Mar 9, 2014

G. Loomis: Pro4x Spey Rods (a legend formed?)

Josh Linn: G. Loomis Pro4x catch
One of the things I really like about G Loomis is the idea of making actions specific to fishing applications. Skagit, Scandi, long belly we make them all. For winter fishing in Oregon or sink tip fishing in general the dredger rods are hard to beat and the 13'4" 7 wt is one of my all time favorite rods. A couple of years ago we introduced the NRX Spey rod in the 13' 7/8, it's an amazing rod and perfect for the PNW. When I started Spey casting I really liked or thought I liked fast action rods as my Spey casting has evolved just like my single hand casting I've decided I like all actions and I really like the right action for the job.

Scandi rods are typically more of a tip action rod, so when you make a cast you are just casting right off of the tip. A really short stroke with a crisp pull from the bottom hand creates tighter more aerodynamic loops. In the states we most often think of a Scandi line as a full floater made for casting small flies on long leaders.

Skagit rods are typically softer rods that flex all of the way down into the handle. They load easier and cast heavier shorter lines with ease using a constant slower motion with a little longer stroke. When we were contemplating coming out with the pro4x line of rods I wanted more of an all around rod that would be able to cast a skagit and a Scandi with ease. Something that loads easily and cast from deep down in the rod. I didn't want to make another NRX 13' 7/8 we already had that. I wanted the rod to be very easy to cast yet still be a performer.
G. Loomis Pro4x 7130-4 Spey Rod - 13' 7/8 Weight
One day in February Steve Rajeff called me and said the first round of new pro4x Spey rods were ready to try. I met Steve Rajeff and Steve Choate on a river near the factory. We brought tons and tons of lines to try Scandi and Skagits,in all makes, sizes, and lengths, from airflo, rio, and SA. Mentally I had an idea of how I wanted all of the rods to cast. 14' and 15' should be more suited for a long belly line. The 13' 7 & 8 should be more of a medium action rod capable of casting skagit and Scandi lines. We tested the 14 and 15, figured out the little changes we needed to make and moved on to the two 13' rods. Both rods were amazing especially for being the first generation but they were not what we wanted. They were great Scandi rods and would probably sell amazingly well in Europe. But that's not what we wanted. We wanted more of a mid flex rod. One that would be easy to cast, that would load into the butt of the rod and that I could hit as hard as I wanted and it would just load deeper and deeper.

Steve Choate and I were on the same page. Steve Choate and Brian O'keefe really helped me to understand and develop my Spey casting. The funny thing is that Brian doesn't even Spey cast, but I did pick up some ideas and concepts from watching him distance cast. The first time I fished with Choate really made me rethink what I was doing. He is an amazing caster and showed me what was possible with a Spey rod. After being with those two guys my Spey casting really started to evolve. I started to break down concepts and redesign them. Steve and I fish mostly the same rods with very similar lines and cast in a similar manner. One thing we both do is hit it about as hard as possible and come over the top in a straight line. This allows for a good positive turn over with a lot of power. 

We explained to Steve Rajeff what we wanted, stiffen the tip so that it will flex a little deeper in the rod and smooth out the middle so it flexes a little more evenly. He totally understood what we were looking for. A few weeks later Steve called us up again. The new rods are ready. We met up on the river again there were two sets of rods, the new ones and the original ones, so we could compare and see if the changes we wanted had been made. I was most excited for the 13' 7/8 as that would be my daily fishing rod. We use high quality graphite, Fuji guides, and the best cork available, we just wrap it up in a price tag that is affordable.

We started testing the second round of rods.
Everything was good and the changes were spot on. We got to the 13' 7/8. It was great. Loaded deeper into the blank, it had a stiffer tip. Just what I wanted. I fished those prototype rods throughout the rest of the winter. Caught a fair amount of fish on them. They were easy to cast and worked well. But they were still just prototypes. Shortly after that I got the first couple to come off of the production line. Winter fishing was over and Deschutes summer steelhead was beginning. I was extremely excited to have a finished product in my hand. When we tested the rod we cast a Scandi line around 430-440. I truly like the rio Scandi lines and fish the 435 on that rod. Talk about easy, I could easily cast and cover as much water as I wanted. Nothing was off limits. I put that rod in tons of people's hands and everyone loved it. Part of that may be that the rod is a point of pride for me. I have worked with many companies casting and testing new rods but this was different. This was my rod. This was exactly what I wanted. It cast the size of lines I think a 7wt should and it does it easily. 
C.P.R:  Catch. Photo. Release
As fall progressed I had a trip scheduled to BC. I took 3 of these rods with me so that anyone in our party could use it. I was like a proud parent. Everyone should own at least two of these! We mostly fished sink tips on that trip I loaded the rods with the new rio skagit max 550. What an amazing outfit, any fly any tip, just let it rip. I still gravitate to this rod everyday I'm on the water. This is definitely my go to rod. I am still blown away that one of my favorite rods is our price point rod. But that actually says a lot about our products. When we build something inexpensive it's not just cheap crap. All of our pro4x rods are killer and I find myself using them everywhere I go.

Try one I bet you'll like it.

Josh Linn
G. Loomis - Sales Manager

Includes FREE Spey Head of your Choice with Purchase of this Rod at
"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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