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Rod Review


Lightweight and Worth the Effort – Edge’s Versatile Epitome MBR725-1C Rod


Date: 3/8/23
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Edge Rods
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 8.50 - BEST VALUE AWARD

Introduction: If there is one rod maker that needs no introduction it is Gary Loomis. Gary’s legacy as both an expert in graphite and resin materials and for his understanding of rod actions and how they apply to different species and techniques is already the stuff of legend. The term “Mag Bass” is basically synonymous with rods with the G.Loomis brand and other blanks which he has a hand in designing. Gary’s latest rod series, the Epitome, is designed to be his lightest and perhaps most distinctive rods yet.


Edge Epitome MBR725-1C Specifications

Material Z-Ray Carbon (Toray Materials)
Length 7'-2"
Line Wt. 8-14lb
Lure Wt. 3/16-3/4oz
Pieces One
Guides 9 + Tip
Rear Handle Length 10.5"
Power Rating Medium Heavy (We consider it Light Medium Heavy)
Taper Fast
Rod Weight 2.9oz
Origin Made in USA
MSRP $295


Edge's latest rod offering, the Epitome


Impressions: Gary’s latest rod-making ventures, North Fork Composites and Edge rods continues to build on his legacy. Edge rods are still made in the U.S., in the same town where Gary built his rod empire, Woodland, Washington. Edge sells most of their products direct to consumer and offers both fully custom rods as well as NFC blanks and other in-house carbon fiber components.


Edge rods is Gary's newest rod company and continues the tradition of building rods in Woodland Washington

Gary is still in the trenches working on everything from graphite blends and production processes to fishing prototypes and fine tuning rod actions. While the Epitome is very much his pet project, I learned that there are a few others within his organization that were instrumental in the design and introduction of this series, including Aleks Maslov and Al Jackson. Aleks (or Alex) has been the CEO of EDGE for the last eight years and runs the day to day operations. Gary speaks highly of Aleks and how he has not only soaked up everything on the technical side but is responsible for all the details of running the business, the stuff that Gary prefers not to do so that he can focus on making products. Al Jackson is well known in the rod building industry and has worked on some of the most famous brands in the past, including the original GLX with Gary while at G.Loomis. He is now at Edge working as a co-designer in the company’s factory alongside Gary. Gary considers the Epitome the brainchild of this team and has joked that it is his “swan song.”


The Epitome is built on the company's latest X-Ray blanks, the origin for some of the Toray materials is quite interesting

In anticipation of the Epitome launch Edge has been busy expanding their rob building facility in Woodland, as well as the number of blank and rod offerings. While they used to supply much of their blanks for other brands, they admitted that growth in their own in-house Edge brand has put pressure on their manufacturing. It makes sense that they would like to be their own biggest customer and have decided to continue to focus on a direct-to-consumer approach to keep retail prices down, but is also likely because they still need time to scale their operation.

The Epitome puts a focus on light weight and sensitivity by leveraging the company’s latest generation X-Ray carbon blanks. Heavy and cosmetic components are pared down to get the rods below the 3oz. mark, and as an example the 7 foot 2inch MBR725-1C weighs in at only 2.9 ounces.

The foundation of these in-house X-Ray Air Carbon blanks is the latest generation Toray fiber which is so advanced that it has been deemed a “non-exportable strategic fiber” according to the Edge team, and origins come from a space project in which the material needed to withstand micro meteorite impacts on satellites. Leave it to Gary and the team to turn to space to find an otherworldly new blank material.


Love them or hate them the Epitome makes use of RECOIL guides throughout (minus the tip top)

Real World Tests: Prior to ICAST last year Aleks and Gary sent me one of the first Epitome rods to come off the line. This was shortly after they had locked in the build of the new rod and were looking for feedback on the action and feel. I provided an early look at the rod in a preview and since that time have been fishing the rod through the entire season. I have fished it with a variety of reel and line setups trying to put as many different types of line through the Recoil guidetrain. I originally focused on fishing finesse and contact baits but soon found the rod was more versatile than the specifications might indicate and ended up tying on a wide range of reaction baits targeting largemouth, spots, and even striped bass both from booth boats and kayaks.


