would bet xp best bet given your desires and location. not so sure you need bigger than 9 foot for single hander. i think the fast action timing better in 9 foot and easier to balance with current reel weights for your quarry. also think you should get more than 2 pieces since this xp 7w will make a great travel/flats rod as well. great deal in xp for anyone out of usa or in need of these great middleweight rods. my 7w rplxi is my workhourse for steelies, sea run browns, stripers, and bones. rplxi is also discontinued and a lil softer than the xp. another great rod when not considering warranty for usa. hardy angel 7/8 for exclusive fresh water (love that awesome outgoing click for trout)or tibor everglades for all water are my current very well balanced reel choices.