I recently met the VP of marketing for Gary Loomis’ new rod company, Edge rods. I particularly interested in seeing how his new designs would compare to one of my favorite rods, the Classic GLX. When Gary sold G.Loomis to Shimano few years back the quality and action of the favored GLX lineup went downhill in my opinion. The Native Run series were not that remarkable in the 8 wt. category, which is meant for salmon and steelhead.
While the High Speed and Max GLX are still some of my favored 5 wt rods, I preferred the fast action with forgiving scrim of the Classic series. Large fish could really be turned and held with the sanded and non-painted blanks. The woven carbon seats and the simple wraps and the hard snake eyes were a good combination of lightness and good for beach casting and all around a good PNW rod.
While I haven’t had the opportunity to test drive the NRX series, the Edge promised superior ultra fast action and good accuracy all of which were true based on my cast analysis.
The components are visually attractive with a matte un-painted blank with Mike McCoy snake guides and an Alps anodized reel sea with woven carbon seat and salt resistant anodized aluminum components. The LMX graphite is rolled in Woodland, WA, and mostly USA components with the exception of the full well grips which are Portuguese and the Alps seat which are from Taiwan.
The price of the Edge Gamma Beta is $895, similar to the Helios H2 and the Sage Salt. While I don’t have the weight of the Gamma Beta, I suspect its close or slightly heavier than the Salt. The Orvis Helios H2 wins for the lightest of the trio, coming in at 3.25 ounces. The Salt is right at 4 ounces. The H2 is the prettiest of the rods and has the nicest components including titanium snake eyes which flex and bend, super light, a thinner lighter anodized blue reel seats with carbon fiber inserts, premium flora grade corks and an electric blue painted finish.
The Sage Salt was the least favorite in the finished category, but I did like the internal hook keeper and the weight identification market on the reel foot insert. Neither the Gamma Beta or the H2 had a hook keeper.
I lined up the Gamma Beta LMX and was impressed the stiffness and recovery of this rod as it put the line pretty much wherever I wanted it. Forward and Backward loops were tight and the energy transfer was minimal from the wrist to the tip. Double hauling resulted in effortless line peeling out the stripping guides.
The next rod casted was the H2, which is like a feather, I appreciated the more forgiving scrim but this was a tip flex model which helps load the line easier than a mid flex version. The Orvis was accurate and one of my favored Beach Sticks for multiple casts. I like the backbone of this rod and its can really handle large species with no issues.
The last rod tested was the Salt, while it was also throwing tight loops and has similar action to the LMX I feel that it lacks the backbone and scrim for being able to handle larger species. As with the Sage One, the graphite is tapered thinner to help offset the weight and the Konnetic technology is supposed to be in the graphite. The Salt does work very well on the beaches as well and it feels about the same weight as the LMX.
All of these rods have merits of their own, but I were to rate them from top to bottom for the type of fishing I enjoy, which involved quick and rapid accurate casting it would be 1) Orvis Helios H2, 2) Gary Loomis Edge Gamma Beta LMX, 3) Sage Salt
It was a very close between the H2 and the LMX due to the lightness and overall action of the H2 which lends itself best to my style of casting. While I didn’t have time to put the LMX in the water and actually fish with it, it could change as I wanted to keep the same reel and line set between the rods to give them a fair chance. I went back several times and un-seated the reel to make sure my arm wasn’t too fatigued after some breaks. It was all a very close test drive, and anyone that owns one of these premium fly rods will be happy with the performance.
Thanks to Nicole D. for allowing me to experience Gary’s new rod. It is a bit of homecoming to me to see that matte black un-sanded graphite. This rod will fair very well with anything out there, however finding one might be a bit tougher a they don’t have wide distribution yet, but from what I am told will be sold through the TFO retailers.