3. (tie) G. Loomis IMX PRO 11’11” 5-weight $575.00
At nearly half the price of the Sage ONE trout spey, and $200 less than the Beulah Onyx, the IMX PRO is the most economical winner of our Shootout. This is a rod that provides superior performance at a mid-price level. Tom Larimer and Steve Rajeff did a terrific job teaming up to design these rods. They spent their due diligence in terms of whittling them down to perfection after several rounds of designing, testing, and fishing. The results were worth their extra effort, and now anglers who are interested in getting into trout spey will appreciate this powerful, durable, and affordable rod.
The IMX PRO trout spey rods are built for swinging flies. As such they have softer mid sections, which allow the rod to load easily and “fling” your line effortlessly. The Scout 360 skagit line with an airflow T-10 FLO tip matches the 11’11” 5-weight like a tailored suit and buying them in combination really sets a novice spey angler up for success.
The IMX PRO blanks are finished in graphite grey with matching grey wraps over ceramic stripper guides and chrome single foot guides. The cork quality is excellent and the shape of the foregrip and rear handle grip are the perfect length for trout spey. The aluminum down-lock reel seat isn’t fancy but functions well. A thicker lock ring followed by a thinner lock ring are utilized to keep your reel secured tightly. A hard tube and cloth bag are included.
If you can afford to throw down $1000 on a trout spey rod treat yourself to a Sage ONE, otherwise go with the G. Loomis IMX PRO, which is nearly half the price, with nearly the same level of performance. This is one smart rod, and one smart buy.
Although the IMX PRO isn’t the longest rod here, it can cast just as far as any of them. It’s a powerful rod and was one of the better rods for punching into a steady headwind. I felt like this rod had a wide sweet spot as well, as I could “save” the cast with a little more power if I didn’t have my timing perfect. When my timing was perfect I was blown away by how far I could cast. Line management easily became the most important factor between making a 100 foot cast or a 150 foot cast.
Best Mid-Priced Trout Spey Outfit:
sub total: $1,085.82
<less free line, FLO tip, backing & leader
plus PE running line at cost> <$116.92>
Free ready to fish rigging –
No Tax –
Grand Total: $978.00
If you’re looking for the high end feel and performance of our ultimate trout spey set up, but don’t want to spend nearly as much as you might spend on a used Honda Accord, take a look at our best mid-priced outfit.
Tag team designed by Tom Larimer and Steve Rajeff, the G. Loomis IMX pro is a terrific all-around swing weapon. In the hands of the most seasoned two-hander or in the hands of a total beginner, the IMX is light, powerful, and fun to fish.
All of the IMX Pro two-handers are a unique length of 11 feet 11 inches. Why not 12 feet? We’re not sure, but the end result is a rod that performs extremely well while swinging, yet can still be used aggressively as a switch rod out of the boat.
The length of this rod enables effortless, long casts but what really impresses me about the IMX Pro is it’s powerful butt section. Not only does this work well for saving a cast here and there should you get your timing wrong, but it also allows you to punch into the wind better than other rods – something we have to deal with nearly everyday here on the Yellowstone. I also like the stiffness in the butt section for setting the hook if you are happen to be fishing a streamer or nymph under the bobber. For me the 11’11”#5 is the perfect blend between stiffness and lightness, but if you prefer a softer more full flexing trout spey rod, be sure to check out the #4-weight, which is amazingly smooth and even more effortless to cast.
If you think you might be fishing rivers like the Missouri or Bighorn more often then you should highly consider the 11’11”#4. For rivers like the Yellowstone, Madison, or Bighole the #5 will be better for throwing larger flies, handling the wind, and casting longer distances.
We matched the IMX Pro up with one of our favorite trout switch and spey reels, the TFO 375. We love this reel because it is extremely durable, relatively inexpensive, has a great drag, and it spins with the best of them. All you have to do is flick the reel handle quickly and let the 375’s smooth bearings do the work. You can also “slap” the face of your reel to accomplish the same fast spin which will bring your running line in at a rapid pace. This can be handy not only when reeling in, but if you don’t cast as far as you think you were going to, you can spin your slack up quickly and swing it through with your line tight to the reel before re-casting. If you like to strip your running line, as we often do while fishing for big browns, and get a hook up with 10-20 feet of running line out, very few reels can capture line as quickly as the TFO 375, enabling you to keep your eye on the fish and reel up your slack almost instantly.
The TFO 375 and TFO425 both utilize a carbon fiber drag system that compresses into the spool when tightened down. The drag is smooth and reliable. I personally own a couple 425’s that are now nearly 10 years old and they work just as well as they did a decade ago. They have taken on some nicks and dings, but overall have proven to be extremely tough, even through some of the worst rip-rap falls.
The TFO 375 comes in black, red, gold, or charcoal grey however most of our stock is now black. It will be difficult to find red or gold as these reels are now discontinued. We also have a few larger TFO 425’s in stock which are perfect for 8-11 weight spey rods, and also double as a solid tarpon reel should you make your way to the salt.
The Airflow Scout 360 skagit line is the perfect match with the 11’11”#5 G. Loomis IMX Pro. It feels like this line was designed to be used on this rod, making it easy to learn spey casts with. Experts will love this line as the 360 grain line perfectly loads the IMX Pro and will allow a good angler to achieve maximum distances with little to no effort.
We also love the Airflow Skagit FLO tips. These tips have a thicker diameter and more mass than other tips, which translates to a smoother transition between your line and leader. This smoother transition matches the thickness of the Skagit line as well as the leader on the other end, making this the best tip we have found. The result is awesome turnover, with an even tighter loop, which is better when punching into the wind and also for accuracy (if needed).
As far as running line goes, everyone has their own preferences and we can adjust to this when you order an outfit. Our standard is to use Scientific Anglers floating braided PE mono, which has a very slick coating and shoots well, yet does not have the memory issues of mono. Also it is easier to grip than mono, which works well when stripping your fly to add action or while winter fishing, once your hands are cold.
Last but not least we have a short but effective leader designed for excellent turnover and stealth. When fishing a sink tip, a longer leader defeats the purpose of a sink tip. Too short, and the fish may see the black tungsten coated line on your FLO tip.