Years ago, a 9-foot 6-weight was the standard for western trout anglers. As rod materials have improved and rods have become lighters and stronger, the #6 has taken a back seat to the 5-weight. It is now the “in between” size for the transition from trout fishing to warmwater species. Capable of remarkably long casts, this rod also has the ability to make delicate presentations - especially in windy conditions where a #5 can't quite handle it. This is a good streamer rod, and it admirably casts the oversized, wind-resistant poppers, stoneflies and hoppers that are so popular on the larger streams of the high desert. It is also an excellent rod for ultralight saltwater applications on the flats, going after bonefish and small mangrove snapper.
The 9-foot 8wt is a versatile, medium-heavy outfit suited to larger flies and floating or sinking lines. It is the number one choice among saltwater anglers for flats fishing, as it is capable of handling the predominant flies used in that environment.
Here’s a truly great rod for heavy-duty freshwater applications and light-duty saltwater use. It casts like a bullet in the wind and has the power to handle all salmon species. It is the rod of choice for flats fishing when the wind comes up, and it will pull a big redfish back to the boat in a heartbeat. Bass fly fishermen love this model because it has the power to handle the large, bulky deer hair flies and poppers so popular for taking big largemouth out of lily pads and heavy cover. When the river gets a freshet and waters rise, the steelheader turns to the #9 for heavier lines and larger flies. It is a great all-around big fish rod.