Another question about a rod for the new guy.
I'm looking for a 5 wt rod to fish some local creeks for panfish and bass. I'm looking to spend around $300. I already have an 8wt 9ft Bass Pro Shops rod and reel for flats fishing on the Florida panhandle. That was the rod I learned to cast with, and I do fine enough that my flyfishing teacher says he doesen't need to give me any more individual attention. He has brought some of his rods to class and I have cast a couple of his 8wt Orvis rods(t3 midflex 7.5, Orvis Trident, and another I can't recall the name of). I have also cast my bosses St. Croix Imperial 5 wt. The st. Croix was too soft, and the Orvis T3 was heaven. When I pick up a rod I haven't used before, it takes me a couple of casts to get the feel of it. But that t3 felt like an extension of my arm. Its softer than my BPS, but I don't think I could make a bad cast with it if I tried.
I know from talking to my instructor, that I will need a rod around 8ft for the creeks I will be fishing (wading). My question is this: based on what I have told you about my experience with the t3, what rods would you recommend I look at if I were to walk into a fly shop? Thing is, I may not be able to make it to one before I buy. I live in Alabama (would have to drive to Georgia to find the nearest shop), and I have already commited the coming weekend to family. The final class will be in a week or so, and I would like to have my own rod and reel by that time.
Any help would be greatly appreciated...