Several of Gary's rod's in my 'quiver;' just a choice of time of the year/water flow as to what gets put on the top of the Jeep. Have a new 6wt under construction for me as I type. We have several VERY GOOD custom rod designer/builders here in the (Meiser/Burkie/etc) but Gary appears to have a different view of rod design(ing). One to which I subscribe: I want a 'x' rated rod, not one that covers two or three numbers on the line grain scale.
Just my personal preference here, but for me, the tighter the recommended grain range (for lines) 'the better.' There are all types/styles of lines you can match up to a rod to suit your casting style/needs/size of flies/tips (or not)/etc., and that may well change as you fish one bit of water vs. another. But all the 'heads' will be of similar weight (close to same) so you really don't have to alter your casting 'style' all that much if you decide/required to change out reels/spools.
Again, just my .02 cents.
Almost forgot to add: One thing Gary (and I also think Bob Meiser does) is supply you with a SGS custom line with each of his 2-handers. This will be what 'he' considers to be the optimum match up for the equipment. Would the line I get be the same as one you may get? Probably not, as here's where the individual casters 'style' really comes into play. On both of my new rods (and I do mean really new rods) Bob (and Gary) "know" my 'style' of casting and the line supplied (a 3-4-5 wt) was right at the very bottom of the recommended grain range. Two reasons for this (or so it appears) is that I'm really going to be using this rod as a '3-wt' so a lighter line would make good sense; add to that I really tend to put on the power on my forward casting stroke. A "no-no" with this light a rod ... take away the 'grains' and you're 'forced' to really lighten up; you have NO VOTE. :>) Bob got it right on both counts ......
With the new ACR 5wt Gary appears to take the same things into account. The line for the Meis '3wt' is 280 grains (minimum is 250), for the Anderson 5wt it's only 331. Two rod weights apart ... but only 50 grains apart on the lines.
I have found most of Gary's rods tend to be a faster action rod than suits my preferences. The exception being a 14'-1" 4 wt he used to offer that was a really soft action, comparable to, perhaps even more so than, the old Sage 7136 brownie. I thought that rod would have been a nice half pounder rod. Only reason, other than money, I didn't buy it was in the seven years I've lived in Or, I've only recently visited the lower river and fished for half pounders.
Fred likes to have a rod for every occasion. And, as stated, Fred feels there is a very narrow grain weight for optimizing each rod. And that's O.K. for Fred. I, on the other hand, have found that by changing heads of different tapers and grain weights, I can make optimum use the same rod for a wider variety of applications.
The multiple line designations applied to some rods used to bother me too. However, if one is willing to change casting styles to suit the line, it is possible to go from small flies, a light scandi head and casting style, to large weighted flies, sink tips, much heavier skagit head and sustained anchor casts on the same rod.
There are limitations, to be sure. No one should expect to use the same rod for half pounders and chinook. But to adapt to the different water conditions, flies, and lies of the different seasons on similar rivers is doable.
BTDT. Winding down. Take out/bring home dinner at the time share. Girls are down at the lobby printing out our bording passes in preparation for tomorrows flight home. Slack time for me before throwiing everything in the suitcases. Wishing I still had a wee bit of scotch to top off the trip.