Sunday, January 29, 2012

GLX...initial impressions

For as long as I can remember Loomis has owned the centrepinning rod market.  If you were anyone in the floatfishing scene you fished a loomis blank.  It started way back with the Premier blanks then the Gl2, Gl3, IMX,  and now the GLX series of rod blanks.  Each rod brought forth improvements as the evolution of rod blank technology progressed.  For the most part the search for the holy grail was a feather light blank with adequate power. 
I always thought they were splitting hairs after the GL3 but the masses flocked to the IMX series of blanks with a passion.  For years the IMX was the pinnacle of float fishing blank technology but like everything in life the show had to go on and the next bigger and bestest thing had to come along.  For Loomis it was the GLX.  This floatfishing blank spawned a rift in the float fishing community.  There were factions that stood by their brand and praised the blank to no end and there were other factions that made claims the sticks were underpowered and inadequate for the sport. 
At the same time Loomis made a conscious decision to only produce factory rods and thus eliminated the custom rod niche market.  Blanks were no longer available and this added some fuel to the controversy as to weather or not these rods were worthy of purchase.  If you sell custom rods it is in your best interest to pimp a blank that is available for you to sell and profit.  While all of this drama unfolded I sat back and watched with mild interest.  I had not yet fished an IMX and was quite happy with my GL3 so the temptation of shelling out $600 bones for a stick rife with controversy was not on my radar. 
But still I followed the story as it unfolded.  For the most part the Canadian Centrepinning scene seemed to abandon the GLX as a viable option and moved on to the CTS version.   At the same time  the growing American Centrepinning demographic embraced and seemed to worship the blanks.  I have always been one to base my opinion off of fact and was curious to form my own on these rods.  It was not until recent that a good friend afforded me that opportunity. 
Harv Senior had an unfortunate incident on Ontario's Saugeen river back in November when he blew his GL3 up on a hot November Giant.  Loomis stood behind their warranty and offered the Harv's the option to upgrade to the GLX for a marginal fee.  They jumped at the chance and chose the GLX 1563 2S 8-12lb version.  This was the most robust version of the stick available and was receiving the most praise from the Centrepinning scene.   Shortly there after I was considering making a deal on a GLX I had ran across on an online forum. 
Harv got wind of my venture and interjected with the offer to fish their blank all winter and make an informed decision as to weather or not this was indeed the stick for me.  It's hard to turn an offer like that down and in no time I had the rod in my hands.  At the same time, upon Harv's suggestion, I had arranged to demo the AVID and Frogwater. 
This demo had a defined time period so the GLX would have to wait.  Finally this weekend came and the opportunity to fish her was before me.  I chose to pair her up with the Frogwater while I still had it in my possession and see how the ultimate light combo would fair on Michigan's finest flow.  I rigged her up and made plans to fish below the coffer the next day.  Saturday morning came and I awoke to fresh snow.  The  forecast suggest the possibility of a couple of inches but it was apparent that the system was under estimated and dumped a generous 5-6" of fresh powder.
The morning was a classic winter scene and I eagerly geared up and made my way towards the river.  The roads were terrible and I was hoping this would work in my favor and keep the masses at home.  As luck would have it the river was sparsely populated and my preferred drift was unoccupied.  After the previous weekends successes on the wax worm it was my obvious offering to start the day.  The GLX was a joy to cast and easily put my offering on the inside edge of the middle seam. 
As luck would have it mid drift the float dipped and I was into a fish.  Initially I thought it was a trout until the fish realized it was hooked and the battle ensued.  The rod performed perfect and the fish was on the bank in a reasonable amount of time.   It was a smaller fish and  really not what I was hoping for to put the blank through its paces.  I continued to pick away at my usual lines while working my way down towards the central bar until it happened...the float dipped, I set up and the water exploded.  The fish have been unseasonably hot this winter and this fish was even more so. 
The blank loaded up nicely and the fish continued to scream down river.  Having heard the power of this blank is in the bottom end I put more pressure on the fish.  The blank was now in a full parabolic bend and the fish was under control.  Now  knowing where my power and control point were with this rod I played the fish with reasonable control to the bank.  The power of this rod is certainly in the butt section and made for an enjoyable exchange with the fish.  The fish was a healthy 6-7lb hen and a fair opponent to trial this blanks characteristics.  Initially I was impressed with the blanks abilities.  The light weight characteristics made the blank a dream to cast and fish.  The blank loaded up nicely and once the power was located seemed to control a fair sized opponent in a large flow quite well. 
The large parabolic bend was actually a joy to fish  once the power band was located.  Another feature of this rod was  the addition of recoil guides.  The initial premise was to shed weight with additional benefits like ice up mitigation and guide durability. Again the addition of these guides on the blank brought forth controversy amongst the floatfishing community.  Some praised the design as the answer for deep winter guide ice ups yet others complained of inferior metallurgy and line gouging.  Today the guides seemed to take longer to build up ice than traditional guide designs and cleared quite freely but nonetheless still built up ice.  They demonstrated no obvious adverse casting restrictions and overall the rod casted as good or better than other 13' blanks in my repertoire. 
The morning session came and went and I was quite pleased with the rod performance.   I had two quality chromers under my GLX belt and an afternoon before me.  I had made plans to meet up with JB Ricks from the Consummate Sportsman Blog and float the river in the afternoon on the North side.  After a courteous riverbank meet and greet we worked our way down to Suicide bend.  For the next three hours we pounded the water to no avail. 
Not even a trout or brown would come to hand.  Upon my suggestion we decided to finish our day up near the coffer.  Once again the fishing proved to be tough.  It was getting late in the day and JB had an hour drive ahead of him so he made the call and pulled the plug.  I wasn't yet ready to take it on the chin and opted to tough it out for another hour or two.  We bid farewell and joked at the premise that the fish would turn on once JB hit the parking lot.  I continued to work my way down toward the boat launch at the bend in the river.  Once there I chose some slack water on the outside edge of the inside torrent that I frequently fish from the opposing bank.  I  made the cast and tended my line.  The pace was moderate compared to the racing flow at my feet.  The float made it's way about 10 feet until it disappeared and I was into a fish.  Instantly I knew it was a decent  but as the battle ensured it became apparent that this was the fish I longed for to put this rod to the test. 
The rod performed flawlessly and was well into it's parabolic curve.  The fish exercised the available real estate and took me well into the river and around the bend.  I managed to get the fish to within 15 feet of the bank but I struggled to seal the deal and discovered my problem lied in the fact that I was working the fish with the top portion of the rod once he was in the shallows.  Upon becoming conscious of this I loaded the rod up hard and into the butt section.  Not until then did I get the required backbone to finalize the deal.  The specimen was grand.  A deep wintered buck of at least 30" and 10+ lbs.  The rod handled the fish but did leave me with question as to how it would have faired with a hot November or Spring fish of similar proportion.  The power of this blank comes late in the game and it is easily understood how one would be quick to dismiss this blank as underpowered. 
I am not one to throw caution to the wind and lay the boots to a fish thus pushing the gear to it's breaking point.  Having said this I was nervous discovering the power band of this rod.  I can say with some degree of confidence that once you locate this sweet spot and learn how the rod fishes it  will do you proud.  The struggle lies with becoming comfortable with a late bloomer.  One has to have faith in this rod and allow it to load up deep into the parabolic bend.  This is where it ultimately performs.  Because of this the rod is not for everyone.   I still need a few more days on the river and multiple hook ups to determine if  this is the rod for me but  I can say without a doubt that it is not for everyone and not for every situation.  If you are looking for a big water high gradient flow stick I'd suggest other alternatives.  If you fish large-moderate to medium-small flows then this stick may be for you.  With a $600 msrp I would recommend establishing your need prior to diving in head first.  I currently own a Loomis 1562 GL3 and don't see enough merit in the GLX to part with the coin.  To make the plunge based on weight would be splitting hairs.  The guides really don't warrant the cost and the GL3 has more power earlier into the blank.  If you were heading into this point as a progressive move from an intermediate or introductory offering and your fishing conditions met the criteria as listed above you wouldn't be hard pressed finding satisfaction with this rod.  Now having said this...if you are one that has to lay the boots to each and every fish and stand your ground to no avail this blank may not be for you. 
After a full day of fishing this blank I can honestly say I understand why it has spawned so much controversy.  This rod is not for everyone and with a hefty price tag one should understand their needs and desires prior to committing.   For now this is the review I will leave you with.  As this story unfolds I promise to update this report with further honest and accurate assessment on the rods performance.
Until then tight lines...


