“The Best Just Got Better”
By Stan Fagerstrom
I eased my bass boat up to the dock. As I finished tying up I found myself listening to a couple of anglers who were already there.
One was showing an obviously new bass rod to his partner. “I swear,” he said, “you wouldn’t believe just how light this new rod is. I thought my GLX rods were light but they don’t compare to this thing.”
“Yeah,” his companion said, “but if it’s as light as you say it is it probably doesn’t have the guts to pull a good fish out of cover. Usually with a fishing rod if you design ‘em to improve in one area you have to give up something else to get there.”
“No Way! At least not with this one you don’t,” was his companion’s reply. “Next time we go out I’ll let you try it. You gotta promise to be careful, though, because these things cost a bundle.”
The new G.Loomis NRX rods were tested extensively before being brought to market. Bruce Holt used a NRX 854C jig and worm rod to whip this whopping big tiger muskie.
If you read my last column you know the rod those two guys were talking about. They are the new NRX rods that have been developed by G.Loomis. They aren’t the only ones. I’ve heard from other anglers in different parts of the country who are doing the same thing. They say they’ve never seen anything that compares with them.
I mentioned in my previous column I was most interested in what my good friend Bruce Holt had to tell me about these rods. Bruce, a long time executive with G.Loomis, was in on the extensive testing of these new rods before they were brought to market. These wondrous new angling tools were tested on everything from tarpon and muskies to potbellied largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Development of rods as sophisticated as those carrying the NRX label doesn’t happen overnight. “The development of these rods,” Holt says, “actually began a couple of years ago.”
Without getting into technical details that require a degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to understand what I’m talking about, let me say this: Construction of these rods involves the use of a new resin system. The end result is extra strength for the graphite used in rod construction.
“We chose to take advantage of the improved strength provided,” Holt says, “to use the highest modulus graphite material we’ve ever used. A 7-foot,1-inch three power NRX jig and worm bass rod is 24 per cent lighter than its GLX counterpart. A 9-foot, 8-weight NRX fly rod feels like a 6-weight. It’s incredible!”
I talked to one guy who said he was almost reluctant to try one of these rods where the fish ran big. He just didn’t think anything that light could stand up to a really vigorous fish. He should have seen some of the testing my pal Bruce did with it.
Take a look at the picture of Bruce holding a tiger muskie that accompanies this column. He whipped that whopper using an NRX 854C JWR---a 4-power jig and worm rod designed for bass fishing. You’d have to hold that rod yourself to realize how light it is.
“This rod feels like you’re fishing with a 6-foot, 6-inch 2-power rod,” Bruce, “but it has all the attributes of a very powerful jig rod. Not only is it insanely light, but it’s so powerful it’s hard to describe.”
Nothing provides proof better than a good picture. I’ve handled the rod Bruce used to tame that tiger. I would have been skeptical about its ability to bring a seven pound bass out of a field of lily pads.
Discuss rods with an expert like Holt and he’ll tell you sensitivity is another critical factor, especially in a bass rod. “The more weight you can remove from the tip area,” he says, “the more intense the sensitivity.
“I’ve never fished a rod that’s as sensitive as the NRX. The first smallmouth I caught on an NRX prototype was a 4-pounder that picked up a tube bait in relatively swift water. As good as a GLX rod is, I’m not sure I would have felt that bite if I hadn’t been using the new NRX. The fish just picked it up (the lure) as it rolled downstream. It was a very subtle take, but it was electric in the NRX rod.
Click pic to zoom
Bruce Holt has fished extensively all over the world. Here he is pictured with a beautiful peacock bass. Holt says he's never used rods as light and as strong as are those in the new G.Loomis NRX rod series.
Like that one guy that I mentioned in the beginning told his fishing partner, these new G.Loomis rods are not cheap. The last time I checked the prices on the NRX bass rods ran from $450 to $475 depending on the model selected. That’s a sizeable chunk of change by my standards.
But then I think back about paying three bucks for that metal rod---my very first rod---that I mentioned having purchased at a second hand store in Part 1 of this column. That was in the 1930s. I like to think I’ve absorbed a few facts since I got that first rod way back then.
One of those truths has remained constant. It’s that you get about what you pay for. And from what I’m hearing from the anglers who are fortunate to have been using them is that these new NRX rods are worth every dime!