It seems the trend in rod length for many species is going longer. For muskie and northern pike anglers, longer is certainly better. Previously, shorter rods were just the standard, but it was also thought you needed to have a “pool cue” action in order to get the necessary hookset for bony mouths.
Today’s superlines have virtually zero stretch, meaning longer rods with faster actions actually provide for the best hooksets, while super stout actions are now counterproductive, creating too much shock during battle. Longer rods cast much better too, but most importantly allow for better figure 8’s or O’s at boatside, increasing the percentages of strikes by allowing wider and longer turns. They also offer better control while fighting fish. These days I use rods from 8.6″ to 9′ in length.