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Long-Term Rod Review: Scott S4S 906/4

by Michael Gracie

I’ve pulled off a few half-fast rod reviews in the past, only to find some quirk down the road that made me dislike the stick. And go looking for something new. Hence, this review is long term, as I’ve owned the Scott S4S 906/4 for better than eighteen months now.

Scott Fly RodsAs rods go, I’ve pared down my quiver considerably in the past few years. The goal: update my rigs while making them serve multiple duties. Let’s face it, premium fly rods are a significant investment—when you plow money into a business venture, you look for multiple revenue streams, so why not look to use your expensive fly rods for multiple situations and multiple species? Over the last year and a half I’ve spent more time with Scott’s saltwater six than any other rod I own. And as a result, I will likely spend more time with it going forward… than any other rod I own.

The S4S 906/4 is my go-to carp rod, loaded with (what else?) a Rio Carp. It’s the only rod I use for bass, slinging a Rio Bass. I use it for trout too, when ugly meat is required, on the end of a 200gr SA Streamer Express. And I’ve watched my flats-guide-for-a-day whip an entire Rio Bonefish (that’s a hundred feet, by the way) out with a swift wind smacking him straight in the face. He wouldn’t let me cast the stick off his boat, and after it was in his hands he wouldn’t give it up either—this was advanced casting lesson time, so I just thanked him for the instruction. And tucked my 8-weight between my legs.

As far as the rod fit and finish goes, everything is built just as precisely as the S4S 908/4 I reviewed last year. And it looks exactly the same too, so you can take a look at pictures here. I acquired this puppy after inquiring directly to Scott—my specs were as follows:

I want a stick that is lighter than my average carp rod, bold enough to huck Meat Whistles around my (no longer secret) bass pond, and capable of joyful response while doing the sinking line/Sex Dungeon thing Kelly Galloup style. In addition, I want it to feel right with a skinnier reel i.e. under 6oz, and be willing to get the ever-living crap kicked out of it without looking like it needs a trip to the emergency room. Catch my drift?

The folks in Montrose replied: You need an S4S 906/4.

Since delivery I’ve doubled the rod over, exposed it to the salt, slung streamers all day long (tossing six pound rainbows overboard like dinks after this catch), and podium-ed in a tourney with it.

I spent hard-earned dollars on this rod, but it’s been worth every penny—it is, without question, the the most versatile fly rod I have fished with to date. It isn’t soft enough for really short shots—you have to overline it, like I did with the Rio Carp in 7-weight. But the fatter lines, like the Rio Bass, the SA GPX, and the sinkers like the Streamer Express, engage the stick like the shifter on a 911.

Did Scott get this rod absolutely perfect? Nope… I probably can’t easily turn over a #22 midge on the end of a ten foot 6X leader with it. But I haven’t bothered trying. That is cold-water “fancy” fishing—pristine conditions, smaller targets, fine scotch afterwards. The S4s 906/4 is all e.coli, barbed-wire fences, violent targets, and knocking off a case of PBR during the post-game show. I like those situations, but then again trudging around Denver’s South Platte hasn’t sent me to the hospital yet either. Knock on high-modulus graphite.

I’m not sure Scott was planning on offering anything other than a lightweight, light wind, light-prey, salty handler when they were designing the S4S 906/4, but they wound up with something much more special. It takes a little time to learn its intricacies (i.e. I went through several lines before I found the sweet spots), but everyone else can now fade those trades—the lines mentioned above fit like gloves. After the cast you’ll likely never feel outgunned either.

I definitely haven’t.

FTC Disclosure: The rod was acquired in exchange for cold hard cash. And nothing more.

MidCurrent Fly Fishing
Michael Gracie is a sometimes information technology and finance consultant and a full-time fly-fishing junkie.Michael's writing credits includeMilitary Information TechnologyandAngling Trade, as well as a sizable chunk of the code that bringsMidCurrentto you each and every day.
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  • Strolis12

    I agree with Mike on this rod, it is in my opinion one of the nicest if not the nicest streamer rod I have fished, easily picking up grained lines and large articulated streamers and sending them into orbit in one false cast.

  • Tdk104

    owning over 20 Scott rods, my go to rod for Tarpon, red fish, snook an fresh water trout has been the STS model. It is now the S4S. It is a great rod for hardcore fishing!

    March Brown

  • haydenv

    Good times! I have the 5wt S4S and with the same goal of handing down the big ones on only one rod as I was just getting started.  Currently use it with a 6wt gpx and its right at home!  Thanks for the review.

  • Alex Landeen

    I can’t believe you made me fish that S4S crap when I was there… you think an honored guest would get better equipment.

    Especially from the MG spot.

    • MG

      You’re just pissed that Smithhammer had the whole living room to himself while you were stuck with the spare dog bed in the office.  Next time you get the circa 1982 Shakespeare Sigma combo.  And, no soup for you either. 

  • Pingback: Rod Review: Scott S4S 906/4 | Michael Gracie()

  • John

    Is this too much of a rod for a beginner getting into SW Florida Reds, Snook and Trout ?

    • John, It’s certainly not too much rod. If you can afford a premium rod like this, it will make your fishing more enjoyable, even if you are a beginner. On the other hand, there are other, less expensive rods that will do the job. It’s mostly a matter of budget and taste.

  • Jason

    Do you think that this rod could also do a good job casting size 14-12 dries in the 20-40 foot range?

  • jasonrepko

    Well, it’s funny that nothing you describe your uses for this rod – and I commend you for it – covers… salt, as the the S in S4S refers to.

    I bought mine, same rod (S4S 960-4) and used three lines on it: mainly a 6w SA Streamer Express, 7w SA “Hover,” and an 8w SA “Anadro,” mainly for gunning down sea run cutthroat in the Puget Sound/Olympic Peninsula area. Sea runs are a fish you will rarely catch over a pound or two or so. In fact, on a calm day, I’m tempted to cast a 4 or 5 weight for them even in freshwater.

    After 18 months owning this rod, I determined several things:

    1) the S4S 960-4 can cast like an 8 weight into a wind
    2) I can over line it with 7 and 8 weight lines if I choose to and it casts the same.
    3) I might as well be casting a 2×4 for sea runs, as the S4S has NO sensitivity at all
    4) It’s build very nicely.
    5) I could use this as a 7 or 8 weight and fish for coho, pinks and chum

    So it’s refreshing to see you use it for carp and bass (and big rainbows looking for meat) – species that will bend this stick some and counter the inherent stiffness of the rod. But for me, this is NOT the correct tool for my primary use of (60-80% sea run). If my primary use was for (#5 above), It would be perfect in my opinion.

    Tough to find a rod with the backbone to cast in windy conditions with some larger flys (think 7-8 type guts), but with the sensitivity for catching and then feeling a pretty (average) 12-16″ sea run in the 1-2 pound range. I settled on a Sage Salt.

    Let me address your question (and others below) about light tippet and #12 and up dries:


    Not a good fit for me, but sounds like you found a good fit for this rod and your particular quarry.