Rod Review: G.Loomis E6X

For decades, G.Loomis has produced some of the world's finest fishing rods for anglers of all stripes, and those handmade, world-class offerings have always come at premium prices. However, this spring the Woodland, Washington, rod maker introduced a Loomis for the masses. The reasonably priced E6X line is targeted at mainstream anglers, and is being billed as delivering top-shelf performance for less than $200. But could the E6X really make good on that "more-for-less" promise? I had to see for myself.

The line includes 30 casting and spinning rods in all, including 17 different technique-specific rods and others that feature classic actions. For this test, I acquired one of the more utilitarian technique-specific rods. The 852S JWR is a 7'1" medium-power jig-and-worm spinning rod.

Having fished extensively the company’s flagship NRX rods (which retail for $500 and up), I used those exemplary rods as the basis for comparison in my evaluation of the E6X. At the heart of the 852S JWR is a low-resin and -scrim, high-strain-ratio carbon-fiber blank. What all that tech-speak translates to is a craftily nimble rod with its linear sweet spot located in the tip.

In reality, the only noticeable difference between the E6X and NRX blanks is the NRX’s incomprehensibly rapid refresh rate. When a quick lure cadence is employed during a retrieve, the NRX rebounds quicker for a crisper feel. However, unless you’re fishing an NRX in one hand and the E6X in the other (which is hard to do, by the way), you’ll never know the difference. Rated for 6- to 12-pound line and 1/8- to 3/8-ounce baits, the E6X flicked finesse hair jigs effortlessly and handled chubby soft-plastic floaters without a hint of sweat.

As any angler who knows the difference between mono and braid will tell you, components make the rod, no matter its price. The E6X is equipped with eight single-foot Fuji aluminum oxide guides, which will excel in both salt- and freshwater settings. A no-frills, rear-locking Fuji reel seat securely lashes the reel to the rod.

A premium-grade cork handle with composite rubber/cork accents balances the rod just right. Ergonomically, the E6X’s handle profile closely mimics the NRX’s slender grab, which is one of the most comfortable I’ve ever fished. A nondescript hook keeper is placed forward so that it’s out of the way of the user’s fingers when he’s working baits.

Most rod manufacturers’ mid-range rods feature noticeably larger diameter blanks than the one on the E6X. Those fatter blanks tend to display a marked mushiness and feel “lazy” in educated hands. However, the energetic E6X blank measured 12.21 mm (0.4805”) at the winding check and 1.66 mm (0.065”) at the tip—the same diameters as the much advanced NRX blank.

Without question, the E6X offers performance above and beyond its reasonable $190 retail price. This impressive Loomis will hook discerning fishermen in search of high-end performance, while helping to keep a tight line on their budget.

THE SPECS (as tested)
Type: Spinning
Length: 7 feet 1 inch
Power: Medium
Action: Extra Fast
Line Weight: 6–12 pounds
Lure Weight: 1/8–3/8 ounce
Price: $190

THE SCORES
Action/Power: 9.3
Guides: 9.0
Reel Seat: 9.0
Handle: 9.2
Blank: 9.4
Aesthetics: 9.1
Fishability: 9.5
Durability: 9.4
Innovation: 9.2
Value: 9.4
Total: 92.5

All photos: Nestor Torres