Yes, these new fly rods are from the future… possibly your very near future.
Many things set fly fishing apart from conventional fishing. We’re crazy about insects. We read (and write) far too many books. We presume that our methods and hypotheses are more scientific. We don’t use bait, instead we use obscure pieces of dead birds and animals to replicate bait. And the major keystone to our entire sport—the element that brings it all together—is the casting.
From the days of silk and tapered horsehair leaders, we have inherited the tradition of a weighted, aerialized line unfurling toward the target.
Like a touchdown pass, this is our moment of anticipation as the rod bends, building kinetic energy, then it springs forward, transferring energy to the line and eventually to the fly in an example of dynamic physics that would make Newton proud.
Let’s own up to it and admit that when we’re on the river, we all probably cast too much. That’s because with the right rod, it’s so much fun.
Can the latest generation of rods cause you to actually hook and land more fish? Probably not. But there’s something special about a tool that’s perfectly designed for a specific purpose. One that fits and swings in your hand in a way that is both comfortable and efficient, and makes your fishing experience more pleasurable.
The new crop for 2014 does just that, whether you are making an 80-foot cast on the bonefish flats of the Bahamas, pushing roadkill-size flies for pike and musky, or softly parachuting a size 20 Trico onto a Montana spring creek. The world’s best engineers, rod designers, craftsmen—all of them fly fishers at their core—have found new ways to make subtle improvements to our most important tool.
<h2>G.Loomis PRO-4x $480-$575 (Switch Rod)</h2>About a year ago, G.Loomis introduced its new PRO-4x rod series—rods that mimic the actions of the top-of-the-line NRX series because they share the same tapers, but they don’t use the same expensive resin systems and carbon fibers as G.Loomis’s best-performing rods. What you’re left with is a series of well-designed rods that are fun to cast, and affordable enough that you can get more than one. Initially, the PRO-4x was a family of single-handed rods, but in 2014 it’s expanding to include switch and two-handed models for everything from trout fishing in big rivers to true Spey casting for anadromous species. <br /> Like previous PRO-4x rods, the switch and two-handed models use some tapers from the more expensive NRX series, so if you like the 13-foot, 8/9-weight NRX, you’re likely to appreciate the same rod in the PRO-4x series. But you’re even more likely to enjoy the price difference. With a trout rod, a PRO-4x is about $280 cheaper, but when you get into switch and Spey rods, the savings run up to $500 and more, and you still get much of the “feel” of a performance rod. <br /> Although the series is based on NRX tapers, there are some original gems in the family. The 10'6" 5-weight PRO-4x has no equivalent in the NRX series, yet our tester thought it was “the perfect trout switch rod. While most switch rods are actually too long and too heavy for extended use with one hand, this one is a real multipurpose tool that you can Czech nymph with, hit a snap-T when the bank is tight behind you, or cast dry flies to rising trout.” <a href="http://www.gloomis.com"target="_blank">gloomis.com</a> <br /> For more information see our Fly Fisherman Review and video <a href="http://www.flyfisherman.com/2013/10/23/g-loomis-pro-4x/"target="_blank">G. Loomis Pro-4x</a> <br /> For other award winners see our <a href="http://www.flyfisherman.com/2013/10/22/fly-fisherman-2014-gear-guide-awards/"target="_blank">2014 Gear Guide Awards</a>