February 16, 2021 9 min read
The G Loomis NRX+ Freshwater rods comprise a series of nine rods from 4 weight through 8 weight. These rods range in price from $795 to $895. The NRX+ Freshwater line are Fast-action rods (with the exception of Moderate-Fast 595-4) that equip the freshwater angler with purpose-driven rods that are lightweight, accurate and excel across a wide range of fishing situations. These premium fly rods are proudly made in Woodland Washington. We have been big fans of Loomis for years and our staff uses and trusts the brand.
The NRX+ series also includes four moderate action NRX+ LP (Lite Presentation) rods in 3 weight through 6 weight and fast action Saltwater rods referred to as the NRX+S available in 7 weight through 12 weight. There are also Spey and Switch rods in the line. We will review many of these rods in the coming months.
The G Loomis NRX+ rods are the successor to the very popular NRX series that hit fly shops around 2010. These rods were a big hit with hard-core anglers that appreciated the toughness, reliability and performance of the model. Many elite guides use NRX rods and you can be sure that the new NRX+ will also be found in many guide's quivers. All G Loomis rods are covered by an Excellent Warranty and their Expeditor Service which is top-notch. Overall, we rate Loomis rods at the top-of-the class in regards to durability and workmanship.
All NRX+ Freshwater rods use dark carbon colored blanks with dark navy and light blue in the wraps. NRX+ rods have premium single-foot recoil guides and Titanium stripper guides and come with an aluminum rod case and cloth bag for protection. The 4100-4 uses an aluminum reel seat and a tiny fighting butt while the 590-4 and 595-4 have a dark hardwood reel seat insert and no fighting butt. All of these rods sport a modified full wells grip with AAA grade cork and a small hook-keeper.
We were lucky to carve out some time in December and January to almost exclusively fish the 10' 4 weight, 9' 5 weight and 9'5" weight G Loomis NRX+ rods on our Oregon homewaters of the Metolius and Deschutes Rivers. As with all of our tests, we look at not only the casting properties, but real world fishing scenarios including line control, hooking and playing fish.
This rod was a revelation.
The G Loomis NRX+ 10' 4 wt. is the rod I didn't know I needed until I fished it. After fishing this rod for the last month, I am convinced that I need this rod and have overlooked this category in the past. Long 3 and 4 weights have been the realm of Euro Nymphing specialty rods but not much more than that. A seamless ability to indicator nymph and throw dries is what will give this rod a special place in almost any trout angler's heart.
Although this rod could masquerade as a decent Euro rod for someone that is not fully committed to a Euro-specific set-up, the NRX+ 4100-4 is a fast action rod. This very modern tool has an uncanny ability to indicator nymph and throw dries. In many ways, this rod shares properties of rods in both the 4 and 5 weight categories and is a bridge between the classic 4 and 5 weight.
Nymphing: The extra foot of length allows this rod to keep more line off the water than commonly used 4 weights of 9 feet or less. Keeping line off the water leads to better drag-free drifts which translates into more strikes. It won't take you long to feel the benefit of better line control. Although the rod is considered Fast Action, its taper and length is conducive to throwing open-loop casts which reduce collision loops and tangles with two fly rigs with split shot and indicator. Mending capability of the 4100-4 is top-notch and effortless. This rod paired with a New Zealand Indicator or smaller Chubby Dropper rig is fantastic.
Dry fly fishing: As mentioned earlier, this rod was a revelation. Although I believed this rod would excel at nymphing, I didn't think it would be as good of a dry fly rod as it is. This rod is an outstanding dry fly rod. In the past, the longer 4 weights on the market felt very tip heavy, imbalanced and just plain off. This rod felt very natural casting small blue-wing olives on Oregon's most notorious spring creek while providing excellent tippet protection with as light as 6x tippet. The extra foot of length gave me height over streamside willows on the backcast that helped in several situations. This extra length will be outstanding for float tube anglers needing a 4 weight or anyone that drops their hand on the backcast. Casting was easy and effortless at short to mid ranges and it throws the long ball when needed. In the afternoons, as rising fish would become sparse, I just shortened the leader by a couple feet, added a size 12 Chubby and a size 16 Perdigon and shifted gears into using Chubby Dropper tactics to finish the day.
This rod cast a wide variety of lines surprisingly well. My favorite line for this rod was overlining it with a Rio Elite Gold in a 5wt. The long head of the Gold keeps loops stable in close or at distance. This slightly overweighted line was excellent for turnover on the Chubby Dropper rigs or small indicator rigs. You can run a standard 4wt Gold if you don't want to overline the rod and it will still perform very well. This will give you tight loops at distance but won't quite turnover Dry Dropper rigs as well or flex the rod on short range shots.
I nicknamed this rod "The Laser Pointer"
9 foot 5 weights remain the standard trout rod for all trout anglers. Even your Uncle Eddie who has fly fished once and refers to fly rods as "fly poles" has one. Manufacturers that produce high-end rods want their 5 weights to be noticed and talked about. This rod deserves to be talked about and the talk will be very good.
The 5 weight marketplace is loaded with a bunch of great rods. In the premium category of American-made rods, G Loomis shares the stage with Sage, R.L. Winston, Scott, Orvis and a few others. All of these domestic rod makers produce good to great 5 weights. The 9' 5wt. NRX+ is a world-class rod that is amongst the finest all-around 5 weights. Many skilled anglers and guides will be fishing this rod for years to come.
