2019 4-Weight Shootout

Comments by Chloe Nostrant

Chloe Nostrant Fly Fishing

 

I could not be more excited to participate in my first Shootout.  Casting all of these rods head to head was an incredible learning experience and pushed me to explore and think critically about rod performance. 

I am happy to be bringing a female perspective to the Shootout.  Though casting and fishing are not fundamentally different between genders, it is nice to have a variety of opinions and experiences to pull from when making a purchasing decision or educating yourself on a new hobby.  It is encouraging to see ladies out on the water and I hope to continue to reach out to women and help them pick up fly fishing. 

Combining my passion for fly fishing and photography has been incredibly fulfilling.  I am proud to bring my background in film and photo to the Shootout.  A big thanks goes out to my coworkers for their hard work, mentorship, and patience with me and my camera throughout the Shootout process!

Chloe Nostrant with the sticks

 

 

Chloes Performance Only

 

 

 

#1. Hardy ZEPHRUS  8’6” #4     $679.00

 

Hardy Zephrus 

Hardy Zephrus best 4-weight fly rod 

The clear winner in this year’s Shootout, the Zephrus brought power, feel, and accuracy to the table and left no detail untouched.  A beautiful rod to begin with, this Hardy is as elegant as is it high performing.  It is comfortable to cast all day and versatile enough to throw anything from small dries to heavier nymphs or small streamers.  This rod is a must in any angler’s quiver.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 20 out of 20

        Beautiful presentation with terrific accuracy. Did not feel overpowered, and loaded quickly. Formed nice loops and was consistently accurate. Perfect.

Performance at 40 feet: 19.8 out of 20

         No loss of accuracy, power or feel here.  Same consistent, smooth action and presentation.

Performance at 60 feet: 9 out of 10  

         Even with the Livingston wind, the Zephrus outdid itself at this distance. For an 8’6’’ rod, the Zephrus packs a punch and can deliver casts out to 60 feet as easily as it can at 25 or 40.

 

 

#2. R.L. Winston PURE    8’ #4   $850.00

R.L.Winston PURE

R.L.Winston PURE 8'#4 

Living up to the Winston reputation, the Pure proved itself to be a rod that gave me incredible presentations.  To me, the rod was in line with what I expected from a high performing light presentation rod  -softer, smooth action, and a feeling of finesse. The craftsmanship we see on Winston rods is second to none, and it is clearly evident on their Pure.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 20 out of 20

         Beautiful. A nice, light, delicate presentation that gives the Pure a perfect score in close for me.

Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20

         The Pure performed amazingly well at 40 feet.  This rod shines at our middle distance. The Pure formed beautiful loops, and its 40-foot casts were wickedly accurate.

Performance at 60 feet: 8.5 out of 10

         Don’t fear the distance. Even though this rod boasts delicate presentation and accuracy in close, I felt hardly any loss of quality at 60 feet.  The only negative I felt was a lack of power casting in the wind.  A stiffer butt section might help but would probably compromise the feel and accuracy of the rod overall.

 

 

 

#3.  Orvis HELIOS 3F    8’ 6” #4   $849.00

Orvis H3F

Orvis HELIOS 3F 8'6"#4

You can’t not notice the H3F.  No matter where it finds itself, it stands out from the crowd. The white label may be off-putting to some people (I personally am fine with it), but the rod’s performance speaks for itself. Look at the white label as a badge of confidence. The H3F is powerful, accurate, and lightweight. With a powerful butt and midsection but a delicate tip, it firmly holds its place at the top for an all around rod.  This rod felt well rounded enough to fish dries, nymphs and even smaller streamers.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 19 out of 20

         In close, the Helios felt delicate and careful enough to present the smallest of flies. The “F” in 3F stands for finesse, and that is exactly what the rod is good at. 

Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20

         At 40 feet the rod felt almost as accurate, and living up to its “finesse” namesake. I liked the action but still felt that the Zephrus was a little more effortless to cast.

Performance at 60 feet: 8.7 out of 10

         The Helios edged out the Pure with its stiffer butt and midsection at 60 feet. I felt this rod could truly handle any wind or conditions thrown at it without compromising accuracy.

