I purchased the Aeroflex based on my experience with the Ideal Nymph for trout fishing relatively small waters. The first time I used it, I was on slow waters about an hour before sunset and trout were rising on emergers in the middle of a light caddis hatch. I rigged the rod with 444 Peach DT on a 3x tapered leader that was stepped down from the tippet ring to 2' 5x and 4' of 7x and was able to cast size 18 Elk Hair Caddis 30' upstream. There was enough rod to unroll the whole leader and the fly would gently land on the water. A light line mend and the fly was drifting perfectly, without any significant slack in the line on the water. Hooksets were immediate and firm. I caught about 6 without a single missed hookset. I then turned around and started swinging soft hackles downstream. I caught about 15-20 more rainbows on the swing with solid hooksets. The largest was about 15" and the rod protected the light 7x tippet nicely. I broke one tippet on a large rainbow (not the rod's fault), but landed the rest pretty effortlessly. I'm really impressed with the rod and it performed much better than I expected. I think the only thing I wish was different was to have a slightly longer rod option. The 8' rod is kind of short for longer casts (My limit is around 80' with a very fast 9'5" rod) and makes mending and roll casts a little more technical, but if your cast has good fundamentals, the rod's potential will exceed the angler's abilities.
You can’t beat this rod for the price. I’ve used my 5 to throw size 22 tricos to small streaters in the greater Yellowstone area. Preformed better than any rod could. This rod has to be your next rod!
So here is what I have to say. Get This Rod NOW! Like it's predecessor, this rod is hitting the market with a fair price tag but you're going to have a hard time finding someone willing to part with one on the secondary market if you let it get to that point.
I pared the 8' 4W Fresh Water with an Orvis BBS III with a mid-grade WF NB line.
Roll Casting Tight 8-10 (more than acceptable accuracy- line & leader length moves this rating 1 to 2 points)
Roll Casting- Mid 15-20': 9.5-10: noticeable load when drawing up for the back cast, crisp kinetic release on the forward, beautiful accuracy as tip recovery is damned near dead-nut straight.
Roll Casting - Long 30+': 9.5-10: the middle section of the rod comes into play and there's some meat to work with. Very little extra effort involved when pushing for the extra feet, "just let the rod work" approach is the correct one. Rod tip recovery remained unchanged with straight down and up tracking. I was picking my targets and hitting them intuitively.
Hull Casting: 9-10; hands down great. Fast but not snappy, I stretched casts as far as conditions and my setup allowed (longer than you think.) Intuitive loading by feel; accuracy "call your target-hit your target". I found myself in a position to toss a few steeple casts, the transition on the downward vertical into a forward horizontal was an "admirable performance" for a BS cast that is rarely used, it did what I wanted to do. (0 points added 0 point deducted.)
My Straight Up Opinion: It is on the faster side for people who like mid to slow action dry fly rods, however, it wasn't splashing down either so yeah, it does that too. You could easily line down or go with a less aggressive WF taper and customize the feel for where you want to be. ((more experimentation need.))
I absolutely loved this rod and since I got mine, it's been the only one I have taken out forgoing those in rotation with more than double the price tag.
I Spent most of my time tight lining a double nymph rig under a single BB split shot. Easy feel on the take, easy distinction between a fish take and bouncing off of structure. The 4 WT has some backbone but maybe I should have upped to a 5 WT, it handled an 18 inch rainbow in a 300cfs deep current in such a way were I was able to easy manipulate him into the pocket water I felt more comfortable fighting in. I was admittedly asking a lot from the rod and I got what I needed. again, I wish I had a 5 or a 6 in my hand but that was my choice not the rods.
Another observation; It's my opinion that the single foot hoop like islets that were prevalent in the original Diamondback VSRs and some of the older Cortland Pro-Casts do move the apex of that kinetic release point down further into the tip section of the rod as the blank is given just that much more flexibility. It's my opinion that, this is what gives you a pretty fast feel to the rod but also somehow translates into softer presentations on the water adding that versatility and perhaps providing a more forgiving result despite sloppy fundamentals and bad habits. When fighting a bigger fish, I didn't perceive any noticeable difference in the bend/backbone. but again, I'm not about to tax my new 4wt on anything lake run anytime soon.
Money back test:
Would I buy this rod again: Yes
Would I be willing to sell this rod to a personal friend at purchase price: NO, This rod is now part of my personal rotation.
Would I be willing to sell this rod for 50% profit assuming you could no longer replace it new? Honestly no, I would keep it in my regular rotation.
Would I be willing to sell this rod at 100% profit assuming you could no longer replace it new? Getting closer but no, I would keep it in my regular rotation.
Would I be willing to sell this rod at 150% profit assuming you could no longer replace it new? I would take a day to think about it, negotiate an additional trade, most likely cave, 150% profit is hard to ignore.
I haven't given a 10 out of 10 ever: the closest was the original Orvis Super Fine Glass with a 9-10 and part of that rating had to do with Orvis actually pricing a rod accurately for once.
overall, 9.5 out of 10: the numbers average out closer to 9.20. but the fact that I actually had to think about whether or not I would be willing to sell it at 100% profit and above is worth half a point. The only reason I'm not giving it the 10-10 is the short-range roll casting but I acknowledge that this is nit-picking and comes with opinions and variables.
just go out and get the rod before they are discontinued from the production line. or else you're missing out on a gem. It's worth the buy at double the price. And, Diamondback supports our veterans and first responders. That also counts for something.
At first I figured I'd fish the 9' 5wt as a dry fly rod but it's doing just as well with fairly substantial foam hoppers and even small streamers. While fishing it last week I went to strip out a bit more line and realized an entire 100' fly line was already off the reel and this rod was casting it with complete ease. Small streams or big lakes seem to be equally tempting with this rod.
I've put this rod through the ringer since it arrived and it performs in every scenario. From delicate dry presentations to hucking heavy bounce rigs and everything in between