Re: acceptable distance for 9' 5 wt.
I'm sure that this has bedn said at least once, but here goes.
If you can cast to your target, that's far enough.
That said, you should be ablre to cast at least 50 ft. without couble hauling. The fact that that you don't often cast beyond 40 ft. is not relevent.
"Three-fourths of the Earth's surface is water, and one-fourth is land. It is quite clear that the good Lord intended us to spend triple the amount of time fishing as taking care of the lawn." ~Chuck Clark