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Fly Rod Review

Veteran Fly Anglers will appreciate the balance of action the GLoomis FR1086 GLX rod delivers


Date: 3/10/03
Tackle type: Fly Rod
Manufacturer: GLoomis
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.83

Introduction: GLoomis is renowned for premium casting, spinning, and perhaps above all...their incredible fly rods. GLoomis produces a range of fly rods from their economy fly outfits to the GLX based premium rods. As you step up the performance ladder you can definitely feel the difference in precision, power, and refinement that goes into each rod. We had the opportunity to field test one of GLoomis's most popular performers, the FR1086 6 weight fly rod.


GLoomis FR1086 GLX Specifications

Length 9'
Line Wt. 6
Pieces 2
Taper Fast
Power Med-Stiff
Materials High Performance Graphite with cork grip + graphite reel seat
MSRP $585.00 ($630.00 for 4pc. version)

Impressions: GLoomis has quite an impressive resume when it comes to designing and manufacturing winning fly rods. 16 time World Champion Caster Steve Rajeff swears by the GLoomis GLX series stating "These fly rods are the best in the world. Put them up against any rod. Same conditions, Same line, Same guy casting. GLX will drive the fly where you want, with less effort every time." For those that have fished with GLX graphite you understand the detail in design and the stunning performance these rods offer. Working directly with graphite manufacturers Steve Rajeff and Gary Loomis originally designed GLX graphite specifically for fly rods.


I have fished with a variety of fly rods and consider myself an intermediate fly caster, unlike Buzz who is our resident Fly expert. GLoomis designed the FR1086 to allow experts to cast farther and with more precision, and intermediate casters like myself to improve on our basic casting dynamics. Simply put this rod is designed to help you no matter what stage in the game you are in.

GLX graphite is light, fast, responsive and amazingly stalwart

Choosing the right rod: Choosing the right fly rod for the right application is absolutely essential for any angler, especially beginners. GLoomis's FR1086 is a well balanced 6wt rod that is right in the middle of the spectrum, but the perfect weight for anglers like myself that enjoy fishing a variety of mid sized species. While not as application specific as the smallest or largest rods the FR1086 is designed to be able to present subtle flies for trout, egg patterns for energetic Steelhead, and even poppers for bass! If you want to fish for brookies and panfish you will want to go with a 1-2 weight rod, and if  Salmon and Stripers are you favorite game then opt for a 9-11 weight rod. Picking the right rod will not only help you present the right flies, but also allow you to balance the right feel and power required to land each individual species.

The FR1086 comes with a soft sleeve and a covered rigid rod tube for safe transport to your next destination

The Tests: To test the performance of the FR1086 in different applications we set out to various Northern California rivers in both clear and murky conditions to fish for trout, steelhead, and smallmouth bass.

Complete Rig for GLoomis FR1086 GLX Tests

Rod GLoomis FR1086 GLX
Reel Bauer M2
Line Rio Steelhead/Salmon 6wt. line

We tested the FR1086 GLX while fishing waist deep in waders as well as standing on SOAR inflatable canoes.

To minimize weight GLoomis has incorporated an absolutely beautiful graphite Reel Seat which is ultra light and still remains exceptionally strong

The Materials: The heart of the FR1086 is its highly refined GLX graphite blank. This graphite is extremely light and still able to remain very durable. The cork handle is of very high quality and feels silky to the touch. The titanium stripping guides combined with the alloy snake guides make for a very slippery surface in which to cast and retrieve. While stripping through the rod one experiences very little friction. Each guide is reinforced by the GLX's trademark brilliant blue wrapping thread.

The reel seat is a piece of graphite reinforced by anodized aluminum, and like all the components is black to reduce any glare. The reel seat on the GLX is by far my favorite part of the rod as the material is lightweight, durable, and absolutely beautiful in sunlight. Overall the FR1086 is a very detailed work of art that reminds me more of the elements found in a hand built custom rod than the monotony of a mass produced one.

The very first test encompassed Steelhead fishing in fast moving waters

The Feel: GLX graphite is stiff and has a very fast action, which means that the majority of flex you will experience in this rod is at the tip. While many beginners like the forgiving feel of medium action rods, intermediate and expert anglers will appreciate how accurate a GLX rod is. The overall weight of the rod is very light, and even after hours of casting your arm will feel arm will not feel fatigued as the FR1086 is well balanced and exceptionally light.

Casting distance is absolutely superb, and you can make long casts with surprisingly short strokes. The fast action of the GLX makes it necessary to have a good balance of proper timing and power application. Trust me when you get it right you will know it, for you will be able to shoot 6wt line a lot straighter and longer then you ever expect. I found it unnecessary to make very long strokes to unfurl line, and relatively effortless to hit targets with great accuracy.

