7 Best 4wt Fly Rods + Buying Guide

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Fishing may look like a great way to relax in the sun, but it takes a lot of patience and skill to land a catch. This is especially true of fly fishing, where one has to master their cast and carefully select the type of fly they will use for attracting certain fish. While it is a little more complex, fly fishing is a great way to learn new techniques and it’s immensely satisfying when you get it right. 

However, you can’t fish without a good rod, and when it comes to fly fishing there are a variety of different weights to choose from. Each weight category has its uses and if you are just starting out then it can be hard to know which one will work best for you.

A rod that is too heavy, or too light will be more difficult to control and you may struggle more with learning how to cast your line. If you are plan to fish on small rivers or lakes, then it is a good idea to start with a 4-weight. 

 4-weight rods (4wts) are a great starting place as they are versatile enough to work in a variety of different situations but still easy to manage. They are great for catching small to medium-sized fish such as trouts.

This guide will look at some of the best 4wt rods that are available to buy online, as well as offer helpful tips on how to choose the perfect rod for you. So whether you are looking for your first fly rod, or you are an experienced angler who wants a new addition to their quiver, read on to discover the 7 best 4wt fly rods

7 Best 4wt Fly Rods

1. Redington Classic Trout

Redington Fly Fishing Rod 490-4 Classic Trout Rod W/Tube 4pc 4WT 9-Foot

The 4wt Redington classic trout rod comes in three different lengths. The 9ft rod is the best for beginners while those who fish on small rivers may prefer one of the shorter models. With moderate action, this rod bends from the tip all the way to the handle, and this flexibility will help with throwing your casts much further. 

The dark brown blank has a vintage look that harkens back to the fly fishing rods of old but is made from intermediate modulus graphite to provide both strength and flexibility. Stripping guides made from titanium oxide and a rosewood reel seat are also included to complete the ‘classic’ 1970s look. Smaller hands may struggle with the bulky cork handle, but it can be easily sanded down for a more comfortable grip. 

This rod is very lightweight, which is another feature that makes it suitable for beginners. Not only is it easy to carry, but those new to fishing will also have a much easier time learning how to cast. The width gradually decreases from the tip to the butt, and this progressive taper makes the Remington Classic perfect for catching trout. 

Pros: 

  • Moderate action rod that is perfect for beginners. 
  • Progressive taper of the blank makes this rod great for catching trout. 
  • Vintage style rod with all the benefits of more modern designs. 

Cons: 

  • Handle may be too large for small hands. 
ON SALE $21.20 OFF
Redington Fly Fishing Rod 490-4 Classic Trout Rod W/Tube 4pc 4WT 9-Foot
  • Fresh water, moderate action rod
  • Dark clay brown blank with matching Rosewood reel seat insert
  • Custom Machined reel seat components, Titanium oxide stripping guides

2. Sage Fly Fishing – X Fly Rod

Sage Fly Fishing X Rod

According to their site, the Sage X is a handcrafted rod made on Bainbridge island in the US. Previously this brand was considered to be for skilled casters who had mastered their technique, but the X model is significantly more accepting of different casting styles or errors. With this rod, you will be able to throw perfect, parallel loops at any distance while casting. 

You can buy the 4wt version of this rod in 8”6”, 9”, and 10ft lengths. Again the 9ft will be the best all-purpose rod, but if you are fishing on larger bodies of water it might be worth considering the 10ft. The dark green blank is made from a special graphite composite to offer fast action and better loop control. 

This is another lightweight rod that has excellent tip sensitivity so you will instantly know when a fish has taken the bait. An up-locking reel seat made from anodized aluminum helps to balance the rod providing more control over your catch. 

Pros: 

  • KonneticHD blank offers great loop control and fast action. 
  • An anodized aluminum reel seat gives this lightweight rod great balance. 
  • 10ft variety available for fishing on larger bodies of water. 

Cons: 

  • Premium price 
Sage Fly Fishing X Rod
  • Handcrafted on Bainbridge Island, USA
  • Graphite IIIe Technology, Fast action
  • Dark Green thread wraps with Metallic Grey trim wraps

3. Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod

Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod Grey, 6'6' - 4wt - 4pc

The Fenwick AETOS is a significantly shorter 4wt rod that measures only 6”6” in length. This makes it easier to control, more responsive, and great for smaller bodies of water. Nanocomposite technology is utilized in the graphite blank to offer more strength and fast action. 

This rod produces tight loops and is very forgiving of amateur casting techniques making it another great choice for beginners. It works well at long distances but truly excels at close to medium ranges. The wider guides help you to cast out your line faster by reducing friction. 

The handle is made from high-grade AAA cork providing a very comfortable grip. There are anodized aluminum reel seats and they are uplocking to keep the rod balanced despite its low weight. Fenwick offers a lifetime warranty to ensure that once bought you will get many years of quality fishing from this rod. 

