I've always had at least one 7wt in my rotation. A 7100-4 is my go to steelhead rod and I'm contemplating adding a 790 again. The overwhelming majority of my rods are trout rods. I've got to work on that in the coming months and add some larger game rods and reels.
It seems to me that 7 weights never get any love, regardless of target species. While the heated debate between 8wt and 6- for largemouth is rampant, very rarely is 7wt thrown in as a viable option.
In my opinion, 7wt rods could be the best compromise for LM fisherman, being high enough to hurl big bass bugs, but not overly so to make unintentional panfish seem like snagged twigs.
So my question, wheres the 7wt love? I personally use a 6wt diamonback for my LM fishing, but if I were to buy another rod for LM (probably a switch rod will be my next), then a 7wt it would be.
A 7 wt. is my go-to rod for Smallies. I've hooked under a pound and over 5 pounds and never had anything but good things to say about it. I only have one and it's a Sage 9'0" TCX. Top water with bugs or underneath with streamers; a great rod. Also works well in the salt for small Stripers (North) and small Bones (South).
I grew up on 8'6" and then 9' 5-weights, and they were fine for teh rivers and trout I was fishing for - I was content.
When I wanted a smaller/ lighter rod for tight streams and generally 12" and smaller wild browns, I went with a 7'6" 3 weight. A 4-weight wasn't as light as I wanted.
Time goes by and my interest shifted to large nocturnal browns and I accidently discovered river run smallies. Bugs I was throwing for both (big trout streamers, generally weighted) were a bit much for my 5-weight and I wasn't happy with how long it was taking me to get the fish in and release it. Bumping up was the option. A 6-weight wasn't quiet enough, so I went with a 7. The 7 was actually a bit difficult to find in a 2 piece. Am very happy with how my 7-weight throws a cat toy on a stiff short leader at the range I am fishing.
Big question to me for years: Am I on the heavy side of the light tackle folks who are 2, 4, 6 weight people or am I on the light side of of the heavier tackle folks who are throwing 4, 6 and 8 compared to my 3, 5, 7? End result to me is that I don't care, because I am effective enough to keep myself well entertain and still have puzzles to solve and the tools to solve them with. Really wish I could have found a 10' 7-weight though.
My 7 wt is my most used fly rod, like others have said who needs a 6 or an 8, I use it mainly for Smallies in 10 to 20 feet of water on Erie when I was running Charters there, I needed lifting power, and used it in rivers. I had a 6wt, and in deep water and wide rivers, I thought it was a little light but didn't want an 8wt. I just added a 9wt to do double duty as a Pike Musky rod and to use a couple times a year in Michigan for Salmon in the rivers. But the most use will be for big Large Mouth in heavy weeds and pads, and throw'n BIG BUGS. Like the seven, its a tad light for some of what I will use it for, and a tad heavy for some, but I think it will do everything well. Then for small fish I didn't buy a 3 or a 5wt. I went with 4wt and use it for anything small, small stream Trout to panfish. Like the 7wt and 9wt, does it well. I am a cheap guy, and I like expensive equipment but can't afford to buy one for each individual type of fish. I try to to target 2 or 3 with each outfit. I will say the 7wt is the most versatile of all my rods. It;s great for Smallies and steelhead in rivers and on the Lake in deep water, much easier to cast, and I love it for largemouth bass in open water.
Great thread. My first rod was an 8w that my pap gave me and I decided that I'm retiring it at the end of the year and after that, only plan to take it out once in awhile to places that he took me. It has gotten a bit fragile with tons of use and age so I'm gonna hang it up on the wall with some flies that he tied.
Sooner or later, I'm gonna join the club and get a 7w