Deciding to go with a 9’ or 8’-6” in a 4 weight

9’ or 8’-6”


  • Total voters
    27

Rob Allen

Active Member
I have a hard time understanding the long rod guys other than for dedicated nymphing rods.

Or maybe I just fish differently..

First off when I am trout fishing 95% of my casts are short and as straight upstream as possible.
If I have to cross much current I am either fishing the wrong water or I haven't put myself if a good location to fish it.

In my way of thinking if you are casting across stream and need lots of line control you're already doing something wrong.
But that's just me. Maybe it's because I almost never do any type of search fishing.. I only go trout fishing when I know the trout are actively feeding and know where they are or at least where they are extremely likely to be.
 

jaredoconnor

Premium
I have a hard time understanding the long rod guys other than for dedicated nymphing rods.

Have you ever tried it though, or is this all theoretical?

In my way of thinking if you are casting across stream and need lots of line control you're already doing something wrong.

What about when you can't get to the ideal position? Do you just not fish those spots? If so, you're probably missing out on a lot of fish and those fish might be the bigger ones that no one else is catching.

I only go trout fishing when I know the trout are actively feeding and know where they are or at least where they are extremely likely to be.

It's definitely a lot easier to catch fish when the condition are perfect, but I need to fish as often as I can (ie. all year) or I go crazy. I've tried non-river and non-trout fishing, but it doesn't scratch the itch.
 

CreekScrambler

Active Member
I’ve been super happy with a 7’6” 3wt for a creek rod. A compact casting stroke and the shorter rod makes it a lot easier to control a backcast with limited room or pulling off a dynamic roll cast. Distances are short so line control has never been an issue and accuracy is improved as well.

If it’s a nymphing party, I’d probably stick with the 9’ 4wt unless you’re in heavy brush.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Have you ever tried it though, or is this all theoretical?



What about when you can't get to the ideal position? Do you just not fish those spots? If so, you're probably missing out on a lot of fish and those fish might be the bigger ones that no one else is catching.



It's definitely a lot easier to catch fish when the condition are perfect, but I need to fish as often as I can (ie. all year) or I go crazy. I've tried non-river and non-trout fishing, but it doesn't scratch the itch.


I have fished with 10 foot rods for 30 years.. but rarely prefer them.


I have found that very few fish are in spots you can't easily fish with an 8'6" rod

When people talk about bigger trout they often post pictures of the same 18-20 inch trout I catch with dries wading ankle deep and casting upstream

I fish when the fishing is fun.. when it ceases to be fun I go do something else.. fishing hard all day to catch a couple... not fun. Fish for an hour at the right time and catch 20? That's fun
Turning drudgery into a hobby is what steelheading is for :)
 

Guy Gregory

Active Member
But to each his own. Somebody suggested you go cast one or two and see what feels better to you. That's really good advice.

But since you asked, I've fished a 9' 4 weight since the first Bush administration and it's very versatile. Nice soft tip to protect small tippets, a decent mid flex to push big bushies into the wind, and since I broke the butt section and repaired it, it's stiff enough in the butt to kick big streamers and hoppers as far out as I can fish. It's landed most species and sizes of trout on most Western waters, rain or shine.

I'd comment on short rods, but I've not felt the need to cast one since junior high school, when I got my Cortland starter kit with a 7 1/2' for #7 glass rod.
 

jaredoconnor

Premium
I have found that very few fish are in spots you can't easily fish with an 8'6" rod

You said that if you're casting across stream and need lots of line control, you're doing something wrong. If you want to fish the other side of some fast water, but can't get over that side, what do you do? This happens to me a lot. With my 10 footer and a mono rig, I can just cast straight over the fast water.

When people talk about bigger trout they often post pictures of the same 18-20 inch trout I catch with dries wading ankle deep and casting upstream

Where I live, I have to work for fish like that. A lot of folks around here say that a 12 inch fish is a trophy, on the rivers that I frequent. I thought the same thing, until I started doing things that other people aren't.

I fish when the fishing is fun.. when it ceases to be fun I go do something else.. fishing hard all day to catch a couple... not fun.

To each their own. Sometimes I enjoy it the most when it is the most difficult.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
You said that if you're casting across stream and need lots of line control, you're doing something wrong. If you want to fish the other side of some fast water, but can't get over that side, what do you do? This happens to me a lot. With my 10 footer and a mono rig, I can just cast straight over the fast water.



