Nick_k posted a thread on 7 wt. rods and atilla's post got me thinking about the rods that I use most of the time.
For me, it's the odd number rods:
3 wt. - have 4
5 wt. - have 5
7 wt. - have 1
9 wt. - have 3
11 wt. - have 1
On the other side; the even side, I have:
4 wt. - have 1
6 wt. - have 1
8 wt. - have 1
I think a lot of it stems from the fact that my first rod was; as is common, a 5 wt. From there I went down, since my favorite fishing is for native Brookies up in headwaters; so 3 wts.. made sense. I don't drop below 3 wts.; at least not so far ,although I've been eying some local streams that aren't much more than 5 ft. across and a 1 wt. has crossed my mind........... Then I started fishing Smallies and a 7 wt. seemed like the right tool for the size fish I was after. Then along came Stripers and Bones and with them the 9 wts. were added. I fished Tarpon once, and that's where the 11 wt. comes from, but most of the time it gathers dust.
The 4 wt. is a special rod that Terry Johnson made up for me as an 8'0". The 6 wt. is a Sage One that I made myself last Winter at a rod building class and the 8 wt. is a Redington CPX that I just couldn't pass up for the price (and I'm glad I didn't; what a sweet rod!).
But, all in all, I could easily do all of the fishing that I've done and probably that I ever will do with just the odd number rods.
My first was a 6. Then I got an 8, then a 4, and there I stood for a while. Now I have everything from a 3 to a heavy 9 that does better with a 10 line, and multiples in many of them, but my favorites are still 6 and 4.
Leaving aside my own collecting history, I think a 6 is more useful than a 7, and a 4 more useful than a 3, so you'd need a 3-5-7 combo to do what a 4-6 combo can do, and you'd probably use the 5 most of the time anyway.
I own 3-8wts, I fish my 4wts whenever I can, and a 5 and 6wt equally after that. I could do my trout fishing with two 4wts, a 5wt, and a 6wt, but to answer your question, I would go with evens if I had to
A F&F 5wt, wanted it for small brush choked dreams and casting drys
Helios 9' 5wt, first rod and love it for streamers
Orvis 9' 3" (1985 model) 7wt for chasing big browns at nite and currently bass and bay fishing in Texas.
Don't see myself ever needing to buy another rod, unless I wanted a second of each of these 3 to have as a spare. Could be kicked out of the fly fishing guild for only fishing 3 rods, but when on the river with one it feels like I'm fishing with an old friend. I do have some other rods but they are collector boo rods and not anything I care to fish with.
I'm pretty much an even number guy. 3-4wts 2.5-6wt (one's a 5-6 I like it better with a DT 6) 1-8wt and my switch rated 7/8 but it likes about 60' of DT10F so I have no idea what that is anymore! Odd numbers=bad juju for me. 2's company 3's a crowd, or something to that effect.
2wt, 3wt, 4wt and 5wt. Never had a bigger fly rod. But I'm thinking on an 8wt to fish New River with. I want to hook a big Musky that I know are there on a fly rod. I fear I'd be taking a swith to a bear fight with a 5wt. I have caught two on spinning rods and I think an 8wt would put in about in the correct rod zone for Musky..or perhaps a big stripe'er. Them Stripe'ers can put you on an enormous battle. Since this rod would be used as a workhorse, I might go toward a good, but not pricey rod,,maybe something in a TFO or St Croix. A seven weight might handle the fish but I think the 8wt would toss big ol' feathery creatures farther.
I have like many others both odds & evens in numbers as well as Weights,my collection Started with a 6-7 wt,since then I have accumulated,a 2wt,a 3wt,a 4wt,2 5wts,a 5-6wt,3 6wts,3 extra 6-7wts,a 7wt,a 9wt with a 4wt,a 6wt,a7wt & an 8wt to be finished,I think??? as it's possible I could have missed a couple??
I like my 4's and 5 wt's. The 5wt is a 7'6" Sage so it kinda feels like a lighter weight. Also like my St.Croix Imperial 4wt. It too is 7'6". I have a 3wt, 10' Allen Myth. It feels like it could handle some larger flies, fish and water. Looking forward to trying it out on some large steelheads. Also have the Myth in a 3wt. 6'6". Have yet to wet a line with them. Also have the CT Redington in 8'. Nice rod, haven't tried it yet either. Ohhh, so much fishing, so little time.