Heck, get 3 rods
If you have $700 to spend, why not get 3 rods. A 3wt, a 5 or 6wt and an 8wt. You would then be covered for about any situation. This would be doable using the TFO Pro series or the Orvis Cleawater II series. I cannot state the importance of test casting. When I got my 6wt, I tested a $650, a $450, a $300, a $190, and a $150 rod. All of the rods but one were very sweet, but I got the $190, because it "felt" right.
I would also suggest testing the Sage VT2. I think they are up to $435. They have what they call a "progressive" action that changes with the rod weight. If you make your 5-6wt the Sage, then you could go with say a TFO 3wt or 8wt. Personally, I'd go with the lighter weight. Panfish on the 3 are a blast and tossing an 8 all day is a pain. Good luck.
To Miss Nancy - she hated fishing, but loved a fisherman.