Where I live, I have to work for fish like that. A lot of folks around here say that a 12 inch fish is a trophy, on the rivers that I frequent. I thought the same thing, until I started doing things that other people aren't.



To each their own. Sometimes I enjoy it the most when it is the most difficult.


I agree this is a totally to each their own scenario. I have winter steelhead fished enough that difficult fishing has another name. Bad fishing and I have had a belly full of it.
I get satisfaction from catching a fish that it technically difficult I get no satisfaction from catching fish just because I am hard headed enough to stay out when they aren't biting.
 

Driftless Dan

Driftless Dan
Premium
A lot of people say this, but have you actually tried it?

When rivers get tight, I find that longer rods are generally better than shorter rods. The ability to perform long bow and arrow casts and keep more line off the water is a huge benefit. The only exception is when you have a very low canopy and don't have enough room to actually land a fish, with a long rod.
Most folks around here in the Driftless Area find the opposite to be true. I tried out a 10' rod but after a half hour, went back to my car and got my Sage LL out; at 7'11", it was much easier to use, with better luck. 8' and 4 wt is considered ideal in the Area.

When I walked into my local fly shop last weekend, a guy was just finishing up a purchase of an 8' rod (a Scott, I think - I was eavesdropping as I wandered the store) because his 9'6" was too ungainly on the streams he was fishing. The proprietor recommended the shorter rod.
 
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Driftless Dan

Driftless Dan
Premium
I have fished with 10 foot rods for 30 years.. but rarely prefer them.


I have found that very few fish are in spots you can't easily fish with an 8'6" rod

When people talk about bigger trout they often post pictures of the same 18-20 inch trout I catch with dries wading ankle deep and casting upstream

I fish when the fishing is fun.. when it ceases to be fun I go do something else.. fishing hard all day to catch a couple... not fun. Fish for an hour at the right time and catch 20? That's fun
Turning drudgery into a hobby is what steelheading is for :)
I agree with Rob Allen on very few things, but completely agree with him on this issue.
 

dragless

Active Member
9’ #5 is your bread n butter rod.Most makers spend a lot of R & R on making a great 9’ 5 weight.You can get them in almost any flavour…fast, medium, slow, super fast, parabolic, super slow. There is a reason it works.It was also a common length back in bamboo days….for a reason.The dynamic between human proportions/strength/ balance, etc. of the of average person, your typical height above water in most wading situations, your length of average cast, leverage, etc, etc. all work well at 9’ 5.
8 1/2 #4 is great for casting dries as well, but not all 8 1/2 #4 ( Hardy is an exception) are as good as the 9’5’s.
My experience is there are many better 9’ 4 weights then 8 1/2 4 weights( Sage, Scott, Loomis, TNT all make great 9’ #4).
The 10 foot rod is a hot fad right now, but I find them a pain to fish ….too long, goofy feeling,and you feel less connected casting.For euro nymphing….the other hot fad, they are great ( if you like euro nymphing), but there is a reason the rod companies are trying to make them as light as possible and cast 2/3 weight lines.It’s a long stick to hold all day, and they are not as fun to cast dries to the average trout( which is 12” by the way).Playing trout on 10 footers feels goofy too.
So what am I sayin’ ?… if you are gonna fly cast, and fish dries get a 9 #5 or 9#4 …it will also do great when ya “ have too nymph”. If you want to enjoy a great dry fly rod on smaller water, get yourself an 8 or 8 1/3 #3 ( Winston makes a great 8 1/2 3 weight… to go with your 9’ 5 or 9’4. Let the flames begin…but 10 foot rods are kinda gross.
 

jaredoconnor

Premium
I think the results speak for themselves. There's a reason why competitive anglers use 10ft rods pretty much exclusively. I catch a lot more fish, since adopting the long rod. It's common to find folks saying that they catch twice as many fish, when they get into it, and it's not an exaggeration. I've been fly fishing for over 20 years and it was the single biggest revelation I've had in that time.

That said, you should do what you enjoy. There's many approaches to fly fishing that are not appealing to me, like Tenkara and trout Spey, so I understand that everyone is different.
 

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