What goes in to making one of the best fly rods on the planet. We hit the road and spent a day at Scott Fly Rods to find out. What we found was a group of people obsessed with building the perfect fly rod.
When I walked in to Scott Fly Rods, I instantly sensed the tradition and time that has gone in to building the factory. Scott is by no means a fancy space but every nook and cranny has a purpose and there are hundreds, maybe thousands of rod blanks everywhere you look. However, there seems to be a seamless order to things. Every station has a purpose and, along with it, a dedicated employee that has perfected their craft. People truly obsessed with building the perfect fly rod.
The processes of building the blank, to finishing the rod, to quality control are unbelievable to see in person and I'll do my best to give you the spark notes. You have to see it in person to truly appreciate the 10 days it takes to manually build each rod but here we go..
The inception of a fly rod. Custom graphite/carbon sheets are cut from long rolls.
These rolls are then wrapped around a metal mold called a mandrel. Scott has several hundred active mandrels. They also have a mandrel for every fly rod ever made in the factory, my guess is a few thousand rods.
A Scott employee initiates the wrapping process.
A machine finishes the rest with calculated precision.
The blank is then wrapped in a clear cellophane tape that condenses all of the material during the heating process.
The rods are hung and prepped for "baking".
After baking for an appropriate amount of time, the blank is seperated from the mandrel in a complex process that is beyond me explaining well. At this point, the blank is finished and its time to finish the rod. A quick shot of the room where blanks are built..
A lot happens in the finishing room and to provide some perspective on it, here is what
rod-hala looks like..
Normally, one of the first steps is to sand the rod. Scott doesn't do this because they want you to see the detail in the rod building process. Also, sanding the rod for the purpose of painting weakens it. Look closely at a Scott Rod and they don't hide anything..
Guide wrapping is no joke. The Scott team makes it look easy..
Scott ulitizes Portuguese flor grade cork on all premium rods. Flor grade natural cork is the best of the best. Less than 5% of all natural cork can be considered Flor grade. Flor is near perfect, with little or no pits or grooves which is why when you grab one of Scott's rods, the grip feels so dense and firm in hand..
The custom real seats are pretty good looking..
Scott hand paints the rod name, weight and a serial number on every single rod..
And last but not least, a thorough inspection of each rod.
In summary, Scott Fly Rods are the product of great people obsessed with their craft. Fly Rods are all they do. Come on by and we'll see how well they cast in the back yard. Cheers.
Author: Ben McCormick