G. Loomis has a long pedigree of making some of the finest fly rods on the market. It’s a pedigree that began with founder and original rod designer Gary Loomis and continued relatively unabated with fly casting freak-of-nature and Rajeff brother, Steve Rajeff. If you’re not familiar with the Rajeff brothers, they’re sort of like the Hanson Brothers, except they don’t have stupid haircuts and they’re actually good at something. Oh, and they can toss casts to the goddamned moon.
Over the years, Loomis built rods like the IMX—which has often been credited with being the original spark that lit the fly rod “arms race”—the GLX and, most recently, the NRX. These rods and other Loomis creations have long been venerated by countless anglers as the finest rods on the market. Just ask Loomis owners. They know. And if you don’t, you’re probably casting one of those other “best” rods on the market. Poor you.
But then a funny thing happened. After years of cranking out rods that most anglers lusted after, Loomis disappeared—just walked into the woods one day and never came back.
Okay, not really. But you get the idea. Loomis stopped doing much that was new. Their marketing slipped. The shops stopped pushing Loomis rods. NRXes kept leaving the factory and along the way Loomis turned out the PRO4x line—which, by the way, is a pretty good rod—but, in many ways, Loomis went dark. George Anderson kept standing on mountain tops in Yellowstone, yelling that the NRX LP remained the best fly rod on the market, but it’s not clear whether anyone bothered to listen.
And then, unexpectedly, Loomis announced mid-last year that it was introducing its first new flagship rod in many years. Unfortunately, it seemed like one that, from the start, was destined for failure in oh, let me count the ways.
It was $1,000, a price barrier no major production rod had ever broken before. It was co-branded with the Shimano name which, sure, might be Loomis’ parent company, but is a wince-inducing name to hoity toity fly anglers who decry anything from the world of conventional fishing, regardless of how asinine that line of thinking is. And as icing on the cake, Loomis gave it a hopelessly stupid name: Asquith.
So it seemed that Loomis’ big announcement and gusto-filled return to the spotlight of the fly fishing world would fizzle out before its fire really got started. And it likely would have, had it not been for one minor detail: the Asquith absolutely kills.
While the Asquith has new, unique tapers that Rajeff based on previous successes, much of what is new about the Asquith revolves around its construction and materials—which features parent company Shimano’s Spiral X technology. As we noted when we wrote about the Asquith back in July, Shimano has a lot of fancy words — ones like “InfinityTape” and “Musclecarbon” — that it uses to describe exactly what Spiral-X is and what it does, but here’s the gist: Spiral X blanks are…