Id go for the 10ft. More leverage on the fish, better line control off the water too. And I find I can cast my longer rods further, which can be helpful on the beach.
Only reason I would go for a shorter rod would be if I was fishing in tight quarters with less back cast room and trees all around.
Decide what kind of species and the flies you'll be using. For example targeting pink and cutthroat casting #6-#4 hooks. A 9.5' #6-7 with a mid-range reel...you will go into the backing. If I was Targeting coho and chum. A 10' #8-#9 with a high quality reel. For an all-around outfit a 9.5' #7 has caught many,many fish.
it's not possible to rate one rod over the over just because it's longer. You should try to cast both and pick the rod based on action and weight.
A 10ft rod won't provide any more noticeable leverage than a 9ft rod since fishing rods simply are not that sort of lever - they are more like baseball bats and hockey sticks - they exert force at the tip to make a projectile (ball, puck or line) develop more velocity. Longer rods will be heavier and have a heavier swing weight. To balance them requires a slightly heavier reel. Strong people with shoulder and other joint issues may not be bothered. They do offer better line handling characteristics particularly for stream fishing when you have to mend a lot.
For pinks I generally use a #6 or a #8 SH rod - the # 6 is 9.5 ft the #8 is 9 or I use a #6 switch in rivers.
I have two beach 7wt fly rods, a 10' St. Croix Imperial and 9' 6" TFO BVK. I think at least 9' 6" for the beach is essential when wading, keeps the line up, gives you a little more room / forgiveness punching casts in windy conditions.
I'm a big fan of the switch rods for beach fishing... adds quite a bit more punch when fighting the winds which seems to show up a lot of the time. Extra length too and soooo much easier on the arm when casting for hours.
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