I have a Z-Axis in 8-wt, and it performs really well. I use it for surf fishing with sinking lines and for largemouth bass. However, it does have a fairly soft, forgiving feel to it. That's why my 9-wt is an Xi3. It is a totally different rod than the Z-Axis and is made to put the wood to big fish. Since it sounds like that's what you're striving for, check out the Xi3. It is very stout and will likely meet your needs.