s traditional action that has been central to your fanatical following?
I would somewhat disagree with that statement. Wave rods are not super fast from stiffness alone. They get a good deal of their speed from recovery which allows us to maintain the level of feel and connectedness Scott rods are known for.  While they are quite fast, they still feel alive and active in hand.
At $675, is the wave a well-priced high-end rod, or an expensive middle range rod? But more importantly, if we strip away the components, how much of a difference will we find at the blank level between the Wave, the Tidal and the Sector?
Wave blanks have much more shared DNA with Meridian and Sector rods. They are miles apart from Tidal. I think they are our first well-priced high-end rods to borrow your terminology. 

What does the Sector have that the Wave doesn’t?
In terms of blank technology and component design, I think Sector set a new benchmark. There really aren’t comparable rods.  We compare Wave rods to other high end series on the market. I think they stack up very favorably against those.

In the development of a rod like the Wave –  high performance at a lower price point – where do you start?  Is the goal an all-rounder or are there specific types of salt water fishery or species that are kept in mind, at the start or through the process, for each model?
Both. Each line weight has obvious target species but the rods have to cover a wider spectrum of applications. The 9 weight should be a dialed in permit rod and it should also cast type 4 sinking lines with ease for anglers pursuing warm water species. With the immense variety of species, waters and geographies we fish now, rods by nature need to be more all arounders. 

In hand and at work. Photo: Scott Morrison, Morrison Creative

Who do you – if anyone – rope in for idea development and testing of prototypes? 
Our Pros and dealers are always the core of our development and testing teams. They are the ones with the expertise both in fishing applications and fly rod sales.

From prototype to final distributed product, what is the testing strategy? Any interesting tests to determine baseline performance and potential improvements?
We focus on primary target species and also test as many other applications for the particular rod in real world environments. A good example is the 7 weight spent as much time targeting smallmouth as it did bonefish and redfish.

Without giving away secrets, are there any new resins or composites used in the layup of the Wave versus the Sector and Centric?
No, there aren’t new to market technologies we’ve introduced in the blank designs. Instead we’ve used some of the best materials and design ideas from those series to deliver a new rod at a more accessible price.

You once said that the first item on your design checklist is that a rod should have a tangible reason to exist, a concrete purpose. What do you see as the Wave’s purpose?
To bring some of that Scott love to a wider audience of anglers. 

Three words to describe the Wave?
Smiles all around

Lastly, what’s next? Is it straight back to the drawing board or are going to get some fishing in?
The drawing board is always marked up, and yes, I’m fishing quite a bit lately. I just returned from a South Carolina low country marsh trip for reds, and I’ll be heading to Oregon for a steelhead outing and then the Ibira Marsh for golden dorado. We’ll see what else I can pack on before year end.
For interested South Africans, the following local shops stock Scott, get hold of them to find if they have the Wave yet…

“Smiles All Round”