I was using all 5wts until a few years ago, and bought a 6 wt for smallmouth.
That became my main rod until I dropped it over the side of my canoe (20'
of lake water). I fished my 4 and 5 wts for a while, and then bought another
6wt. It once again became my main rod, but I sold it (?!?!?!?). Back to the
5wt's again, but they just never cut it on the windy lake I so often fish. I
bought a Sage ZXL in 6wt, and BAM!!!
My wife loves the rod, and
I think it casts as gently as a 5wt; maybe more depending on the other rod.
I bought a 9' 5wt Sage Z-Axis a few weeks ago, and thought it didn't live up
to the hype. I returned it for a 6wt Z-Axis, took it out on the lake, and thought I had found THE PERFECT ROD
: accuracy was incredible,
distance was incredible, close in casting was phenomenal, sensitivity was
great. I was grinning from ear to ear that afternoon. When I was wiping down
the rod that evening, I noticed that they had given me a 6wt tube, but the
rod was a 5wt Z-Axis! I was using a 6wt GPX line. That was a bummer, but
I had read that the Z-Axis doesn't like to be pushed to hard: casting off the
tip and all that. I went back out the next day with the Z-Axis and a 5wt line,
and adjusted my casting stroke. It was even better than the day before.
I might just keep this rod, since I have the ZXL as a 6wt.
I hope that makes the issue more confusing
. Seriously, it's a tough
call with these rods. The 5wt Z-Axis was 100% capable of throwing a 6wt
line, and felt very much like the 6wt ZXL when up-lined. It was also a sports
car with a 5wt line. I think the problem I had originally was the "Fast" label.
I had always pushed fast rods, but the Z-Axis likes to do its own work.
Having said all that, I read an interview with Tom Morgan last week. He likes
4 and 6 wt rods, but acknowledges that 5 is the Eastern standard. Since you
mentioned 7wt, Tom says skip that and go to 8. I have a 7, but never use it.
Buy one of each from Cabelas, etc, and then fish them. When you find the weight you prefer,
return them both, and then support your local shop
. Maybe your local shop will let you try the out
for a day.....