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Fly Rod Review

Performance at a Premium: The G. Loomis NRX 9 Weight (continued)

Casting: At short range with a WF9F line, the rod is pleasing. Like many fast sticks the NRX is a bit stiff in super tight, but thanks to a bit of “give” in the tip I still feel just fine fishing in close and experience some good accuracy. This is not a moderate dry fly trout rod by any stretch, but for a powerful, saltwater-oriented rod I feel it shouldn't disappoint anyone at close range.

Each piece features alignment dots.

From medium to long distances with the floater, this rod really feels sweet. It is easy to cast at the most common fishing ranges of 30 to 60 feet, but has brute reserve power to cast into the backing without breaking a sweat. I have thrown many rods in my time that were what I call “compromise rods”. What I mean by this is that they might be strong at a certain distance, but weak or just fair otherwise. My last 9 weight was exactly that; it was good at throwing medium to long, but when a short cast was needed it was one of the few rods I've ever fished that felt completely lifeless.

All guides feature a dark, stealthy look.

The NRX 1089-4 is not only a strong performer at all ranges, but it doesn't demand an ultra precise stroke to achieve some great results. Some saltwater fly rods are ultra-fast, requiring perfect timing just to make them perform as advertised. What fun is that? The NRX 1089-4 has a solid fast action that is forgiving enough to deliver the goods without requiring total perfection. It's also extremely smooth and provides plenty of feedback while the line is in the air to help you feel the rod load.

Rapidly reeling in line as a hefty false albacore heads for the boat!

Power: A common weak point of some saltwater fly rods is their lack of power. In my opinion, there is no excuse for a heavier duty rod with a wimpy backbone. Whether manufacturers don't feel it's necessary, or they are trying to cut down on overall weight with a slimmer blank, power is very important when it comes to fly rods designed to target big fish! Thankfully, it looks like G. Loomis nailed it with this rod. It has gobs of lifting power for a 9 weight, but still actually feels like a 9 weight! The blanks also seems to be extremely durable when subjected to extreme punishment. How do I know this? I spent a day with a friend offshore of Florida's east coast chasing false albacore on the fly.

Build quality on this particular rod was excellent.

For those of you not familiar with these fish, they are unbelievably strong for their size. The vast majority of them will take you well into the backing and slug it out deep, requiring robust backbone to pull the fish up vertically from the depths. The fact that numerous bull sharks were also around meant that I had to keep intense pressure on the fish at all times. The NRX never felt outmatched by these fish, which ranged up to 13lbs that day. At one point, a hooked false albacore surprised me by streaking around the transom at lightning speed, pinning the middle portion of my rod against the side of the starboard outboard for a good 10 seconds. The unnatural and very scary bend put into the NRX made me think that my test was going to come to a premature close, but I was able to recover and the rod amazingly resisted splintering into several pieces.

You'll find a cool G. Loomis logo on the top of the reel seat.

Price, Warranty, Applications: Let's make the pricing portion of this short and sweet. To get your hands on a 1089-4 NRX you'll have to shell out $815.00. It's among the most expensive 9 weights on the market, but is also one of the best performers. Is the price worth it? That's for you and your wallet to decide.

All NRX rods feature the “Wild Card” warranty program in addition to the standard warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. This unique Wild Card warranty entitles an NRX owner to a special card that allows them a one time, free, no questions asked rod replacement regardless of the cause of breakage.

A black rod tube and soft rod sock are included for protection.

An 8 weight is viewed widely as an extremely versatile saltwater rod, but I've always considered the 9 to be a very close second. It is good for a huge range of species like snook, bonefish, baby tarpon, redfish, and stripers...to name a few! Saltwater anglers are often plagued with wind, and a 9 weight will cut through a stiff breeze more effectively than the standard 8 weight.

Typically, a 10-12 weight is better suited for big Florida false albacore, but a proper 9 weight like the NRX will whip powerful fish like this in short order without exhausting the fish

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

G.Loomis NRX 1089-4 Fly Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality This rod features high grade materials and has excellent quality craftsmanship. 9
Performance Possibly the best 9 weight on the market? I haven't thrown them all, but this rod is a pleasure to cast and is very powerful to boot! 9
Price Very, very expensive but when it comes to a quality blank you get what you pay for 6
Features Great quality components and I love the use of Recoil guides 9.5
Design (Ergonomics) I like the slightly smaller grip. In hand, the rod feels light but not shockingly so. The major gripe here is the reel seat locking ring...it's extremely uncomfortable! 7.5
Application Almost as versatile as an 8 weight! 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Solid casting at all ranges - Poor reel seat ring design
+ Top notch materials and components - Extreme price
+ Ample power  
+ Nice rod tube and sock  
+ Wild Card warranty  

Conclusion: I have become a huge fan of the entire NRX line of rods. Sure, the cosmetics were a bit hard to accept at first, but the performance is simply impressive. I enjoy fishing this rod so much I actually feel a bit sad when there isn't a use for it! It's a blast to fish and I often pick it up off my rack just to admire it. Who knows how long it will be until the next graphite revolution from G. Loomis, but  it's hard to imagine something better than the NRX. Then again, it was hard to imagine anything better than the GLX!

 A big thanks to my friend and guide Captain Scott Hamilton of www.flyfishingextremes.com for helping with some of the “torture testing” of the NRX 1089-4!









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