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The Highest Example – The Edge Epitome Rods from Gary Loomis


Date: 7/17/22
Tackle Type: Rods
Manufacturer: Edge Rods
Reviewer: Zander

When it comes to advances in rod building techniques and innovations in graphite materials there is perhaps nobody that is more respected than Gary Loomis. He is known globally as a wizard when it comes to the alchemy of carbon fiber and resin materials and pushing the envelope in rod manufacturing, and most recently with his new company Edge Rods. Gary is looking to shake things up this ICAST with the introduction of his lightest and most advanced rod series to date, the Epitome.


Gary Loomis and his team at Edge Rods is looking to shake things up this ICAST with the introduction of his lightest and most sensitive rod series to date... the Epitome


The Epitome: The dictionary definition of the word epitome is “the typical or highest example of a stated quality, as shown by a particular person or thing.” A very bold name for a new rod series but Gary has never been one to pull punches. The last time I personally fished with Gary was during the launch of the Edge fishing rod brand where we also got an inside look at his blank and rod-building factory in Woodland Washington. Gary can talk about graphite materials, resins, and experimental manufacturing processes all day, unless he has a line in the water and then he is all business (the business of catching fish that is). One of the things that makes Gary so unique is his incredible attention to detail, and his complete unwillingness to ever stop pushing the envelope, or compromise if he believes there is room for improvement.


This brings us to today, and just days before ICAST 2022 will kick off in Orlando Florida. Gary Loomis will be at the show in person with Alex Maslov, CEO of North Fork Composites (NFC) and Edge Rods, and their team to introduce the Epitome Rods, a series that Gary has half-jokingly referred to as his “swan song.”


The Epitome is constructed from the company's new X-Ray Air Carbon blanks


I’ve been playing with the Edge Epitome for a little over a week, and while this is far too short a period to draw final conclusions, I can confidently say that this is the rod series that I am the most excited about going into this year’s event. The Epitome is incredibly light, and the 7 foot 2inch MBR725-1 weighs in at only 2.9 ounces! The rod is very light in hand, well balanced with magnesium baitcasters, and the sensitivity is the best I’ve ever felt in any Edge rod to date.


As you might expect the key to the Epitome’s weight and sensitivity comes down to some very interesting things that Gary and the Edge team have blended into the brand-new blank. Having a blank building company in their corner (NFC) is a huge advantage and the Edge Epitome debuts the company’s new “X-Ray Air Carbon” blank.


The Epitome makes use of a proprietary carbon reel seat for weight, sensitivity, and ergonomics


Gary and Alex provided some insight into the actual Toray fiber that forms the foundation of the new X-Ray Air Carbon blank and explained that “this non-exportable “strategic” fiber for the US is what we used in an antenna project initially to withstand micro meteorite impacts on satellites. It is the highest Modulus fiber Toray can currently make. We combine it with a special resin that we previously used in our X-ray blanks to resist “ovaling” under load, and it is also combined with a near weightless bias material, which is sent flying with a puff of air, and is a new fiber to leverage as a bias material.”


Like all of Gary's Edge rods the carbon blank's beauty is revealed under bright light


The tooling is the second major component in the Epitome’s formula and is non tapering so that the last two feet enables the company to slide components up from the back of the blank. Rod builders may know that this technique was initially developed by Al Jackson, who now works for NFC. This technique modifies the mandrels to not yield to a “sacrificial laminate” where an edge of a pattern sits over another layer and creates a bump or oblong shape. This design also helps facilitate excellent vibration all the way down into the butt section of the blank.


Fans of Edge rods know how much the company loves showcasing the beauty of carbon fiber throughout their builds. These materials are not just eye-candy however and serve many functions including improved grip, excellent sensitivity, and enhanced durability, all while remaining very lightweight.


The proprietary "Carbon-Tex" reel seat is a pass-through seat that will also be available to custom rod builders through Gary's blank company North Fork Composites (NFC)


When Gary and the team started working with the new fiber they already knew that the material was very light, and that it was insanely strong, so they started down the path of testing the limits of how lightweight they could go without compromising durability or sensitivity. This is what led them to leverage their own proprietary pass-through carbon reel seat. They tuned the new rods for months and eventually landed on a small foregrip/hood, a full rear grip, and compact fighting butt.


A small carbon fiber and high-density EVA butt cap finishes this rod


Next Section: A light and sensitive build...









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