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Thread: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

  1. Default 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    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

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    What rod (brand / model) are you considering?

    I have 4wts ranging from 7'6" to 9'6". I find no difference at with the extra 6" in the same rod brand / model. It will surprise some about how long of a rod you can use on small streams. Don't go by the popular adage that one needs a super short rod for small streams. For e.g. on majority the mountain streams in Appalachia, I comfortably fish my 8'6" 4wt since there is usually enough slot behind me as long as I am observant of the room behind me. The longer rod length permits minimizing drag (keep most of fly line off water) and also I can reach the pocket water more effectively while staying hidden.

    Depending on the rod action, the extra 6" may chance the characteristics when Nymphing since it allows slightly easier mending & some minor advantage in roll casting...but that is largely a function of the rod action.

  3. #3

    Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    I've used 7'6" and 8' #4 rods, and wouldn't use a bigger rod for the places I frequent. The 8' rod does roll cast better and mend line easier than the shorter one. It might just be that it's a much better rod, too.
    Read my fishing blog RodandRivet.com

  4. Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    I have several 7' 4 weights 6'6", 7' 6" and 8' 6" and recently a 10'. That 10' is quickly turning into my favorite, specially on rivers and streams. No more dealing with several different currents.

    My JWF is 8'6" 5 wt and in my opinion, one of the best rods out there. It doesn't need to be longer or shorter :-) Purrrfect.

  5. #5

    Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    Short rods can work if there are a lot of overhead branches, though in that case, 6" might not matter much. Something to remember is that on small water it can be helpful to have your line a bit higher above streamside grass and shrubs and banks on the backcast, depending on what the steams are like in your area.
    - William

  6. #6
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    Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joni View Post
    My JWF is 8'6" 5 wt and in my opinion, one of the best rods out there. It doesn't need to be longer or shorter :-) Purrrfect.
    So it finally became a lucky stick for you.................? I remember you were working on your mojo with it a couple of years back................

    Pocono

  7. Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    She is magical ;-)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joni View Post
    My JWF is 8'6" 5 wt and in my opinion, one of the best rods out there. It doesn't need to be longer or shorter :-) Purrrfect.
    I've got the same model WT but with the "standard" cork grip. It's a beauty.

    Back to the original question: I was reading an interview with an Orvis rod designer a few months ago saying that a sweet 8'6" rod is easier to design than a 9'. The extra 6" adds weight and changes the balance. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. If you can test cast it and you like how it feels, you'll have your answer.

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  10. #9

    Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    Besides the environment to be fished, it really depends on the design of the rod. My antique Orvis 8'/#4 Western as never needed to be replaced because it is just a small stream special with its little CFO IV. I love 8 1/2'/#4's for spring creek dry fly fishing and recently added a new (but older tech) one to my quiver. It is a Loomis Streamdance GLX and a delight to fish...if I could only have one #4 this might be it. However, I have more rods and I have commented before how spectacular the Loomis NRX 9'/#4 is...but it is NOT a small stream rod. This is a 4-weight for bigger water and it features low end grunt with a highly responsive tip that encourages me to use it instead of a #5 (but with a straight RIO Gold #4 line) on big dry fly tailwaters and the Fork. So, the answer is, it depends.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: 8.5 or 9 ft for a 4wt?

    Quote Originally Posted by sweetandsalt View Post
    My antique Orvis 8'/#4 Western as never needed to be replaced because it is just a small stream special with its little CFO IV.
    I've got that one too, but mine has a CFO III. When I bought it the Orvis guy said it was their most popular rod for Pennsylvania limestone creeks. I think it was Orvis's competitor to Winston's more popular Tom Morgan Favorite. I was sorry when they discontinued it. They come up on eBay from time to time and usually go for very reasonable prices because Orvis never promoted the model very hard and only sold it for a few years.

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