If you can, go to a bamboo rod makers gathering and cast all that you can. There are a lot of different rods out there, all with there own personality. For the smokies, I would go with a shorter rod 7' or less and something that will roll cast as well as throw tight loops. I started building rods about a year ago and don't have a lot of experience but I built a 7' 4wt that is an amazing small stream rod. I think most builders, big and small, would be willing to work with you on what ever you wanted and would be willing to let you cast some there rods before purchasing. Harry Boyd is a good maker from Louisiana and I beleive he will send you a rod or two to cast to try them out. If you want to look into bamboo more, visit http://clarksclassicflyrodforum.yuku.com/
. You will find more than you wanted to know. Oh yeah, and once you catch a fish on bamboo, you will be the one hooked.