Like most fly fishers, I share what non-anglers might more aggressively call viral disease. Its symptoms include collecting of the most financially impractical sort – I’m always on the hunt for the next “soft” fly rod. If you think “soft” is an inefficient way to describe the mechanical characteristics of a fly rod, you’re right. Nevertheless, it is the individual and pleasant combination of these characteristics that every fly fisherman looks for in a rod, which can be accurately described in this way.
Of course, “soft” has a connotation that is unique to my own preferences. To me, the word conjures up a subtly beautiful fishing tool. It casts like a nostalgic dream, with the relaxed yet precise look and grace of a deep flex fly rod. Because I like to keep things simple, it’s versatile and handles most realistic situations I test it in well.
All of these qualities came together in my rod hand one summer afternoon in a parking lot in Charlottesville, Va., as one of the first offerings from recently resurfaced rod maker Tycoon Tackle, established in southern Florida in 1935. That was where Tycoon Tackle Scion and I began our journey. I had four months of college deferment ahead of me, which translates to about 100 days of fishing and testing my newfound asset.
Performance-wise, it was love at first sight, so to speak, with the Scion. Having worked in a fly shop and made a habit of casting all the rods I can whenever I get the chance, I can say that I have never cast a rod that quite resembles the Scion . I couldn’t wait to apply it on the water and found myself regularly reaching for the other four rods I was carrying for my new favorite.
The Scion Series rod, constructed from graphite blanks, features a moderate action that is a classic throwback to today’s market seemingly dominated by super-fast rods. The result is a rod that casts smoothly and accurately, is a great teaching tool for those new to fly casting, and is able to cast effectively at close range and any realistic distance. Rod action is a very subjective matter, but this rod goes great with the relaxed casting stroke that I prefer, and it’s a pleasure to fish.
Plus, the Scion’s soft tip and deep flex protect lightweight tippets while still retaining enough spine to handle big, strong fish. This has proven especially useful when fishing the high pressure waters of the upper Connecticut River “Trophy Waters” during bluebirds, on low water days of early fall. I found no problem landing wild rainbows up to 20 inches easily on a reduced tip, even in strong current.
The Scion excels at delicate presentations.
A situation quickly comes to mind. At dusk, the still silty waters of a trout stream in mid-coast Maine came alive with the rolling, buttery bellies of brown trout. As I moved up the bank towards the distant rising forms, the fish immediately descended and reappeared about 70 feet upstream. Realizing what the fish required of me, I was able to make precise long casts to place a small land pattern on the noses of several large brown trout.
About a month later, the same thing happened with a line of wild rainbows sipping brown caddis emerging from the surface of a drought-stage Pine Creek in northern Pennsylvania. Both of these experiences, and subsequent similar situations, have trained me to run for my Scion every time I cast dry flies at finicky fish, because that’s when it shines the brightest.
Because I can’t afford a rod suitable for every situation I’m likely to encounter, versatility is an important factor I consider when buying a rod, and the Scion does not disappoint. . It can be comfortably doubled or over-doubled if the situation calls for it, without sacrificing throwing efficiency or feel. It’s helped me catch two-foot trout on streamers in small streams, throw poppers at bluegill and largemouth bass in farm ponds, swing soft hackles and cast dry flies on Catskill trout and drifting heavy double nymph rigs to New England. brook trout and salmon. It never seemed like an inadequate tool for the job.
Tycoon Tackle is proud to handcraft the graphite blanks that serve as the foundation for the Scion Series, manufacture their entire product line in the USA, and offer a range of customizable options when buying a cane. Scion blanks are matte black and feature Snake Brand guides wrapped in a subtle dark green thread. Each weight is available with either a cigar cork or reverse half-well handle. A sleek rosewood reel seat comes with sliding rings or a screw lock system, and a black anodized reel seat is secured with a screw lock system. A hook holder comes standard.
Simply put, a company’s warranty has a huge influence on the rods I buy. Tycoon Tackle maintains a lifetime warranty on all of its products, considering any defective component or workmanship. During my first semester in college, probably due to frozen guides, one of the snake guides came loose from its packaging and was indeed replaced for free.
The Scion is worth the money it costs, but it is not a cheap rod. Prices range from $469.95 for the lighter rods to $549.95 for an 11-weight rod, the heaviest rod offered in this model. Still, for a great handcrafted in America fishing tool, the Scion commands a moderate price tag, especially when compared to similar moderate action fly rods on the market.
What doesn’t work
While not a true testament to a rod’s quality, cosmetics are often an important factor in people’s purchasing decision. The Scion just doesn’t feature dressed whites. Still, the subtle matte black finish with a subtle green wrapping thread is, to me, stunning, especially considering the stellar feel of the upper. Yet I’ve met anglers who, when I present the rod to them, comment on the understated cosmetics before even putting their thumb on the cork.
Nitpicky, yes, but the lack of alignment points is the other detail to which those I introduce this rod to blame. Yes, they are an efficiency tool, but in light of the fishing tool that this rod is, take my word for it and learn how to line up the guides the old fashioned way.
For four months I carried five rods to cover a wide range of fishing situations and found myself constantly ignoring the others for the Scion. Tycoon Tackle has created a very versatile and efficient fishing tool in the Scion, which especially excels in situations requiring precise and delicate presentations to scary fish. Its moderate action makes it an excellent rod for beginners, or for teachers and guides working with clients who will benefit from improved line feel. At $489.95 (for a 4-weight), the Scion Series, entirely handcrafted in the USA, is a great rod for the money.