In regards to casting the new Hardy I first saw it at a Michigan Fly Fishing Show and cast it in the parking lot. Earlier this month I was at Gates Au Sable Lodge in Michigan and cast one over water. I am going back there the first week in June. I may purchase one or put it on a wish list for my wife to buy! She spoils me! I purchased my 7 wgt Sage Z Axis as a steelhead rod. It has worked out great. I also use it for casting big streamers and heavy flies. Presently I use a Sage XP 9 ft 5 wgt. for much of my trout fishing. I may be in the minority but I do not know if the Z Axis is that much of an improvement. I will say I seem to loose a lot of fish with my XP when using smaller flies. A large part may be my rush to get them in so as not to play them too long. I would not be surprised if I am just putting too much pressure on them. But to answer flyred 06 the Z Axis is a fine rod and I do not mean to come off critical as I do not know what else I would look at in a 7 wgt other then maybe a Loomis Streamdance GXL. Hope this helps. Afdter we go to Gates in June I am planning on coming back to Tenn. for a week or so. I hope to being my drift boat and get in some fishing. If I have the Hardy I will let you know and you would be welcome to look it over and cast it.
In regards to two piece or four piece rods I really like the convenience of the four piece models for storage and travel by any means.