Discovering the Benefits of 10-Foot 4-Weight Rods

Sarah Staib fishing a 10-foot 4-weight Recon on the famous South Platte river near Denver.
Photo by Kyle Leard

After moving back home to Colorado a few years ago, I knew my technical trout game would need some improvement, so I bought a couple new fly rods and started practicing. One was a standard 9-foot 5-weight, but for the other, on a whim I chose a Recon 10-foot 4-weight. While 10-foot 3-weights have long been a staple among Euro-nymphers, I figured it would be nice to have a little extra backbone, since I prefer to use heavier indicator rigs. At the time, I didn’t realize my purchase was part of a growing national trend, but after using this rod for a couple seasons, I can definitely understand why 10-foot 4-weights appeal to so many anglers.

“What I’m hearing from dealers,” says Doug Bear, Orvis head sales rep for the Northeast, “is that customers have learned to appreciate the value of the longer length, and are now realizing that a 10-foot 4-weight is a more all-around rod when compared to their 905 or 103 models.” My own fishing buddies were a bit skeptical at first, but after watching me easily reach over a few tricky seams and hook trout from areas they couldn’t reach without mending, they eventually came around as well. Now most of us own one.

Sales of 10-foot 4-weight rods have increased significantly over the past year.

But the upsides of this rod don’t end at technical nymphing. “I think a 10-foot 4-weight is one of the most versatile rods available for trout fishing,” says Pete Kutzer of the Orvis Fly-Fishing School. “Dry-fly fishing is no problem, since the longer length is better for mending and roll casting; it can handle any style of nymph fishing, from tight-lining to indicators; and you can even fish smaller streamers with it.” Pete attributes this versatility to more than just the extra foot of length or the extra weight, however, noting that, “There was a time when 5- or 6-weights were the most common, but now, with the amount of technology and development these modern rods have, you can get a 4-weight to do just about anything.”

The author landing yet another picky Colorado trout with his trusty 10-foot 4-weight Recon.
Photo by Sam Agnew

That’s been my experience as well, and I now bring my 10-foot 4-weight with me on pretty much every trout trip I take, so long as there’s enough room to swing it. I really enjoy the extra reach because it allows me to cover more water, but Sarah Staib, manager of the Orvis store in Cherry Creek near Denver, pointed out another benefit that hadn’t occurred to me. “As a vertically-challenged angler, the extra length gives me more line-management ability, helping me to achieve a dead drift from farther away without having to wade so deep.” At this point, I’m no longer surprised to discover even more benefits of 10-foot 4-weights, but I am surprised it took me this long to figure out what a great help they can be.

Evan Jones is the assistant editor of the Orvis Fly Fishing blog. He spent a decade living on the Florida coast and now lives in Colorado.

2 thoughts on “Discovering the Benefits of 10-Foot 4-Weight Rods”

  1. Couldn’t agree more.
    With the current performance technology & profiles being used within the Orvis line up, the 104’s can definitely be considered a worthwhile rod choice.

  2. Hola amig@s . Coincido que la longitud extra agrega beneficios. Tengo una #8 de 10´ y junto con una 8-9 de 12´de dos manos son mis preferidas. Cordialmente Alejandro.

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