G. LOOMIS PRO: Aaron Martens
I might be new to the G-Loomis family, but growing up, I drooled over those rods. Everyone knows me as the guy who fishes a dropshot rig, but I really enjoy picking apart heavy cover with a flipping stick.
Growing up fishing tulles in California taught me the value of a well-balanced and sensitive flipping stick. We moved to Lake Guntersville? years ago and with the Coosa River chain nearby, there's always a flipping stick in the boat.
If your flipping stick isn't balanced, it'll make for a long day and sore forearms and wrists. The IMX-PRO 894C FPR checks off all the boxes. It has a soft tip so that when I check a bite, the fish doesn't even know I'm there, and I can consistently make accurate pitches into the smallest openings.
A parabolic blank absorbs the hookset's power while keeping constant pressure on the fish without ripping the hooks out. Paired with a Shimano Metanium XG (8:5:1) spooled with 40-pound braided line transmits the slightest pick-up, let capitalizes on the power of the rod to get bass out of the nastiest places. Sometimes I'll fish braided line with a fluorocarbon leader when targeting grass mat flats to allow the bait to fall naturally.
On the hookset, reel into the fish and lean back. Slackline hooksets look great but always rip the hook out. Also, you don't want to knock their mouth open with the sinker, either. Compact punch baits like craws and creature baits in a variety of colors rigged with a pegged 1- 1 ½-ounce tungsten are the deal. I use the heaviest weight that I can get away with enabling me to fish my baits relatively fast.
The longer, more powerful 7'11" heavy action rod (IMX-PRO 955C FPR) is a must when fishing hyacinths or if I need to get out over top of the fish. Maybe I'm pitching a jig into pockets in the tulles, reeds, tall grass, or lily pads, being able to have that leverage over the fish is key. That added length and power will definitely put fish in the boat and this rod packs a tonne of power.