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Rod Review


The G.Loomis NRX+ Bladed Jig Rod – Overkill, and Just What Enthusiasts Want (continued)


Real World Tests: G.Loomis provided the NRX+ Bladed Jig Rod for this review and to test the BJR stick we head straight for the California Delta and other local regional lakes. The timing was perfect as we were also in the process of testing some new chatterbaits from Z-Man but also made sure to tie on some of our favorite blades, including the Evergreen Jackhammer, to see just how this new rod handled a wider range of bladed jigs, as well as how it compared to other rods designed for this purpose.


Time to see what the new NRX+ is all about

Casting: Unlike with lightweight finesse baits casting bladed jigs is relatively easy, especially with the added weight of a trailer. As you might expect casting with the NRX+ BJR was effortless. Unlike with some glass-based rods the BJR is very light, and it loads quickly helping launch even smaller and lighter bladed jigs like finesse-oriented Z-Man Mini Max chatterbait.


The BJR whips pretty smoothly for a Fast action rod

As a refresher for those unfamiliar with Shimano’s Spiral X design the implementation consists of three layers: a blank made of vertical fibers, an inner layer, and an outer layer both comprised of carbon tape that tightly winds the blank diagonally in opposite directions. The goal of using this carbon tape in place of a conventional horizontal fiber sheet is providing enhanced torsional rigidity without adding extra weight. So how does this translate to feel and performance?


Spiral X construction increases rigidity without increasing weight. It is significant that the NRX+ rods use this Shimano proprietary triple layer construction as they are the first to do so solely manufactured in the United States as the Conquest Series features a dual region manufacturing model

Similar to the Conquest and Shimano branded rods that make use of Spiral X blank construction the rod feels very crisp, helping facilitate what feels like near-immediate transmission of power during the cast. I found that I was able to launch bladed jigs when casting with two hands, but it was just as easy to sidearm and single hand cast these baits accurately.


The rod casts so nicely that single handed sidearm casts are effortless

Sensitivity: One of the reasons why I mentioned that this is such an interesting application for a NRX+ rod is that sensitivity isn’t always a priority when fishing this technique. With bladed jigs most anglers prefer a longer medium heavy rod between 7’3” to 7’11” in length to provide both a long distance cast and a softer parabolic action that helps with ripping blades through vegetation.


The rod makes use of Fuji Titanium SiC guides...

This is exactly why glass is so popular for this technique, as it is typically softer and more moderate to aid with creating deflections but is still able to keep fish pinned once they are hooked up. Then there are other anglers that prefer a traditional graphite rod for this technique not only for the enhanced sensitivity the material offers but also the added power to pull fish out, and away, from thick vegetation.

Personally I’ve always subscribed to the idea of using a longer rod for this technique and the 7’4” length of the BJR falls right into the range. I have used glass rods for fishing bladed jigs but ultimately find myself migrating back towards graphite rods just because I can feel every swing of the blade, and better perceive contact with structure.


...as well as Nickel Titanium Recoil guides. So glad that the company maintained the hybrid guide-train as it is a signature element of the NRX Series

It is not like you are not going to feel a bait as active as a chatterbait with a glass rod, but a graphite rod just adds to the experience of fishing such a lively lure. I also believe that glass does a good job keeping fish pinned, but the power and instant response of graphite is a worthy tradeoff, and in my opinion just more fun to fish. All that being said with the limited space on the deck I rarely bring a rod specifically designed for fishing bladed jigs and often employ one of my jig or mag action bass sticks. This is one of those techniques where there are many rods that can “get the job done.”


Sensitivity is excellent, and with a Jackhammer and Fluorocarbon things get pretty insane. It is pretty hard to go back to glass after fishing this stick

While sensitivity may not be something critical to this technique it does present an edge and the NRX+ hybrid gear-train is actually an ideal setup for those that want to have their cake and eat it too. Even smaller blades transmit vibration with utter clarity through this blank. Spool up with fluorocarbon for this technique and the BJR takes the whole vibration transmission experience to a near sensory overload level… it is that good.


Strikes are epic. Even smaller fish are blast on this rod

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