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Rod Review

Escape with the lightest rod from the G.Loomis travel lineup (continued)

Sensitivity and Power: The Escape ETR75-3ULS has a power rating of 5 and I felt the rod had a good balance of backbone and light crisp overall feel. Whenever fishing with light line it is important to have a tip that can protect the line when under tension. The Escape rod has a especially crisp tip but under pressure the short 6’3” rod transitions surprisingly agreeably throughout the entire curve.

With the Escape rod ready to we head to our first spot, McGee Bay

Unlike other travel rods that to not arc smoothly or feel as sensitive due to dead spots caused by the ferrules the Escape felt more like a two piece rod than a three piece both in transition and sensitivity. I was able to detect the lightest strikes, and even able to feel slight contacts with structure more than 20 feet below the boat when retrieving blades.

I paired the Escape rod with a Shimano Sustain 1000 light P-Line Fluroclear

One of my most exciting strikes came on the second day of the trip. I had caught many Rainbows on various spoons and blades, but none was having more success than the Ecogear VX that Cal had handed to me at the beginning of the trip to test. This was a bait that the fish likely hadn’t seen before, and the distinctive vibrating action seemed to garner a lot of attention from fish when retrieved a few inches off the bottom.

The Escape proved good at casting Panther Martin Spinners, Kastmasters, and new Ecogear blades

When retrieving the Ecogear VX along the bottom I stopped to point out some structure to the guys when a fish struck the lure. There was no doubt that the fish was pinned as he basically set himself and nearly ripped the rod out of my right hand in the process. I landed the Rainbow trout in a few minutes, but not before the fish peeled off plenty of drag and even ran under the Whaler…. twice. The fish wasn’t all that large, but it was a healthy Bow characteristic of Crowley.

A closer look at the ferrule

The Escape is quite sensitive and manages this with a ferrule design where a longer portion of the rod is inserted. This greater overlap not only increases sensitivity but also helps create a smoother more confident transition, something not normally found in travel rods.

The rod features a all cork grip, all the way down to the sculpted butt

Ergonomics: With any trout travel rod there should be a premium placed on light overall weight, but not at the expense of power. The Escape delivers a good overall balance and weighs in at only 2.2oz. The cork grips on the Escape are pretty straightforward, and the rod is finished with a contoured butt.

The Escape proved to be more than a match for decent sized Sacramento Perch 

When holding the rod during cast and retrieves a cork insert over the Fuji reel seat help make the rod just a little more comfortable. A typical hook hanger helps hold your lures in place when not in use. Ergonomically the best feature about this rod is that it breaks down neatly into three easy to pack segments. The three sections are protected inside a thick rod sock that holds the three segments spaced out. The rod sock is good enough for backpacking applications but in the event of airline travel the included rod tube is a necessity.

A hook hanger keeps lures of all sizes securely stowed

Price & Applications: Seven years I wrote an article about my first G.Loomis travel rod, the SR-842-3S which was also a 3 piece rod constructed with GL3 graphite. That rod has held up well but I did have some problems with the top ferrule staying locked in, and there have been a few times when I have cast and the top section has followed the line. Luckily every time this has happened I have been able to retrieve the tip, but I am happy to report that the Escape’s deeper ferrule design is much more secure.

The smooth transition makes it hard to believe this is a three piece rod 

Rods in the Escape series vary in price depending on model, and the model I tested retails for $310 dollars and is the lowest priced rod in the lineup, though not by much. There are a number of e-tailers online that offer the rod for a discounted price and anything below 300 dollars is a good deal. Compare the $310 dollar price to the GL3 SR-842-3S I reviewed seven years ago and there is a price premium of forty dollars.

The Escape rod under load of a Crowley trout 

The Escape ETR75-3ULS-4 is a true ultra-light rod that can be used for backcountry trout, mature eagle rainbows, and panfish. What is surprising about this short rod is how well it handles mid sized fish under load. The tip on this rod is lively and can double as a finesse drop shot rod in a pinch, though the Escape rod is a bit softer than a traditional drop shot rod it still works. Fishing light darter heads is also possible with this particular rod.

Over the course of two days the Escape rod landed plenty of Trout (and Sacramento Perch) without breaking a sweat


G.Loomis ETR75-3ULS4 Ultra-Light Travel Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality As with most G.Loomis rods the Escape Ultralight is built to last and makes use of quality graphite, premium cork, and Fuji guides. Nothing out of the ordinary or exceptional...but still overall very good 8
Performance Overall top notch performance, this rod is like a Chihuahua, it has no idea how big it really is and as no problem taking on bigger fish than it really should 9
Price There was a time when G.Loomis rods were considered very premium and equally expensive. Now it seems like every rod company has rods over 300 dollars, with some even topping out above 400 dollars. The Escape series is still expensive but a few e-tailers are offering the rod at more aggressive prices. This rode rates "fair" in this category as there are a lot of competitive offerings 7
Features Nothing really extraordinary in features, the rod features a three piece design that actually feels more like a two piece rod, and a bundled rod sock and rod tube make it possible to bring this rod with you on any car and plane trip 7
Design (Ergonomics) The Escape rod is lightweight at only 2.2oz and is comfortable and easy to fish with all day with an ultralight reel strapped on 8
Application This stick is designed to be a trout and panfish rod and while it excels at this it can be used for some light finesse applications, just hang on if you get a lunker 8

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Good construction L Still a costly investment for an ultralight rod
J Smooth and powerful for such a small rod  
J Light overall weight  
J Bundled rod sock and travel tube  
J Fun to fish  

There is just something liberating about getting away and going fishing, and the G.Loomis Escape rods make it possible to have a quality fishing rod with you just in case you happen upon some great water (which Crowley certainly proved to be)

Conclusion: Crowley proved to be an exceptional testing ground for the Escape ETR75-3ULS-4. The combination of fresh air, Cal’s surprisingly good cooking, and hard fish was more than any editor could ask for. The Escape rod proved to be more than a match for both the Crowley’s resident Sacramento Perch and Rainbow Trout. I wasn’t a big fan of the Escape series when it first debuted, perhaps I was still loyal to my old GL3 or maybe it was the cherry finish that I just wasn’t partial to, but this trip to Crowley has me singing a different tune about the series, and it’s all sweet. This rod is now my number one choice for backcountry trout and spinning light lines and I’m looking forward to packing the Escape for upcoming backpacking trips, and have confidence in the rod’s ability to handle bigger trout if I should become so lucky.

Outdoor Pro Shop has the Escape rods for discounted prices.









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