I’ve been engaged in a spirited debate recently with a family member about spinning rods. Their take is that the rod just doesn’t matter much when using spinning gear. Now, this individual happens to be a pretty solid angler and to back up their claim cites the fact that they’ve been fishing the same Ugly Stik rod for five decades with plenty of success. There is no debating the fact that the Ugly Stik is a decent rod choice and one of the most popular rods of all time. I was all set to keep fishing my Ugly Stik, until I stopped by my local fishing shop recently and tested out the G. Loomis IMX Pro 831s.
Now, anyone who knows quality rods knows the name Gary Loomis. He reinvented the wheel in regards to fishing rods by mastering advancements in graphite rod technology that made them lighter, stronger, and more sensitive. After making some of the world’s best fly rods for several decades, Gary sold his company to Shimano. Since being acquired, G. Loomis has stayed true to the company’s roots by continuing to manufacture the world’s finest rod blanks in their Woodland Washington factory. The same quality construction of their fly rods is now available in spinning and casting rods as well. In fact, the IMX pro series of spinning rods seeks to provide a different rod specifically tuned for each style of fishing.
The rod I chose for my new spinning setup, is the G. Loomis IMX Pro 831s ned rig rod. At 6’11” and in a medium-light design, the 831s is tailor-made for ned rig fishing. It features an extra fast action, fuji guides, an all cork grip, and is handmade in the U.S. At approximately $350, the IMX Pro line of spinning rods is a decent investment, but G. Loomis does offer a lifetime warranty for defects and a service that replaces your rod quickly for a reasonable fee in the event of an accidental break. The price is not cheap, but it should be a purchase you only make once. Let me tell you, it is a purchase you will be very glad you made.
After spooling up some 15-pound power pro braid and a 10-pound leader on a Pflueger president reel, I headed down to my local river to throw some tackle. I tied up and fished everything from 1/8 ounce soft plastics to 1/4 ounce jerk and crankbaits. I wanted to really put the rod through its paces as it will be my main spinning rod for some time. The spot I fished is usually pretty nasty and filled with a ton of thick weeds, sticks, and other stuff in it. Over a couple of hours of fishing, I did not break off one lure. The rod is so sensitive that you can easily work your tackle through and around obstructions in the water. As for casting, the extra fast action throws so well it made me feel like a better angler. Firing with pinpoint accuracy, the rod is capable of throwing ultralight gear way out there. It was definitely a day of firsts as I also was casting the 1/8 ounce soft plastic lures farther than I ever have before.
In summary, if you have the money and are in the market for a new spinning rod, the G. Loomis IMX Pro 831s is one of the finest rods you will get your hands on. A great all-around rod, it will be your go-to setup for bass, walleye, and due to the highly sensitive blank will likely perform very well on panfish as well. I have a Shimano Stradic reel on the way and will be spooling it with some ultralight Seaguar Smackdown braid to truly unlock the potential of the rod. Will this rod make you a better angler? It’s possible. The sensitivity, weight, and speed of this rod make it the type of tool that can teach someone what fishing really is. At the end of the day, a rod in itself won’t catch fish for you, but I have never been more excited to head out with my spinning rig. If a piece of gear is durable, well made, and can make you spend more time fishing then it has done its job.