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Rod Review

Salmon beware, Lamiglas produces a worthy Salmon rod, the Norwest Special

Date: 5/24/02
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: Lamiglas
Reviewer: Zander

Total Score: 7.83

Introduction: With an outstanding Salmon season upon us we couldn't resist going back out to tackle some good sized Kings, and this time we armed ourselves with the Norwest Special rods from Lamiglas. 


Lamiglas Norwest Special N379BC Specifications

Material Modulus Graphite
Length 7'9"
Sections 1
Line Weight 10-25lb
Lure Weight 1-6oz
Rating Medium
Colors Pearl Blue
Action Fast
MSRP $174.00

Impressions: The Norwest Special is the entry level Salmon rod from Lamiglas. Lamiglas boasts one of the largest and most diverse Salmon/Steelhead rod lines in terms of material variation. This family starts from the G500 graphite Norwest Specials, like the one we tested, to high modulus graphite, fiberglass, pro graphite, and even $480.00 titanium rods!


The Lamiglas G500 graphite is tightly wrapped increasing sensitivity

The 379 Norwest Special we tested is a perfect length for salmon mooching. Though using entry level graphite blanks the quality of the wrap is still quite impressive. In the sunlight the pearl blue rod shows off the tightly knit graphite fibers beneath its gloss coat. When holding the rod in the lab it already felt quite comfortable thanks to use of high quality Portuguese cork in its extended handle. The handle was long enough to hold and tuck under your arm, just as you would on the water during extended periods of waiting.

Complete Rig for Lamiglas Norwest Special N379BC

Rod Lamiglas N379BC
Reel Shimano Calcutta 400
Line 20lb Trilene Big Game

Not only were we eager to catch some Salmon but we were interested to see how this rod performed under real world conditions. From our initial observations the rod looked very solid and attention to detail was quite good.

Real World Test: We put the Norwest Special to the test on two different trips out to Monterey bay to intercept the seasonal salmon run. We got plenty of action and was able to draw a number of conclusions in regards to the Norwest Special.

The Norwest Special's contoured cork handle helps reduce fatigue

Casting: Most Salmon fishing done off charter boats doesn't entail a lot of intense casting. We spent the majority of our time trolling and mooching. This isn't to say that you can't cast with the Norwest Special. In fact the NWS (as we like to call it) casts lures and baits quite well. While the hardloy guides the NWS employs are not the smoothest, they certainly are tough, and handle 20-25lb line with ease. The NWS is quite comfortable with a graphite seat from Pacific Bay, and a shaped cork handle that is contoured larger by the reel seat to fit your palm. The Calcutta fit nicely on the reel seat and was held in place firmly.


Sensitivity: The NWS is surprisingly sensitive for an entry level series rod. the Lamiglas G500 graphite does a good job of transferring subtle bites even from depths of 100ft and beyond. When your mooching for salmon on the West Coast barbless circle hooks are the law, so losing fish due to poor hook sets is common. The NWS helps you avoid this by allowing the angler to set the fish when he knows the bait has been taken. Soft taps are followed by a stronger tug when the salmon finally takes the bait, and all this sensory information transfers through the graphite quite nicely.


The Norwest Special uses a Pacific bay reel seat that holds reels firmly and is quite comfortable in your hand

The one area we felt the NWS was flawed was in the power department. Once the fish is set, bringing a salmon in that weighs 10-15lbs the NWS feels solid and confident, however anything over this size begins to stress the rod. While you will have no fear of the rod snapping, it simply lacks backbone in which to muscle fish with control. In many cases when a fish broke the surface or got close enough to net we found that we would have to hold the NWS very high and back to compensate for the flex. More backbone in the butt and rigidity further up the blank would allow fish to be brought back to the boat quicker....and trust me when you see a hungry sea lion torpedoing towards your fish you want all the fighting muscle you and your rod can muster.


Lamiglas Norwest Special N379BC Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Lamiglas has put together a solid package and their G500 graphite is surprisingly sensitive 8.5
Performance Excellent sensitivity but needs more power to fight larger salmon if you enjoy fishing in the open ocean 8
Price A decent price, but just average in terms of the competition's offerings 8
Features The best feature of all is the use of the G500 graphite, other then that the NWS doesn't make use of many new and cutting edge components 7
Design (Ergonomics) Good ergonomics in handle design, and the Pacific bay reel seat is strong and comfortable 8
Application Good for mooching, not as much so for trolling as the sheer stress on the rod makes you desire more backbone in the butt. 8

Total Score


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Detailed construction L Less costly components
J Great Sensitivity L Sheer power
J High quality cork handle  

The NWS is a good rod that is able to provide reliable performance at a price that won't break the bank because it uses some less costly components (guides and reel seat). While the NWS is a good value based on performance versus cost it faces some real competition from manufacturers like St. Croix and GLoomis, that also deliver similar graphite rods with higher end components at competitive pricing. While some will want more power in their salmon rods, others will find the Norwest Special a blast to fish with. The Lamiglas Norwest Special has proven to be a solid rod that performs well, and is surprisingly sensitive...but you would do well to check out the competition as well, and pick a salmon rod that you would be happy fishing with for years.

Until next time....Tight Lines!









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