A peek at LOOP single hand rods!


Big Y Fly warmly welcomes Loop rods and reels to our lineup!

Loop has been making super-high quality rods and reels since before many of you were born.  Their attention to detail, research, design and development make their products top notch and fit into almost every angler’s budget.  

Started in 1978 by two Swedish fishing bums, Loop really busted onto the scene when they developed the first truly large arbor reel in 1984.  This revolutionary design allowed anglers to pick up far more line with each rotation, while nearly eliminating line coil memory.  Their original design has been copied over and over again and is the basis for almost every modern reel on the market today.  

The addition of Swedish two-handed casting champion Goran Andersson solidified their place in the industry as they quickly became known for their two-handed (spey) rods and lines.  Today, they are still at the forefront of the fishing community.  Their rods, reels and lines are all well-designed, thoughtfully crafted, and most importantly, they make catching fish easier and more enjoyable.  

The following is our takes on 2017’s lineup of single hand rods.  We will write up Loop’s Spey rods and reels in the next month or so, after we get more time to play with them.  We will also start carrying Loop’s fly lines, but likely not until fall 2017 or spring 2018.  

The Cross S-series is the top dog of the pack here.  These babies are light and responsive!  They use “cross-weave” technology to lighten the blank, while increasing flexibility and accuracy while reducing the “side to side” wobble that rods get when you cast them.   This is the same basic concept that all of the big rod companies are using now.  Sage calls it “konnetic”, Loomis calls it “spiral wrap”.  Whatever you call it, the technology really has reduced weight and added responsiveness to new rods.   

Q) Why is a nice fly rod so expensive?  A) Just like divorce; because it is worth it.

The Cross S-series can be broken down even further, each with their own application:

Saltwater Rods:
Cross SW
The Cross SW (Saltwater) comes in two models: Cross-SW Fast Action and Cross-SW Medium/Fast Action.   As with most saltwater rods, these babies are all fast and stiff, which is what you want in a rod going after big fish with big flies in big wind at big distances.   

The Cross-SW Medium/Fast Action model is still very fast if you were to compare it to a trout rod or other type of traditional freshwater rod, but very nice and easy going for a saltwater rod.  It is not often that a saltwater rod is able to accurately present a fly as most of them are too fast and stiff to provide delicate presentations.  This rod will be able to let you quietly drop a crab in front of a cruising permit at 60 feet.  It is refreshing to see a saltwater rod that is easy to cast…

The Cross SW Fast Action model is a heckuva stiff, fast rod, but does has some very nice flex in the top end.  This is the rod you want when you have to cast 70 feet in a 40mph headwind.  I would put this up against any of the top saltwater rods on the market like the Scott Meridian, G. Loomis NRX or Sage SALT. 


Freshwater Rods:
Cross -SX
The Cross-SX is a fast action, freshwater rod.  As with all of the Cross S-series rods, this is a very lightweight, very responsive rod that snaps to life with little effort.  I see using this badboy for streamer fishing, bass poppers, steelhead nymphing and “mixed use” applications (as in I want to do all of those things just mentioned).  It will still throw a dry fly just fine, but when you are using a high-line speed rod, getting a dry fly to slow down for an accurate presentation is difficult, no matter what rod it is. 

Cross S-1
The Cross S1 is a very sweet stick!
But if dry fly fishing is your game, the Cross S1 is your new best friend.  These rods are flexible, powerful and responsive without having to throw your shoulder out to get the line speed you need.  Nice, easy casts with minimal effort.  Accurate as graphite gets with insanely lightweight feel.  Love this rod.  

These are a “medium/fast” action, but I would call it out that they are far more on the medium side of that mark.  I enjoy the "recovery" of this rod, meaning if I mess up on my cast and lose line tension, recovering the cast is much easier than with other rods due to the incredible responsiveness of the material and construction.  One other thing I like is that the rod snaps back straight with little effort.  This makes for crispy casts, and the loops are tight and uniform. This rod cast a Rio Gold just fine, a Rio Grand would be money for streamers and nymphs, while I bet the Rio Trout LT would be great for dry fly fishing on it!

What's the difference between a $1000 rod and a $500 rod? 

