I don’t think they’ll have me in the #LoopArmy because no matter how hard I try, I just can’t get a good selfie holding a fish while balancing a rod & reel across my back like all the Loop guys do on social media.
Maybe you get that in basic training ?
Despite my lack of military precision, my friend Grant at Loop Aust/NZ. took pity and sent over one of the Goran Andresson 8’8 #2 Signature series rod and an Opti ‘Creek’ reel to practice with for a couple weeks.
I had a few casts with one of these while shooting the story on Ogilvie’s Creek with rod-over-the-shoulder master Joshua Hutchins a while back and was impressed with it over the open water up on the meadow, but how would it go in the tight stuff of Northeast Victoria ?
The first test, as always, is lawn casting to match line to rod before taking it out on the water.
Being 8’8 the Loop is at the long end of available 2 weights and has a user friendly medium action that seemed to work well enough with any line I tested.
My favourite 2 weight line, the RIO LL double taper, would be first choice for chucking tiny dries over fussy fish on big water.
However, because of the rods heft, I ended up fishing it with a RIO Perception in WF #3 that worked the blank well for the in-close stuff that’s more common in my fishing yet still capable of belting the full 80 feet out of the tip.
Loop say this series of rods are “easy-to-cast and meant for all fly fishers, but will at the same time give the technically competent caster the ability to push the envelop” so to give the rod a proper work-out and put them to the test, I put it in the hands of a friend who’s fairly new to fly fishing and we headed off to one of the larger, tougher streams I know.
Though Ash is new, he loved the Loop straight away and as they day progressed made increasingly more accurate casts and caught more fish. Clearly then, the rod’s forgiving nature makes it well suited to people new to light rods.
As a tougher test, I handed the rod to veteran shit-fight-creek angler Al MacB and we headed for the hills to our favourite overgrown, nasty little stream. His first impressions were that the rod roll cast extremely well and was also excellent for bow and arrow casts, but that it was a bit long for the really tight water we both regularly fish with sub 8 foot rods. That didn’t stop him from catching 6 nice little browns in the first, very tangled 20 meters of stream however.
My feelings echo Al’s for the most part and I found the big 2 weight a great bit of gear everywhere except for really small, overgrown water where it’s length makes it harder to accurately manoeuvre than a 7 footer.
On bigger streams or rivers the reverse is true and long casts and big mends are easy thanks to the extra length and this is where I think the rod is at it’s best and hard to beat.
The rod has a tidy matt finish with alignment dots on the ferrules and a very cool triangular reel seat. It comes in an aluminium tube and cloth rod bag.
The retail price in Australia is $1249.oo
The very modern looking 3.4 inch/85mm Opti Creek reel they sent is also a good bit of gear and balanced the big rod well with the 3 weight line. It’s very well made and has a infinitely variable drag that’s very smooth.
They retail in Australia at $749.oo