Published on September 22nd, 2015 | by tidecaster0
Frequent Flyers – Jim Bartschi
This month I had the opportunity to interview Jim Bartschi, President and Rod Designer of the Scott Fly Rod Company. Having this opportunity to speak with Jim, I decided to change up this months interview slightly, and work in some questions specifically regarding the Scott Fly Rod Company. I have been looking forward to getting a chance to interview Jim for a while now to get his perspective on what drives his passion for the sport.
How long have you been fly-fishing?
Around 40 years
How did you get started in fly-fishing?
With my father and grandfather
Who has influenced you or was your mentor in fly-fishing?
There are people who influence me all the time, that I learn from, and that I admire. I don’t think that will ever end.
Since I fish both salt and fresh waters with both single and double handed fly rods for a lot of different species, it gives me many opportunities to learn from other anglers.
Do you tie your own flies? What is your favorite fly to tie? If you do not tie do you have a favorite fly?
Yes, but no longer all of them. I just don’t have time. I still tie my go-to bonefish, permit and steelhead patterns which are not available commercially.
What is your favorite fish to target? Why?
Impossible! They’re all great. I’m equally happy fishing for bluegill as I am permit. Trout, bonefish, and tarpon are the fish I target most often.
What fish and location is on your bucket list?
Golden dorado in Boliva come to mind quickly, and golden mahseer in India.
Have you fly fished from a Kayak or a Sup? If yes could you share your thoughts on them as a fly fishing platform?
Yes, from both. I think they are wonderful ways to pursue fish. They are quiet, stealthy, and bring additional skills into play and perspectives to the experience.
What advice would you give to those that are new to fly fishing or thinking of getting into fly-fishing?
Learn as much as you can and practice. It will make the experience so much more enjoyable.
Today, it’s easier than ever with great fly shops around the country, tons of information online, and high quality equipment at all price points.
There are also more classes available from really skilled teachers and guides covering everything from beginning casting or fly tying to the most advanced flats fishing techniques.
Scott Fly Rod questions
What sets Scott apart from other fly rod manufacturers?
I think that we’ve handcrafted every Scott rod in our own shop for 41 years is pretty remarkable.
Could you tell me some of the innovations that Scott has developed over the years?
Wow. That’s a long list. The company was founded on innovation. I’ll give you some highlights starting in 1974 to the present.
The hollow internal ferrule
Five piece fly rods (fiberglass)
9 ft 4 weight graphite rod. People thought we were crazy in 1975 for doing that. It revolutionized spring creek fishing for trout.
Five piece fly rods (graphite)
Graphite ‘switch’ rod (It didn’t have a name or a fly line to match back then.)
Composite blue water fly rods
Warmwater fly rods
Multi-modulus graphite blanks
Heliply-the first biaxial graphite reinforcement
ARC-the first unidirectional graphite reinforcement
The low mass super slim sleeve ferrule
Fiberglass switch rod
Musky-pike fly rod
ReAct technology (our newest innovation that has made Radian and Meridian possible)
When you set out to design a new rod what factors do you look at? (Do you look to address gaps in the market? Updating a current design? Customer demand? Do you have checklist of things you want the rod to accomplish?)
The very first question is, ‘Does it have a reason to exist?’ If it doesn’t address fishing for a new species, using a new technique, or a technology enabled improvement to something we already make, it never gets off the idea board and into the shop.
What are the steps design process? (How do you decide the taper, action, materials, etc? How long does it generally take to go from concept to market??
It can take two to three years depending on the project. We’re always working on two or three new ideas. Some make it all the way through the process to become new Scott rods.
Could you explain the Scott hollow internal ferrule system? Why did Scott develop it and what sets it apart?
It’s unique because it allows a ferruled rod to have one of the most important attributes of a one piece rod-a continuous taper.
It’s also really advanced. Since we roll the ferrule separately much like a blank, we can control the mass and wall thickness. A ferrule in the tip section has much less mass and stiffness that one in the butt section. Each ferrule is tailored for the rod model and sections it connects.
Could you tell me about your new Meridian Fly Rod?
Meridian was just honored by the industry with awards for both best saltwater rod and best of show overall in a very crowded field of products entered for consideration.
I think that’s a testament to both the performance attributes and the craftsmanship of Meridian rods.
The lightness in hand, line speed, and tracking stability set Meridian apart, and really help to deliver the fly quickly and accurately.
Which models that Scott offers do you think would be good options for fly-fishing from a kayak or SUP?
For saltwater anglers the new Meridian 8’ 4” rods in 8 and 10 wt are ideal.
Freshwater is harder to answer since stillwater anglers have very different requirements from river anglers. If I had to pick just two it would be our 9’ 6 wt rods in the Radian and Tidal series.
Do you think Scott would ever design a rod for specifically fly fishing from a kayak or SUP?
We certainly considered SUP and kayak anglers when designing the new 8’ 4” Meridian rods.