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Swimbait Rod Wars Installment #15: G.Loomis, Has the Baseline Been Surpassed? (continued)

Power: The SWBR955C's power story came again a the expense of the Delta's migratory striped bass. Zander and I were out on the Delta in mid-spring hoping to capitalize on a black bass bite that was due to bust loose any day. I had tied onto the SWBR955C, an Imakatsu Javallon Monster 200 in white. We've had these baits for a while and it was about time I tossed one in the water to check out their action and appeal.

Believe it or not, the SWBR955C is fully capable of launching this ten-inch bait from 3:16 Lure Company, the discontinued Armageddon...

We pulled up to a nice flat with scattered weed clumps bordered by big patches of tules, ideal we thought, for some big largemouth. I made a cast to the back of this flat and retrieved the Javallon near the surface so we could both see the bait swimming through the water. We were inspired by the bait's snake-like action. I made another cast as the boat began to drift out of this spot from the slight breeze.

... along with this ten-inch bait from the same company, the 3:16's Original Wake bait.

As I got the bait to within twenty feet of the boat, Zander and I both watched as a HUGE head emerged from beneath the bait and engulfed it entirely. A big, broad, white mid-section rolled up and followed the head as the SWBR955C loaded instantly! I swept back as we both, simultaneosly yelled out, "OH MY &@%" at the surprise attack - FISH ON! I spun the boat back around but too late as the fish shot past us and into open water. The drag on my Calais 201-5L was pulling relentlessly as Zander stood ready with the net.

The SWBR955C is the only product among the "All Purpose" big bait sticks in our Rod Wars not to feature an exposed blank reel seat.

Thanks to the SWBR955C, I was able to turn the fish, but that only made it swim back past us in the other direction! Another swing and pass, and then the fish dove under the boat. As I pulled her back up she shot out again toward the back stressing the SWBR955C to its limit but finally, the fish relented, rose to the surface, and Zander was able to scoup her in to the net. Smaller than what we both expected judging by the swirl and flash when it took the bait, but an even ten pounds nonetheless and quite the thrill on the SWBR955C!

The SWBR955C features Fuji Alconite guides.

Features: The SWBR955C sports a pretty standard array of features including Fuji Alconite guides and a full cork rear and foregrip. Interestingly enough, the rod features no hook keeper nor does it have an exposed blank reel seat. Some of the heavier rods in our Rod Wars feature a similar reel seat as that on the SWBR955C but every other rod in our "All Purpose" category has an exposed blank seat. The exclusion of this type of seat makes this rod feel bigger and heftier in your hand than it might otherwise feel because th grip simply is not as comfortable.

In the midst of a cast with 3:16's Original Wake, you can get a better sense of how the SWBR955C loads during a cast.


Application: The SWBR955C showed us it is an "All Purpose" swimbait stick in every sense of the term. Able to cast the smaller baits like the six-inch Hudd all the way up to the ten-inch Wake and Armageddon from 3:16 Lure Company, the versatility of this stick is quite impressive, and yes, we were able to work the Lunker Punker on this stick as well. The 13.5" handle takes a little getting used to, but it's possible.

Cal waits for what seems like an eternity for the bait to touch down.

Warranty: G.Loomis's Xpeditor replacement plan is one of the best insurance policies in the industry. Interestingly enough, this often gets confused by the company's actual warranty which really is not much different than other manufacturers out there. Ship your broken rod along with a check or money order for $20 to the factory for inspection against manufacturer defects and the rod will be repaired or replaced at the warranty department's discretion.


The SWBR955C draws to a close, TackleTour's 2008 Swimbait Rod Wars.


The Xpeditor service saves you the hassle of waiting for and worrying about the warranty department's interpretation of your break by providing you a vehicle of replacing your rod for a no questions asked flat fee of $50 - $65 depending on your location and whether you choose ground or 2-day service for shipping. Return the broken rod in the tube your replacement came in within 30 days and you're good to go.



G.Loomis SWBR955C Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality Solid if unexciting 7
Performance Surprising in casting, disappointing in sensitivity 7.5
Price Typical of G.Loomis, just a bit more than the competition 6
Features Pretty standard here. 6
Design (Ergonomics) Again, nothing exciting 6
Application A good all purpose big bait stick 8

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 Another dependable product from G.Loomis L No Hook Keeper?
J A good compromise between overall weight and balance. L For those who care, not as sensitive as we had hoped. We qualify this because sensitivity is not always needed with big baits.
J Solid Components


Conclusion: It's somewhat appropriate that the company who fueled our desire to conduct these Rod Wars had their product chosen to close out this epic shootout though we expected their rod to make more of a splash with the editorial staff than it did. While a very solid product overall, it appears the competition has not only caught up, but surprassed G.Loomis in this technique specific category.


These sticks may be designed with the intent of pursuing trophy largemouth, but we here at TackleTour love throwing swimbaits for striped bass too!


So just how did all these rods stack up with one another and is there an overall Best of Rod Wars winner? This type of perspective is difficult to discuss in a product by product run down where the focus is on each individuals' characteristics. We've also tried many different baits and many different reels on all these rods, some of which have already been reviewed. Any new insights into the eternal debate of which reels work best when tossing big baits and what type of rod to look for when throwing a specific bait? How about the fishign line? Well, we're not quite done yet. Stay tuned for our Swimbait Rod Wars Wrap where we hope to be able and answer all these remaining questions.


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