Trotsky said...

Listen...if you really want to test shit...send it my way.
If it survives ...its golden.

I have to go for my firearms recert next weekend but after that I am dying to fish.

JBR said...

Love the photography in this post! I need to bring my reel cover with me to lay the rod beside fish like that. I usually just jam it in the sand!

It was good to finally make a few casts with you sir.

lambton said...

Norland...when there is a "run to failure analysis" required you would certainly be the man. No doubt about are hard on gear you pos!

JB...thanks...This time of the year any dunking or wet matter in the reel can be game over. The reel will most certainly ice up. Typically I don't utilize the pouch but this particular reel is $600 plus and is on loan so I felt obligated to exercise a little precaution. The pouch is an I should have gotten that in the photo. Like eatin Kraft Dinner with a T-bone steak.
Dude...that was fun. It was really nice meeting up and sharing a drift. It was even nicer hookin up with that beast after you left. lol! Thanks for that ;0) We will have to do it again. Can't wait to take you up on that spring beach brown fishery. Sounds very cool!
Good luck Tuesday brother...can't wait for that video. I have only watched the other one a dozen times...LOL!

Harv said...

Interesting report! I am looking forward to putting that stick through its paces myself sometime this spring.

You will have to fish my CTS for a weekend sometime and see what you think. Although you may have to be extra careful with it because I am not sure what the warranty experience would be like on that one....???

I agree with JB - exceptional photography here!!

I am so jonesin' to go ice fishing but it looks like I'm gonna have to hit the road to make that happen! Double digits on the plus side around there again this week.... strange winter for sure!!!

Gil said...

Brian, this should have been done during all that controversy. Great review. I have less desire these days to chase fish nor torque my wrist and shoulder trying to land a hot fish, sometimes in tight landing zones. Your comments about the blank not being right for this is quite true.

Take Harv up on his offer of the CTS and/or if we hook up, you can run my mine for a few fish. You should see a difference. I have not looked back at the GLX since using the CTS. ( I hear the Raven RV9 is quite decent as well)

Again, brilliant writing. Thank you for this one. ;)

Trotsky said...

Hey Shitstains...I just got to use my new snowblower for the first time!!!
Tools are cool...unless you are one (Morin)
Avery and I made a snowman in the front yard that will will surely go liquid with the rest of the snow only to shop-vac-ed up in my basement in the coming days...
Later Bitches

JK said...

Out of curiosity was this actually the 1562 or the 1563 you tested? The 1563 has a bit more beef to it.

lambton said...

my bad...the blank I have on loan is the STR1563-2S 13' Med-Light Moderate Action 8-12lb 1/4-5/8 oz.

I stated 1562 3 power...

sorry for the confusion