Pros: 

  • Works great for medium to short distances. 
  • Fast action rod that produces tight loops. 
  • Wide guides reduce friction on the line for faster casting. 

Cons: 

  • The components aren’t as high quality as on other rods. 
Fenwick AETOS Fly Fishing Rod Grey, 6'6" - 4wt - 4pc
  • Nano Composite Technology used in blank construction
  • Fast Action
  • Two tone anodised aluminium reel seat with woven carbon spacer

4. Orvis Clearwater Fly Rods

Orvis Clearwater 4-Weight 9' Fly Rod

This moderate action fly fishing rod has three sizes in the 4wt category allowing you to choose between 8”6”, 9”, and 10ft rods. The blank is made from graphite and designed to offer a great balance between strength and precision. With this rod, you will be able to cast accurately up to 60ft making it perfect for use on both lakes and rivers. 

With some rods, it is best to buy a reel separately from a different company, but Orvis’s clearwater reels are very well built meaning you won’t need to go shopping around. The line control is great for precision casting and even beginners will have no problem forming tight, parallel loops. 

The soft tip of this rod is great for protecting your tippet, which is the thinnest section of the line tied to the fly. The cork handle isn’t anything to write home about but it is comfortable enough to provide a sturdy grip on the rod. Orvis offers a 25-year warranty on this rod to ensure it remains part of your quiver for a long time. 

Pros:

  • Versatile, this rod can be used on any body of water from lakes to rivers and streams. 
  • The soft tip is good at protecting your tippet. 
  • The reel and line that Orvis recommends for this rod are very high quality. 

Cons: 

  • This rod may be too stiff for some anglers. 
Orvis Clearwater 4-Weight 9' Fly Rod
  • Orvis Clearwater 4 Piece Fly Rod | 9ft 0in 4WT

5. St. Croix Rods Imperial Salt Fly Fishing Rod

St. Croix Rods Imperial Salt Fly Fishing Rod

This is a saltwater fly fishing rod, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be used on bodies of fresh water like rivers and lakes. There is only one 4wt version which measures 8”6” in length. With a shorter rod, you will have much more leverage for pulling your catches out of the water and it will help with fishing on smaller streams. 

The Imperial rods are handcrafted in the USA and are built to withstand any conditions including corrosive saltwater. Made from high modulus carbon fiber, this is a fast-action rod with great sensitivity. It is good for catching larger fish where you need the rod to be strong and stable, but flexible enough at the tip to ‘fight the fish’.

To balance the rod’s lightweight, there is an up-locking, aluminum, reel seat with a wooden insert. The handle is made from premium-grade cork so you can keep a tight hold of the rod while you are reeling in your catch. Two coats of flex-coat slow cure finish protect against damage and give the rod a sleek shiny look that will make it a clear stand-out in any angler’s quiver. 

Pros: 

  • Kiegan hook keeper 
  • Durable rod made to withstand corrosive saltwater conditions. 
  • The fast action blank is great for catching larger fish. 

Cons: 

  • Shorter warranty period than other brands. 
St. Croix Rods Imperial Salt Fly Fishing Rod
  • ADVANCED SCIII CARBON CONSTRUCTION: For a serious angler who demands high-performance and value;...
  • PREMIUM-GRADE CORK HANDLE: Ensure you maintain a strong grip on your Imperial USA fly fishing rod...
  • FEATURES: Slim-profile ferrules; Kigan Master Hand 3D stripper guides with aluminum-oxide rings and...

6. Okuma Crisium Graphite 2-Piece Fly Rod

Okuma Crisium Graphite 2-Piece Fly Rod, 4wt 7-Feet, Graphite / Green

This graphite 7ft rod is a great cheap introduction to the world of fly fishing. While it lacks the bells and whistles of its pricier competition, if you want to take up fly fishing without breaking the bank you can’t do better than Okuma. This is a 2 piece rod which means it will be slightly harder to store and transport than a 4 piece. 

It has a rosewood reel seat and a thick cork handle that can be held with one or two hands depending on how much control you need. Its fast action is very good for beginners as it will help them with learning to cast their flies. There is a titanium oxide stripper guide with stainless steel snakes guides for distributing the weight of the line evenly across the blank. 

Nymphing refers to the practice of creating your fly to look like a specific type of insect larva called a nymph. These special flies are cast upstream and float back down towards the angler, hopefully with a fish attached. The shorter length, fast action, and lightweight blank make the Okuma a suitable nymphing rod for those who want to learn this technique. 

Pros: 

  • Suitable as a nymphing rod. 
  • A cheap but well-made rod that is perfect for beginners. 
  • Fast action will help those learning how to cast their line. 

