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TFO FINESSE TROUT 7’9” #4  $229.95

TFO's best 4-weight fly rod
Temple Fork Outfitters FINESSE TROUT 7'9"#4
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George’s Comments: 

Of the two TFO Finesse rods, I like this 7’9” rod as a 4-weight a whole lot better than the longer 8’9” model.  The shorter rod is nice and light, and faster in action than its longer brother.  The action is medium fast – not as fast as the Pure but still feels very nice in my hand and produced some respectable performance scores.  Since it is a lot shorter than my preferred 8 ½ foot #4, it ran up some high scores in both overall weight and swing weight.  It is also a soft rod, so it scored very well in light tippet protection.  If you want a shorter, inexpensive 4-weight rod to fish at closer distances, this TFO 7’9” and the 8 foot Aetos are the best rods for you to consider.

This rod is nice and light in hand, and performed well in close, where I was getting pretty good feel and decent accuracy.  However at long range, it had no guts, and was one of the worst in our Shootout.

TFO uses an olive green blank for this rod, with olive wraps that are trimmed in gold on the butt sections.  The epoxy coatings are fairly good, but a little heavy.  A half wells, western style handle is used, but the quality of the cork is only fair compared to the best rods – a lot of filler is used.  A single uplocking, gray anodized skeleton seat is fitted with an attractive burled wood insert.  The locking ring is easy to grip, but I’d prefer a double ring seat as this one looks like it will loosen up more easily than most.  The guides start with a hook keeper, and then one huge stripping guide that looks way too big, followed with thin wire hard chrome snake guides.

The perfect line:  SA Amplitude Smooth Trout in WF-4-F

George’s casting notes:

Performance at 25 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

Nice and light in hand and pretty good feel, but the accuracy is not as good as I was getting with the Aetos.

Performance at 40 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

Matches the Aeteos here, but still nothing to get excited about. The DXF was better and the Shadow was far better.

Performance at 60 feet:  6.5 points out of 10

Long distance was hopeless.  Just not enough butt power to get the job done.  And if there was any wind, I couldn’t make good enough back cast loops to hit the distance.

TFO's best 4-weight fly rod
TFO's best 4-weight fly rod
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James’ Comments:

The TFO Finesse Trout 7’9”#4 is a fun rod to fish, especially if you are fishing on smaller mountain creeks or in tight quarters.  Light in swing weight, this rod was fun to cast, especially in close. 

Everyone preferred the faster action of 7’9” Finesse to the 8’9” Finesse.  The 7’9” felt much more lively and spunky than its longer, heavier, slower older brother. 

When compared to the smoother casting Aetos, Imperial, and Reaper X, I noticed the 7’9” Finesse felt a little “hingy” or choppy.  The bigger problem however, was the 7’9” Finesse lacked enough butt power casting long or into the wind, severely limiting it to a small creek rod rather than an all-around 4-weight.

1st impressions:

Light in hand, feels super short and a little “hingy” or “choppy” in action.  Very small diameter blank.  Huge stripping guide and large chrome snake guides. Very nice wood insert although the hardware on the reel seat looks and feels cheap. SA Smooth Trout was the best line match.

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

Nice swing weight, fun and fairly accurate, but not nearly as smooth as the top rods.  I can definitely feel a hinge effect.

Performance at 40 feet:  18 points out of 20

Still feeling light but I already want more power.  Not a good rod for punching it. 

Performance at 60 feet:  6.6 points out of 10

The shorter length and lack of power seriously impede distance and accuracy.

TFO's best 4-weight fly rod
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Logan’s Comments: 42.5 out of 50

Of the two TFO Finesse trout rods we tested I enjoyed the 7’9” rod much better than TFO’s longer version. The 7’9” Finesse was a good rod for in close presentations.  Being the shortest rod in our shootout I can picture this being good for smaller streams with lots of tight cover.  Eastern anglers should love it.  My main gripe with both TFO rods was the use of a huge stripping guide that is better suited for a 6 or 7 weight, but definitely not a 4. 

Performance at 25 feet: 18 out of 20

The TFO Finesse Trout was nice and crisp at 25 feet and was giving me good presentations.

Performance at 40 feet: 18 out of 20

At 40 feet the TFO 7’9” rod was still casting well.  It wasn’t the most accurate, but it was getting the job done.

Performance at 60 feet: 6.5 out of 10

60 feet was not a distance you want to cast this rod.  It just did not have enough butt power to get the job done.  

Temple Fork Outfitters FINESSE TROUT 7'9"#4
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Francis’ Comments:

I found the TFO Finesse 7’9 to be a pleasant rod in close, but it lacked the power needed to perform well at the longer distances.  It’s a good looking fly rod, however the stripping guide and the snake guides on this rod are just too big for the blank and add unnecessary weight.

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5/20

The TFO Finesse had a really nice feel and good touch in close.   In close was the sweet spot for this rod.

Performance at 40 feet: 18/20

At 40’ the 7’9 Finesse still felt pretty good and I was able to get nice loops and decent accuracy.

Performance at 60 feet: 7/10

Unfortunately, the 7’9 Finesse doesn’t have the butt power that it needs to cast well at long distance.  I just felt under- gunned here compared to the best rods.

Temple Fork Outfitters FINESSE TROUT 7'9"#4
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Chloe’s Comments:

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.