For the first ten years of my fly fishing I used a six weight, early graphite rod, eight feet in length. It had a medium action and was a bit stiff in the butt. I caught a ton of fish on that thing; from smallmouth to brown trout, schoolie stripers, and even pike. A few times the rod grip was damaged by the force of handling fish that were too big for the rod. So like most of us I started adding rods to the closet. I now have a very fast action five weight Sage sp+, an Orvis Superfine six weight, mid flex that feels like a noodly willow branch, a Sage VPS seven weight, that is one of my favorite Sage tapers, a Sage RPLX nine foot nine weight that I use mostly in the salt, and a sage 1490 spey rod, traditional action. This covers just about any kind of fishing I do. I do want to get a lighter spey rod someday, and a heavier one too. So I can spey fish for smaller fish, and much bigger fish. And a four weight would be fun...maybe a nice little Hardy reel...a little Merlot at dusk... I think that catch and release fishing implies a responsibility to match the rod to the fish, and to not overplay fish on too light a tackle. I had a boss in Alaska who handed me a six weight rod with a four weight line on it once and said: "Here, go catch a big one". We were fishing for silver salmon near tidewater and they were big, hot and bright. The salmon definately had the advantage. It was kind of wild, But it wasnt much fun to lug on those fish that way. If you can get the fish you are playing to bend the middle of the rod, with constant moderate pressure, and you arent hogging them in or babying them along too much either, then that's the rod for you and that fish. The old saying of playing a fish for "a-minute-per-pound" is not something I adhere to today. I think that in many instances this is too long a period of time.And perhaps in some fewer instances it would be too brief. What I want to do is to avoid playing a fish to exhaustion. Along with an adequate rod weight for the species I am fishing for, I want to use an adequate leader and tippett. Nowadays I am more worried about hurting the fish by overplaying them than I am about breaking the tippett. One good exercise is to tie up a leader/tippet rig you plan on using and then tie it off to a solid immoveable object, like a fencepost or your teenaged kid's foot on lawnmowing day. Then let out about forty feet of line, walk back to get it all straight, then GRADUALLY begin to bend the rod on the taught line and get a bend going deep into the rod as if you had a really "good one" on. You would be amazed at how much pressure it takes, at your end of the deal, to actually break a 5X tippett this way.Try this with all of your rod and leader combinations.It's an education.Beware of angling the rod backward, away from the anchor or fish, as the backward angled rod breaks easily, especially on an immoveable object. Maximum playing angle is achieved at 90 degrees, maximum pressure is pointing toward the fish. You want to play it "somewhere in the middle" most of the time. The higher you raise the tip the more vulnerable the rod is and the less pressure you are putting on the fish in most situations.And of course if you point to the fish with the rod tip then the maximum presure is realized as you snap off the tippett and the fish swims away. Ideal rods for my fishing are: five or six-weight, nine-foot; for trout and other fish to five or six pounds. (smaller fish and I'll want a four weight!) Seven-weight, nine-foot Sage VPS For bigger trout; summer steelhead, beach fishing for silvers and pinks, smaller striped bass and red fish etc, and for fish to ten pounds. It's my favorite all-around Alaska rod. Nine weight, nine foot, like my Sage RPLX,; for heavier beach and river fishing, stripers, kings , winter steelhead. Fish to twenty five plus pounds. Beyond that I want a ten-weight,nine-footer. Or a ten weight, fifteen foot spey rod. If I had to fish for a whole year with one rod it would be a nine-foot,six-weight, medium fast action, like the Sage VPS. That's a workmanlike weight and action that would have me catching all the fish I used to catch before I started trying to worry about it all of the time. I would fish that on beaches, lakes and rivers. But mostly for fish expected to be under eight pounds average no matter what the species.