Quentin's question at the tail end of the carp thread got me thinking that this deserves a thread all to itself. Specifically, what rod weights are best under certain conditions and for certain species. I'll reuse my golf club analogy...just as you wouldn't putt with a driver, you wouldn't want to go after trophy pike with a 5 wt. However, just as there are some golfers who can get 150 yards with a pitching wedge (Tiger), there are some flyfishers who can fish very effectively for large fish with lighter gear. FWIW, these are the rods that I use for my warmwater fishing and the most common applications for each:
7' 3wt: strictly for panfish in waters where I know that I won't be tying into anything too big. It lets small fish show off a bit, and casting small flies is a breeze.
8.5' 6wt: I have a pair of these, one loaded with a floating line and the other with a sink tip. These are used for river smallmouth, bass and pickeral in ponds without thick cover, and any other system where panfish get big and cohabitate with other larger species that might grab a fly. I've thought about going after carp with these rods, but there's just to much cover where I fish and this weight rod doesn't have the turning power that I'd like.
8.5' 8wt: for bass in cover, small male pike, and carp. The tip is soft so that I can make delicate presentations, but not so soft that wind resistant hair bugs can't be thrown effectively. It has good turning power lower in the blank so hauling fish away from cover is doable.
9' 9wt: strictly for going after large pike in general and bass in heavy cover. This may sound excessive for largemouths, but being able to pull a 4 pound bass out of lily pads or away from stumps just isn't feasible for me with anything less. Also, large pike and bass flies cast very well on this rod. There may be some application in the future for the 12+ pound carp that I've seen this season, but I haven't crossed that bridge yet.
These rod weights are what works for me. You can take my opinion with an additional grain of salt....I prefer to get my fish to hand as soon as reasonably possible, so sometimes my gear appears to be on the heavier side. It's a tradeoff that I'm willing to bear because I know that the chances of the same fish being available for someone else to catch are much greater.
Will I get more rods? No.......well, yeah.
But not anytime soon. I'm satisfied with what I have right now.
What weight rods do you use, and have they filled your needs?