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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Gear Review: 9-Weight Fly Rods & Reels

If you chase big fish, you need a 9-weight fly rod to carry along on your adventures. BACKPACKER reviewed five rods that fit the bill.

by: Dan Corbett

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5
(Photos by Dan Corbett)
(Photos by Dan Corbett)
Ross Essence FW
Ross Essence FW
Orvis Hydros
Orvis Hydros
Orvis Frequent Flyer
Orvis Frequent Flyer
Sage Xi3
Sage Xi3
Temple Fork Clouser
Temple Fork Clouser

A 5-weight rod would snap moments after you set the hook on a summer steelhead. A 3-weight could not even pretend to cast muskellunge flies. And while a 9-weight might cause your backpacking friends to question such a heavy rod…you know better. If you chase big fish (Northern Pike in the Boundary Waters, Summer Steelheads in the Cascades, or Roosterfish in Costa Rica) you need a rod that can handle your quests. And besides, would you rather carry five boxes of Mac 'n Cheese, or one measly fishing rod?


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READERS COMMENTS

Dan Corbett
Dec 22, 2010

Hi John,

You are correct - there is a lot more to these rods than just casting distance. If you cannot cast accurately (and softly) to that tailing bonefish, distance is not overly important. That said, it is nice to push the limits if you see the fish is not moving any closer to you.

During the comparison testing, I did not have a fly attached (or a leader for that matter). I did use the Sage Xi3 in Florida, the Orvis Hydrous in Costa Rica, and the Ross Essence FW in a local Colorado reservoir with flies. Unsurprisingly big streamer flies did not cast as far or as easily, however small crab patterns, containing a bit of weight and a relatively aerodynamic profile, I could cast even a bit further.

Cheers,
Dan

John T
Dec 14, 2010

Dan - you seem to focus a lot on the casting distance. I cannot remember ever making a 60' cast steelhead fishing. When you were doing your testing, did you have a fly on the line? The big saltwater flies are a really hard to cast because they are so wind resistant.

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