That last post was in a hurry because I’m at work but now I can add some details.
The twing does work. In my experience it’s not so much that it adds distance but rather makes regular casts a little easier and freer feeling. A couple very important things to remember with the twing reels are leader knots and how you hold a reel. The leader knot is going to jam in the narrow portion of the line guide. So you either run a short leader or no leader. It matters how you hold it on retrieve too. If you’re like me and put your pointing finger in front of the reel when you’re retrieving the lure (especially when dragging) you’ll lift the line out of the narrow part of the guide and have line piled up on the spool. Personally I’ll be glad when Daiwa ditches this design for those reasons and it adds width to the reel design. I’ve fished with t3’s and tatulas for years and switched to Shimano last year. I’ve had Shimanos before but I’m generally a Daiwa fanboy because of the magnetic brake system. That said I’m very happy with my Shimano’s now.
Ok rods and rod length. I’m 5’8” and use a 6’10”-7’ rod for walking baits and jerkbaits. 6’10” seems to be the sweet spot. At your height you’ll be fine at 6’10” or more. Medium would be great for poppers and most walking baits but if you go to the bigger spooks you might be wishing for a medium heavy. Both will be great for many techniques in there respective weight range. That combo I listed above is a steal. If you’re bent on something different the 13 Fishing Omens and chromes have been great budget rods for me. They generally have the power rated right and also the action rated right. That is RARE in rods. Lews and most falcons fail big time here. If you want to compare across action compare it to a gloomis. They are the standard in ratings imo. Someone will disagree but if they want to be wrong that’s cool too lol. Another great rod for the money is the Phenix Feather series rods. Order one power higher than normal though! So if you want a medium order a medium heavy. It’s just their nature. They’re very light, crisp, and sensitive rods.
Also if you wanted to check out a Shimano Slx rod before ordering I know Academy in Joplin has them. No idea if the other Academy’s do.
One more thing again. You can find curado k’s and 70’s (71’s for me) on eBay for $125-140 usually if you want a slight upgrade to the slx.