I've always been intrigued by fishing small waters. Whether I'm chasing trout, micro tarpon, or whatever, there's just something different and special about catching fish in these more intimate settings. It's a common misconception that only small fish live in these types of environments, but I can tell you from personal experience that's not always true. In fact, here in Florida, it can be pretty mind-blowing what lives in the smallest of waterways!
The standard 9'0" fly rod is an outstanding all-around choice for many bodies of water, but when it comes to close-quarters fishing, a shorter, lighter rod often gets the nod. With this in mind, G. Loomis designed the new IMX-PRO Creek rod series. Including just three 7'9" models from 2–4 weight, this small family of rods looks ideal for trout and beyond.
Action: "Light Presentation"
Line Weight: 4
Measured Weight: Approx 2.88 ounces
Stripping Guides: (1) Chrome Frame
Snake Guides: Chrome Single Foot
Reel Seat: Aluminum w/ Wood Insert
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/Yes
I had high hopes even before receiving my 4-weight rod. Why? I previously tested (and still own) a 6-weight IMX-PRO that I love. While it's a totally different animal from what I'm reviewing here, it gave me a positive first impression of the IMX-PRO series.
This diminutive rod shares most of the same classy, simplistic visuals as the standard models. The blank is a dark-olive color that shows off nicely in the sunlight, and there's a touch of mint green trim surrounding the logo area. Speaking of the blank, it also uses the same Conduit Core Technology found in other IMX-PRO models. G. Loomis explains more here:
"While traditionally with fly rod design, as the blank diameter increases so does the total amount of material used. “But with Conduit Core Technology, we can still ensure strength and durability in the bottom half of the rod by replacing excess wraps of graphite with our proprietary material,” said G. Loomis’ Red Kulper. “We’re able to offer fly anglers a rod with similar strength but lighter in weight, better balance, and boosts energy through the blank. It’s all about improving efficiency, and most importantly reducing fatigue so you can enjoy your time on the water even more.”
As far as guides go, there's a single chrome-framed stripping guide complimenting a set of chrome single-foot snake guides. All wraps match the blank color nicely, and there are no alignment dots at the ferrules.
The reel seat appears to be the same one shared between all NRX+ and standard IMX-PRO models. Sporting aluminum hardware with an attractive wood insert, it tightens with a good feel and holds my reels securely.
I love smaller rods with thin, nicely-shaped grips like this one. The custom half-wells handle is very comfortable and looks like it belongs on a light-duty fly rod. In addition, the cork quality feels very smooth and pleasing in hand.
When I implemented my ultra-advanced process of checking the rod for errors (aka looking at it carefully under light), I found none. The rod is built clean and looks great!
I attached an Abel VAYA 4/5 reel filled with RIO's Elite Gold WF4F fly line. This premium line carries a 30-foot head weight of 126 grains which puts it right at the upper limit of 4-weight line specs per AFFTA standards. During testing, I felt this line was an excellent choice on this stick, but you could certainly go with an even more subtle line.
Loomis says this rod has a "Light Presentation" action. While that sounds kind of vague yet really cool, the series description on their website cuts to the chase and says the rods are a moderate action.
When casting the 4 weight, the softer action immediately became apparent. While not sloppy in the least, it responds well to a smooth, slower, more relaxed casting stroke—something I definitely have to adjust to. Although power is not its specialty, it excels at making those exacting, softer presentations often necessary on small waters. However, don't let this wording make you think this is strictly a rod for tiny dries and undersized quarry. I spent a good amount of time casting little weighted streamers for panfish, only to hook into some nice largemouth instead. Talk about some fun battles!
I didn't find this rod great at long distances and much preferred it inside 30 or 40 feet. Here, it's highly entertaining for making quick, precise casts at nearby targets. As a bonus, the short length makes it far easier to cast and maneuver around the thick brush that can often line or envelop small waterways.
It's no surprise that the rod feels lightweight in hand. However, at approximately 2.88 ounces on my scale, it was roughly (and surprisingly!) .07 ounces heavier than a 9'0" 5-weight Sage X I tested previously. Despite weighing heavier than that larger, longer Sage, any short rod weighing under 3 ounces is likely to feel light, and the IMX PRO Creek indeed feels excellent while casting.
Yes, this rod has "Creek" attached to the name, but don't be one-dimensional when considering its uses. Besides just creek fishing with nymphs and dries, this is an awesome rod for beating the banks of ponds and canals for species like bass and panfish. Another great application would be presenting bugs along undercut banks of a larger river where a long cast (or not much of a cast) is needed.
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