I'm in the market for a 4wt, but I'm debating between a 86 or 9. It will probably be a Winston Passport that I'll use for dry flies, so I'm looking for a nice, soft presentation on your average trout stream or river.
Are there distinct advantages between these two lengths that might determine which way to go? Does a 9ft give a little softer presentation than the shorter rod?
i used to be a fan of short rods but was recently educated on the advantage of long rods. the advantage of the nine would be in mending and lifting line over currents to get a better drift. i dont think there would be any presentation difference in either. not that the 8 1/2 wouldnt work just depends on the water your fishing and your prefrences.
Probably comes down to stream size and stream conditions (trees, foliage, etc). The 9' vs 8'6 debate may be akin to a Ford vs. Chevy debate. The rods I use for drys vary from 7'6 to 8'6. Others swear by the 9' for drys.
My suggestion would be to cast several different rods in those lengths and buy which rod feels the best. It may sound crazy but having confidence in any rod, regardless of length, will lead to more fish IMHO. Good luck!
Some experienced hands will tell you that a sweet 8' 6" taper is easier to make out of graphite than a 9'. The extra length requires more material, different balance, and so on, so that if you don't really need the extra length, you are more likely to find that perfect 8' 6" that just feels made for your hand than that perfect 9'.
Having never tried to design my own taper, I can neither confirm nor deny, but it makes intuitive sense to me. I have a whole quiver of 9' rods in various line weights, but the sweetest-casting rod I have is an 8' 6" Winston WT 5 weight.
Perhaps an exception to this rule (if it is even a valid rule, who knows?) is if you need extra distance or backbone for windy conditions and/or big water. The extra length of a 9' rod allows the caster a bit longer reach, but also allows designers to build a longer, more powerful butt without sacrificing much "feel" in the tip. That's why you'll sometimes hear people say that a 9' rod is a typical rod for Western rivers, while an 8' or 8' 6" is more typical for Eastern fishing. In the closer confines of most Eastern streams, you don't often need to make heroic casts, but you do need to keep your line (and rod tip!) out of the overhanging trees.
thats definetly true. it depends on the rod too. i dont care for the 9ft 5wt biix but the 81/2 foot 5 is an absolute sweetheart. for the difference of 6 inches id try to cast both rods and just buy whichever you like best. i dont think it will really matter as long as your happy with how the rod performs for you.
I have an Orvis Access 8 1/2 foot medium action 4wt that is an awesome rod. Lays a dry out there like it just causally fell out of the air. I know you all have heard me lusting after a Superfine,,,if it has better touch than the Orvis Access,,,it's a hell'va rod. Now if you're trying to lasso eagles,,the Access is not the rod for that..but I can lay down a soft cast to 70ft with it. Prob not much farther though. I don't fish that far out anyways much..and if I'm on a lake or New River,,,I have faster action rods to cast streamers and such. Oh, the Access mends wonderfully at my casting distances. And the 'feel of the fight',,,It'd be hard to describe !