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Freshwater Rods

Scott Centric 9-Foot 5-Weight Fly Rod

Hell’s Bells: a fast-action rod that gives you good feedback.
Kirk Deeter author.
Kirk Deeter
January 14, 2024
Scott | Centric 9-foot 5-weight Fly Rod
product description
“Effortless control best describes the Centric 9054. This rod easily generates blistering fast tight loops all the way to gentle open loops. The ability to control loop shape and line speed at all distances makes for a true do it all trout rod.” – Scott Fly Rod Company
company ethos
“At Scott, we’ve spent the last 45 years working to perfect the design, craftsmanship and performance of fly rods. Along this journey, we’ve developed a way of doing things that we call The Scott Difference. It’s focused on handcrafting every rod we sell. It’s driven by our love of the sport, the places it takes us and the people we meet along the way. It’s about striving to make the ultimate fishing tools. Tools perfectly suited to their fishing applications.” – Scott Fly Rod Company

When the tube arrived from Scott, I expected it to be something special. So, I wanted the first analysis to be more than a cursory shakedown. I headed to the grass field behind my house for some quality one-on-one time, poured myself a small mason jar of red wine, put on some Bose noise-canceling headphones, strung up the rod and got ready to “dance.” I put my playlist on shuffle, and the first song that came on was AC/DC’s “Hell’s Bells.”

There could not have been a more appropriate coincidence. With those first ominous tolls and grinding guitar lead, I started making some short-to-medium casts, and I could feel it–and see the Centric’s character–right away. Fast action, yet razor sharp, crisp like a freshly printed 100-dollar bill. Silly accurate. I was willing shots rather than pressing them.

I cued up the entire “Back in Black” album and burned the majority of the next hour casting to driving rhythms, from “Shoot to Thrill” to “Shake a Leg” and “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

I was indeed shaken. I mean (in a good way), I’d always gotten more of a “bluegrass” vibe from Scott Fly Rods. But even at first glance–a black tube, dark, un-sanded blanks with subtle yet provocative red thread wraps at the ferrules (pretty close in color to Angus Young’s candy-apple red Gibson SG)–Centric exudes a spicy, almost sinister character, and I think that reflects the action of the rod itself. To be clear, this is not a “bad boy,” flamethrower, power for the sake of power-type rod; rather it’s a finely tuned instrument that also packs a little growl. It doesn’t say “in your face,” so much as it says, “I’m done messing around.”

Design

That all starts with blank recovery and stability. In other words, you make a cast, and the rod snaps back in line without volatile tip wobble. Think of it like a ski that carves on ice or in powder without too much chatter or drift. Says Scott: “Centric rods combine new tapers and multi-modulus lay ups with a new resin system to increase fiber density and reduce weight, and they feature our new generation ARC reinforcement for greater stability along multiple axes. New custom rolling equipment allows us to control fiber placement and density with new levels of precision.”

How does that translate to feel? Well the rod is noticeably light, and I think well-balanced. If you were to hang it on a nail (or your finger) without a reel, the center balance point is just a smidge past the 20-inch indicator mark (a handy standard for truth-seekers on Scott Rods), which is right where it should be to most efficiently transfer the flex and load going on in the top 7-plus feet of the rod into the grip where the angler feels it and reacts accordingly.

The grip itself is tapered in a way that encourages the caster to apply more pressure where appropriate, and less where it’s not. Titanium stripping guides with super-slick zirconia inserts also help make Centric the best line-shooting 5-weight I’ve cast, especially if you match it with a premium line, like the new RIO Gold Elite with the Slick Cast coating (which is what I did), or a Scientific Anglers Amplitude Infinity Smooth line.

Performance

I’ve since taken the Centric from the grass to walk-wades on small and medium streams, float tubing in reservoirs and several days fishing from the dory on the Colorado.

I’ll say that Centric does everything that its predecessor, the highly-awarded “Radian” does in terms of combining feel with fast action. It’s just that Centric has a little more refinement and moxie. Like it’s tuned up just a bit better. Not tighter–better, like more lasting in tune.

I was the guy who questioned in Field & Stream magazine a few years ago whether the Radian was the best fly rod ever. Believe me, I would have been sorely disappointed if Scott had strayed off course with a “New Coke” version of Radian, and I would have said so.

Scott didn’t do that.

Scott has designed and built a better rod. Not just a better rod–a rod for the ages.