The big difference between a top-end rod and “mid-price point” rods is that the expensive ones are usually much lighter and use a higher grade of components and cork.  The high-tech cross-wraps on the S-series (and other top-enders in the industry) reduce overall material because the cross-wrap is stronger than traditional styles of construction, meaning that there is less material with more strength.  The diameter of the rod is smaller, further reducing the weight.  This makes a rod feel ultra-light in hand and very comfortable since the diameter of the butt section is so small, rods often have very nice, comfortable cork grips. 

The downside is that ultra-lightweight rods often lose a little feel to them.  There isn't as much response from the rod loading.  The sparse amount of graphite does not transfer the feel of the line load down from the tip to the handle as well as a rod with more material (heavier).  There are always upsides and downsides to everything. 

There is an upside to rods like that Evotec that, at first, would appear to be inferior to a rod that costs 40% more.  It is that mid-price rods today are easily nicer than the top-end rods were before this new technology developed a few years ago.  Many people don't care if the rod isn't the lightest or thinnest on the market, as long as it casts well.  The best rod you can buy is the one that is right for you and your style, and many rods that are not top-end fit a lot of anglers' style.

The single most important factor in a rod and really, the one that matters is the taper design.  If you have a well designed taper, then it doesn't matter if you are using lower modulus graphite or spiral wrapping or using nano-silica resins or a $400 million machine to build it.  There are plenty of examples of terrible rods that cost $1000 and there are plenty of 25 year old rods that blow the socks off of most of the new stuff.  (The old Loop Grey Line was one of those old rods that is still better than most of the new stuff).   

Evotec CAST
The Evotec CAST series is one of those rods that will stick out for years to come.  Typically, mid-priced rods aren’t the best sellers, even if they are outstanding value and quality.  This should not be the case here.  These rods should be selling like hotcakes! 

The Evotec CAST rods are very well designed and easy to cast.  There are three actions to the Evotec CAST series:
The Evotec Medium Action performs like no other!
Evotec Medium Action rods are absolutely stunning.  I am a fan of slow rods like glass and bamboo as you may have noticed.  This is as close as I have ever seen a graphite rod get without weighing a ton.  This could be the most accurate rod on the market.  A nice, easy, slow cast is far more likely to land where you want than the cast where your fly is moving 200 mph through the air.  I am looking forward to buying one of these more than anything else in the line-up.   Dry flies, dry flies, dry flies, all day long…

Evotec Medium/Fast Action rod is more like what most anglers prefer.  It is fast enough to push a streamer through the wind with ease, but has enough power and flex to deliver a #18 adams to a picky fish a few minutes later.  This is probably the rod that most anglers should look at when they want a rod that does it all.  It would be in my top 3 choices if I had to have just one rod.  

Loop rods are clean and crisp looking!
Evotec Fast Action is just as comfortable in hand while stiffening up the tip of the rod.  This rod is a streamer/nymphing machine, but will still handle a good BWO hatch when you find it.   Fast action rods will throw big flies through the wind and have excellent mendability.  This rod is right there in the pack with all of the other fast action rods on the market. 

This rod is surprisingly responsive given the price point and the history of sub $300 rods to be lackluster across the industry.  This rod has quite a bit of power to it and a lightweight feel.  I spent quite a while playing with this guy during a torrential downpour at the Sandy River Speyclave this last spring.  I was not wearing waders or a rain jacket (in April in Oregon… idiot), but I was having such fun hucking line on the wet grass with the 9’ 5wt that I forgot about the icy rain, for a minute.  This is a solid choice for those guys that can’t quite pull the trigger on a nicer rod yet (tuition first, fishing second…)  
We are hard at work testing rods for you!
This is how I look at rods.  If I buy a nice one (remember, not necessarily the most expensive), I will have it forever.  No need to upgrade ever.  If I buy a rod based solely on the price, I will want to upgrade eventually.  This costs more in the end because you lose a lot of value when you re-sell them as well as the warranty value (allegedly). 

This rod is great.  It gets the job done, and it does it well.  Compared to the Cross S1, this rod has a bigger diameter, weighs more, has lower grade components and has quite a bit more wobble in it.  Those are the differences.  What is similar is that it has a very nice taper that can facilitate long, accurate casts.  It feels good in hand, it picks up line well at distance and it has quite a bit of power if you are casting in the road in front of the shop...

As always, never hesitate to call us if you have any questions about the newest and latest, or if you just want to chat about flies. 

Andrew Perrault

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