I hope I got the name right, I sometimes get confused when it comes to who I talked to about what. As you know I've been using the 13' 8/9 for a few years and have nothing bad to say about the rod at all. Mine was 185.00 and has definitely delivered more that the cost in enjoyment.
In order to get the 13' working I had to use a #9 Scientific Anglers short head and I suspect that a #10 line will really allow the rod to shine. As far as performance you will no doubt be surprised as you become more familiar with the rod. Last fall I shared a fishing spot with a fellow who was casting a Sage Z Axis 13' with all the right stuff added. At the end of the day as we walked toward camp (we were both camped in the same area) he ask, "What kind of rod are you using" he followed that question by saying that he had been watching and felt that I was reaching out farther and that the leader & fly were turning over better than his rig. I was humbled when he said these things and quite sheepish when I turned my wrist to show the LL Bean logo on my rod. I said that I had bought it because of the low price thinking that I might one day move up to a quality rod. He seemed to think that I had the right rig and I thanked him for saying so.
I do have another rod now and am waiting for spring so I can test it. They are not the same at all so the comparison will not be of an apple to apple type. The new rod is a 15' that uses an 875 grain mid Spey head & body. I wanted it so that I can reach out a little farther without having to push the cast any harder.
You're going to love fishing your streamers and salmon flies with that rod