Aside from the diminishing ESA listed salmon and steelhead populations, a 17" resident fish in US Pacific Northwest streams on the west (wet) side of the Cascade Mountain range is a leviathan. Most of the fish I encounter in my home waters streams will be 8" to 11". There is a small stream, averaging 10 feet in width, 25 minutes from home flowing briskly through a steeply walled canyon in a suburban park with three distinct sections before it reaches the saltwater with a good population of native Coastal Cutthroat Trout.
The volume of water from heavy winter rains scours back the riparian brush throughout its course. The more open “Meadow” section never really “meanders” and has a braided stream bed with multiple forks because of the volume of water passing through. It fishes well with a 4 meter rod. The “Forest” and even faster flowing “Canyon” sections have a dense overhead canopy sometimes reaching down into the water. I have fished those upper sections with both my 6:4 - 7:3 DT Mizuchi, and 5:5 Tenkara Times Watershed 300Z.
The Mizuchi’s 3 lengths makes it versatile enough to fish all three sections, but the 7:3 action at 240 cm doesn’t feel very “elegant” - “pleasurable” for casting, and I tend to “launch” some dinks (which I really dislike doing) until I get used to it.
The TT Watershed 300Z’s action makes it a dream to cast whether fully extended at 307 cm, at the 265 cm length or choked up on the handle to fish at 240 cm. It makes 5" fish “sporting” but I’ve landed three 13" fish in swift runs and it is exciting. Two were hooked under trees with branches reaching down to the water and had to be fought horizontally. They felt like leviathans, and the line was “singing” under the tension, but the rod was able to turn fish away from the tree branches and submerged snags in the confined stream bed. However I have lost big fish on two occasions when low overhead cover didn’t allow the distance I needed to get a solid hookset with the soft action. But I was able to come back after several minutes to solidly hook and land one of them.
One of those two shorter rods may get sold. Do I want to keep one with more versatility to fish wider streams yet has the ability to get better hooksets in tight quarters, and will handle larger fish that I rarely encounter? Or a more specialized rod for smaller streams having a little more room for setting the hook, that is more “pleasurable” to cast, more sporting with smaller fish, and is “exciting” when I hook the larger fish I can encounter on a typical trip?