A look at the simple foregrip

Casting: The first thing I noticed about the Epitome MBR725-1C is just how light it was in hand. The rod weighs in at 2.9oz. which is incredibly light for a 7 foot 2inch rod. I tried balancing it out with a variety of different baitcasters and while most reels felt fine on the Edge I found that it really loves magnesium. Lightweight magnesium reels only add to the overall light and refined feeling of this rod, making it even easier to swing both moving or contact style baits.


I fished the Epitome with a variety of reels including the Shimano Antares

Ultimately the reel that I liked pairing the most with this particular Edge rod was the ultra-light Abu Garcia Zenon MG-LTX which weighs only 4.7 ounces. When the reel was spooled up with Seaguar Tatsu the entire Edge and Zenon combo weighed in at only 7.7 ounces, which is lighter than some baitcasters weigh by themselves. Casting this combo is effortless, and only after fishing the outfit for a while and switching to another setup did it become apparent just how light the pair really was.
This rod feels crisp and whippy at the same time, and it all depends how much weight is on the end of the line. It is rated from 3/16-3/4 ounces and when fishing heavier jigs at the top of the range I was surprised how much the rod loaded during the backswing. I found it was easy to cast baits both far and accurately with this rod, but that 1/2oz. and below is the sweet spot for the MBR725-1C.


If fishing a lot of finesse baits fluorocarbon main line is the way to go. I prefer Seaguar Tatsu typically

I’ve personally always been a fan of REC RECOIL guides, and especially when configured in a hybrid guide train like the G.Loomis NRX+ where you get the benefits of the light weight and feel of recoils with the smooth and durable Fuji Titanium SiC stripper guides. Edge has gone all-in on Recoils and use them on all but the tip-top guide in an effort to make the Epitome as light and sensitive as possible. The result is a rod that feels extremely light when swung, and casting mono and fluorocarbon lines is effortless. Like other rods that make use of Recoils the guides are louder when fishing rougher lower strand braided lines. Personally, I don’t have any issue with this, but I know some anglers that can’t stand the noise so keep this in mind if this is a dealbreaker for you.


Experimenting with different reel and line setups including the new Abu Garcia Revo SX baitcasters

In an effort to minimize weight even the stripper guide on the Epitome is a Recoil which is not an issue if you are fishing just a mainline, but for those anglers that like fishing a braid to leader connection there is a noticeable bump when the knot comes in contact with the guide during casts. The larger the line, and knot, the more obvious this bump sensation is. When knots like these meet traditional guides they will also bump, but the feeling is more obvious with Recoils, and a blank as light as the one used in the Epitome. I was curious if this contact had enough friction or inertia robbing effect on the line that the shooting speed would be impacted, and ultimately affect max casting distance.


Want to keep weight to a minimum? Use small and lightweight carbon grips

Comparing the same lure weights (3/16-1/2 ounces) we compared the casting using braid, fluorocarbon, and braid to fluorocarbon setups (using 12-17lb. fluorocarbon). What we found was that when fishing heavier baits 1/4oz. and up the effect on casting was minimal as the lure weight was enough to carry the line through with no issue. The heavier the fluorocarbon, the larger the connection knot, and the lighter the lure the greater the impact. Fishing with very heavy fluorocarbon lines, 20lb. and up for example, would have a larger bump effect, and corresponding impact to casting distance, but the Epitome is really designed to be a lighter Mag Bass casting rod so fishing with those heavy lines really isn’t in the rod’s wheelhouse anyways. In a more likely scenario of fishing with braid to 12-17lb lines the effect on casting is nearly undetectable on any lures 1/4oz. and up, but it is noticeable when you get down to 3/16oz., and on average we saw about a 10% delta in casting difference, which leads to my recommendation to fish straight fluorocarbon if you plan to consistently fish the Epitome with lightweight rigs.

Next Section: How sensitive is the Epitome?









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