Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Things That Don't Suck: G. Loomis Rods

I am a man of modest means. Very modest means. Victorian-era modesty. So modest my income stream wears a burqa.

So why am I singing the praises of a rod, a fishing pole, a simple, unadorned wand of spun carbon fiber that weighs next to nothing but (for some GLX models) costs in the neighborhood of four hundred (that's four, followed by the word hundred) bucks?

And that's just for a casting rod. Fly rods? Fuggetaboutit...

Because casting it gives me the kind of intense, endorphin-releasing sensation usually reserved for smack junkies, nymphomaniacs and religious fanatics, but with the advantage that a Loomis rod won't kill me, leave me sore and exhausted or require me to dance with snakes while talking gibberish. Like a talented stripper, it just leaves me feeling penniless and happy.

I own three Loomis rods, only one of which I could afford to purchase new, a low-end GL2 popping rod I happened to find on the clearance rack of a local shop. The two IMX models I have managed to acquire were pawn shop purchases in which the pawn shop owners didn't know what they were worth and I did. Too bad for them.

Unfortunately, the top-of-the-line GLX travel rod in the picture isn't mine but I did have a brief, torrid affair with it on a trip to Florida. I got this opportunity not because I am a wildly successful and influential outdoors writer, but because I called up the PR rep for Loomis and shamelessly begged him until he agreed to send me a loaner if I'd stop sending him e-mails.

I won't bore you with technical minutia. What I will say is that the GLX rod I used (paired up with a Curado 300 he also sent along. A damn fine reel BTW and hell no, I couldn't keep it, either) simply blew me away.

Being a three-piece rod, I expected a few compromises and shortcomings. I found none. Fishing-wise the trip pretty much sucked, but I will say that GLX/Curado combo caught no fish beautifully.

When I got home I took it and my then-current favorite fluking/jerkbait rod out on a local pond for a direct comparison. And when the shooting stopped my rod (a middle-to-higher-end rod from another maker that retails for around $200) lay in the dust bleeding to death.

Now I know it may seem unfair to compare a $200 rod to a $400 rod, but bear in mind the GLX is a three-piece rod, which theoretically means some loss of sensitivity and casting performance. Theoretically.

In reality, using the exact same bait and fishing the exact same way I picked up way more hits on the GLX than I did my rod.

Now I know the more technical-minded readers may be irritated by my nebulous use of the term "way more" as a unit of measurement and comparison, so for your benefit I'll be more specific: During the course of my comparison the GLX travel rod detected approximately 1.5 shitloads more hits than my one-piece rod. And that's a substantial difference, wouldn't you agree?

Whether that difference is worth $200 is, of course, an individual choice. And for me, it is.

Theoretically, of course.

In reality I can no more afford a $400 rod than I can afford a new bass boat or penile enhancement surgery (or some combination thereof), so until I stumble across a GLX with a twelve-dollar price tag leaning amongst the Berkley Lightning Rods and Shakespeare Ugly Stiks I'll keep dreaming.

But I can say without the slightest equivocation that Loomis rods are things that don't suck.

And yes, it broke my pauper's heart having to send that lovely creation back to Loomis.


  1. If you get to a point where you might lay out the bucks for a Loomis travel rod, be sure that you've tried St. Croix's offerings first. Half the price and really nice rods, too. Probably not quite as fast as the Loomis, though (which is a good thing for me).

  2. Thanks for the kind comments.

    Mdmnm, I'm looking very hard at the St. Croix Tidemasters. You're one of several who have sung their praises and they come very highly recommended from one of the guys at F&S.

    I would have tried one out alongside the Loomis but St. Croix had the good sense to not send me a rod.

  3. I once asked a fella about the difference between cheap rods and mega bucks rods, he quipped

    "I'll take pretty much any woman to the bar's car park, but very few are worth taking home afterwards."


  4. Chad,

    Their loss, then. I hope you get to try them out. I've cast several and my father owns nearly the whole range of the Tidemasters and they're nice rods.

    SBW- don't know about the analogy but there are some medium-range rods that keep me pretty happy. I have a hard time paying more for a stick of graphite than I have for an elk rifle!