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Color Your Thinking about Spey Rods with the Loop Color Concept Series of Double Handed Fly Rods

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Loop Green Line LGL9132-4

Loop Yellow Line LYL9140-4

Loop Black Line

Experienced casters will love its raw power and crisp feel new casters will enjoy its forgiving nature.

intro    design    components    action    test cast

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    November 1999: Bouncing around the back roads near Spences Bridge, British Columbia can take it's toll on your vehicle: above the highway on both sides of the river abandoned cars accent the landscape. We managed to puncture a tire on Brian Lencho's 4x4, so instead of fishing we ended up standing around outside the PetroCanada service station in "The Bridge" drinking coffee and kicking stones across the parking lot while we waited for repairs. Ehor Boyanowsky happened along, and as we collectively lamented the poor fishing, he mentioned that Loop tackle's G˙ýran Andersson had recently been on the river. "He was up here a few weeks ago with another fellow. Have you ever seen him cast? He had these new rods with him, and he was really covering the water."
    The new rods Boyanowsky spoke of were the Loop Color Concept double handers. Apparently, Andersson had been launching some monster casts on the Thompson's great pools, and anglers were taking notice. Introductions and inquiries were made, and Spey rodders learned that the rods Andersson was swinging were in the final stages of development and would be available the following spring. For the remainder of the season I would hear stories about "that fellow from Sweden" and the impressive new rods he was fishing. 
     The Loop Tackle company of  Sweden  has long been known for its innovative approach to our sport. Back in the mid 80s  they introduced the Loop reel, a unique large arbour design that caused quite a stir in the angling community and would later influenced the designers of the currently popular large arbour reels. For several years Loop was the European supplier of Sage fly rods, and Andersson was a key player in the design of Sage's famous 3-piece "European action" two handers. 
    The Color Concept is a series of four rod lines--Green, Yellow, Blue, and Black--that provide anglers with a choice of designs, actions, and price ranges. All  models feature double handed rods from 12ft through 15ft, in line weights 8 through 12.     top    

Design

    The Loop LGL9132-4--13ft 2" 4-piece for a 9/10 weight-- is light, well balanced and extremely powerful: long casts on big water are a special joy with this rod. It can best be described as medium-fast, with a powerful butt section, and a relatively quick tip that is still strong enough to handle the demands of long line Spey casting, although the rod really shines with short bellied Spey lines and the Adapted˙ý shooting head kits available from Loop.     top

Components

    The Green Line is Loop's flagship series, and the LGL9132-4 evidences the quality and attention to detail you'd expect from a premium rod. The cork work is impeccable; the finish is flawless. An uplocking reel seat and hard chrome snake guides are standard. The 13ft 2" model has 2 large stripping guides placed on the second section, allowing for optimum shooting. The sanded blank is beautifully finished in a deep green, complemented by mid green thread wraps with silver accents above the cork. The short bottom handle is common with Euro two-handers, however the butt cap is beefy and sits comfortably in the palm allowing you to use the bottom hand with authority during the cast. The rod comes complete with an extra tip section (a thoughtful touch), a cloth bag and is presented in a tough green cordura tube complete with a handle and lash points for securing it to a boat or attaching it to your luggage--this is definitely a rod designed with the travelling angler in mind. Loop offers a one year warranty against faulty material or workmanship.    top     

rod


Action

    The 13' 2" has a quick, progressive action. The image of the Underhand cast below illustrates this action quite well: notice the tip section--the upper 1/3 of the rod--bending  above and behind the caster under load during the forward stroke, while the butt section remains relatively straight . This gives the rod the fast tip action favored by practitioners of the Underhand cast using shooting heads. Many North American anglers are of the opinion that faster action rods do not Spey cast well because the tip sections are too light and the butt sections too stiff. This is not the case with the Loop. Its progressive action allows the rod to load down into the butt section when moving a long-bellied Spey line (a close look at the image indicates that the butt is also flexed) and still retain the quick, responsive feel and characteristic tight loops. During test casts the LGL9132-4 loaded smoothly and progressively into the butt under increasing load from long bellied Spey lines.    top 


Test Cast

lines: Loop Adapted˙ý  Floating 9/10; Scientific Anglers Mastery Spey 10/11; RIO Windcutter 9/10/11
reels: Hardy Marquis Salmon #1 & #3

    Test casts were performed at two venues: in a park using a grass leader, and on moving water. During river tests winds were variable, providing insight into how well the rod would perform under actual fishing conditions. 
    Initial tests were conducted using the Loop Adapted 9-10 shooting head system. This line system consists of floating, intermediate, and full sinking shooting heads of @ 35ft, backed by @110ft of shooting line and was designed specifically for use with the Loop Color Concept rods. The rod cast very easily and smoothly with tight loops out to the full length of the shooting head. Once the shooting head was beyond the tip top the rod really came into its own, allowing long, effortless breeze-beating casts. (When using shooting heads experiment with overhang--the distance between the back of the head and the rod tip--in order to find the "sweet spot" that casts best for you. With the Adapted˙ý line I found that an overhang of a few feet worked best for me. When you find the right amount, mark the running line with a waterproof felt pen at the first stripping guide--this will give you a visual reference that will allow you to quickly get set up for optimum casting performance every time). The rod performed well at all fishing distances: short and mid-range tip casts were effortless; Spey and Underhand casts to110ft were easily achieved.
    Tests were also conducted using the Scientific Anglers Mastery Spey 10/11 and the RIO Windcutter 9/10/11. Long liners casting in the traditional styles will prefer the Mastery Spey, while I suspect that many North American casters unfamiliar with the use of the Scandinavian shooting head methods will prefer the Windcutter (with the Windcutter, retrieve the belly to within a foot or so of the rod tip for best performance). Both lines complement the rod. 
    Various casting styles were employed and all of the standard and specialty Spey casts were used during the tests, including the single and double Spey, Snake Roll, Snap-T, and the Underhand Cast: the rod handled all with authority. The rod changes direction easily without the tip related problems that have plagued many  "European action" rods in the past. When faults were introduced into the casts, the rod compensated very well, the powerful tip section keeping the line tracking on a relatively straight path. 
    The 13ft 2" length makes the rod ideal for medium sized rivers such as the Skykomish, the Bulkley, or the Dean, but it is powerful enough to qualify as a big water rod, despite its shorter length. By adjusting presentation and mending styles, the rod is capable of controllable fishing casts beyond 100ft. I can see it becoming a favorite on the Thompson and other big waters where it will allow me to make long casts, move heavy sink tips, and turn large fish while remaining light enough to use all day without fatigue. 
     Casters who remain convinced that "Euro actions" are strictly for overhead casting are in for a surprise when they cast the Loop LGL1392-4, a wonderful stick that will definitely have you rethinking your definition of a Spey rod.    top

 

special thanks to Christer Sj˙ýberg, Anders Romson, & Per Stadigh for their assistance in preparing this review

images copyright 2000 Loop Tackle. Used by permission.

 

greg pearson illustration