Re: 9' 8-weight versus 11' 8-weight (switch)?
Axel27 is right on..my 8 weight switch throws a 10 weight rio outbound short perfectly. A switch rod is perfect in a couple conditions and not so good in some...IMHO. Great in the surf or anyplace where there is moving water and the casts are fairly repetitious. Not so good for sight fishing, varying distances, and off boats. They are called switch rods cause you are supposedly able to use them either 1 handed or 2 handed. The higher weights..like my 8 weight...are extremely difficult to consistently fish with one hand. Just to heavy.
Someone mentioned being able to cast a one handed 9' 8 weight longer than a 11 foot switch cast 2 handed....beg to differ...in the correct situation I don't see this happening. A two handed cast is far easier on the body than a one hand cast.