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Interview


Justin Poe, Global Brand Manager at G.Loomis, gives us the scoop on NRX

 

Date: 4/5/11
Tackle type: Rod
Manufacturer: G.Loomis
Reviewer: Zander








Introduction: The last time we interviewed Justin Poe he was launching new high end rods at Shimano, this included the Cumara and Cumulus series which have become very popular and have no doubt helped elevate the profile of Shimano as a rod manufacturer. We have seen the attach rate of Shimano reels with the companyís own branded rods sharply increase and that is a testament to Shimano building rods that consumers really want.

 


Justin Poe, Global Brand Manager for G.Loomis, introduces the NRX rods to attendees at last year's ICAST in Las Vegas

 

Shortly after the Cumulus launch Justin called us and let us know he was also going to focus on the G.Loomis brand which Shimano acquired in 1997. From our past experience with Justin as a Product Manager we knew that he would shake things up, and we were excited to see just what direction Loomis would go. The first launch since Justin joined the Loomis team was the new premium NRX line which debuted at ICAST 2010. We get a lot of emails from our readers asking about recommendations on NRX and while testing for these rods is still underway we wanted to talk to Justin again and find out more about the development of the series and how the entire launch of these products has gone overall.

 


At the show attendees are invited to cast jigs over a variety of different types of structure

 

Zander: The last time we sat down for an interview you were leading product management for Shimano rods, can you describe your current role at G.Loomis? Are you still personally involved in rods on the Shimano side?

 

Justin: These Days I wear many hats and I am having a fantastic time with it.  I was given the opportunity in December to take on this new role here at Shimano.  My new title is Global Brand Manager for G.Loomis.  I also oversee Product development for Shimano reels and rods so I work very closely with Robby Gant on the Shimano Rods and with Kenichi Iida on the reels.  So I have my hands in a little bit of everything.  The great thing about the G. loomis part of my job is that it exposes me to the global market for G. Loomis as well as sitting down and getting to do the things I have always loved which is drawing and dreaming up whatís next!

 


A look at a NRX fly rod reel seat

 Zander: The rod market has become increasingly competitive over the years, both on the mainstream and premium markets, what do you think separates Loomis from the competition today?

Justin: Yes it has!  I think the biggest thing that separates G.Loomis from our competitors is what we put into a rod.  With G. loomis they arenít just buying a rod they are investing in their fishing future.  We hear every day from people that a good rod can make them a better Angler and enjoy more success.  This is true but it isnít the laminates or the resins or the guides that make that happen it is our ability to listen and make rods that when people pick it up they knew what we were thinking when we started.  There is something special about looking at a guys face when he pitches a Ĺ ounce jig on a rod that we designed especially for that.  Itís like he found what he was searching for finally. 


Steve Rajeff, champion caster, talks about the new NRX design at ICAST 2010

Zander: Letís talk specifically about NRX and what it took to develop and introduce this series. We all know Steve Rajeff as an expert fly caster, can you talk about Steveís involvement in bringing up NRX?

Justin: Steve is incredible fly caster but heís much more than that.  Heís an incredible fisherman and he is an all around incredible caster.  He has won world titles in fly spinning and casting.  The misconception is that he only does fly.  Steve is also an incredible all around fisherman which for me is one of the most important things in our working relationship.  We share a common language of fishing!  Steve was the leader and the driving force of NRX coming to the market.  He worked on the formulations and the recipe that made it work for G. Loomis.  Steve performed the testing on the materials that proved to us that it could work in a manner that we wanted


Readers have been asking and we now have some of the NRX rods in the TT lab and in the review process

Zander: The NRX rods definitely stand apart from the rest of the G.Loomis line. Can you talk about the design elements of NRX, split grip? The hybrid guide design? The choice of components?

Justin: The key to NRX is the mix of all these things. We finally felt that we had a material that was so light and crisp that we could actually make the rod still balance while removing the excess material from the butt end.  This was our hold up before.  To us the rod balancing is way more important than the look of the split grip.  This was the first time we truly felt we had a performance gain by doing so.  Pure performance was the path for the guide choice.  What helps it balance?  What casts the farthest?  Accuracy?  So on and so forth.  Most of our competitors would just use 1 type of guide because itís easy.  We tried samples with all Ti-SIC and all REC we werenít happy with either one.  That is where we ended up splitting the difference for NRX


The NRX rods feature a dark grey blank and blue and green threading highlights

Zander: Delving into the actual blank itself, what makes the NRX graphite so unique?

Justin: As far as the blank goes we talk to fisherman about this a lot.  The uniqueness comes in how we use it.  The material and ratios for how we made it are closely guarded.  We utilize 3M Nano Matrix Silica resin paired with a new graphite material which is stiffer and lighter than we have ever used at G. loomis.  If you were to just take the resin and add it to a current rod we build already it would make it stronger but it would definitely be heavier.  Bass guys donít want that!!  We built new patterns new mandrels and customized ratios on all these pieces of the puzzle to build a rod that is the most sensitive and alive fishing rod I have ever fished with.  It is also lighter by as much as 20% than other rods we make and at least 15% stronger and less prone to impact damage.  


The casting and spinning rods both make use of high grade cork grips

 

Zander: Were these rods designed specifically with Shimano reels in mind?

Justin: The current bass reel market is also as competitive as ever!! All of our initial testing was done with Shimano reels however we did check that our components would allow for fisherman who chose to walk the line of the dark side in their reel choices.  We wanted to make sure they would still be accommodated. 


The NRX rods make use of a custom skeletonized reel seat design similar to what we have seen on a number of Shimano rods Justin has worked on

There is a special button you have to push on the rod when not using a Shimano reel or else you can hear it whining. (Justin smiles) But in all seriousness it balances best with Core/Chronarch and Calais. 


Enthusiast Editor, Cal, wonders about the price of NRX rods ($450-$500) when compared with other premium offerings, is this the best Loomis yet? Time for some side by side field tests.

Next Section: NRX versus GLX?


 

 

 

 

 

 
 





 

 



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