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Rod Review

What the Finesse: A Different Character, the NRX Drop Shot Rod (continued)


So while not affordable by any means these rods are priced within the right range of their targeted market. That said they are still among the most expensive premium rods on the market. One of the things that the NRX rods have going for it is that like other G.Loomis rods they are build right here in the U.S., this may appeal to many anglers that prefer domestically made products. I made a trip to the Loomis facility to see firsthand just how these rods are manufactured and found the entire build of each and every rod to be a very labor intensive process. These rods absolutely qualify as handmade here in the U.S.A., whether or not that is an important factor in your decision making process is totally personal preference.


The rear grip is very compact


What is a plus is that the same individuals that have built the same IMX and GLX rods in G.Loomis’s Woodland factory are the same people that are building the NRX rods. Shimano had the option to outsource these rods and we are glad they didn’t. Leveraging that homegrown expertise is a major plus in our minds and the fact that anglers know exactly where the rods are designed and manufactured is a good thing when considering an investment of this magnitude.


The entire grip is cleanly designed and simple


In terms of build quality the blank work and cork on our test rod was clean, we inspected numerous rods in our lab and found the blanks smooth and free of any pitting or sanding irregularities. The one area that has come up from our readers is the quality of the thread work on the guidefeet. This bright blue threading stands out against the dark matte blank and when examining the rods there are some perceptible gaps between threads on some of the rods, or a bit of extra spacing near the tie under. We typically see very tight thread wraps on custom rods and this is one area that could be potentially improved upon. Part of the reason the gaps on the thread wraps are more noticeable on these rods is because the threading is so bright versus the dark matte blank. Does this affect performance? Not in the slightest, and for the most part we expect to see this in mass produced rods, but anglers spending close to 500 dollars for a rod desire, and deserve, nothing short of perfection.


After a few weeks this quickly became my go to drop shot rod


At the end of the day the 822SDSR is a great example of what anglers can expect with from a NRX series rod. This rod is lighter and more powerful than you expect. The longer you fish it the more the rod seems to become an extension of your arm, and it is only after switching back to a IMX or GLX rod do you realize just how distinctively the NRX rod fishes. Is it that much better? It depends on what you like in a rod. If you prefer a stiffer rod IMX already does a fine job, but if you are looking for the ultimate in weight to power ratio the NRX rods are hard to beat.


With such a sensitive tip even small fish are fun to battle


So what’s the biggest drawback to the NRX rods? It is the high cost of ownership. Retailing for $475 dollars the NRX 822SDSR is the most expensive drop shot rod that Loomis has ever built, but it is also the best. That’s right… the best. I was already a fan of the company’s GLX drop shot rod but this new NRX rod is ideal for those fish like smallmouth and spotted bass that really like to put up a fight. The extra give in the tip not only makes it easy to bring lures to life with even the most subtle wrist motion, you can see strikes before you feel them, and that tip really helps protect thinner diameter lines when the pressure is on. The one other thing that helps sweeten the deal for anglers is that each NRX rod comes with the company’s “Wild Card” warranty which is a notch above G.Loomis’s already strong program. The Wildcard gives anglers a onetime free replacement for their rod, no questions asked, no extra expedite fee. This extra peace of mind should give anglers confidence to go out and really fish their rods, and not just leave them at home looking pretty on the rack.


Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide):

G.Loomis NRX822S DSR Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality The Loomis NRX822DSR is a quality built rod. The blank material is excellent and proved to be very well constructed. The one area for possible improvement is the cosmetics on the threading.  8.5
Performance The first time you hold this rod it is hard to determine how this rod will really fish. Spend time with the rod on the water and it really proves to be light, sensitive, and surprisingly durable 9
Price Ouch, at 475 dollars this rod is quite expensive but it is inline with the premium competition. When you consider how good this rod is then the investment makes sense for those that really enjoy the art of the drop shot 7
Features This is a feature rich Loomis rod with a split grip design and a blank that is quite unlike anything else in the company's lineup 8.5
Design (Ergonomics) The rod balances out well with a reel strapped on and overall the rod is extremely light and easy to twitch all day long 8.5
Application While designed specifically for drop shot fishing this rod is good for many other finesse techniques 9

Total Score

Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

+ Extremely light yet durable - The most expensive G.Loomis series yet, this is a serious investment for anglers
+ Has a unique "character" that is unique in the G.Loomis lineup - Blue threading work needs to be more consistent
+ Excellent sensitivity  
+ Great warranty  
+ Powerful when it matters  


Conclusion: Like many other anglers that have grown up fishing IMX and GLX extensive change can be a tough thing to accept. In reality G.Loomis didn’t reinvent the wheel here, they took a new material and used their expertise to design a new series that isn’t just another “higher modulus” rod, but something inimitable that both looks and fishes differently. Though costly I’ve already purchased another one of these sticks just because I like it for more than just drop shot fishing. This is a great finesse spinning rod and can be used for so much more than just vertical drops. This rod has become my favorite drop shot rod and combined with the right lures and some premium 4lb line I’ve been nailing fish off rockpiles and wood since March.


NRX rods like the 822SDSR have a very unique character, and once you get to know this rod it really proves to be something quite special


While the 822SDSR is an awesome rod it actually comes in second when I consider my favorite rods in the NRX lineup, but for that you will have to wait for an upcoming review of one of the NRX JWR casting models. The NRX 822SDSR is an exceptional rod and ups the ante while remaining true to all that makes a G.Loomis rod a “Loomis.” Once you get to know the unique “character” of the NRX blank you can really appreciate just how good this rod is for finesse and contact applications, where sensitivity and low weight give anglers a definite edge. When it comes to domestic rods made right here in the U.S.A. this is the best drop shot rod I have ever fished to date. Sure it costs a pretty penny, but considering that NRX is designed for those anglers that want the best this is as good as finesse drop shot rods get.


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