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Loop Opti Fly Rod Series Review


Loop Opti Fly Rods

Featured Models: Nymph (590-4), Stillwater (593-4), Stillwater (696-4), Stream (693-4)
Action: Ranges from Medium to Medium-Fast
Sections: 4 Piece
Guides: Ceramic stripping guides and durable chrome snake guides with double coating
Handle: Premium Cigar Cork Grip
Reel Seat: Triangular, locking reel seat makes it easier to put the reel in place

The Loop Opti Stream 590-4 takes second place in this year’s Five-Weight Shootout, courtesy of Yellowstone Angler

December 12, 2013 (Sonoma, CA): Thirty years ago in Sweden, Christer Sjöberg dreamed of creating a company that designed functional fly fishing tools that deserved to exist. Each product was crafted to provide a solution for the an angler, making fly fishing more enjoyable and successful. Loop Tackle was born. Loop was the first company to ever offer a true, large-arbor fly reel. It provided faster fly line retrieve, reduced line coiling and assured a consistent drag setting. Proving Loop’s design valid, almost all fly reel manufacturers now offer a large-arbor design. Loop Tackle continues to push design boundaries, creating fly fishing tackle that is worthy of ownership.

The Rundown: Loop Tackle’s Opti Series of fly rods again shows a commitment to creating fly rods with a purpose. Each rod model is optimized with materials, components and most importantly, action to give you the best fly fishing experience possible. Rather than create a fly rod series numerically (2 to 14 weight), the Loop Opti series approaches things differently. Knowing most fly anglers chase trout, Loop Tackle’s Opti seriesfocuses on making the most functional trout fly rod models possible.

Indicator Nymph Favorite: Loop Opti Nymph 590-4
It’s a fact that the majority of a trout’s diet is subsurface. Any fly angler focused on catching as many trout as possible already knows this and that’s exactly why the Loop Opti Nymph (9′ #5 4-piece) fly rod exists. It’s well balanced, stable and efficient and transferring your casting energy into the fly line. With added power in the but section this rod can cast larger indicators, weight and several flies with ease, yet still has sensitivity and the ability to protect lighter tippet when needed. This is one popular fly rod for those who want to catch lots of trout in the broadest fishing situations.

Float Tube Favorite: Loop Opti Stillwater 593-4
Stillwater trout fisheries, like lakes and reservoirs are abundant in the United States. Even better, some of the largest trout can be found here. Unlike river trout that burn calories in moving water, trout that inhabit lakes have the luxury of calmly cruising the stillwaters, with little effort, in search of food. The result are robust fish and with the right fly rod, you’ll catch them. The Loop Opti Stillwater (9’3” #5 4-piece) is exactly the rod you want. With a little extra length, you can hold your back cast higher above the water, resulting in longer casts. With its optimized action, you can cast just about any fly line (floating, intermediate, high-speed) with ease. It’s also quite sensitive, allowing you to perceive the slightest tap on your fly. This is your rod to discover the game of stillwater trout fishing.

Streamer Favorite: Loop Opti Stream 693-4
No doubt about it, the largest trout in your river didn’t get that big by just eating insects. They added that extra body weight by eating meat, in the form of smaller fish and crayfish. A fly fisher wanting to hook the biggest trout in the water should definitely throw a streamer. Using a standard five weight fly rod to cast bigger-heavier flies is arduous at best. With the right fly rod, cone-headed buggers and sculpin patterns cast like a dry fly. The Loop Opti Stream (9’3” #6 4-piece) is just the right rod for the job. It’s got plenty of power to cast the six wight fly line (floating or sink tip), which will efficiently and accurately carry your big but to the mark. It’s got a bit of extra length that makes mending your swing real easy and has plenty of power in the butt for solid hook sets and big fish battles. This is the fly rod to add to your collection. That is…if you like to catch the biggest trout in your waters.

