Jim Bartschi and crew at Scott Fly Rods have done it again, and it’s called “Tidal.” Maybe not as big a splash as the “Radian,” which deservedly took “Best of Show” honors at IFTD last year, but a very compelling, smartly-conceived, well-engineered rod that fits a specific niche, and fills a good pricepoint. This is a “great” product, and it will contend in the Best Saltwater Rod category at the New Product Showcase, no doubt.
As Bartschi explained to us: This rod is designed to make casting and fishing saltwater class rods easier. Fly fishing in saltwater is challenging by its nature—conditions Conditions, fish, nerves—and often transitioning up from fly rods most of us use frequently (4,5, and 6 weights) just adds to the challenges. We wanted to make a rod that really drove the line and turned over flies easily, even with less-than-perfect timing or double-hauls.”
I’m perfectly suited to “flail test” rods with less-than-perfect-timing and double-hauls. I’ve actually been fishing a 7-weight version and a 9-weight version of this rod for three weeks now. I’m going to vouch for it’s ability to “get a fly out there.” I actually think it’s quite accurate… easy to load, and it’s not lacking in presentation capability. It’s a good, solid, more-than adequate saltwater stick that’s a little lighter on the components, so it’s a little less on price (retail is $475).
In other words, it’s more than enough rod for the trout angler who wants to go on his or her planned bonefish trip. It’s more than reasonable for the experienced angler who wants to add another line weight to the quiver, but doesn’t want to go all-in for an $800 rod.
In my personal case, I have yet to cast these on actual saltwater flats (I live in Colorado), but I have done plenty of “simulated” flats fishing, with heavy and light flies, in wind and on still days. And the result of my testing leads me to think the Tidal has an alter ego. Scott may have landed on an “off-label” application that wasn’t exactly part of the overall strategy, but may ultimately account for a good chunk of sales.
In terms of price and versatility, I think Tidal may be one of the best all-around carp rods ever made.