In 2001 I read an article written by Peter Horrobin & Stephen Booth tittle “The short end of the stick” (Horrobin & Booth, 2001). At the time of reading it I had been experimenting with different types of soft plastic and hard body lures for quite a while and I felt like I needed a rod that provided me with more finesse than other rods I already owned. I grew up using Alvey reels positioned low on the rod so having the weight in the bottom of the rod feels very natural to me. I also like to hold the rod close to me when twitching lures which I find longer rear grip rods hinder by catching on clothing.
I had been talking to Mark and Brian Boehm at Boehm’s bait and tackle, Narrabeen (no longer there 😦 ) and told them ‘I need a rod that’s more manoeuvrable at the base, something closer to a fly rod’. As soon as I read the article on short rear grip rods I was straight down to Boehm’s to tell the boys I had found it!
Peter Horrobin and Stephen Booth wrote ‘the new short grip rods are built on high modulus or next generation graphite blanks and provide tip sensitivity and butt power. Their tapers are quite unlike earlier short grip rods in that they are light in the tip, quickly tapering to a strong and robust butt. This allows the delicate presentation of light lures and soft plastics to be unhindered, while giving back some fish stopping power to the angler.’ They also quote Kaj Busch as being smitten with his short grip rod ‘These short butt rods allow a degree of finesse I find hard to achieve with longer butted rods. Often I want to work a lure or soft plastic in a way that requires only the slightest movement of the hand and the best way to achieve this is to use only one. No other rod style can do this like the short butt rod’.
At that time Tim ‘the bream’ Morgan was also using some short butt rods in the national ABT Bream series tournaments, in particular Tim’s G-Loomis 7’ IMX S842 made me very interested. Some of the other short grip rods listed in this article included rods from Shimano Stella Spin 66 (rear grip: 120mm), G-Loomis SJ700 (Rear grip: 105mm), Daiwa Heartland X (rear grip: 130mm) and Ian Miller Bream Buster (rear grip: 120mm).
I ordered the G-Loomis S841-2 IMX and after a few weeks I got the call to say it was in. As soon as I picked up that rod I felt a connection with it like no other rod I had owned. I was straight down to Narrabeen Lake for a bream session and my already high expectations were blown away.
The IMX S841-2 is an ultra-light action rod with a short rear grip. It is so light and balanced it feels like an extension of my arm. It casts beautify and the retrieval feels like the lure is in my fingers. You can feel everything through the rod, every little bump and tap. When hooking a fish the rod softly loads into a beautiful arch that allows light line fish play feel like a delicate dance rather than a ridged skull drag. I marry this rod with a Shimano Sustain 1000, 4lb braid and 4lb fluorocarbon leader. The whole outfit is refined, sophisticated and can only be describes as fishing luxury.
The short grip allows a completely different action when casting and controlling lures. It allows an unrestricted, much wristier action with the tiniest twitch being all that’s needed to add action to lures. In my opinion for light line finesse fishing you don’t need a long butt to use as a leaver. The short rear grip (105mm) also works great when fishing from a kayak. In the kayak the short butt rod is perfect for casting while sitting in a relatively cramped position.
Before competing in an ABT bream tournament comp in 2007 I tried to order another S841-2 but I was unable to get one. The boys at Boehm’s had looked into it for me only to be told Loomis had only made 50 of that model and I should hang on to it as I would not get another one.
My S841-2 IMX is now 15years old and I find myself babying it more than ever. Recently I’ve been looking for another short butt rod so I can semi retire the S841-2, however this has been much more difficult than I expected. I’ve now written to the G-Loomis factory in the USA to see if they can custom make me a replacement with the same specs. I’m also looking into the Aussie made Ian Miller Bream Buster rods.
My G.Loomis IMX S841-2 is still my favourite rod. I’ve never found another rod like it. I own two other G.Loomis GL3’s but the IMX S841-2 is in another league. It would be nice to see manufacturers of high end rods offering a short rear grip in their finesse range but they seem to be quite scarce. I’m really hoping I can find an equivalent rod soon.
You can read more about my G-Loomis S841-2 IMX here:
Reference: Horrobin, P. & Booth, S. (2001, Summer) ‘The short end of the stick’, Saltwater Sport Fishing, Australian Fishing Network Sport Fishing Pty Ltd. Issue No16, pg: 38-40.