A longer rod would definately help out. It can pick up the slack faster and is a better shock absorber than a shorter stick. This gives better hooksets and minimizes any slack line to bigger faster running fish. I suggest a 6'6"-7" for long distance fishing, even longer than 8' in a boat. A MED or ML is what I use most, although a MH 6'6" is for the bigger baits and larger rivers. If you mostly panfish then maybe a LT action rod would suit you. Go play with some in the stores and compare side by side and ask questions.
Either way a longer rod will make the difference for you.
Hope this helps,