Originally Posted by Pocono
I purchased one or Sage's 7'11" Smallmouth rods last summer, fished it a couple of times, but didn't really care that much for it (in general, I'm a Sage rod fan).
I traded it this Spring for a 9'0" TCX 7 wt., and I really like it. I kept the line that came with the Smallmouth rod and put it on a Bauer Rogue reel. It fishes very well for Smallmouths on one of our local lakes and on the Susquehanna River as well. No problems getting a lot of distance out of that rod; which I find to be a plus when you all of a sudden see a lot of Smallie action on the other side of the river. It also has plenty of backbone for throwing larger flies; something that BigCliff points out in his post.
I feel that the 9'0" 7 wt. gives me more flexibility than the Smallmouth rod gave me. On the other hand, if I was going to be entering any Smallie tournaments, then the Smallmouth rod would definitely be the way to go. It's a very nice rod; but I prefer the TCX for all around fishability.
I have a friend who owns one of the local fly shops and he uses a 9'0" Z-Axis 7 wt. for Smallies. That man can fish!
I'm fairly sure that if you're using the Smallmouth line on that TCX, you're basically overlining it by two.