Cons: 

  • Two-piece rods are harder to store and transport. 
Okuma Crisium Graphite 2-Piece Fly Rod, 4wt 7-Feet, Graphite / Green
  • Lightweight Graphite Construction
  • 2-Piece Rod Design
  • Titanium Oxide Stripper Guide

7. Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod 

Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod (Matte, 4WT 8'6' 4PC)

There is nothing worse than going on a fly fishing trip that you have planned for a while only to have the tip of your rod break on a tree branch or car door. That’s why this 4 piece 8”6” rod comes with a spare tip so you can get straight back to fishing with minimal hassle. This rod is made from graphite and offers a medium action for easy casting. 

The handle made from high-grade AAA cork is just the right size to fit comfortably in the hands of any angler. Every blank is tested by the company to make sure it meets their rigorous standards. With a flexible tip and a stiff bottom half, this rod is great for casting long distances and offers great line control while doing so. 

To further protect your rod from any damage, it comes with a canvas tube for storing and transporting it to your favorite fishing spot. The real seat and other metal fixings are made from anodized which not only looks very sleek but is also highly durable. The company provides a lifetime warranty to ensure that when you buy one of their rods you will have it for life. 

Pros: 

  • Comes with a carrying tube and spare rod tip. 
  • Copper anodized hardware is durable and capable of withstanding both fresh and saltwater conditions. 
  • Comfortable handle that will fit most hand sizes. 

Cons: 

  • Some of the wooden parts aren’t as durable as the other components. 
Moonshine Rod Co. The Drifter Series Fly Fishing Rod (Matte, 4WT 8'6" 4PC)
  • HIGH-QUALITY CONSTRUCTION – Made with performance, medium action graphite and high-grade AAA cork...
  • DYNAMIC 4-PIECE ROD – Cork grips keep this rod lightweight, while copper anodized hardware keeps...
  • PORTABLE CANVAS TUBE – This rod comes with a durable, hard canvas fly rod tube. Embroidered with...

Buyers Guide

4-weight fly rods are a great place for beginners to start learning the sport as they are heavy enough to offer good line control, but still light enough that they are easy to cast.

If you are a novice fly fisher, then you may be struggling to find the right rod due to all the dense terminology you have to unpick while shopping. Here are the most important aspects to bear in mind when looking for a 4wt fly rod. 

Length

Rod comes in a variety of different lengths which will affect their casting distance and how well they handle. For beginners, it is best to start with a longer 4wt rod such as a 9ft model. Not only can the longer rods be cast further out but they will also be much easier to control. 

Don’t think the short ones are all bad though. In fact, if you are fishing on a small body of water then a shorter rod length will be much more suitable. Short models also provide better leverage for pulling bigger fish out of the water. 

Action

The main shaft of a rod that attaches to the handle is called the blank. How much this blank is capable of bending determines a rod’s action. Fast action rods will only bend at the tip with their lower halves remaining stiff, while slow actions rods will often bend all the way down to the handle.

Which type you use will depend on your preference as an angler, but beginners should choose a moderate or fast action rod. These rods have a more whip-like motion that makes it easier to throw your line out while casting. These rods also have better sensitivity so you know what to do in order to get your fish out of the water once it bites. 

Materials 

It is important to buy a rod that is made from sturdy and durable materials. Many blanks are made from graphite composites which are lightweight and offer varying degrees of flexibility.

Avoid rods that are very heavy if you are a beginner, as they will be more difficult to use and you may find yourself getting tired after a few casts. If you plan on fishing in saltwater, then make sure the metal components are anodized to sufficiently protect against rust and corrosion. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How is fly fishing different from regular fishing? 

Normal fishing often involves using a thin, weightless line to present a fish with a weighted piece of bait, such as a live insect or other pieces of food attached to a hook. Fly fishing on the other hand uses a heavier, weighted line to present an extremely light piece of bait.

This bait is often a small artificial insect called the fly. Flies are commonly made from string, feathers, and other similar materials. The idea is to cast your line in loops to mimic the flight of an insect before letting the fly rest on the surface of the water.

Fly fishing can be complex, but incredibly satisfying when you get it right. If you have never tried it before then it can be a great way to learn new techniques and discover another side to fishing. 

What size reel is a 4wt fly rod suited for?

A 4wt fly rod is best suited for a 10-22 size fly.

Do rods come with reels? 

No, most rods are sold individually with the reels and line sold separately. Before you buy a reel you should make sure it is compatible with the reel seat on your rod. There is no single line that works best with a 4wt rod, as different types will work better for catching different types of fish. That said, if you are fly fishing you should always buy a floating line as you want your bait to rest on the surface of the water. 

Last update on 2021-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


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Ric Burnley

Author of The Complete Kayak Fisherman, Ric Burnley is a reknowned angling writer having been published in Kayak Angler Mag, Sport Fishing Mag, Paddling Mag, and Outdoor Life. Ric has entertained and informed thousands of anglers through his writing and seminars.