Quite frankly, if you want to drift fish...a 9-10.5' gear rod (or a centerpin outfit) is hard to beat. I'm not sure there are any true advantages to the fly rod in this scenario. Personally, I enjoy the "feel" of the fly rod more, and I enjoy fighting fish with the fly rod; I think that's generally what it amounts to for most people. The mass of the fly line gives me a certain "comfort" I don't get with a bunch of hydrofloat out the rod tip. A lot of the guys steelhead fishing these days come from an extensive trout background...there are definite advantages to nymph fishing for trout that you can't get using other tools...that doesn't quite translate over to steelhead fishing, but old habits die hard. At the end of the day, use whatever works for you and makes you happy.