 

 

 

#4.  Scott G-SERIES  8’ 4” #4   $845.00

Scott G SERIES 8'4"#4

Scott G SERIES 8'4"#4

When I first picked up the G-Series, I was a somewhat apprehensive. I expected it to handle like its counterpart, the Radian, but was pleasantly surprised when I found it to be much more responsive than the Radian. It has all the good looks, but more finesse than the Radian, which makes for a great 4-weight rod.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 19 out of 20

         In close, this rod cast very well. It felt smooth and comfortable to cast, and I was getting very nice presentations, with superb accuracy. 

Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20

         The G-Series will not disappoint at 40 feet. It is a solid rod at this distance, and making good presentations with the smallest dries.

Performance at 60 Feet:  8.5 out of 10

         Reaching out to 60 feet with a softer rod isn't easy. But the G-Series gets the job done. While it does not have the power that the H3F or Zephrus has, it still is more than capable of making long, accurate casts.

 

 

#5. Thomas & Thomas AVANTT 8’6’’ #4   $845

T&T Avantt

Thomas & Thomas AVANTT 8'6"#4 

Elegance and power without loss of touch. That’s the best way to describe the Thomas and Thomas Avantt. The Avantt is an excellent rod with the finest in craftsmanship, that brings confidence to the stream with a crisp, smooth action.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 out of 20

         Though a little on the stiffer side, I wouldn’t think twice about fishing this rod in close and using it in tight, stealthy situations.  It was able to cast accurately and did not feel overpowered.

Performance at 40 feet: 18.5 out of 20

         This rod has a lot of reserve power that I’m feeling at 40 feet. It has the ability to form tight loops and cut through the wind, as well as maintain good accuracy without losing any feel.

Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10

         At 60 feet, you get to feel the full power of this rod.  It will power casts to long distances easily.

 

 

 

#6. Orvis RECON   8’6’’ #4     $429

Orvis Recon

Orvis RECON 8'6"#4

The Recon is a careful mix of robust action and time-tested quality. True to the Orvis brand, it brought power, accuracy and quality to the table at a very reasonable price.  This rod would complement any angler’s quiver well.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

         The Orvis Recon has a responsive tip that gave me smooth presentations and nice accuracy at close distances.  

Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20

         At 40 feet I felt this rod maintained its smooth action and presentation.

Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10

         I started to feel this rod get a little “mushy” at longer distances.  After a couple of casting adjustments I felt confident with this rod.

 

  

#7.  Fenwick AETOS    8’ #4      $179.95

Fenwick Aetos

Fenwick AETOS 8'#4

Don’t let the price tag fool you, the Aetos is hands down the best performing inexpensive rod in our Shootout!  It held its own among the top rods that cost exponentially more.  The Aetos is the perfect option for anyone that is looking for a rod that performs well, but one that doesn’t break the bank.   

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

         The Aetos has a softer tip, which helped it rank high at our shorter distance. It cast accurately and maintained finesse throughout the casts.

Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20

         Even with a softer midsection and tip, the Aetos did not lose much at 40 feet.  It still casts consistently well at mid-distance and gave me good presentations.

Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 out of 10

         I really only started to feel a noticeable decline in performance at 60 feet.

        

 

#8.  Hardy SHADOW    8’6’’ #4     $349.95

Hardy SHADOW 8'6"#4

Hardy SHADOW 8'6"#4

With its more well known counterpart, the Zephrus, winning our Shootout, it’s hard to not have high expectations for the less expensive Hardy Shadow. Overall I thought it gave me nice light presentations, and would be an excellent spring creek companion. If you are fishing small streams, with small flies and making short casts, this is a fantastic rod.  The Shadow, and the Recon are our best mid-priced rods.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

         A nice soft tip and midsection make for a pleasant and delicate presentations in close.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.8 out of 20

         I liked the way the Shadow cast slightly better at 25 feet than 40. That being said, it was still giving me very good performance at mid-range distances.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         The Shadow held up decently at 60 feet, but the softer midsection made long casts a little less consistent than with the better rods.

