Rod: G Loomis NRX 9 foot, 9 Weight Fly Rod
Reel: Nautilus NV G8 Fly Reel
The latest and greatest from G Loomis has finally dropped in stores and I was one of the fortunate ones who got to take one out for a test spin. We put the new G Loomis NRX 9 foot, 9wt Flyrod to the test on some bonefish flats in the upper Keys this past weekend. Brewing storms around us made for a little bit of wind in the AM but it eventually slicked off through the day so we got to test the 9wt NRX out in the whole gammut of conditions. We arrived at our destination to be greeted by my favorite silvery frustration… cracked out bonefish. The fish seemed tense and moving at an erratic pace. I had to extend the leader to 20ft after the wind laid down and the NRX still had no problem turning over a weighted bonefish fly. I had a number of good shots in the next few hours and I ended up hooking 6 fish but losing 5 fish before landing one for a hero shot. Once the winds pick up and skies are clear, I can’t wait to fish this rod in Downtown Islamorada for monster bonefish.
When the winds kicked up in the AM, the NRX had no problem shooting right into it. The rod has plenty of reserve and I never once felt like the wind was going to over take the rod. While casting, both in the wind and not, you could feel where the line was at all times. Being resilient to a “muscle’d cast”, I was able to correct my loop mid cast when the fish or the wind would change directions and lay the line out where it needed to go. When needed, it took little effort to pick up the line from 50 feet out and punch it back out without having to make another false cast. The butt and mid section felt a bit stiff but not so stiff as to lose line feel. The softer tip makes up for the stiff backbone though and allows for shorter casts. The NRX also balances better with a lighter weight reel. The Nautilus NV G8 perfectly balanced out the 9wt NRX. Natuilus is one of the only reel companies building lighter weight reels that are still structurally solid to accomodate the lighter weight rods on the market today. Since, I am a firm beleiver in using clear fly lines for summer time bonefishing, I was using a Monic Clear Tropical taper, which has a longer belly and though it was great for longer casts, it took a little more manipulation for those shorter casts. When I switched out to a Monic Phantom Tip line which has fatter head and more aggressive taper, the shorter casts were easier, while it still held line in the air and shot out long casts extremely well. I would say that the best line to use on the 9wt NRX would be something between a redfish and bonefish taper as it compliments the rod’s strength extremely well. I wouldn’t go as far as over-lining the rod though as it doesn’t need to go to that extreme. I was amazed though that the line feel was still excellent even with lighter bonefish tapers. Another plus to the NRX was that even though it had the REC Recoil stripper guides, they were not noisy at all, like those on the Crosscurrents. The sensitivity of the rod is unreal as I felt every bonefish that bit the fly (I rarely felt that bite in the past when I fished other rods). At one point, I retied a lighter fly, stepped back on the casting platform and watched a group of big tailers pop out of the deep water right in front of the boat and tail 20ft in front of the skiff. I made a quick roll cast and laid the fly admist the tails. As the fly settled on the bottom I not only watched, but could also feel the bonefish pinning the fly down into the grass and knaw on it like a rabid pitbull to a chew toy. This is what makes the NRX what it is… is the sensitivity it possess while still retaining lots of backbone when you need to put the heat to a fish charging for cover. I didn end up breaking off that big fish though as one of my blood knots slipped as I was clearing line. This 9wt NRX is what I will claim to be the best all around Flyrod for fishing in South FL. If you are chasing small tarpon, redfish, bonefish, permit, and smaller pelagics, this 9wt is a must have.
The 7wt, 8wt, 9wt, 11wt, and 12wt NRX Flyrods are currently available at The Flyshop of Miami to test so if you are in South Florida and am curious to see what these rods feel like, go see Dave or Jorge at the fly shop and check them out.
I might be working on a little video clip soon so stay tuned!!
We all heard the “hype”… we all anticipated what was going to be next in the evolution of the skeleton fish… 8/13/10, Friday the 13th… NRX has finally arrived!!
The G Loomis NRX rods were officially launched tonight to the public. I was at the south FL leg of the NRX launch at the Flyshop of Miami. While at the launch, I was able to throw the whole gamut of the new G Loomis NRX Fly Rods from 7wt to 12wt. If you want the technical aspects of the NRX, you can find them on the G Loomis website, but if you are seeking the nitty gritty of how the rod performed in the hands of the fly caster then you might enjoy the following read.
Here are my initial thoughts on my favorite 3 NRX models…
7wt NRX… This is the true gem in the entire NRX Flyrod series. This rod is fast but still carries a light enough tip to make those short ninja casts when a fish pops up within pushpole stabbing range. Unlike most other 7wt rods, the NRX had the reserve to handle the wind when needed. Most importantly, of every fly rod I have ever cast in my life, the 7wt NRX had the absolute best line feel I had ever experienced. You are never lost as this rod keeps you aware of where your line is at all times so you can make the proper adjustments for your shot and not have to take your eyes off the fish. This was also a very forgiving rod, such that casts that would have fallen apart because of an error in your casting stroke were corrected with ease. Weightwise; the 7wt NRX is extremely light weight. For Sage fans, I would say the NRX weights in between the TCX and Xi3. This 7wt NRX is a must have in every summer time redfish or bonefisherman’s arsenal. I have thrown just about every flagship model 7wt from all the top flyrod manufacturers and the NRX has found it’s place at the top of that world.