This is truly a great all-around rod. Although you lose some of the inherent advantages of nymphing with a 9 foot rod versus the longer rods, this is still a fine nymphing tool. It's probably not going to be the first choice for any angler's dedicated nymphing-only stick but this rod will get the job done and more. The rod has plenty of power to turnover an indicator rig with a Stonefly nymph and splitshot and can also turnover small streamers such as woolly buggers and smaller Sculpzillas.
Dry fly fishing:
This rod is extremely lightweight and accurate. Like the 4100-4, the 590-4 is an outstanding dry fly rod. You can create tremendous line speed, and with the right casting stroke and line, you will be able to hit long shots. I nicknamed it the Laser Pointer as it precisely drops small flies into very small areas. It's nearly as accurate as the older legendary Loomis NRX LP and rivals the Sage X and Scott Radian which are noted sniper rods. This rod is superior to the NRX LP at throwing large flies such as terrestrials and small streamers. Overall this is a great Western trout rod that performs well in wind and can carry large hoppers and stoneflies no problem. This is a fast action rod that won't protect tippet like the slower NRX LP. With that said, I found no problems with 5x and 6x tippet and mid-size trout.
This rod performed very well with a host of different lines. I was very surprised how well the Rio Elite Perception performed as long as distance cast's were not required. This line was excellent for short to mid range shots with small dries and also turned over Chubby Dropper rigs. The Rio Elite Gold is an excellent dry fly line and will make a great choice for any dry fly angler. The SA lines that performed very well were the SA Infinity and the SA MPX . The MPX is a great line and will help anyone that doesn't have great timing and needs to load the rod a bit more. I also fished the new Airflo Universal Taper and liked its slickness. The Airflo was a good performer with dries but seemed a little out of sorts when turning over nymph rigs.
The Tailwater Specialist Rod
The G Loomis NRX+ 9'5" 5wt is a rod that doesn't have a lot of peers in the marketplace. Of the nine rods in the Freshwater NRX+ series from G Loomis, it is the only one that they categorize as medium-fast. The other eight rods are modern fast rods.
This is a very unique rod, and quite frankly, took a bit to figure out. Some lines performed better than others with this rod. Overall it would not be my first choice for anyone looking for the normal charm of a 9' 5wt or anyone that exclusively uses a 5 weight as a dry fly rod. With that said, this rod definitely has a place in the hands of anglers that like to push the limits of 5 weights without moving to a 6 weight. This NRX+ feels at home on bigger rivers such as the Lower Deschutes and will be a great rod for tailwater anglers out West . The rod shines at indicator nymphing but remains a solid performer with the dry and streamers. It is an excellent choice for anyone that nymphs a lot but will throw the other stuff on occasion.
Throwing an indicator, some bb split shot and couple nymphs is the wheelhouse of the rod. The slightly relaxed action makes open-loop casting a breeze and helped reduce tangles that come from overly-stiff rods. Tippet protection is outstanding aided by the slightly longer length than a standard 9 footer. The moderate-fast action is also highly beneficial to using light tippet down to 6x on this rod. Keep in mind that pressured waters often require light tippet and it can make a big difference when you can fish one size lighter tippet. If you are a big river nympher in the West or any pressured waters, you should highly consider looking into picking one up. Of the three rods tested in this review the 9'5" NRX+ will be the most desirable stillwater rod. Float tube work, stripping buggers or nymphs on intermediate lines and thowing chironomid rigs will be easy for this versatile rod. For any angler that splits time between tailwaters with picky fish and lakes with mid-size trout, the 9'5" NRX+ will be a fantastic tool.
Dry fly fishing:
I'd be surprised if this rod becomes a popular choice for dedicated dry fly anglers. This rod does not seem to throw as precise loops as the other rods tested but it is an excellent roll casting rod. The 595-4 excels at protecting tippet and will make a good Chubby Dropper rig where turnover of big flies (and a tungsten dropper nymph) is key. This will make a good Hopper Dropper rig out of drift boats. If you tend to go crazy on hook sets, the slightly slower action will help reduce breakoffs. The best range for this rod is short to medium casts in the 30 to 50 foot range but it's quite capable of longer casts for anglers that can adjust their tempo for different rod actions.
The best overall line for this rod is the SA Amplitude Infinity. This line is an outstanding line for nymphing and Chubby Dropper tactics as well as dry fly fishing across range. The Infinity loads well in close, roll casts beautifully but can still hit the distance shots when you need to reach out to a rising fish that's beyond 50 feet.
Other good line choices for this rod include the SA Anadro for long distance nymphing including from a boat, Rio Elite Gold for small dries, and the SA MPX or Rio Elite Perception for small water anglers or to help turn over bigger flies.
The 10' 4 weight NRX+ is the rod you didn't know you needed until you tried it. This is the modern trout angler's 4 weight.
The 9' 5 weight NRX+ is an incredible all-around rod that is extremely accurate and can be ranked with the top of the class of great American 5 weights.
The 9'5" 5 weight NRX+ is a versatile and capable rod that is the tailwater angler's best ally.
Review by Paul Snowbeck
Photos by Arian Stevens
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