If you get another rod try a 10 footer. You'll be shooting out all the line before you know it..even with heavy flies. The Loomis GLX is a good start. Beadchain eyes are fine but you sacrifice some of that good, fast, up and down motion that a clouser is famous for. The short leader was good advice. Although, there's not really a need in building tapered leaders when they're 3-5ft long. Just use straight flourocarbon. I use heavy leaders up to 30lb
test and the fish don't seem to mind. I use 30lb to save my flies from snags. Another thing that will help heave heavy flies out there is a sinking-tip. The loop knot advice is good also. I tie all my streamers with this knot.