More on performance

If “accuracy” is the thing–it seems that lately the rod manufacturers have realized that distance takes a back seat to accuracy–I can tell you that even a comparative analysis by a competitor (Orvis, more on that soon), out of 30 different rods that were tested for tracking performance, Centric rated among the top four. Of course, the tester’s rod came in first, but it’s interesting to note which rods other rod companies respect and pay attention to. (The other top finishers other than the Orvis mystery rod were the G. Loomis Asquith and the Sage R8 Core.)

The bottom line is that people often ask me what rod I fish, myself. I don’t always fish a Centric, of course, because I like to mix things up. But I have four rod holders on my boat, and while I reserve a couple of empty slots in those holders for visitors, there’s always one space reserved for a 9-foot, 5-weight Centric.  

The 9-foot 4-weight Centric is one of my favorite walk-wade rods for fishing anywhere and will excel in any tailwater–the Delaware, White, Muskegon, etc. 

When the streams get smaller and the banks tighter, I gravitate toward rods with a more medium action.

Pros  

Intuitive accuracy, especially in the right hands. Extreme efficiency translates to ease of effort–you don’t have to work this rod to form tight, flat loops.  

Forgiveness to those who tend to overpower or underpower a casting stroke. 

Crisp roll casting/mending action. Awesome feel from tip to grip that helps casts and fish fighting, equally.

Cons

Not many. Some might have wished for Recoil guides. 

It’s not particularly suited for dropping delicate, baby-tear casts at short range on a spring creek, but it’s surprisingly delicate for a fast-action rod.

Maybe you aren’t into the colors?


Pricing

The Centric 9054 sells for $945. Good rods cost a lot of money. This is an expensive rod, but it’s also a good rod. You get what you pay for.

Durability

Like some of you, I’ve heard the scuttlebut about Scott rods breaking. I’ve not experienced that problem myself. I closed one rod tip in a River Quiver rod rack and broke it. I paid my money, and two months later, I got the fixed rod back. I have nothing bad to say. In general, natural finish blanks are tougher than sanded blanks.

Craftsmanship

Beautiful, natural, hand-crafted fly rods, like everything Scott makes.

  • Price: $945
  • Dimensions: 9-foot 5-weight, 4-piece fly rod
  • Weight: 4.3 ounces
  • Construction/Materials: FiberFuse enhanced resin system
  • Guides: Titanium frames and silicon carbide (SiC) rings (silicon carbide (SiC) rings are diamond polished to create the smoothest surface of any ceramic material)
  • Rod action: Fast
  • Rod tracking: Straight
  • Rod recovery: Fast
  • Warranty information: Scott warranty

Introducing the Scott Centric Fly Rod:

Scott warranty.

“We design rods for high performance and build them to last a lifetime. Sometimes things don't go as planned and you break a rod (sometimes even we mess up). It’s for these occasions that we warranty our fly rods and have a dedicated repair department of rod craftsmen.

The Scott Lifetime Warranty applies only to the original owner of new graphite and fiberglass rods, purchased from an authorized Scott dealer, that are registered within 30 days of purchase.  

Unregistered or resold rods are not covered by this warranty. Rods purchased from third party sites such as Ebay or Amazon are not covered by the warranty.”

Conclusion

At some point, there’s definitely a regional bias, there’s no escaping that. If you’re a Colorado angler, in particular, there is no better match than a Scott rod. That, despite the fact that Scott rods were really born (like many other rods) in California, and specifically on the casting ponds of the Golden Gate Casting and Angling Club. But Scott now lives very comfortably in western Colorado, and every single rod is hand-made in a nondescript factory near the banks of the Uncompahgre River.  

You’re making a mistake, however, if you think Scott rods are only meant for fishing the West. Truth is, there are also very Midwestern roots connected to Scott now, and there is nothing sweeter than a Scott on meandering waterways in the Driftless of Wisconsin, or Michigan streams, limestone creeks in Pennsylvania, but on those waters, I’d rather fish the Scott G Series. The G is equally brilliant as the Centric. 

Centric is far from a one-trick pony. I fish the 4-weight Centric on smaller rivers all the time, but the 5-weight Centric really shines in the West, at least on bigger rivers, like the Colorado, Madison, Green, Bighorn, Missouri, South Fork of the Snake, North Platte…

Likely buyers

Who should buy Centric? Good casters who can appreciate its virtues, and people who gravitate toward the types of rivers I just described. Versatile anglers–the type who will throw dry flies, nymph rigs and streamers in the same day with the same line and rod.

Man with Scott Centric Fly Rod
Man with Scott Centric Fly Rod
Scott Centric Fly Rod
Scott Centric Fly Rod
Rainbow trout
Man with Scott Centric Fly Rod
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