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Fly Rod Review

Fly Fishing for Smallmouth with the G.Loomis Shorestalker (continued)

Ergonomics: G.Loomis made a great choice making all ShoreStalker models 4 piece rods. They come bundled with a rod sock and a protective case making them easy to store in the back of the truck, in a locker in your bass boat or in a large duffle bag while traveling. The ShoreStalker FR1026-4 weighs in at 3.8oz. and feel light in hand when casting and balanced out nicely with a number of fly reels. We didnít test the rod with any Loomis branded fly reels but the Bauer and Abel fly reels we paired it with looked and felt right at home.

The ShoreStalker is great for casting 20-50 feet and has plenty of backbone when it comes time to control fish and protect line

Price & Applications: Fly fishing rods can range in price greatly depending on their specifications, performance and brand name. More than just about any type of rod out there I feel like the average fly rod is overpriced. Unlike the bass rod market where anglers are going out and buying a new rod for every application fly fishermen will often find a rod they like and stick with it for years, maybe even pass it on from one generation to the next. The increase in popularity of fishing for bass with fly rods might just change that.

A smallie makes one last desperate run

There is a lot of rod snobbery out there when it comes to fly rods, some anglers discount the value of a rod simply because it doesnít have a 700 dollar price point. Iíll admit I thoroughly enjoy fishing with my Winston Boron II-MX but there are plenty of 300-400 dollar rods out there that fish pretty darn close, especially for fly fishermen that donít necessarily consider themselves the best casters, myself included.

Even fourteen inch smallies provide plenty of fight on this rod

This rod isnít about the ultimate casting distance but what it is all about is the right balance of easy casting for targeted presentations even in windy conditions, and plenty of muscle if a bigger bass takes the fly. While exceptional for panfish and smallmouth there is nothing that says this rod cannot be used for largemouth and even mid range trout applications, especially when fishing from a boat and a longer rod really isnít required.

There is just something special about catching fish with a fly rod, and the ShoreStalker is small enough to keep onboard a bass boat at all times

Overall the Shorestalker rod fishes like a mid to high range rod exhibiting solid casting abilities as well as decent sensitivity. Iíve fished a number of rods in the 400 dollar range that donít exhibit the same level of refinement as the ShoreStalker, and for only $325.00 for a quality 4 piece rod the ShoreStalker is an exceptional value. Not once did I feel like I was fishing with a beginner or value rod, this is a worthy stick for both bass anglers looking to dabble in fly fishing or experienced fly anglers looking for a multi-purpose bass or travel fly rod.

Though four pieces the ShoreStalker is reasonably sensitive and a surprisingly good at pinpoint casting, even in the wind



G.Loomis ShoreStalker FR1026-4 4PC 8'6" Fly Rod Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Great build quality, very clean construction 8
Performance Designed and built with purpose this rod is easy to cast and is great for panfish, smallmouth, and can even take on largemouth and trout. When it comes to casting the rod loads quickly and is easy to fish in tight quarters 8.5
Price A very reasonable price for a quality rod that performs just as well as many rods costing up to 100 dollars more. The primary competition for this rod comes from Sage which comes bundled with fly line but costs about 75 dollars more. Both rods come with a travel solution. 9
Features The ShoreStalker has a unique personality that is different that other Loomis fly rods, it isn't the most refined nor is it the longest caster...it is like a bass, short and powerful. It breaks down for travel well and fishes like a more expensive rod. Other features include composite cork highlights, a lightweight aluminum reel seat and a powerful blank 7
Design (Ergonomics) The ShoreStalker FR1026-4 is easy to transport with the rod's 4 piece design 8
Application More than just a bass fly rod the ShoreStalker can be used as a travel rod for both panfish and trout as well 8.5

Total Score

Ratings Key: Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
(For a detailed explanation of the ratings go here)

Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Able to cast without much false casting L Does not cast as far as some fly rods
J Easy to cast all day long  
J Good for punching flies through the wind at low trajectories  
J Fun rod to fish, excellent for smallmouth  
J Great price for a 4pc quality fly rod


Conclusion: I donít think fly fishing is easy, but the ShoreStalker makes it easier. Like golf fly fishing is something relatively easy to comprehend but part of the fun is that it can take a lifetime to master. That said, this is a rod that I truly enjoyed fishing and I probably got just as much pleasure if not more catching smallies on this rod than with my conventional gear. There wasnít a lot of swinging back and forth making false casts to get to fish, it was pretty much load and shoot since we were fishing just like we normally do on our bass boats.


The ShoreStalker FR1026-4 will satisfy both bass anglers that want to dabble in fly or experienced fly anglers looking for a great value multi-purpose travel rod

The FR1026-4 is a great overall value and the 4 piece configuration makes this a great choice for a multi-purpose travel rod. It may not be the most refined fly rod on the market but it is built with a purpose, and for the application it is designed to service it shines. For the price of a single premium bass rod the ShoreStalker FR1026-4 represents an exceptional value and a well enough rounded performer that it should satisfy both bass anglers looking to land bass on the fly and fly fishermen who want to join their bassin brethren on their boats. When we add up all the features and performance versus the low cost (relatively speaking for a quality fly rod) the ShoreStalker FR1026-4 such a balanced blend that it is the only fly rod in our ten year history to win an Editors Choice Award.

Looking for the G.Loomis ShoreStalker Fly Rods?
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