G-Loomis Pro 4X 7/8wt Spey Rod Review
This writing is intended to be be review/recap of my experience with Gloomis’ 13′ 7/8wt Pro 4X Spey rod. What I say in this writing is solely my opinion on the recommended line system(s) based on casting efficiency to winter Steelhead in the Pacific North West.
*All casts were performed with a 10′ Airflo flo-tip of t-10, appx 30” of 15lb Maxima Ultragreen and a slightly weighted marabou tubefly to stay in sync with sinktip sink rate.
I started to cast this rod going off of G Loomis’ line recommendation for a skagit head. Which in this case was 520g. The first shooting head casted was a 510g Airflo Skagit compact G2 and I liked it! I Loved it actually! I started with some simple switch casts and single speys (not shooting line) just to cop a feel. Everything felt pretty good for a total grain window of appx 585g including shooting head, sink tip and fly. I peeled off 10-12′ of shooting line and started with some single speys. At this distance, it shot dart-like loops with ease! (It should be noted that I was expecting, like most rods in this price range, to give me negative feed back on the recovery stroke, via “line wobble” and it never happened!) With the same amount of line pulled off, I went through a medley of all the sustained anchor casts to get a feel for the profile of the rod and how it loaded up. What I found is that contrary to what people have said the rod to be to soft, was the opposite. The rod is NOT soft! in fact, it,s quite crisp with a snappy, clean recovery. I would venture out to say anyone who says this rod to be soft may have overloaded the grain window and sacrificed performance for load control which is quite common for those who don’t quite understand grain windows related to rod performance. With the same Airflo G2 head I continued to extend my casts to around 90-95′ and not much changed in loop stability if any. I then switched shooting heads to my personal favorite. The Airflo Skagit Switch at 510g. BOOYAH, perfect match! This rod absolutely loves this head! (like most crisp recovering rods do!) I was able to do everything I did with the G2 shooting head, except with more ease and efficiency. The “Stiff-ish” tip section with smooth mid-rod load performs flawless with a shortened sweep and tight, compact forward stroke. Its important to remember that although most of the time anglers are not booming 100′ casts in the PNW to winter fish, to always find a distance thresh-hold of any given rod to understand what distance you can effectively swing flies.
The bottom line- This rod is in my starting line-up no problem. And especially at around $525.00 retail! The blank color is a natural mossy-green with yellowish-green wraps and appears very subtle. I own a plethora of rods in this length and weight that cost much more. I would not hesitate to grab this rod and fish it all day on med-med/large rivers say in the OP or Nor-Cal Coast line. This rod has a very smooth power delivery not found in any other rods at this price range. With the right line system you will be able to load this rod and cast it all day without a sore shoulder. This rods ability to recover with stability will have your buddys’ and on-lookers complimenting the lazer-like loops you throw without a doubt
Skagit head recommendation for novice casters- A 540g Airflo Skagit Switch. Although its heavier than the Loomis weight recommendation, I casted it with not much, if any negative feedback in recovery speed. It was slightly chunkier but not enough for a novice caster to feel and not so heavy that it would allow bad mechanical habits to form. I find it unnecessary for anyone to use T-17 for sink but if so, would not recommend the use even though this rod and a 540g Switch head could easily turn it over. On the flip side, feel free to throw on T-14 (always ask yourself, “do I really need T-14?”) or anything else that has a slower sink rate than that. Its important to remember to calculate grains with sink-tips and heavy flys into your total grain window to have an understanding of what your rod is capable of and where it will start to suffer performance loss.
Skagit head recommendation for intermediate casters- A 510g Airflo Skagit Switch. At this weight with this shooting head you will get ultimate performance and high line speed and the ability to turn over some meaty tips and half chicken size flys. Go let it rip. You wont be disappointed!
*I did cast the 480g Airflo Skagit Switch with 8′ of T-10. For an advanced caster , this weight is the ultimate in light weight, line speed and change of direction casts. Loading the rod would be difficult for any novice caster and could become frustrating, but for the seasoned vet, its a high speed lazer show*
It is important to keep in mind that each individual caster is unique to his/her own bio mechanics. Some folks have an opened up stroke and some are closed in and compact. Some folks have a powerful stroke and some are more finesse. There is no “one size fits all” casting style. There is a baseline of sustained anchor casting fundamentals that must be understood no matter the person. Once this is achieved your cast will take on its own personality.
Whether you’re experienced or a green-horn, the growth and evolution of your casting will largely be dependent on your possession of motor skills, kinesthetic awareness to perform the cast and also your guide/instructors competence to teach the cast. Regardless of where you fall, there is no substitute for experience so go out and cast cast cast. There aren’t many things cooler in life than casting a spey rod and all things good in life must be worked for.
Cheers and tight loops
Senior Steelhead Guide Emerald Water Anglers