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FISHING THE LOOMIS NRX 9 WT - MARCH 2012

The trouble with casting a rod as good as the 9wt NRX is that you never forget it.  In the end I succumbed to rod envy, buying one at the end of 2011.  

I finally had a NRX I could take fishing … and the kahawai were running.

On the water I was amazed by the distance I could cast while sitting on my kayak. As I mentioned in my Scott S4s review, it is not possible to keep a lot of line in the air whilst sitting so close to the water, without it clipping the swell on the back cast.  As with the Scott S4s, a soft tip loads the NRX quickly, but more mid-section muscle in the Loomis gave me an additional 15 feet. I could also lift substantially more line off the water with the NRX, which helped tremendously when I needed to make a quick cast to a swirling fish, and the line was already out on the water. Like the S4s the NRX  9wt has an incredibly light swing weight for a 9wt rod, and casting is effortless. Overpowering the forward stroke was in fact counter-productive.

I fished the 9wt NRX with the Teeny TS-T300 and a Rio Tropical Outbound Short (F/I) with 330grain head. Although both lines worked well, the Outbound loaded the rod quicker (as the head is 30 grain heavier), requiring one less false cast. In fact I found the NRX 9wt, with 330 grain Outbound Short (F/I with clear 10’ tip) on an 8/9 (7.1oz) Nautilus NV fly reel to be a beautifully balanced outfit.

With a fish on, the NRX felt light, sensitive and powerful; somehow doing more of  the work, than  other powerful  fly rods I have used. No matter how much pressure I put on fish, the rod never “bottomed out”, always retaining some fish-fighting bounce; something I did not previously appreciate with my earlier car bumper experiment.  While the soft tip easily protected tippets down to 10lb, there was a massive reserve of power in the butt for lifting dogged deep diving kahawai when stronger tippets were employed.

 


There is no better fly rod with which to fight kahawai from a kayak than the NRX, but once my arms begin to tire, usually after 10 or so large fish, I find I favour my Scott S4s. Although I cannot pull nearly as hard on the Scott, it bends well into the butt, converting into a shorter fighting stick; thereby providing the fish with less leverage (i.e. force times length) and me with less strain on my arms. Fighting fish from a standing position (i.e. from boat or shore) when one can use ones back more effectively, or fighting a species from a kayak that remains near the surface, is likely to be a different story.

On the aesthetics front the blue bindings on my NRX no longer jump out at me, and given the performance of the rod I am actually growing to like them. I certainly prefer the combination of natural matt graphite and blue bindings to the new green version of the NRX series, at least for salt water. Apart from green wraps the blanks and woven graphite reel seats on the green series have an olive translucent coat of varnish (not unlike the TFO BVK series).

While I have not cast or fished any other models in the NRX series, the 9wt is by far the best general purpose 9wt I have ever used, and may well be “the best 9wt ever made”. Watch this space for more on the durability of nano-resin technology.

A word on warranties
If you live in New Zealand and manage to break your Loomis NRX, it will be replaced under the Express Warranty Service with a completely new rod for 20% of the retail price. This translates to  NZ$ 280 at the current price of NZ$ 1400. The NRX Wild Card service, providing a one-off free replacement, is unfortunately not available to Loomis owners living outside of the USA. However, if the breakage can be shown to be the result of a factory defect, the rod is either replaced or repaired free of charge, regardless of the owner's domicile.



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MARC GRIFFITHS   2007-16