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Gary Loomis – North Fork Composites EDGE 8 ˝’/#4
Gary Loomis – North Fork Composites EDGE 8 ˝’/#4
Published by sweetandsalt
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Default Gary Loomis – North Fork Composites EDGE 8 ˝’/#4

Attending the Somerset Show last January and volunteering for Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, we shared a booth with Temple Fork Outfitters, a generous supporter of our work with veterans. TFO is the exclusive distributor for Gary Loomis’s new series of EDGE fly rods, built in Woodland, WA, by the North Fork Composites blank building company that seminal graphite pioneer, Gary Loomis founded. These are the first fly rods to bear his name since selling his original G.Loomis to Shimano in 1997. Somerset was the first official public showing of this limited series of #’s 4 – 6 weight trout rods and 6, 8 and 10 weight saltwater models. I had heard rumors but was surprised and delighted for EDGE to be the first new fly rod for me to become acquainted with at rod-rich Somerset.

These are fairly fast action, quick recovering rods with power to spare and the saltwater versions even more so. I took my brief turn and cast a few of them on the Show’s indoor casting pond and was sufficiently impressed to ask about the possibility of obtaining a sample to actually fish. Just a few weeks prior to my departure of Idaho and Montana in mid-June, I was excited to receive the smallest EDGE, an 8 ˝’/#4, the only 4-weight they build and one of my favorite sizes.

North Fork calls the blank “naked graphite” on these rods which utilize a proprietary carbon matrix exclusive to Gary Loomis geared toward maximizing thier power to weight ratio . It appears and feels like it is polished rather than sanded to a rich, matte, burnished, naturally colored graphite finish. The elegantly flat coated thread wraps are black with slender red thread inlays at the major wraps and the non-glossy, high-end Snake Brand snake guides feature concave feet to ideally conform to the blank’s circumference. The stripping guide is a premium, titanium framed Alps XN and all the guides are a bit oversized to enhance unimpeded slack line feed into a dry fly presentation drift illustrating the sophisticated astuteness of Gary Loomis and his design team. The handsome up-locking reel seat is polished aluminum anodized in a subtle titanium-like color and the heavily burled, dark Buckeye wood spacer is resin pressure infused for permanent glossy durability. The top quality western style cork grip is perfectly proportioned and has the extra fine sanded quality that is rare but you know it when you feel it. This rod’s cosmetics are more subtle than bling but have an obvious and tasteful quality superior to most rods and befitting an $850 premium performer.

I have long favored an 8 ˝’/#4 for spring creek and modest sized tail waters benefiting from a technical presentation approach. A 4-weight provides a delightful light touch but sufficient line mass for articulate casting and line manipulation control. I fished a long head, long rear taper RIO Gold on EDGE. High line-speed helps generate gravity defying tight loops facilitating in-air reach and mends and EDGE delivers these performance aspects with graceful authority. We endured unusually stiff and persistent wind during the prime Western mayfly emergence season from mid-June to mid-July this year rendering rods with insufficiently responsive or lacking immediate recovering tips more of a handicap than usual. Streams like Idaho’s Silver Creek are complex and unforgiving to begin with without having to accommodate for flexural profile anomalies all too common in deeper flexing 4-weights. EDGE has the goods though and with a compact stroke and minor correction for windage, turns over the requisite extra-long leader for precision dry fly placement.

EDGE with a net full of high leaping Rainbow
Click the image to open in full size.

There are but a small handful of rods that can deliver the technical performance in the class of this EDGE#4, all from long-established designer/rod makers. That a new rod series can burst onto the fly fishing scene with such elite capabilities suggests that, though Gary Loomis has not had his own name on a rod in some two decades, he has been working and experimenting toward this rod for a long time. EDGE is a handsome and mature, ready for prime time, exceptional fly rod.
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By coug on 07-20-2016, 03:26 PM
Default Re: Gary Loomis – North Fork Composites EDGE 8 ˝’/#4

Very nice review. Are the blanks for the edge available through NFC? I see they offer 'medium' and 'fast' but no name associated with either of them. I have been looking for a faster 4wt to build up over the winter.
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By alfiegee on 07-24-2016, 05:22 PM
Default Re: Gary Loomis – North Fork Composites EDGE 8 ˝’/#4

Nice review! Now I got a itching for a new 4 wt!
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By sweetandsalt on 10-31-2016, 07:35 AM
Default Re: Gary Loomis – North Fork Composites EDGE 8 ˝’/#4

Since the subject of EDGE and North Fork Composites blanks have come up under Rod Building, I thought I would bring this past summer's review back up into visibility. I am hopping to fish one of their saltwater rods this coming spring which seemed very impressive on the test pond.
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