First, I should point out that you’re bound to detect a noticeable difference in one manufacturer's 9-weight over another's. In fact, some 9-weights might feel like another brand's 8-weight, and vice versa. Any two 9-weight rods of equal length will cast a 9-weight line well, but understand that the rod tapers may differ. Thus, one may load better for short casts, while another is able to carry more line in the air and excels at casting longer distances. But rather than get caught up in this, let's concentrate on the overall utility of the two rods mentioned.