 

 

#9.  Douglas SKY    9’ #4    $645.00

Douglas Sky

Douglas SKY 9'#4

The Douglas SKY is well thought out rod with excellent craftsmanship.  But this is a stiff rod and like the Asquith, I felt that this rod was best at long distances.  Its power made cutting through the wind easy, especially when I had more line in the air.   This is a rod that would be especially good if you were fishing heavier nymph rigs or smaller streamers.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20

         The SKY's softer tip makes it a touch better than the Asquith or other stiff rods in close.  Don’t be afraid to fish small dries with this rod.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20

         As expected, the SKY performed well at 40 feet. The faster and responsive action made for pleasant and accurate casts.

Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10

         As with the other stiffer rods in the Shootout, the SKY performed best at 60 feet.

 

 

#10.  Douglas DXF   8’6 #4     $349

Douglas DXF

Douglas DXF 8'6"#4

Similar to the Hardy Shadow, the DXF excelled in giving me softer, delicate presentations at close range. This rod offers a medium fast action with a softer tip. This is a good rod for those days when you need something that will not overpower your light tippets.  

        

Performance at 25 feet: 18.3 out of 20

         The action of this rod made casting in close a breeze. I was getting nice presentations with good accuracy.

Performance at 40 feet: 17 out of 20

         This rod, being on the softer side, I noticed a slight loss of power at mid to long distance. No problem at 40 feet though, it will still gets the job done.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         60 feet is a tough one for softer rods, and the DXF suffered at long distance.  The SKY was much better out long. 

 

 

 

#11. (tie)  Hardy ZEPHRUS ULTRALITE 8’9’’ #4   #679.95

Hardy ZEPHRUS ULTRALITE 8'9"#4

Hardy ZEPHRUS ULTRALITE 8'9"#4 

The Hardy Ultralight lives up to its name.  The rod is incredibly light, with a softer more medium action than the Zephrus. To me, maybe a little too light and too soft.  It is a beautiful rod, well thought out in where they cut the weight; less metal on the reel seat, lighter one-foot guides and a lighter blank. If you are looking for a very light, very delicate rod, this is definitely a rod to consider.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20

         With it’s more moderate action, I felt it was a little bit harder to turn my leader over than with the faster action Zephrus.  In close it was slightly less accurate for me than it was at medium distances.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20

         40 feet was a better range for this rod.  Now it performed more consistently, but I felt the rod needed more backbone. 

Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 out of 10

60 feet was difficult for the Ultralight.  It just didn’t have enough power or backbone to allow me to cast confidently at long distance.    

 

 

 

#11. (tie) G.Loomis ASQUITH  9’ #4   $1000.00

G. Loomis Asquith

G. Loomis ASQUITH 9'#4 

The Asquith is a handsome, but pricey rod.  Its action runs on the stiffer side, and for me, better suited to heavier line size rods. I loved the Asquith in the 9 foot #8 size.  If you are looking for a stiffer four-weight with longer casts in mind, or one that you can fish with heaver nymph and  streamer rigs,  I would put the Asquith on your list.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 out of 20

         Unlike the NRX LP, the Asquith has a stiffer tip section that was not conducive to producing delicate casts in close.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20

         The Asquith, with all of its power, performs much better with more line out. 40 feet was a good distance for it, and I was getting good accuracy.  But I felt it still lacked the ability to make light presentations. 

Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10

         This rod’s power made casting at long range delightful. This is where it shines and stands out from the crowd.

 

  

#11. (tie) G. Loomis NRX LP 9’ #4   $745

G. Loomis NRX LP

G. Loomis NRX LP 9'#4 

I had high hopes for the NRX LP, loving the five weight version of this rod.  The four weight has the same nice soft LP tip, however I found the overall stiffness to be a little bit too much for a top four weight rod. Still a good rod, but better at mid to long distance.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20

         The rod handled well in close and loaded smoothly. Having the “LP” tip is key, and you can count on it to make nice delicate presentations.

Performance at 40 feet: 17 out of 20

         Being a stiffer rod, it cast beautifully at 40 feet.  This rod makes good light presentations at longer distances.

Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10

         60 feet is no problem!  It loaded well and cast smoothly with all that line out.

