Re: what size rod for small mouth?
If you are having some problems (we all do, so you're not alone) with your casting when smallmouth fishing, you may want to move to a slow-med 6wt rod. This type of rod is especially usefull when flipping the larger poppers and weighted flies. I personnally prefer the Redington (now Sage) brand of rods for the smallie fishing because of their limited flex. I do not use that brand for trout though because of the flex. I normally am wading the small-medium streams with alot of overhang, which is why I personally prefer the 8'6" rod length. You personally may do well with a 9' 6wt rod. Daniel or Chris at LRO can make some very good recommendations for a rod selection.
Good luck! ><))))>