Re: 3 wt. question--
Tony, I think you can do it with a 3 wt.
"Punching" 3 wts. doesn't work for me; maybe a little snap just before the stop, but that's about it. You really have to let the rod do the work. I find this to be true; particularly as you go to lighter wt. rods. A stiff, fast action 5 or 6 wt. can be punched; although it's not ideal for me.
I've listened a lot to everyone who has said "let the rod do the work", and in every case, I've found that they're right.
I also like a slower action rod in the lighter weights. For a 7'6" 3 wt. I'm usually either fishing a glass blank (Diamondglass) or a slower carbon blank (like Sage's ZXL).
If the wind is not throwing your line off target on you, then I think you should be able to get a 40' cast to do what you've described in your original post.
But, following on from what Cliff said, you'll need good casting form to get accuracy at a distance with the lighter wt. rods.