Re: Smallmouth gear?
For rivers I would be fine with the 5wt as the distance to cast is not usually that far - I have landed a 2.5 smallie on the 5wt - as well as a 5# carp.
But for ponds or lakes I would go with a 6 or 7wt. The casting distance is usually farther, and much of the time you will be using a sink tip line or Clouser - plus bigger flies than typical in a river. So if you want to also fish streamers for trout in the early season or in ponds, I think it would be worth getting a 6wt with a bit of stifflness.