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  1. #1

    Default 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    I usually enjoy George Anderson’s Shootouts, this newest one somewhat less so. I have met him but don’t really know him and I respect that he is a skilled angler who has won the One Fly, fishes the wonderful streams and rivers of Montana and further afield, even spending his winters in south Florida. It’s long been clear he has a rod preference filter…to be a top contender the rod must have a softer tip and a stouter butt.

    His descriptive language use confuses me; how can a rod be too stiff and slow? How can a 9’ rod weighing less than 3 ounces have a “heavy” swing weight or heavy anything? As an angler who enjoys fishing 4-weight rods ranging from 7 ½’ to 9’ for fishing dry flies in diverse habitats, I’m further mystified how he strives to “compare” 8’, 8 ½’ and 9’ rods all under one set of guidelines.

    I favor an 8’/#4 when fishing small and canopied streams where short accurate casts are the norm. When fishing my beloved spring and meandering meadow creeks is when I sport a crisp tipped, super accurate 8 ½’/#4. Precision of presentation and line manipulation with a light touch are my priorities. On big technical rivers when the breeze is light is when I select a 9’/#4. This rod requires good butt power reserves for appropriate distance on great rivers like the Henry’s Fork, Missouri and Delaware. For my dry fly technique, soft tipped rods need not apply.

    There is plenty I can personally agree with Anderson about. I too have long had a love affair with 8 ½’/#4’s and have many of them spanning the decades. We both appreciate quality cork work biased toward sound ergonomics, flat, neat and non-globular wrap finish and inert, flexible nickel-titanium, decent sized but light weight guide sets. That does not mean I would fault a rod for using light wire, quality stainless guides especially for trout fishing applications.

    My principal departure from the Yellowstone Shootouts is twofold. “Feel” in-close or out far is not a function of softer tip flexibility in my casting. Of course, there is a the age old viewpoint that feeling the rod load by virtue of its mass bending is pleasurable, compounded by “needing” tip softness to protect fine tippets and small flies. Conversely, there are many, and I am in this camp, who perceives feel as being an attribute of the rods clarity of communication with the line along with the seamlessness of transitions from one part of the rod’s taper to the next. A scalpel like tip that recovers to straight very quickly with a minimum of counter flex not only forms tighter, cleaner loops but enhances precision of fly placement and attitude adjustment. Further, a precise, quick tip facilities adroit slip-striking the little dun imitation home in the trout’s sipping mouth…no shock absorption other than your fingers required.

    Then there is the so frequently focused upon rating system resplendent with Winners and Losers. Interestingly, often I concur with the excellence of Anderson’s favorites, NRX#8, SKY#6, Zenith#5 over the seasons have all been terrific rods. The Zenith 8 ½’/#4 is a rod I know very well and fished it for a number of seasons. I have compared it to Anderson’s top rod, Zephrus, and though the new version is a bit smoother, an improvement, the original was a little more potent and a small but important amount crisper in the tip. Still I’m confident the Zephrus is very good. That it is #1 and “too stiff and swing weight heavy” feather light Sage X is #19 is a laughable indicator of prejudice…this really is Fake News. I have not cast Winston Pure but I have tested the 8’/#4 AIR which is excellent. But to have it a #2 and brilliant 9’/#4 Asquith is #23 and SKY and Truth are #’s 13 and 14 simply means powerful big river 9’/#4’s are somehow not receiving their deserved admiration. So, if a 4-weight rod is not tailored to small stream, short cast use with a soft tip, it does not rate. Preposterous, shedding irrelevance on the whole project.

    I have at least test casting familiarity with several rods in this Shootout and own and fish a few or similar versions too. I could happily cherry pick three rods in the three offered lengths out of this Shootout to form a first rate 4-weight kit and even add a couple more as alternative taper styles for diversity. I could not, would not select a #1 Winner and…if forced to, it would emerge from the bottom half of the ratings.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    Thanks for your summary S&S. I have only perused the shootout but what stood out was Anderson's opinion of the X rod's swing weight. This is ridiculous! One afternoon I was at a fly shop on the Upper Delaware and it was a slow afternoon. The manager took three rods outside to test cast. The Rods were all 8 1/2 4wt rods a Sage X, A Redington Predator and a Winston BIIIX. We both took turns casting these rods and the shop manager was partial to the Winston. Myself I liked all three well enough but the X felt way better and after watching my casting cadence and loops the shop manager said "just watching you cast ... the rod for you is the X". I really liked it a lot and don't recall noticeable swing weight. My modern 8 1/2 4wt is the Edge rod. One day I had the Edge in the car and all the shop guides and employees asked to cast this rod. They are not displayed and have limited availability. After casting they all came away very impressed. I matched the rod with a Rio Gold and afterwards they all said you should try this rod with a Wulff Triangle Taper. Yeah I know ...what else is new!
    Last edited by falcon53; 11-22-2018 at 08:19 PM.

