I have been fly fishing now for about 4.5 years. I picked up my first combo in college, Orvis Clearwater #9 mid flex 2pc with a Large Arbor Battenkill reel. Though I've caught everything on it inshore I have really come to dislike the rod. My closest fishing buddy picked up a #9 Reddington for half the price I paid and it is an absolute dream to cast compared to mine. I like how much more stiff it is and my accuracy with it is incredibly better. I'm not sure the model but it was a rod/reel combo that was fairy inexpensive. I want to purchase a new rod, if not the same Reddington then something similar. I've seen posts on here of FFmen using #7 with #8 line and liking the results. I've never had a problem fighting any size fish on the #9 which is the only thing I really enjoy about it. I muscled in a 43 inch red on it in Mosquito Lagoon (below) last year. I wade fish primarily around Tampa Bay and my main questions would be: since I'm keeping the same reel, do I really need another #9? The rod itself does get difficult to throw around after 3+ hours. Would I still have all the backbone I need in a #8? I don't catch monsters a regular basis but I've never felt undermanned with the #9, and how effective would it be to purchase an #8 but rig it with #9 line? Any other rods in the same class and price as the Reddington? Sorry for the ramble, it seems like everyone in the fly shops want to sell you something and I'm just looking for the best setup for me. All opinions welcome, thanks for your time!