Originally Posted by mdlb21
I have found a great deal on the 4wt that I have been watching for, only problem is that it is 9ft vs the one I had my eye on was 8.5. Will I notice much of a difference in the half foot, will it make the rod "less" fun in those small fish areas? Thanks
Yes. No. Maybe.
First, the 'scientific' response.
I got this stuff from a magazine article I read recently: longer rods allow you to mend more easily, cast longer, and cast more accurately over distance, as well as a bunch of stuff I didn't care about. However, they tend to be heavier, faster action, and more difficult to load with shorter finesse-type casts. These are generalities, as some rods may vary due to specific design.
Now, my personal, unscientific response.
Without getting into the particulars of why, I have two Winston Biiix 4 wt. rods, one 9 ft. and one 8.5 ft. The 9 ft. casts differently than the 8.5. When I say it casts differently, I mean with the same reel and line it simply has a different feel. The nine footer supposedly is exactly the same rod as the eight and a half down to weight, it's just 6 inches longer, but it just doesn't feel as 'right' when casting as the 8.5. This 'rightness' is, of course, entirely subjective, in direct correlation to the kind of fishing I do most often, my casting rhythm, etc.
However, having caught fish on both rods, I can tell you that I felt no discernible difference in the two rods in terms of playing said fishes. With either it was just ridiculously fun.
So, if part of the 'fun' for you is casting, then it might make a lot of difference. If you're just asking about the playing the fish part, then that six inches probably won't make a bit of difference.
Assuming you have cast/fish this rod before and you know you really like the shorter rod, my personal advice would be to hold out for the shorter rod (do as I say, not as I do). Especially if you're talking about dropping real money on the subject.