On the Water with the New G.Loomis Conquest Rod Series
Deep Dive into the Conquest: Prior to the introduction of the new G.Loomis
Conquest rods at this years ICAST 2017 show we had the opportunity to not just
check out but fish the new Shimano Conquest rods with none other than Shimano
representative Dan Thorburn, who is perhaps known better as Bantam1 on the TT
At first glance they look very similar to NRX
Let's start with the name, it is interesting that the company decided to
go with "Conquest," a popular JDM series which is the equivalent of the American
"Calcutta." The brand name should resonate with enthusiast anglers, the very
audience that Shimano and G.Loomis is targeting with these new rods.
Dan points out the Torzite guides
In terms of styling the Conquest rods definitely follow the G.Loomis
design methodology, focusing on simple and clean styling with use of cork versus
eva grips and colored threading highlights versus an abundance of graphics to
stylize and add character to the rods. The blue threading on the rods are very
similar to the ones found on the NRX series, only with contrasting silver lines,
the message is clear... this is one of the high-end G.Loomis offerings.
The Torzite guides sit on a very recognizable
Spiral X blank
The blanks on the new rods look very different than the normal matte black
blanks found on most G.Loomis bass rods, and the weaved Spiral X wrap is
immediately obvious, especially in bright sunlight. Besides the visual elements
the first thing that I noticed when picking up the rods were how light they
were. The new Spiral X and Hi-Power X construction provides blanks that are up
to 10% lighter than the already lightweight NRX blanks, and yet they are more
durable due to increased resistance to blank ovalization. (We only were
able to borrow two sticks for a day in the lab but they measured out at: MBR783C
Conquest rod weighs 3.8 ounces, and the SJR902S Conquest weighs a scant 3.6
The Conquest spinning reel seats are proprietary
Shimano CI4 with a little dose of G.Loomis carbon fiber cosmetics
The casting rods are finished with G.Loomis custom skeleton reel seats mated to
full cork grips, while the split grip spinning rods get Shimano's proprietary
CI4 reel seats. I found both versions to be comfortable to fish with and
familiar. This is one of the most interesting things about the new Conquest
rods, just how immediately familiar they will feel to existing fans of the
original Mag Bass rods. The G.Loomis DNA is intact.
Have we met before? The Conquest rods feel
All of the Conquest rods have fast action tapers and boy do they load fast!
While they are familiar to swing where the rods separate themselves from
existing G.Loomis rods is both in the tail end of the cast and when there is a
fish on the line.
The Spiral X blanks are designed in such a way that wasted
non-directional vibration is reduced so that casting energy is put into the
bait. The result is a very precise pinpoint cast, something I really noticed on
the spinning rods.
A full and tapered cork grip is found on all the
Once the bait is in the water I also found the rods to be quite sensitive. They
definitely feel different than the NRX line and while I would venture to say
that sensitivity is on par with the NRX they definitely are not more sensitive
than the NRX line, which is interesting since the rods employ Torzite guides
except for the tip guide which uses a SIC Titanium guide for more durability
against impacts with baits.
Dan "Bantam1" shows us what the Conquest is all
The second that I set into a fish is when I finally understood what Shimano and
G.Loomis were trying to achieve with the new Conquest series. These rods not
only load quick they do so with a whole lot more muscle than their thin and
lightweight blanks would have you believe.
While sensitive I didn't find the rods more
sensitive than the already impressive NRX
Setting on fish with the Conquest rods is a thing of beauty. The amount of
leverage you can put into the rod near instantly is encouraging, and one you get
that solid hookset the lack of blank twist afforded anglers with the Spiral X
and Hi-Power X blank really enables you to put the hurt on fish.
The spinning rods all get the split grip
During our on the water preview Dan saw me landing fish tentatively with these
first run rods and encouraged me to really muscle them. I obliged by not only
cranking down aggressively on the next few fish but even going so far as to
stress the rods by boat flipping a few three and four pound largemouth bass. The
verdict? The Conquest rods are noticeably more powerful than comparable G.Loomis
rods with similar ratings.
Where the Conquest rods really shine is in the
casting and fish fighting department
Conquest or Defeat? : It is surprising that it took this long for Shimano
and G.Loomis to open up their individual playbooks and combine the strengths of
both camps, but perhaps they waited for the right opportunity, the right point
in time for this global cooperation. G.Loomis has long been known for tradition
and their proven actions and Shimano has always pushed the envelope when it
comes to reel and rod technology and use of next generation materials. The
company's joint product development team is calling the Conquest line
“the most technologically advanced bass rods on the water,” and while the
technology in itself is rousing what I find the most exciting about these rods
is that seamless blend of technology with tradition.
The blanks may be light and thin but they are
powerful, very powerful
Shimano could have easily mandated a radical change in rod design with the
Conquest but instead they partnered with the G.Loomis team to provide the best
blank technology they had in their war-chest and enable G.Loomis to build a new
halo rod series that ups the ante in terms of casting accuracy, weight
reduction, durability, and fish fighting power.
The new flagship line at G.Loomis retails from
$650-$675 dollars and successfully blends technologies and design from both
Shimano and G.Loomis together
Over the last week my time with the Conquest has been eye opening. Each time I
fish the rods I discover subtle differences in the way the rods handle and the
amount of power these rods dole out continues to impress, and yet what I like
most about these rods is they look and feel like G.Loomis rods. They are
unmistakably familiar, there is no learning curve, and if you like the G.Loomis
Mag Bass (MBR) rods from the GLX and NRX lines then the Conquest will feel like
your daily driver, just with an extra dose of torque. Conquest or Defeat?
Definitely Conquest....the fish, and rod enthusiasts, never stood a chance.
Thanks for joining us on this on the water preview. Our next stop is ICAST...
Orlando here we come.