The Western style cork grip is very comfortable for long hours of casting

The Sensitivity: When fishing flies under a strike indicator for steelhead you have the luxury of being able to set immediately as you see your indicator plunge under the water. But if you are fishing straight beadheads then your reaction time depends on how quickly you can distinguish a strike. Whenever I fish the latest graphite rods like the GLX I always remark at how far graphite technology has come, and how much more sensitive these rods are then the fiberglass and bamboo blanks of the past. The GLoomis GLX rods are the most sensitive fly rods I have ever fished. Even in comparison to the same rod in GL3 graphite there is a world of difference. The FR1086 telegraphs the most minute vibrations, does a good job preserving the finest tippet, and allows anglers to make subtle presentations with ease.

The FR1086's stripping guides are constructed from durable titanium

The Power: Once you are hooked up you will experience the brawny side of the FR1086, and can land immense fish with confidence thanks to a robust butt section which exhibits very little flex. Some rods that I have fished tend to have a uneven points in sensitivity and power distribution, some even exhibit strained flex points due to poor ferrule or connection design. The FR1086 is engineered to be a continuous arc, seamless in flex and vibration transmission. This is true of both the 2 piece and 4 piece versions of this rod. Interestingly the FR1086 does not feel like overkill for small trout, which still offer up a pleasurable fight. By the same token the strength of the butt section of the FR1086 allows you to fish the strongest of steelhead and even largemouth bass. This rod can be effectively used as a 7 weight rod if your application requires more muscle.

Traveling light on the river with a SOAR canoe and the FR1086 GLX

The Price: This rod isn't cheap by any means but it isn't that expensive when you consider what a premium fly rod costs these days. The FR1086 is right on par with the competition in terms of cost, and offers a lot of nice details in it's intricate design. There are cheaper rods out there but few that can match the balance of sensitivity and power that GLX graphite offers. For me another added value of buying a GLoomis rod is the excellent service and warrantee that come with every rod. This warrantee covers the rod for the life of the product.

NatureBoy holds the canoe steady as Zander fishes for smallmouth bass

Who should consider the FR1086 GLX?: It is a fact that you can buy a perfectly good fly rod for just over a hundred dollars, but there is certainly a difference in quality and refinement when compared to a premium rod like the GLoomis FR1086. Just who should invest in this rod? We recommend intermediate to advanced anglers that are looking for a rod that can fish multiple mid-sized species, as it is these individuals that will appreciate the stiff, fast action that the GLX graphite has to offer. I had a great time with this rod, but was the first to admit that my current casting skills do not take full advantage of the capabilities of this rod. A veteran fly-caster like Buzz could truly make full use of a rod like this. Beginners may find the FR1086 a bit unforgiving, and not really appreciate the fast action this rod offers. For beginners the same rod can be bought with a medium-like action in GL2 or GL3 graphite for less then half the price.


GLoomis FR1086 GLX  Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great construction and quality worthy of the GLoomis name. The use of GLX graphite is well implemented, and the reel seat is simply a work of art. 9
Performance The rod is an excellent caster, very sensitive, and powerful enough to handle jumping steelhead with confidence. 10
Price At a msrp of 585 dollars nobody is saying this rod is cheap but it is worth every penny for experienced anglers that will appreciate the fast action and refinement that a premium rod like this can offer 8
Features The GLX blank is awesome, the reel seat is beautiful, the guides are durable, and to sweeten the package the rod comes bundled with a  protective rod sock and storage tube. 9
Design (Ergonomics)

The cork is silky smooth and ergonomically contoured in traditional western style, but what really makes this rod great is the overall light weight.

Application A versatile rod that can fish a variety of species, but not the most forgiving. Beginners should look at the same rod (FR1086) in the GL2 and GL3 graphite class for a little softer action and more casting forgiveness. 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Great detail in design L GLX is not necessarily the best choice for beginners
J Great feel and weight L Price high for some
J Good balance of feel & power  
J Fast action makes casting a dream  
J Lifetime Warrantee  

Conclusion: If you are an intermediate or expert Fly fisherman looking for the latest in graphite technology then the GLoomis FR1086 has your name all over it. This beauty in fly rod construction offers a great balance of sensitivity, power, and durability at a price that most anglers who are as obsessed about fly fishing as we are will agree is not bad for a rod of this premium quality. While beginners should choose from more forgiving and affordable GLoomis GL2 graphite the FR1086 models simply are hard to beat when you are looking for one fly rod that can do it all when it comes to fishing mid sized species. Fish GLX for a day and you will find other rods feel slow and at times downright sloppy. There are many Fly anglers that consider GLoomis rods to be among the very best available...and the FR1086 GLX is a good example of why.

Looking for a Loomis rod? Check out the G.Loomis Superstore at
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