GLoomis BBR 964C Swimbait Rod
Author: Rob Belloni
The BBR964C is an 8 footer designed for back bounce salmon fishing. Because the swimbait rod market is not that big, a lot of the rods we use for swimbaits are designed for other applications, and this is no exception. If Loomis said the BBR stands for "Big Bait Rod" instead of "Back Bounce Rod" it wouldn't be any stretch of the truth :) The rod is in the Loomis GL2 series, which is their low end series price wise. Of course, since it's a Loomis, the low end is really a very nice quality product.
I've owned a few Loomis rods in the past and have had a love hate relationship with them. Some Loomis rods are splined wrong and like to roll over when you load them up. Some of their GLX series are known to break easily on hooksets. I had heard for a long time that the BBR964C was a great swimbait rod but I just wasn't that into it. When I got the chance to demo the rod and fish it for a full day, my opinion of Loomis definitely went up a notch.
Certain rods you just pick them up and make a cast and they feel 'right'. This was definitely the case with this rod. The casting was smooth, the retrieve was smooth, everything felt solid. The rod was splined correctly and the guides didn't roll to the side when you loaded the rod up. Although the rod is graphite, the action of the rod is actually a little bit glassy or composite feeling, and I really like that action for fishing hardbaits. This is a great bait for slinging the wood and the lighter rubber baits! And if you wanted something heavier, you can go up a notch to the BBR965C model which I understand is just about the same rod only heavier. With those two sticks you could cover your swimbait bases pretty well.
The detail on the rod was all very nice like you would expect on a Loomis. It doesn't have the super light GLX feel to it, or the fancy guides you see on some of their other models, but overall the rod is just a solid quality product. I suspect that because the rod is designed for salmon fishing, the blank is beefed up more than a normal Loomis rod is, so the likelyhood of breaking the rod is a lot lower than some of their bass specific models.
The BBR964C goes for $160 which is on par with competitive rods from St Croix, Lamiglass, etc.
I thought the guide spacing was a little bit far apart on the rod. If they stuck one more guide on the rod and spaced them a little closer it might cast better. It's probably designed this way because the salmon guys aren't doing a lot of casting with this rod.
I don't know what the cost to Loomis would be to put Alconite Concept guides on, but that might be nice to get a little more distance on the cast. Really though it's just a nice solid all around rod.