Scott Rod Company
Harry Wilson was the talented rod maker who started Scott Powr-Ply Company in 1974. In 1975, Wilson demonstrated his management savvy when he hired his first employee, one Larry Kenney. This team developed and grew the company from Wilson's basement to a major rod company in just a few short years. Wilson retained ownership until 1987, when he sold the company to William Ford (Ford Motor Co.). In 1989, Steve Phinney purchased a share of the ownership. Larry Kenney retained his ownership share until 1993 and continued as a company director until 1996. In 1994, the company was moved to Montrose, CO. Currently, the company president and lead rod designer is Jim Bartschii. Bartschii started with Scott in the 80s and took over as company president in the late 90s.
One of the early Scott developments was the Flex Ferrule, an internal spigot ferrule with the same flex as the rod blank. In addition, Harry Wilson developed a technique of adding internal fiberglass sleeves into the rod blanks to modify the stiffness and vibration of the final rods. Scott rods were known for their fine casting properties. Each rod blank was flexed and trimmed to match the characteristics of the master blank for that model. This ensured consistency from rod to rod. (1)
Differences in the various Scott fiberglass rod models
(information from posts by Larry Kenney)
Scott's original glass blanks - both yellow and brown - were built by California Tackle Co of Gardena, CA using e-glass and polyester resins on proprietary mandrels designed by Harry Wilson. Cal Tackle made the Sabre line of conventional rods but virtually no fly rods except for custom contract work like that done for Scott. The only difference between the yellow and brown was the pigment. Scott discontinued fiberglass in 1981, although a few rods were built from existing blank inventory on special order. Scott relaunched glass with the Fibertouch line in mid90s. Originally in a dark amber color, the rods were made from S-glass with epoxy resins on new mandrels. In addition, the new glass blanks were, and continue to be, rolled by Scott, first in Berkeley, CA and later in Montrose, CO.
Other than a few pre-1973 rods built on Lamiglas blanks by Harry Wilson, Scott glass has had at least 5 separate generations:
- original yellow glass, slightly on the amber/orange end of the spectrum, built for Scott by Cal Tackle Co from 1973 to 1976-ish
- same glass, same mandrels, same patterns with a slightly different yellow color going just slightly toward the green end of the spectrum. The color change reflected a change in the pigment in the pre-preg used in 1976 and 1977
- brown glass, simply a different pigment, a conscious color change by Scott. The blanks were still rolled by Cal Tackle on the same mandrels and patterns, from about 1978 to 1981
- the brown S-glass rolled on new mandrels by Scott itself starting in 1993, but without the internal sleeves of the earlier Wilson era glass rods
- the black S-glass rolled on those same new mandrels beginning around 1996, also without the internal sleeves
1970-80s Scott Fiberglass Rod Models
"Scott built two piece models in yellow glass and five piece yellow models. Scott didn't list three piece models until 1979, the year after the switch to brown glass, though it's likely we made some after that in yellow with remnant inventory. We built them all, along with the occasional four piece, 9' # 9 line rod (never listed) through 1981, after which they weren't listed, but were still built on occasion on request." The heavier rods were available with short fixed fighting butts. "Original yellow glass rods had gold aluminum hardware, either down locking slide band or full metal uplock. Stripping guides were Perfection chrome WCSs or WCGs. Wraps were a brown special dye lot by Sunset. Brown blanks had the same rust/brown fittings used on the graphite rods. Guides switched to the new Perfection ACS ceramic insert type, with the shock ring dyed rust to match wraps and hardware, same as on graphite. Wraps also went to rust/red from brown at this time. Very few glass rods, if any, were finished with the black hardware that was the next change for graphite rods." Larry Kenney
|Two Piece Rods|
|F82B||WF7 bass taper||8'|
|F87B||WF7 bass taper||8'6"|
|Three Piece Rods|
|Five Piece Rods|
1990s Scott Fiberglass Rods
Some informative posts from the Fiberglass Flyrodders archives
I was wondering about the internal sleeves used to modify the wall thickness in the early Scott fiberglass rods. The rods seem to have an internal sleeve in both tip and butt sections. I was always curious the placement and location. Such attention to detail today would be cost prohibitive and is a detail that makes the rods so interesting to me. Thanks, Tom
Harry Wilson had a pretty good intuitive feel for where a rod needed to be stiffened with a butt sleeve, or where a tip sleeve needed to be placed to add mass to smooth things out. But we still spent a lot of hours dropping in unglued test sleeves of various lengths, then casting, before we got a rod to perform as we wanted it to. Larry Kenney
I have a Scott five piece 7 foot marked for a WF4F in the yellow glass (F-70/5). I read that the early rod blanks that Harry Wilson used were from Lamiglas and that later yellow rods were made from the same blanks as the brown rods. My rod is #570-533 and reads: Scott L Pow R-Ply 7.0' - 2 1/2 OZ - WF-4F. The fittings are gold colored and it came in an aluminum tube with a white pasted on label. The tube has a rubber cap connected by a bead chain. I would love to know more about this wonderful little rod. Did Harry Wilson actually inscribe these early rods? Also this rod does not seem to have any internal sleeves - maybe because it was five piece? Any information would be appreciated. Thanks.
A rod with serial number 533 is almost certainly from early Cal Tackle stock on Harry Wilson's recently designed light trout mandrels. It would have been made in 1973 or 1974, in Harry's first basement shop on 10th Avenue in San Francisco. Everything from ferruling to signature would have been done by him. When I came on board in 1975, we rented official shop space on Cook Street and decided to start up with new serial numbers beginning at 1000.
F70s (in the brown pigmented glass labeled F703) were among the nicest light line rods Scott or anybody else ever built. While not exactly rare, these rods were never built in significant numbers and I suspect there were fewer in yellow glass than in the brown version that we did from late 1977 on (same glass, just a different pigment). The white case label dates it to 1974 or earlier. From where I sit, that model is the Holy Grail of glass Scotts and earlier is better than later. Wish I'd built one for myself when I had the chance. Larry Kenney
- General Reference 1
- Posts by Larry Kenney in the archives of the Fiberglass Flyrodders discussion forum.
- The company was named after Harry Wilson's son Scott.
- The PowrR-Ply portion of the name refers to a big game fly reel designed by Harry Wilson in the early 60s.
- The reel had a drag that could be backed off immediately when necessary.