Well, I got out onto the reservoir today with the line as mentioned, the Rio
Gold Intouch, WF8F at about 218gr.
It was blowing a gale so not the best conditions for a rod test, but nonetheless I proceeded with a range of short to long casts. Despite being a tip actioned, fast actioned (for bamboo) rod, it roll cast pretty well and cast easily in the short distances and pretty accurately.
As I moved into the medium to long ranges it felt just as comfortable, though hampered by a strong wind at my back. Double hauling didn't overpower or spoil the cast and it felt very stable at distance. Line shot very well with a resounding buzz on the reel at the end of the cast.
As James made this rod as he would for himself, with extra hollowing, making it lighter and faster, though reducing its line weight by 1/4 to 1/2 a size, it did feel a tad on the slow side with the 218gr line - it still did feel very sweet to cast depite the raging wind.
As such I've just put in an order for an SA MPX but in a 7, with a first 30' grain weight of 200gr. This is I believe the sort of grain range that James had in mind so I'm looking forward to testing that and finding the sweet spot. The slightly shorter head at 39' will also help it cast more easily in strong winds as I will be able to get the entire head out for shooting much quicker.
I was very pleased at my little taster this afternoon, I can imagine that when I dial in the right line, it'll be a champ at casting long lines and fighting fish. It's no wonder that its namesake takes this same rod (with saltwater fittings) on his yearly trip for Bonefish!