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  4. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    I honestly think swing weight is not important unless your casting a 1955 South Bend bamboo! LOL


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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  6. #4

    Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by troutbum_74 View Post
    I honestly think swing weight is not important unless your casting a 1955 South Bend bamboo! LOL
    B

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    And then you can balance it out with a South Bend Orenomatic automatic reel.

    Don

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  8. Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    hi,


    i´m also not agreeing with some of the results - but it´s only a test of some persons - nothing more and that´s why it´s subjective.


    i´ll retire from my job next year amongs other things because of my age - i don´t want to become my own cartoon.


    that´s a privilege - but some people have to stay on their job .


    please be gracious.thank you!


    nice we to all.


    thomas

  9. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by falcon53 View Post
    Thanks for your summary S&S. I have only perused the shootout but what stood out was Anderson's opinion of the X rod's swing weight. This is ridiculous! One afternoon I was at a fly shop on the Upper Delaware and it was a slow afternoon. The manager took three rods outside to test cast. The Rods were all 8 1/2 4wt rods a Sage X, A Redington Predator and a Winston BIIIX. We both took turns casting these rods and the shop manager was partial to the Winston. Myself I liked all three well enough but the X felt way better and after watching my casting cadence and loops the shop manager said "just watching you cast ... the rod for you is the X". I really liked it a lot and don't recall noticeable swing weight. My modern 8 1/2 4wt is the Edge rod. One day I had the Edge in the car and all the shop guides and employees asked to cast this rod. They are not displayed and have limited availability. After casting they all came away very impressed. I matched the rod with a Rio Gold and afterwards they all said you should try this rod with a Wulff Triangle Taper. Yeah I know ...what else is new!
    I remember reading the same swing weight complaint in reviews about the 9' 5 wt X rods. I bought myself the 591-4. The first time I cast it, I thought "what swing weight". Spend enough time with a 12 wt in your hand and I guess a 5 wt feels like nothing.

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  11. Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    If his definition of swing weight is just the weight of the rod then for me it's irrelevant. One two or even three ounces more of no moment...what's significant is the weight/load of the line when casting...i'll have a rag arm in a couple of hours with my 3 oz 10 wt but last the day with my 4 oz 4wt or 4.5 oz 7 wt...besides his test scores for the top ten are usually within 10%...distinction without significance IMO...but I agree they are fun to read...

  12. #8
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    Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    I believe what people call swing weight in modern rods is more noticeable in rods longer than 9ft. I have a 10ft 4wt Hardy Zenith that I feel has noticeable "swing weight". This really becomes apparent when I immediately pick up the 9ft 5wt Zenith afterwards for comparison. The difference is significant even though both Zeniths are very light rods. The 9ft rods (more so with 8 1/2 ft) are more efficient. Is swing weight even noticeable in a modern 8 1/2 4wt?
    Last edited by falcon53; 11-23-2018 at 11:04 AM.

  13. Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    This was probably the worst shootout Anderson has produces yet. Sage X 8'6 4 heavy and stifF? 19th place? And the Asquith even lower at 23? I friggin KNEW the Zephrus was gonna be the winner before checking the review.
    This is not a fair comparison of 4wt rods. This is a: Which rod suits mr. Andersons biases and prejudices the most report.

    Excuse my language, but what the ****.

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  15. #10
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    Default Re: 4-Weight Shootout 2019 Counterpoint

    Quote Originally Posted by slinginbugs View Post
    This was probably the worst shootout Anderson has produces yet. Sage X 8'6 4 heavy and stifF? 19th place? And the Asquith even lower at 23? I friggin KNEW the Zephrus was gonna be the winner before checking the review.
    This is not a fair comparison of 4wt rods. This is a: Which rod suits mr. Andersons biases and prejudices the most report.

    Excuse my language, but what the ****.
    I'm not sure how you'd do a review like this without your biases becoming involved. These types of complaints come out with each Shootout he does. I think he wants it as it's good advertising. For what it's worth, my favorite four weight wasn't even tested, and it's still a current rod

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