Re: acceptable distance for 9' 5 wt.
I take a contrary position to most of the posts. Eventually, you will find that a 40 ft maximum will limit your fishing effectiveness and pleasure. Here's the problem with being able to cast 40 ft as your maximum ===> WIND!
Any headwind and your 40 ft maximum becomes a dream. The second problem is if you fish at all from a belly boat. The low position limits your cast and you tend to spook fish as you get closer.
There is no disadvantage to being able to cast long. All it can be is an advantage.
My advice is to NOT be satisfied or limited by a 40 foot range. Learn a more effective casting stroke. Learn to double haul. Learn to shoot line on the backcast. Practice.
"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought"..........Szent-Gyorgy