Re: Looking for a new fly rod...
If you are worried split the difference and get the 8.5' rod. 6" isn't that much either way. Alternatively (now the little devil appears on your shoulder) start your rod collection right away and buy a 8' 4 wt and a 9' 6 or 7 weight and ignore everything Are said. Really though a 9' 5 wt is a great place to start and could be a rod you use for a long time.
- William Jensen