The Hardest Working Rods in My Quiver: Loomis IMX-Pro
Posted on 04 November 2019
As a fly shop employee there is an innate obsession with gear that sometimes gets out of control. Fly fishing is a gear sport after all. Typically when a new premium rod series is released, the shop staff will talk about what models they need to add to their rod quiver. You don’t often hear this kind of buzz around mid-priced rods. The G.Loomis IMX-Pro was announced at IFTD in 2017 and shocked the TCO Haverford staff when we got our hands on them. When we got a chance to fish these rods, it was evident that every rod in this series was designed to meet the needs of a specific style of fishing. Of course, every length and weight of a rod series is meant to serve a specific purpose, but the IMX-Pro series stands out because of how well these rods perform in their given areas.
IMX Pro 10’ 5wtThe first rod that was floating around the shop was the 5100-4 (10ft 5wt). We took a few of them rigged up with ½” plastic indicators, double nymph rigs, and a healthy amount of split shot up to the Lehigh river. We paired them up with Scientific Anglers Anadro nymphing line and were very impressed with how they performed. After a couple weeks, the entire full time staff had added a 5100-4 IMX Pro to their arsenal.
IMX Pro 9’6” 6wt
After fishing the 5100-4 for a month or so, we were starting to enter streamer season. Our G.Loomis Rep Steve Spurgeon gave us a 696-4 (9’6” 6wt) to demo and we hit local Class A streams with 3-5” flies for pre-spawn brown trout. You can’t find a better rod to fish streamers on foot with. This rod pairs very nicely with the new Titan sink tip s3 or s6 from Scientific Anglers for wade or boat fishing. When the conditions don’t call for a sink tip, it also fishes very well with the Titan Long floating line and Anadro taper for heavier nymphing. In addition to using this rod for trout, we ended up using it quite a bit for small poppers and terrestrial flies on big rivers for smallmouth bass this summer. The extra 6” was a welcome addition for aerial mending when using smaller bugs to get better drifts.
IMX Pro Streamer Rods
There are very few rods on the market that are specifically designed for throwing streamers with sinking lines or compact floating lines, especially at this price point. It’s not uncommon to see diehard smallmouth bass or trout streamer anglers fishing with premium saltwater rods. The problem with salt sticks is that they are designed to cast long bellied bonefish lines with small flies. Don’t get me wrong, you can definitely fish a saltwater series rod for this application, it just won’t be as intuitive as the IMX-Pro. The action of a rod for streamer fishing can make or break a day. You will be casting to every likely holding lie, which means you are casting all day long. If you don’t have the right equipment, streamer fishing can be a very tiring experience.
The streamer rods that are offered in this series come in two configurations: 9ft four piece and 8ft 10 inch one piece. There are obvious pros and cons to one piece rods. The one piece rods will be a little more responsive and feel lighter in hand than its four piece counterparts. Basically, this makes the rod feel more like a premium rod with a lower price point. The apparent downsides of one piece rods are that they are hard to store, transport, and impossible to fly with. The increasingly more available “rod vault” style rooftop rod holders make transportation a breeze if you can live with a rocket launcher on the top of your vehicle. If you don’t have the means to transport and store them, the 4 piece 7wt and 8wt in this series are also excellent options. Other than these differences both configurations are built for the purpose of sinking line streamer fishing.
The 7wt rods are great for throwing your standard assortment of trout streamers and will definitely handle those big Kelly Galloup flies you tied last winter. Lifting sinking lines out of the water and minimizing false casts is the name of the game with sinking line streamer fishing and that is where this rod excels. The 7wts are also great Boogle Bug rods for summertime smallmouth. Pair with the Titan Full Intermediate, Titan sink tip s3 or s6, Titan I/2/3 full sinking line, or Titan Long/Bass Bug Taper for floating lines.
The 8wt IMX Pros make casting the bigger flies a breeze. This is the tool you need for throwing Feather Game Changers, Swingin’ Ds, and other 5”+ streamers. If you’re in big brown territory or fishing for pre-spawn smallmouth, you will be very impressed with lifting power and light weight of these rods. The IMX 8wts are also currently the rod of choice for fishing big deer hair bugs in the spring. It speaks volumes that the top smallmouth bass guides in the country are guiding and fishing with these rods. Pair with the Titan Full Intermediate, Titan sink tip s3 or s6, Titan I/2/3 full sinking line, or Titan Long/Bass Bug Taper for floating lines.
If you do have an interest in one piece rods, please give us a call and we work with you to get one in your hands for casting. Jake and myself have several and would love to schedule a time to cast with you.
As you can see, I am thoroughly impressed with the diversity of this rod series. I have been able to fill every niche in my rod quiver with a dependable mid priced stick that is a joy to work with. My biggest take away from owning the IMX Pro series is that even “gear junkie” shop employees like my coworkers and I can step away from the allure of owning strictly premium rods when a company puts the time and effort into making a purpose-driven mid priced rod series. From dry fly and indicator fishing for trout, to throwing big streamers all day to apex predators, there is a rod in this series that will fulfill your needs.
I am currently fishing both the 11 and 12wt rods in the new IMX ProM line of musky rods. I’ve spent quite a few days fishing these rods and so far I am very impressed. My 12wt was properly christened at this year’s Beast of the East Musky on the Fly Tournament. Keep an eye out for a future write up on that trip.