 

  

 

#11. (tie)  R.L. Winston NIMBUS 8'6"#4     $650

R.L. Winston NIMBUS 8'6"#4

R.L. Winston NIMBUS 8'6"#4 

The Winston Nimbus was pleasant to cast, not too heavy and managed to maintain good power, control and accuracy at all distances.  The blue blank is handsome and a change up from the traditional Winston Green.  I felt it was a little bit like a “beefier” version of the B3X, making this a nice all-around rod.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20

         Performance at 25 feet felt pleasant and smooth. It was easy to maintain accuracy, but did not feel nearly as light or responsive as the Pure.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20

         A good range for this rod, the Nimbus settled in nicely and provided nice, accurate casts.

Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 out of 10

         A slight loss of power, but still not a bad rod at 60 feet. Since the rod is a bit softer than others, some loss can be expected.

 

 

#15. (tie) Taylor TRUTH 9’ #4   $649

Taylor TRUTH 9'#4

Taylor TRUTH 9'#4

I started off intrigued by the Truth.  Its matte black finish and modern looking design had me wondering if we were ready for the truth...  Looks aren’t everything though, and luckily the Truth has a nice medium fast action, but it was stiffer than the best 4-weights.  I felt I may have liked it more in a five weight.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 out of 20

         As a stiffer rod, I found the Truth to be a little less gentle than the best rods at close range.  It is a light rod, but the stiffness hurt my presentations.

Performance at 40 feet: 17 out of 20

         Getting line out with the Truth is not a problem. It performed better at 40 feet and produced nice tight loops.

Performance at 60 feet: 8 out of 10

         The upside to a stiffer butt and mid section was the ease of casting long distances. Even in the wind, the Truth was able to maintain good loop control, giving me good accuracy. 

 

 

 

#15. (tie) St. Croix IMPERIAL  8’6’’ #4   $270

St. Croix IMPERIAL 8'6"#4

St. Croix IMPERIAL 8'6"#4

The Imperial has a fairly stiff butt and mid section, but a nice soft tip.  This helped to produce delicate presentations, especially at the two shorter distances.  Overall not a bad rod, but lacks the smoothness and feel I was getting with the best rods.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 17 out of 20

         The softer tip made for a pretty good performance in close, but I felt it was not as smooth as it could have been.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20

         The stiff butt and mid gave this rod enough power to handle mid distances easily, and the soft tip helps with maintaining a light presentation. Overall I felt that 40 feet was the best distance for this rod, but it still felt a little clunky compared to the DXF or Recon.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         Casting at longer distances is no problem for this rod, however, it still lacked a certain smoothness and finesse I found with the better rods.

  

 

#17 TFO FINESSE TROUT 7’9’’ #4   $199.95

TFO FINESSE TROUT 7'9"#4

Temple Fork Outfitters FINESSE TROUT 7'9"#4

The shorter variation of the TFO Finesse was all-around fun to cast!  The shorter length made loading a little quicker, and the softer action made for excellent in close presentations.  If you are fishing mostly smaller water, at short distances I wouldn’t hesitate to add this rod to your quiver.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

         This is best distance for this rod. Being a shorter and softer rod, it was giving me nice light delicate presentations.

Performance at 40 feet: 17 out of 20

         Still performed well at 40 feet, but I felt it needed a little more butt power.  I think that is ok though, since it’s a shorter rod designed primarily for shorter casts.

Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10

         Being a short light rod, it didn’t have the guts to hit 60 feet easily. I’d recommend picking one of the longer, more powerful rods if you will do much fishing at distances over 40 feet.

 

  

 

#18. (tie) Scott RADIAN 8’6’’ #4   $795

Scott Radian

Scott RADIAN 8'6"#4

The Radian is a stiffer rod, and specifically stiffer in the tip. This made the Radian a good rod at longer distances but not as good in close. While I feel this action works well in a 5 weight or higher, it  lacked the feel and sensitivity in close that is so important to have in a good 4-weight.  I did like the striking good looks and fine craftsmanship.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 16 out of 20

         This is a strong rod, it lacked a certain level of finesse in close. The tip section was too stiff to be as accurate as the G Series or Zephrus.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20

         A little better at 40 feet.  This rod has a good amount of power and was easy to cast at longer distances, even in the wind.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         The Radian can cast 60 feet easily enough, but similar to the X, I felt there was a loss of feel and consistency with this rod.

