Originally Posted by Joni
My JWF is 8'6" 5 wt and in my opinion, one of the best rods out there. It doesn't need to be longer or shorter :-) Purrrfect.
I've got the same model WT but with the "standard" cork grip. It's a beauty.
Back to the original question: I was reading an interview with an Orvis rod designer a few months ago saying that a sweet 8'6" rod is easier to design than a 9'. The extra 6" adds weight and changes the balance. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. If you can test cast it and you like how it feels, you'll have your answer.