RE:Attaching leader to flyline - another query...
I'm a nailknot kind of guy. If you carry the right size needle it's almost as easy as a loop. I will be putting together a tip/technique column in Experts that will go thru it step by step.
Basically you lay the needle along the end of the flyline with the eye at the end of the line. You then double over the butt and wrap up the needle toward the eye. When you get 6 wraps go thru the eye of the needle and pull the needle out through the inside of the wraps. Adjust and tighten.
As far as lining rods, absolutely valid experiments. People always fish 325 grain heads or T-300, T-400, etc. on their 9wts. These are grain weights for 11wt lines (400 is 12wt). Because they are of specialized design, they distribute the grains over a shorter length, allowing for the cast characteristics they offer. Most find them much easier to cast than a long belly line for instance.
This whole experience magnifies for Spey rods. You need to add the human ergo factor into it as well. In other words one guy will cast the same rod well with another line than someone else with the same rod.
For two-handed overhand rods like those we are building, the line weight can be significantly larger than the rating because they are rated for guys that false cast almost the whole line. The rating is therefore not for the first 30 feet but for the operative length.
In the end, it's what works for you without exploding the rod. Some rods will cast better with higher weights but you risk imploding the walls if you try to cast the whole line with a double haul. There's also line management concerns on rivers. If you can't throw the mend you need into a heavy line to position the fly right, the rod will wear on you quickly.
I strung up a spinning rod with a fly line once and it cast beautifully. Wouldn't fish with it all day though, many odd subtleties about it. Sometimes it's these subtleties that are the reasons I flyfish. Especially when the fish ain't biting!
Enjoy the banquet and the show. The Banquest sounds fascinating - where and when? Maybe I'll pop in if I am ahead on Vol 2 rework. Is it invite only?
As far as FF at the show, I gotta figure it's making it's way into every sporting event - but I work at both shows so the urge is low, site rework is more important at this point.