TESTED: G Loomis Forcelite FLBSR853S

THESE days you see many rods all competing for the same buyers. Rods are rolled to very generic recipes that cater for the majority of fishing applications. It makes sense that tackle companies hedge their bets with gear they know will sell well. Therefore it’s fairly rare to see non-custom built rods that appeal to a niche market or specialist purpose. That’s why it was refreshing recently to find something a little from left field.

G Loomis has designed a rod specifically for our local species with some very interesting characteristics. The “Forcelite” braid series comes in an array of lengths and power ratings in both spinning and casting configurations and by all reports were built with barra and snapper in mind. In fact, you can open that out a little to include any large hard fighting fish known for subtle takes.

The particular rod I have been testing is the FLBSR853S, which is 7’1″ in length and rated to an unusual 8-20lbs with a medium fast action. Once you use the rod and load up on it you will begin to see how this power rating has been selected. The rod folds away considerably until lock-up point, which is down near the stripper guide. This is achieved by using a blend of graphite similar to composite rods rather than the high modulus stuff we have become accustomed to using. Also, I think the medium fast rating is a little ambitious. This rod is a medium action at best.

So what are the benefits of using a softer rod? In the field, this is one killer plastics rod. Rods used for plastics don’t necessarily have to be as crisp as those for other applications such as poppers or hard-bodies but there is one main advantage. As I mentioned earlier it is perfect for timid or wary fish known for subtle takes, as the forgiving action allows the fish to inhale the lure. For this reason, the rod has been perfect for flicking plastics to surface fish like kingfish and Aussie salmon as well as bouncing plastics off the bottom for jew. All these species take a lure subtly but have good power once hooked.

The 7’1″ profile also means this is a great distance casting rod when you’re looking to cover large areas of water or targeting shy fish in shallow water. For this reason this particular rod would be ideal for impoundment barra when flicking Slick Rigs or working frogs. The action will really assist in letting the barra get the lure down deep before hook-up. This does come at the expense of a little backbone but the rod does eventually lock up, admittedly a little later than what I am used to. I will say, however, that the soft action is a little nostalgic and really amps up the fun factor when you see the rod fully loaded.

The rod was designed to work with braided lines as the no-stretch factor does pull hooks, especially from fish that have soft mouths. The rod’s action acts as a shock absorber which assists staying connected to the fish, especially close to the boat.

The rod retails for around $430 which is a substantial investment for a niche purpose rod. However, if you’re after something a little different that gets the fun dial turned to the max, this might be the rod for you.

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