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  1. #1

    Default Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    I need a little help here , I hunt used rods and deals , sometimes try them out and bail at no loss. I know a little about the Z but not much and nothing about the S4. Can anyone fill me in pro/con ? Was there an S3 too ?

    If you can use ONE and Radian as a point of ref. it would help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Albuquerque, NM

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    There was an S3. I fished it for a weekend on a demo, but that was years ago and I remember little of it. It's Sage contemporary was the XP, I believe. On the S3, when I demoed it I also demoed the Scott E2, and ended up buying the E2, which I enjoyed until Sage came out with its ZXL. By the way, all rods noted above were demoed/purchased in a 9' 5 weight.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    Quote Originally Posted by el jefe View Post
    There was an S3. I fished it for a weekend on a demo, but that was years ago and I remember little of it. It's Sage contemporary was the XP, I believe. On the S3, when I demoed it I also demoed the Scott E2, and ended up buying the E2, which I enjoyed until Sage came out with its ZXL. By the way, all rods noted above were demoed/purchased in a 9' 5 weight.
    These would be around the late 90's than ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Albuquerque, NM

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    Quote Originally Posted by eastfly66 View Post
    These would be around the late 90's than ?
    Maybe early 2000's? May even have straddled the ol' millennial New Year. I don't recall for sure.

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  6. #5

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    The Scott time/tech equivalent to early 2000 XP was STS a fine rod series, both derivative of GLX. S3 & 4 are kind of handsome but dense and forgettable + 1/2 heavy rods. Powerful though and kind of in the ilk of T&T's of the time but better. S4 is more potent than Radian which is interesting. Z-Axis is far, far better. Z- is the "first" fast with feeling" design with a somewhat softer but fast recovering tip. The best rod of its generation but surpassed by its replacement, ONE.

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  8. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    On a trout stream/Suburban Pittsburgh
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?


    I haven't fished any of the Scott rods referenced in this thread but I can tell you unequivocally, the 590 Z is what I consider to be the "swiss army knife" of sorts in my quiver. I've fished that rod here in PA, WI and CO and honestly can't imagine a rod more suitable for my needs. With the right line (I've been using Gold), it can easily small midge dries to double nymph rigs and weighted streamers. I've used that rod for smallies too mainly before I got a 6wt and once again, I found it to be very capable and fun to fish with. It is more of a tip flex rod but it recovers pretty quickly, though not as fast as One from what I've read. What you really need is for S&S to see this for that comparison--and he's already found it!

    I've read and have heard that there similarities between ZAxis and Radian--the tip flex being a common mention. I am afraid to cast Radian because I know what is likely to happen next and candidly, I really don't need another 4 or 5wt. I have and fish both 490 and 590Z and and can tell you they are workhorses in my lineup. If you can find a Z in good shape and for the right price I'd not hesitate to recommend picking one up.
    Last edited by jaybo41; 03-01-2016 at 02:47 PM.
    ~*~Leave only your footprints~*~

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  10. #7

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    Although the only Scott trout rod of that era I fish (and ONLY when visiting Colorado!) is a 9'/#4(.5) S3, I am quite familiar with S4 (better than S3) and it occurs to me that the rod it reminds me of is T&T's rod series of one, NS5. Both handsome and powerful but heavy and "dense" rods. These are hardly "bad" rods, Scott just doesn't make bad rods and my NS5 has served me well too, they are transitional though to their superior Radian, particularly in 6-weight where the tip softness transition is a bit less abrupt than in the lighter line models. Except for its weight disadvantage compared to Radian, Z-Axis is a more refined, rapidly progressive taper design...and has more low end grunt too.

    It is fascinating to me, the rapid material and design progression our modern fly rods are accelerating through. Which does not imply that yesterday's best rod, say Z-Axis, is still not wonderful today. The 5-weight was its sweet spot.

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  12. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    SE Tennessee

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    I've owned a number of the S3, S3S and one S4. The only one I didn't like was an 8' 4wt 4pc S3 I owned for a short time a number of years ago. It was very stiff and lifeless in my hands, not what I was looking for in a shortish 4wt, and I passed it on quickly.

    I have owned 6, 8 and 9wt S3S rods and really liked them all. As S&S noted, they are a little heavy compared to some of today's models but all were a pleasure to cast and fish. I still have a 9wt S3S as a backup flats rod that I have used to catch a lot of bonefish. The weight has never bothered me for that use as there is no blind casting.

    I liked the S4 5wt I had as well even though it got mixed reviews. Fast with a softer tip but not nearly refined in taper or weight as my 5wt Radian.

    Best of luck in your search. I do think these models have depreciated enough in the used market that you could try one and move it along if it didn't suit you at little to no loss.

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  14. #9

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    golf is correct, these Scotts do not shine sub 9', I tried and quickly put down an 8 1/2'/#4. My favorite of this generation of Scotts is the #8 is still in the bonefish quiver but I have not gotten a Meridian yet...

