Loomis GLX Flyrods
So I've got one and yes they gave it to me; that could make me bias but of course it doesn't. Six-pound Sean, “in another life” used to edit a computer mag and one of his stipulations was that the reviewer had to go out and buy whatever it was with his own money. Well, although we have done that before on Sexyloops, I'm not about to part with 600 quid if I can avoid it. Hell I've got a credit rating to maintain.
This is a review of GLX rods, well actually two of them, but since I use GLX as a benchmark and because there is a question over integrity I'm going to mention the other rods that are, in my opinion, in the same league. There are not many: Scott Tacticals (that they don't make any more), Redington DFR (but they have changed the blank - and it's now crap), David Norwich (and I have only tested a couple and then only the two-piece), Sage SP (two-piece and they don't make them any more and the SLT is not as good) and Loomis IMX (which they don't make anymore either). Rods are becoming stiffer; which is OK if you don't pull like I do. They are also becoming thicker walled because of the lifetime guarantee bollocks.
As a complement to this page you should also check out the article “Sexyrod” (which explains how I assess rods), this advice page (which contrasts pushing/pulling to progressive/tip actions) and lastly (and I don't normally do this but the info is some of the best on the Web) this page on Slowsnap (and this one too).
If you want the complete low-down then you should also know that a flyrod is no more than a flexible lever with knobs on. The GLX knobs are not the best in the world; but the blank is right up there. And let's face it; this is what really matters in flycasting and life – pretty knobs are just distractions of a superficial world. If you want to be distracted – and many people do – then buy the blank and get someone to finish you off. These reviews are great aren't they?
The best flexible levers are light, fast and... flexible. The blank should progressively bend right down to the handle, otherwise you are missing out. The GLX I have is four-piece 9ft AFTM6. It is extremely good. Having got my six-weight I made the mistake of testing a 5 weight; it is better and substantially so. I have one of these on the way. I cannot find the line that makes the 6-weight really sing. Never let it be said that these reviews are not honest.
Weight for weight the GLX is one of the lightest rods out there. And it's light in the right places. Sometimes you find a rod that is light but feels tip heavy. And then there are many rods out there that are rated incorrectly. Many cheaper rods, for example, could do with being underlined by two or more line weights. I believe that this is the manufacturer playing the rod weight/line weight marketing game with us.
And the GLX is fast. The slowsnap link above lists the GLX as having one of the highest frequencies. This is why speed of a rod is independent of progression. The GLX is a fast progressive rod and one of the best out there. Maybe even the best and certainly the one I use as a benchmark.
My first test on any rod is to try a 10-yard pick-up-and-lay-down cast (hey I didn't name it; I name casts after shoes). If the rod is correctly rated it should feel crisp, which is does. It's important not to haul (not because hauling gives a deeper flex in the rod - because it doesn't) but because hauling affects the line speed and I want to see what the rod does when it unloads pure and simple. The GLX slings a great line and it's correctly line rated, as are most American rods.
My next test is to false casts 8 yards or so and feel how the tip responds. The loops are sexy, clean and there are no wiggles. Everything feels light and crisp.
Middle range casting is superb. The rod loads smoothly and unloads with great precision. How much force a loaded rod delivers to the flyline I'm not sure, probably not very much and sometimes nothing (as far as I can work out), but it's important for me at least that it doesn't feel sloppy.
Perhaps the best test that I can perform on the rod is what is technically known as the “hell of a lot of line in the air test”. This is actually my favourite. I'll stick as much line in the air as I can and see what happens. Sometimes the rod smashes, so it's not without risk and excitement. One time Shakespeare sent me twenty flyrods for assessment and I smashed five of them since “it had to be done”. A word of warning; don't try this with an old rod or a friend's rod. If a goldhead has hit the rod at some point and you try the “hell of a lot of line in the air test” you may end up with “a hell of a lot of sections rod” and a pissed off friend.
I'm comfortable with about 70 feet of flyline outside the tip ring. Much more than this and I have to work, haul really fast and start angling my casting stroke in strange directions (well upwards). Dropping the AFTM points helps of course but it's not nearly as exciting. The GLX can really keep a lot of line in the air. This is the measure of a good rod; it doesn't collapse under extreme load and (so far) it hasn't exploded either.
The question many people ask is, “is it worth 600 quid, Paul?”
“It depends on your philosophy, dude”
I kinda figure that flyfishing is the best thing in my life; it certainly beats all the other things I have tried (apart from sex maybe, but it's somehow less complicated since it involves fish and not, in my case at least, the women-folk) and as such anything I can do that will enhance the experience is worth whatever it costs. The GLX may not improve your casting, it may not catch you any more fish, it certainly won't make you any more attractive to women but it WILL definitely put a smile on your face. And that's what counts, right?
Fishtec wholesale the GLX in the UK and offer an unconditional lifetime guarantee; they will replace your UK-purchased exploded rod for 10% of the current retail price. Loomis do not offer this guarantee and are one of the very few manufacturers not to. I support this. You can buy GLX through this site. If you don't want to spend 600 quid on a rod buy the Vision Intro for Ł60. Honest :-)