Reel and line questions
So I just purchased a 9' 8wt Imperial that I'm going to set up for steelhead, browns and the big smallie fishing we do here in MN and WI. I'm a novice so bear with me on all the commonly asked questions but I need to get some advice on how to balance this rod. Mostly, I'll be focusing my time on steelhead and brown holding areas in streams that are not particularly wide but can have faster water. These aren't the streams you'll see out west, but they do move pretty good. I won't be throwing out 100' of line and trying big swings or drifts so I'll probably need to do a lot of smaller casts in the 10'-50' range. Therefore, reel weight and backing amount is key for fatigue but also balance. I plan on fishing with a WF8 floating, but no clue on which line to choose. I'll probably get mastery or rio gold. Here's the reels I'm looking at trying to not go over $225:
1. Hardy DD ultralight 7000 - Current favorite. This reel looks awesome and sounds like a winner. Disc drag. Is this the right size for an 8 wt. or could I go down to the 6000? Might be a little undersized but I don't know if I need more than 150 yards of backing for what I'm fishing. Also, it's a very light reel. $260 includes line.
2. Allen Alpha III - this seems like the right size for an 8 wt. but is a little on the heavy side at 7.5 oz. But, for $100 less seems like a great reel for the $. Comes with line and backing at that price. Will I really feel the 2 oz. of weight difference in this heavier reel and would this be a good fit or an 8 wt. St. Croix?
3. Ross CLA 4 - Line and backing for $240. My least favorite and of comparable weight to the Allen but it's a Ross and I like the company.
4. Lamson Guru 3 or 3.5- Appear to be a tried and try reel that many have offered comments on. It seems an 8 wt. might be right in between the 3 and 3.5 models. I'd probably go with the smaller reel but it might be set up for WF7. About $210 includes line and the 3 comes in at 5.5 oz. Very light. Machining seems good, no clue about the drag.
Any comments about which of these (or others in this price range) would balance well with an Imperial would be VERY appreciated. I'm in need of guidance. Thanks!