RE:Selecting a new Fly Rod
I will throw this into the mix--for the same price you can also get the 8 1/2' 4 wt. St. Croix Legend Ultra, which is a 4 piece. At last year's ff show I tried a bunch of 4 wts and settled on that one because I thought it was the perfect do-everything rod for where I fish--small streams, medium rivers, ponds etc. It also casts great. I got down to between that and a Sage but can't remember which one, I think the VPS, which I believe Juro recommended to me at the show, but I recall it being over $300. The St. Croix has been a good nymphing rod for me and also throws an intermediate line well for the small kettle pond fishing that I have been trying, mostly unsuccessfully, to get into...
It is by no means slow, but I would not consider it super fast action by today's standards. I found 8 1/2 to be a good length because my roll cast tends to suffer with shorter rods (but that could me!).