 

  

#18. (tie) Thomas and Thomas ZONE 8’6’’ #4   $495

Thomas & Thomas ZONE

Thomas & Thomas ZONE 8'6"#4 

The Zone has a good mix of power and performance, but I thought it was far inferior to the Avantt. The action is slower than the Avantt, and perhaps this is why it didn’t feel as crisp.  The cork handle also felt a little large and bulky for me and maybe this is why it didn’t perform as well for me at short distance.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 out of 20

         I could make mostly accurate casts but I am not getting very much feel, I think mainly because of the larger handle.

Performance at 40 feet: 17 out of 20

         Better at 40 feet, and now I’m getting a consistent and smooth action that is allowing me to make nice presentations.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         The Zone has the power needed to make casts at 60 feet, but I’m feeling a slight loss of control and accuracy. Overall, not bad though.

 

 

 

#18. (tie)  Sage X 8’6’’ #4   $900

Sage X

Sage X 8'6"#4 

As an expensive, high quality rod, I thought I would like the Sage X.   But when I was casting the X, I had trouble forming tight, dependable loops.  It was one of the stiffer 4-weights and its stiff tip didn’t allow me to get any consistent accuracy at close range.  I also had trouble with getting delicate presentations.


This is another rod that performed better for me in the higher line weight classes.

 

Performance at 25 feet: 16 out of 20

         Close distances are not this rod’s strong suit. It was hard to form loops and get any decent accuracy. I thought getting more line out and casting further would have helped but it didn’t.

Performance at 40 feet: 17 out of 20

         Even with more line out and casting nearly twice as far, it was still hard to form tight loops and hard to make any sort of delicate presentation with this rod.

Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 out of 10

         Of course as a stiffer rod, it was able to cast 60 feet of line easily.  However I felt there was some loss of consistency, feel and flow at long distance.

 

 

 

#18. (tie) Loop OPTI K2 9’ #4   $575

Loop OPTI K2 9'#4

Loop OPTI K2 9'#4

Also ranging on the stiffer side, the Loop Opti K2 had a little more feel and touch than some of its stiffer cohorts.   As a 9-foot rod it was at a disadvantage to the best shorter rods.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 16 out of 20

         In close, the rod was ok. It was a little too stiff to give me good accuracy, but not terribly harsh.

Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20

         A little better at this distance, the rod felt like it performed much better once I had more line in the air.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         No problem with long casts to 60 feet.  The rod handled well but I felt that some feeling and finesse was lost.

 

 

#22 Mystic REAPER X  8’6’’ #4   $229

Mystic Reaper X

Mystic REAPER X 8'6"#4

The Reaper X has a stiffer mid and butt section with a softer tip. It’s light in hand, and feels a little more responsive than the original Reaper.

 

Performance at 25  feet: 16.5 out of 20

         Not bad in close, but did feel a little inconsistent and had less feel than some of the better rods.  I liked how the tip flexed and felt that it would protect light tippets.

Performance at 40 feet: 17 out of 20

         This distance is the sweet spot for the Reaper X.  At 40 feet I felt like it fully utilized the rod’s action, and allowed me to form nice loops. 

Performance at 60 feet: 6.5 out of 10

         For some reason, I felt a bit of a loss at 60 feet. Though I could get the distance easily enough, I was losing accuracy and feel.

 

 

#23 G. Loomis IMX PRO 8’6’’ #4   $495

G. Loomis IMX PRO 8'6"#4

G. Loomis IMX PRO 8'6"#4 

Having slightly smaller hands, I found the grip on the IMX PRO to be a little too fat. Other than that, this rod is on the stiffer side, and felt a little too “beefy” for light and gentle presentations.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 16 out of 20

         Though the tip section does have a little bit of softness in it, in general I felt the rod was a little too stiff to give me good presentations at 25 feet.

Performance at 40 feet: 16.5 out of 20

         This rod has some reserve power and you start to feel this at 40 feet. It handled well but lacked feel.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         This rod can cast line to 60 feet no problem but lacks feel and accuracy.   

