We had the pleasure of casting two newly released six-weight fly rods from two premiere fly rod companies, the Sage R8 Core 690-4FB and the Scott Centric C906/4FB. Both Sage and Scott have a long history of building great fly rods through innovation.
The R8 Core and Centric are considered the flagship lineup of rods for Sage and Scott, respectively. We had the opportunity to put them in hand and cast them, and see what the hype was all about. We opted to have “FBs” or fighting butts on both rods. In Alaska, managing larger fish with fighting makes a big difference. Both rods are 9 foot six weights. We paired each rod with the same reel and weight forward, 6-weight fly line. To be clear, we didn’t fish with these rods; we merely cast them. A fishing field test is coming. Stay tuned. With all that said, let’s get to it.
We asked three well-seasoned fly anglers who range in casting ability to perform this review. Matt, Bill, and Jack. Real names are not used to protect the innocent. Both Matt and Bill are highly skilled casters and can huk fly line. Jack, admittedly is not the best caster in the world. To be fair, Jack’s ability to cast is more in line with the median of all fly anglers. All that to say, we have a good representation of casting ability.
How we Rated the Rods- This particular review covers the following. Weight, Casting Distance Capability, Accuracy Capability, Versatility, Recovery, Fit and finish, and Value. All three reviewers were asked to rate each category from 0 to 10 for each rod. Ratings are explained in each category.
Fit & Finish- The first impressions are important. All our testers found the Sage R8 Core and the Scott Centric exude quality. Both rods earn high marks for fit and finish, from the cork to the wraps to stripping guides. Both are aesthetically pleasing and possess a polished and well-refined build—something you’d expect from both Sage and Scott, especially from the high-end rod lineup.
Recovery – What we mean by recovery is the rod’s ability to return after a back cast. Many refer to this as the speed of the rod. Our testers found the Scott Centric to have a faster recovery speed than the Sage R8 Core. Two of our testers preferred the casting stroke of the Sage R8 Core.
Versatility- We see this as the rod’s ability to be used in various fishing situations. Yeah, we know it’s subjective, but so is this whole review, so what of it? The Sage R8 Core is a self-proclaimed “multi-disciplinary” fly rod, whereas the Scott Centric is labeled a freshwater fly rod. We understand “multi-disciplinary” as versatile. Does that include saltwater situations? Not to say the R8 Core can’t be used in saltwater situations, but with the faster recovery speed, the Scott Centric would be the preferred rod in saltwater situations.
Accuracy- The two better casters, Matt and Bill, found both fly rods to be very accurate. On the other hand, Jack found the action of the Scott Centric not in rhythm with his casting stroke and found it to be less accurate than the Sage R8 Core. Matt also preferred the rhythm of the Sage R8 Core but can accurately cast both fly rods. We see this as both fly rods are accurate in capable hands.
Distance- Similar to Accuracy, we realize this is subject to the angler’s ability. With that, the Sage R8 Core rod rating varied with each reviewer, while the Scott Centric was more consistent with the accuracy part of the review. Our assumption is the casting Distance Capabilities have to do with a combination of the casting ability of the user and the recovery speed.
Weight- The least subjective of all. Our rating went from zero being heavy and ten being lightweight. All our users found both rods to be very light compared to other rods. The Sage R8 Core had a slight edge. This could be due to the new generation material, the way the rod is balanced, or simply it could just be lighter.
Value- Both fly rods are expensive, with the Sage R8 Core slightly more expensive. Our testers found both rods to be excellent fly rods and great additions to any fly angler’s quiver. We realized this is a very subjective category also. The way the value category was evaluated is cost over performance. In other words, does the cost justify the performance of the rod? With that, all our testers rated both rods very high. Are they worth the high price tag? Some will say yes, and some will say no. This category has no bearing on the quality of either rod. Maybe it is more of an indictment on the industry. We have said there is a cost to innovation and design, and in both Sage and Scott, the Centric and R8 Core are reflections of that.
The Verdict- The Sage R8 Core and the Scott Centric are fantastic rods and will be a great addition to any experienced fly angler’s fly rod lineup. Both rods are on the expensive side but live up to the ‘flagship’ designation they are intended to be. Impressive action, good feel, and good aesthetic. We can’t wait to get them on the water. With a full lineup of sizes, both the Sage R8 Core and Scott Centric mostly likely make the rod in the weight you want. Go to your local fly shop to see the entire lineup of each and go cast them.
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