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  16. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Hills South Of Las Vegas, NV

    Default Re: Scott S4 & Z-Axis ?

    Ala Monty Python, “Now for something completely different“.

    "If you can use ONE and Radian as a point of ref. it would help."
    The Radian and Meridian are completely different animals, more than a generation ahead. Drawing comparisons to those rods, the S4 ( maybe ) but going back to the S3? The S3s came out during nearing the end of the RPLXi reign, the S3 was up against the light tipped XP’s. At a time when the last of the California made Powell’s ( those made in Rancho Cordova ) were causing a few anglers hearts to palpitate over the first in the industry graphite rod price of $725.00 with the introduction of the original Tiboron.

    Scott’s S3 and S3s rods offered anglers rods with more raw low end power and tips that wouldn’t fold under load, which happens to be something that I prize far more than compliancy in big water rods.
    This is one of those, you like vanilla or chocolate comparisons. If you really dug the 590-4 XP, then the 905/4 S3 probably wasn’t your cup of tea.

    I still have and use the S3 & S3s series of rods, not exclusively.
    In the line up are two 904/4 S3, one 905/4 S3, one 907/4 S3s and a 908/4 S3. I did have a 9010/4 S3s for about a decade also.

    If shopping the used market and you've not seen one of these up close and personal, just a heads up, both of these series have spigot ferrules.

    The fours are typically used when the waters still up a little to high in late spring and I’m jones’n to use a four and need one with some backbone. Typically it’s used for light multi nymph rigs ( a brace of 12’s or 14’s ) and an inch wide yarn indicator & no shot or for driving an #8 stimulator or larger Trude into the wind. They relate well to half line size heavier lines with medium to short forward tapers. These are not the rods I reach for when I want to fish 16 compara or paraduns on long fine leaders.

    The five is a big water five ( truly a six ) it responds very well to WF-6-F S.A. Trout taper or to a slightly lesser degree a Cortland 444SL, in any case, it likes a six weight line. Stiff more so than fast, leaning towards a medium fast flex profile. Lots of down and dirty power, very good at turning larger fish in heavy current. If you like a softer ( compliant ) tip, this is not the rod for you. This is actually one of my favorite air travel fives, simply because when I get on a plane to chase trout, the destination isn’t going to be noted for its delicate little trout waters. This one can roll a brace of stone fly nymphs up and out of the water at the end of a long hot day, no problem and it’s a very good distance / traditional streamer rod. Maybe not the best with an 30.06 sized cone head, but put a true WF-6 on it, a size six hair winged streamer and you shouldn’t have to much of a problem getting the backing knot through the guides.

    The S3s rods to me are more of an all rounder saltwater / heavy fresh water series. While I do use the 7 and 8 on the flats, if all you were ever going to toss were Charlie’s ( and the like ), sans eyes up to X small lead, small lead eyes on longish leaders, you could do better with any number of today’s choices.
    Mine were some of the first off the line and were in my hands before most dealers ever had one on the shelf and while a lot of changes have taken place in the world of rods, these two are going to the funeral fires with me. The seven and eight are nearly twins, the eight leaning just a tad more towards the power side, but not as much as you might expect for a seven vs. an eight. Though the eights heavier and has a bit more low end power, they will throw the same lines, same range of flies, even nearing the heaviest of loads. I’ll often carry the seven in lieu of the eight, unless I suspect the winds really going to cook, simply because it’s a little lighter.
    They both like the older style S.A. bonefish lines ( horizon ) in a WF-8-F, a Rio Versi-Tip system ( WF-8-F/S ) and they both will handle ST-9 and ST-10 equally well. These are better distance, down and dirty fighters than tippet tenders.

    The S3s ten weight while used a few times on flats, was primarily a wreck rod. I used it almost entirely from a boat, around congested bridge and pier pilings in deep swift current in concert with 30’ of LC-13 with a Rio .030 clear intermediate running line. Not all, but some of the most noteworthy rod manufacturers at that time were in a race to see who could build the best saltwater flats rod for the wave of trout anglers coming over to the brine. So a lot of the rods of those years tended to have pleasing to the touch tips and mid sections that performed well with floating lines in the parking lot. This rod on the other hand was built to subdue fish with girth, getting the fly to them was another matter, if you had the skills the rod would do it, but they weren’t everyone’s cup of tea.

    If it weren’t for the success of the S3 platform, I doubt there would have been an S4 series. In my book, there might not even be a Scott today, if it weren’t for the interest, competitiveness and the sales generated by those rods.
    All throughout the eighties & nineties, Scott wasn’t exactly well represented on the shelves of American fly shops and it wasn’t until the A2, S3, S3s, E2 and their successors made the scene that a larger number of fly fishers and fly shop buyers stood up and took notice.
    The Alpha became the A2, the A3 and now the A4...The G begot the G2.
    STS series wasn’t followed up with a STS2, a new direction for the saltwater program was evident.


    Last edited by trout trekker; 03-02-2016 at 11:44 AM. Reason: art n' typo's

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