 

 

 

 

#24. (tie) Sage MOD 8’6’’ #4   $850

Sage MOD 8'6"#4

Sage MOD 8'6"#4 

The Sage MOD has a softer midsection and butt, making the power reserve a little muffled.  I felt it was just too soft to handle the longer distances well.  I didn’t like the slower action, which seemed to make the rod load oddly.  Aesthetically, the bright green blank is a little much for my taste.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 16.5 out of 20

         It did ok at this distance, but there was a lack of feel that I was getting with the better rods like the Winston Pure.

Performance at 40 feet: 16 out of 20

         I started to feel a lack of power at 40 feet. It could still get the job done, but didn’t feel as crisp or as accurate as others.

Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10

         The MOD lacked the power in the butt and midsection to make good casts at our longest distance.  I had no feel and little accuracy.

 
 

#24. (tie) Loop Q 9’ #4   $229

 

Loop Q 

Loop Q 9'#4 

The Loop Q had a bit more feel than the other rods, despite being on the stiffer side. Once I figured out the casting stroke needed for this rod, I felt it cast ok at the longer distances, but still lacked some finesse in close.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 15.5 out of 20

         I found it to be a little too stiff to make delicate presentations  in close.

Performance at 40 feet: 16 out of 20

         Better at midrange. The action of this rod felt more conducive to casts in the 40-60 foot range, however, I still felt a lack of feel and delicacy at this distance.

Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10

         Much better with more line out. I felt the rod loaded best at 60 feet.

 

 

#26 Orvis CLEARWATER 8’6’’ #4   $198

Orvis CLEARWATER 8'6"#4

Orvis CLEARWATER 8'6"#4 

The Clearwater felt heavy in hand, and a bit stiff when casting. It did have a bit of a softer tip, which is ultimately what gave it the edge over some of these other rods.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 15.5 out of 20

         The rod did OK this distance, but still felt a little clunky.  I wish it was lighter.  

Performance at 40 feet: 16 out of 20

         With the stiffness of the rod, it did a bit better at 40 feet. Still not giving me as much finesse as the lighter rods. 

Performance at 60 feet: 6.5 out of 10

         Though it could hit 60 feet, It took a lot more work than other rods.

 

 

#27 Lamson Waterworks SS 9’ #4   $399.99

Waterworks Lamson SS 9'#4

Waterworks Lamson SS 9'#4 

The Lamson also felt on the heavier side when I first picked it up. Once I began casting, I felt a lack of feel and finesse, making it difficult to maintain accuracy with a delicate presentation.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 15.5 out of 20

         Hard to load and maintain accuracy in close, overall just felt too stiff for close range casts.

Performance at 40 feet: 16 out of 20

         Better at 40 feet, but still felt heavy and not very pleasant to cast.

Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10

         I could get the distance easily enough, but I had little feel or accuracy like I was getting with the NRX LP or Truth.

 

  

#28. (tie) TFO FINESSE TROUT 8’9’’ #4   $199.95

TFO FINESSE TROUT 8'9"#4

TFO FINESSE TROUT 8'9"#4

I really enjoyed casting the 7’9’’ version of this rod, but the 8’9’’ felt a little out of whack. The action of this rod was slower and not as smooth as its shorter brother.  If you like these TFO rods, I’d go with the 7’9’’.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 15 out of 20

         The tip on this rod felt too stiff and the midsection too soft to make accurate and delicate casts.

Performance at 40 feet: 15.5 out of 20

         The soft midsection makes casting this rod at longer distances harder than most other rods.

Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10

         Again, the softer midsection and stiffer tip made for a funky action that made timing with lots of line out much more difficult.

 

 

#28. (tie) Mystic JXP 9’ #4   $499

Mystic JXP 9'#4

Mystic JXP 9'#4

Overall I felt the JXP was far too stiff and clunky to be an effective 4-weight rod.  With the stiffness of the rod, I would be worried about light tippet protection, finesse, and presentation.

        

Performance at 25 feet: 15 out of 20

         This distance was hard since I was getting hardly any feel in the rod. The tip was far too stiff to present the leader nicely.

Performance at 40 feet: 15.5 out of 20

         At 40 feet things got a little better, but the rod still felt unbalanced and heavy.  

Performance at 60 feet: 6 out of 10

         I felt like I had little control with the rod at this distance. Between the heavy weight and overly stiff action, I felt like this rod had no response or touch at all.