The G Loomis IMX Pro Short Spey: Review

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Photo by Louis Cahill

By Louis Cahill

The IMX Pro Short Spey may be the best bargain in fly-fishing.

Every one of the IMX Pro fly rods I’ve cast has been a joy, but the 11-foot 11-inch two-handers really stand out. I cast the 3 weight on the pond at IFTD last year. I was immediately impressed but I’ve learned not to judge a rod solely on the casting pond. I got my hands on a 5 weight short spey and did some trout fishing with it. Last month I took the 5 weight to the Deschutes for steelhead and I’m blown away by the performance and versatility of this rod.

Before we go any further, let’s talk about the price. Too many times I find myself reviewing great fly rods that I know are out of reach of a lot of anglers. The truly amazing thing about the IMX Pro Short Spey is the price. At $575 it’s literally half the price of much of the competition and with no compromise that I can find. Speaking specifically about the 5 weight, a quality rod that covers the gambit from trout spey to summer steelhead, is astounding at that price.

The second thing you should know about the IMX Pro is that it is not a switch rod. Although it is just under 12 feet in length, which would classify it as a switch rod, it was never intended for overhead casting. It’s a classic, medium-fast spey action. It has a softer midsection than a typical switch rod which means it loads like a dream and casts effortlessly, as a spey rod should.

The rod is light and crisp in the hand. This means that it is not only a joy to cast but to swing. Holding line off the water and leading the fly into the swing is effortless. I have bad shoulders and this kills me with a 13-foot 7-weight. The light weight and easy casting of the IMX Pro Short Spey reduces fatigue and makes the whole fishing experience relaxed and enjoyable, as it should be.

When I carried the 5 weight out for steelhead, I expected to be under gunned.

Typically, a 6 weight is my choice for summer steelhead. I was pleasantly surprised by the IMX Pro in both casting and fish fighting. Set up with an Airflo Rage head and RIO Slickshooter, the rod repeatedly made long casts, even in windy conditions. Once a fish was on, the rod bent deep into the butt and made fighting strong fish fun, but I never felt under gunned. A rod that is light enough for trout spey and strong enough for steelhead is a bit of a hat trick and it has quickly made this rod one of my favorites. 

The build quality of the IMX Pro is outstanding. The components and finish are what I would expect in a rod at twice the price. The cork is great and both grips are nicely formed and comfortable. I can’t find a thing I don’t like about it.

The 5 weight is very happy with a 360 gr compact head. I have fished it mostly with the Airflo Rage Compact, which worked very well for me as both a trout spey line in Patagonia and a steelhead line on the Deschutes, both windy locations. It is also perfectly paired with the Airflo Scout Skagit in 360 gr, and turns over a sink tip nicely. The IMX Pro Short Spey is available in weights 3-7. All are 11 feet 11 inches and four pieces.

A buddy of mine carried a 5 weight rod that retails for $1000 on the Deschutes trip. We had pretty identical setups and I fished both rods. Honestly, if I’d been blindfolded, I don’t think I could tell the difference. If you are in the market for a short two hander, check out the IMX Pro. I think you’ll like what you find, and they have some nice stuff in the reel case you can get for the extra $425 you’ll have left over.

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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