9wt NRX… If I ever had to choose one rod to redfish or bonefish with for the rest of my life, it would be the 9wt NRX. I need not have to explain the versatility of a 9wt but to be specific about the NRX 9wt, it is currently my favorite 9wt Flyrod on the market today. This is the most forgiving rod in the entire NRX series as errors are corrected easy and those who decide to muscle their casts will find that this rod will still punch out the line and lay it out nicely. Unless you absolutely suck, you just can’t shock this rod. It feels as if the rod wants to cast for you. Line feel is incredible as all the technologies were put together into this rod to transfer what is going on outside the tip guide straight through the blank, through the best quality cork, and right into your hand. This 9wt rod has plenty of reserve and should punch out a wind resistant permit fly with ease if need be. The particular one I cast today had a 9wt Airflo Ridge bonefish/redfish taper line on it, which felt perfectly matched. I am going to throw a Monic clear line on there next and report back. Weight-wise, this rod is in the same weight class as the Sage Xi3, perhaps a tad bit lighter.
11wt NRX… This is “the” travel big game rod. What else can I say except that the 11wt NRX is a cannon with the weight of a small pistol. This rod is crazy light weight and as with the other NRX models, very forgiving and powerful. GTs and Tarpon around the world better say their prayers…
Stay tuned for more details and some “on the water” feedback…
Is it pure coincidence or was the date of my birth 27 years ago planned by a higher being to fall right smack dab in the middle of tarpon fishing? It only took 25 years after my birth to succumb to the obsession that is tarpon fishing.
After a rough day at work on my birthday, I decided I needed some pampering out of town. I needed some quiet and some alone time, but most of all, I needed to catch some tarpon in the process. My buddy Capt. Rick De Paiva (www.saltwaterflyfishing.org) invited me to fish with him on the west coast this weekend. I chose to take a mini-vacation and stay in Fort Myers for the next 3 days. The plan was simple… drive over and fish with Rick and David on the first day, drive north to meet with my buddies Capt. Colby Hane and Sam Root on the second day for some filming, and wrap up my vacation with one last day back down south fishing with Rick and David again. I did not shoot a single photo this last weekend but I did make a few casts with my fly rod.
I met with Capt. Rick De Paiva and David McCleaf for a few hours of tarpon fishing in Pine Island. We approached the tarpon highway and was third in line for shots at fish that would string through this particular avenue. The day started with a slight trickle as the fish did not pour through hard yet. The few fish that did swim through and make it to us were already swimming fast as they had been baraged by a number of flies before I could present mine. When boat #1 left, we all shifted positions and we were now boat #2 at the spot. The boat in front of us had caught a fish earlier, only increasing the anxiety within me as more fish would come through already spooked. Finally, I had a break… a fresh fish had swam through, bounced off the boat in front of us and came at our boat hard. I laid the fly in front of the fish and it garbaged my fly immediately, making a series of leaps right in front of boat #1. What could be sweeter then that? After catching this fish, we got back in line and was now being hit by clouds and limited visibility. The fish continued to swim and I fed one more before we decided to end our day due to lack of light. We made a quick stop at one of Rick’s local redfish grounds on our way home and like clockwork, tails were thrashing at the calmed surface of the water. Rick handed me a spinning rod rigged with a DOA “key lime” shad tail and we managed a small redfish as well as a real big red before heading back…leaving the fish tailing. Pine Island Sound proves again it’s great tarpon and redfish fishery.
I awoke this morning and met with a buddy of mine for a quick breakfast before picking up another brand new 12 weight G Loomis Crosscurrent Pro-1 flyrod. There is no doubt about it; the Pro-1 is the best flyrod for tarpon fishing hands down. The only drawback is the inconvenience of a 1 peice rod for those who like to travel, but on the other side of the coin, the 1 peice design is great for tarpon water locals who don’t have to travel to outside locations on an airplane. After picking up my brand new fly rod, I met up with my buddies Sam Root and Capt. Colby Hane in Sarasota for more tarpon fishing. We spent a couple of hours on the water and had a few shots admist lots of boat and jetski traffic. I managed to break in my new flyrod with an 80lb poon on my second cast of the day and Sam managed to catch the whole series from the strip strike to catching the fish on flim. One image that will be burned in my memory forever was watching my fish launch itself 20 feet into the air when it ran up a sloping bar. This was definitely the highest I had ever seen such a big fish leap. Sam should have a short teaser clip of this series of events up soon.
I headed back to Pine Island to meet with Capt. Rick and David to round out my last day on the west coast. Winds were predicted at 5 to 10kts out of the East with lots of sunshine. With lots of hope we hit the water to find 15 to 25kt winds out of the SW greeting us where we were to line up again to throw at more tarpon. We had zero light as the overcast skies and monsoon-like rain hammered us through the day. Battling out the tough conditions, we sat and chatted a little bit with reknowned artist Bill Bishop in his skiff lined up next to us. Shots were tough but I fed 2 fish and caught one more to end my trip out west. We ran through the thicket of storms on our way back but did manage to get home safe, a little damp, and satisfied with the fishing we had under such adverse conditions. The 2 hour drive home allowed me to think back on the great times I had this last weekend.
I’d like to thank all my buddys out west for their hospitality and for providing me with the media to help illustrate and pu this last weekend’s fishing into perspective. Every coast of Florida has a truley spectacular fishery and the west coast from Sarasota to Pine Island has definitely shown it’s great potential for an phenomenal tarpon fishery. The next few days will allow me to rest up a bit, catch up on office work, and continue to replenish the supply of flies I’ve spent out of my tarpon box. There will be more to come so stay tuned… the season has just begun!!!