Big Water Streamer Favorite: Loop Opti Stillwater 696-4
Loop originally designed this fly rod to be a heavier-gauge loch rod to cast big streamers to large stillwater trout. With its longer length, powerful taper and fighting butt, we thought it might cast big cone-headed streamers well big rivers. We tested our thinking and found it to be one of the best big water streamer rods we’ve fished. It’s got all the right stuff…plenty of power to boost big flies with efficiency and accuracy as well as butt strength to pull big fish from heavy current. It’s surprisingly well-balanced, and incredibly durable. Stop trying to cast streamers on your five weight fly rod. Step up to a Loop Optimized fly rod and you’ll understand that some things were meant to exist…and this is one of them.

The Wrap Up: Loop’s proven history of designing focused, solution-based fly fishing equipment that provides fly anglers a refreshing and confident purchase is a rarity today. Unfortunately today, too many fly rod manufacturers produce rod models with no specific or intended purpose…they just make fly rods in varying lengths and weights…lots of them. It’s no wonder so many anglers are confused. With Loop Tackle’s Opti series, you’ll always know what you’re getting and when the day comes and you’re on the water, using the right tool…the world is a better place.

Pro Review – Leland’s Burke White

Late season trout fishing in the western states might mean many things to many anglers, but to me…it means streamer fishing for some of the largest trout of the season. During fall and early winter most rivers and streams are at their lowest flows of the season. Large trout that once sheltered under heavy flows become more accessible. In headwater fisheries (rivers that flow into larger lakes), big brown trout begin their spawning run upstream and create a trophy angling opportunity for us fly fishers. It’s the perfect time to hunt big fish with streamers.

I just returned from the Upper Colorado River where I had a late-season chance to cast large streamers to chunky trout using an exceptional fly rod, Loop Tackle’s Opti Stream 693-4. Often overlooked is the important fact that when we are fly casting, we’re not casting the fly at all. We’re actually casting the fly line. When fishing with larger, heavier, wind-resistant flies, we therefor need a fly line with more mass to efficiently carry our fly accurately to the mark. A well-designed six weight fly rod is a solid bet for this purpose and that’s just what Loop has designed in their Opti Stream 693-4 fly rod.

Anyone can grab a six weight fly rod and start chucking streamers in moving water. Heck, you might even catch a trout or two. However, in my opinion, there’s far more to the fly fishing experience than just catching a fish. To me, efficient, enjoyable fly casts add value to the overall experience on the water and when you’re casting heavy streamers the right fly rod will make all the difference. When you do make a smooth, accurate cast to likely water and a big trout responds, that’s an “earned” fish and “earned” fish are far more memorable than just a “caught” fish.

Too often fly rods are quantified by how little they weigh, what outrageous performance they claim to promise or the fact that they use exotic materials or components. To me, a quality fly rod starts with the blank of the rod. Words like efficient, balanced, smooth, stable and accurate get me excited and those are the same words I’d use to describe the Loop Opti Stream 693-4 fly rod. Each cast (even with a heavy streamer) was easy. I didn’t have to work hard at all to cover the nooks and crannies of the Upper Colorado and the fish responded well.

The 9’3” length of this rod might sound a bit odd, but I actually found it both pleasant in balance (for a slightly longer rod) and very functional at roll casts and line mends. Three inches doesn’t sound like much, and it’s not on paper, but it was pleasantly noticeable on the water. As stated before, I’m a big fan of six weight fly rods for streamer fishing and this Loop Opti is a true six weight. It’s still an enjoyable trout rod, but it generates enough power to smoothly cast my six weight fly line and efficiently carry the larger streamers I was casting. Put another way, it’s a happy balance between power and grace.

As far as the rest of the rod goes, it’s well-appointed with solid components, including quality cork and a bomb-proof reel seat. Thread wraps are tight, epoxy work clean and I can’t complain about the color. Of course it comes with a rod sock and a nylon-covered hard tube for protection while traveling.

I’ve fished many rods during my career in fly fishing, but there’s something special about Loop fly rods. The action is not overly fast (like many “performance” rods seem to be today), yet this Loop Opti Stream has the ability to generate ample power, which efficiently transfers into every cast. Best way to put it, you won’t have to work hard when casting larger streamers with this rod and you’ll smile on every cast.

Oh, and the fishing…well, not too shabby. If told you the actual number and size of fish I caught on this rod, you wouldn’t believe anything I’ve written.