I was talking to one of our senior guides back in late fall last year as he was extolling the virtues of the new Loop Cross series of rods, and I have to admit, he got me thinking. The initial conversation began by his conclusion that many major fly rod manufacturers have been steadily moving toward faster action rods and not concentrating on offering new rods with softer backbones and shorter hold-out points (the point in the rod that begins to offer very little bend, if any at all.) On most fast-action and Tip-Flex rods, fully one-half of the rod itself realizes very little bend, and our guide was saying that he is an “old-school” caster who really prefers traditional bends that allow for more gentle and accurate presentations. He went on to say that out of the many rods he is fishing these days, the Loop Cross series in both the 5 weight and the 6 weight is becoming his very favorite choice, and his conviction cannot be overlooked knowing what an advanced caster and fly fisherman he is.
Being a fan of faster-action rods, I wanted to see for myself what the buzz was all about and decided to take a Loop Cross 5 weight out for a day on a local jewel, the Teton River. It was late in this past season with the Blue Wings buzzing around and I wanted to make sure I was fishing this rod the way I had heard it shined in its performance. I was blown away at how Loop has designed such a light and manageable rod that also generated control and sheer ease of casting with a minimum of effort on my part. This Cross series from Loop absolutely does the work for you, so to speak! I was literally casting to holding fish seven feet in front of me when I sighted a large rise across the entire stretch where I was fishing. I effortlessly lifted, let out a huge amount of line with two air casts and found my presentation fall 25 yards away without blinking. I continued to do this all day long notwithstanding a fairly sneaky smile on the face. I don’t know if I have cast a rod that allowed for changing the distance and the pace of the cast more effortlessly than this Loop Cross 5 weight.
In addition, I wanted to get the full feel of this 5 weight rod and push it to regular limits a dynamic and ever-changing day on the water can impose. I went on to fish dry-dropper rigs, free-drifted emergers and chucked some fairly substantial streamer patterns only to find this rod went beyond the challenge. It has the flexing characteristics of a true “caster’s” rod, while also having the pop and ability to build kinetic energy substantial enough to throw everything and the kitchen sink.
I truly like this Loop Cross fly rod and can only assume the other weight rods in this series perform optimally like the 5 weight did. Loop Cross series rods are built from 3 weight up to 6 weight in standard lengths, and the series includes 7 weights and 9 weights in nine-foot, six inch models, Switch rods in both 6 and 7 weights, and a Saltwater Series in 8, 10 and 12 weights. In fact, I imagine the larger-weight rods are perfect matches for the application of pressure on big fish as one who is fighting much stronger fish like bonefish, tarpon, redfish and tuna wants a rod that has a shorter hold-out point and more bend to allow for better leverage and less fatigue on the muscles.
These Loop Cross fly rods are such a delight to cast, and I highly recommend them for both for the beginner as well as the advanced fly fisherman. Since this series of Loop rods is extremely accommodating for beginner to intermediate casters, I also do not doubt these will make tremendous boat rods for clients of all levels next season. If you are a devout traditionalist and love the rods with action throughout, look no further than the Loop Cross series of rods. I also challenge those die-hard, fast-action rod enthusiasts to pick one of these up and cast it. You just may scrutinize what it is you think you have liked in your rods during your fly fishing career!