Price Tag Approximately £700
Courtesy of John Norris of Penrith and guys at Loop a couple of the Veterans team were given the opportunity of trying out one of Loops still water rods. I had fished the river version of this rod for #4 and had been very impressed with its crisp action. How would that translate to a still water rod?
Well here is what the folks at Loop have to say about their rod…..
“We could write an entire book on the adventure that has led to the development and introduction of the Cross S1 fly rods, but we won’t. Instead, we would rather ask you to try one because the only way to truly understand what we mean is to test one for yourself.
For the 2014 season, we introduce five new fast tempo and two medium fast tempo models. All models are also available as blanks.
Blank in the aesthetic matte smoke finish.
High-grade cork handle with Cork mix reinforcements
Triangular 3-pin aluminum reel seat in Gun Metal finish
REC RSG Recoil stripping guides. Extra strong in Black Pearl finish
REC RSNX Recoil snake guides. Extra strong in Black Pearl finish
Delivered in matching Gun Metal aluminum tube and cloth bag.”
As the window of opportunity was short for me to use this I decided to take the risk of fishing it in the recent AW Four Man team event on Rutland water (see blog entry below). I took my trusty Helios with me as well in case I could not get on with it. I sat in the boat setting up for the days fishing; the rod came in a matt coloured aluminum tube with the Loop logo. When I took the rod out of the bag the fittings looked good the reel seat has been well designed and it housed my Hardy Demon reel with no problem at all. Later in the day, I was very pleased with the easy way the reel was removed from the seat. With the Helios, this can sometimes turn into a bit of a wrestling match. I put the rod together and was
immediately struck by how light it was the Helios is one of the lightest rods on the market, but this felt as light in the hand at 116g. An important factor when you’re waving it around for eight hours in a match! The action felt very tippy and I thought that it would be a great tool for the heavier lines. But today it would not see anything heavier than a DI3. I started it off with an Airflo Slow Glass and after several casts, I eventually adjusted my casting style (or lack of it) to the rod. It sent the line sailing to the horizon with little effort.
So far I am thinking it’s a great rod and @ 700 bucks so it should be…..but when you catch a fish with this rod you will realise it was worth every penny! I hooked my first fish at range and lifted into it bringing the fight close to the boat in quick time. I am used to waiting for a bit while the Helios takes its time playing out the fish and bending nearly double in the effort to do so. Not since the days of the old G-Loomis GLX have I been so impressed with how quickly a rod tames the fish. As I practice a lot of catch and release I think it is important to get the fish to the boat as fast as possible and then back in the water. This is just the tool for that job. On the day in question I had two fish on at the same time and the rod coped admirably with two feisty Rutland Rainbows.
Loop has not waxed lyrical about this rod in their blurb because they just don’t have to, try one of these and you will have an instant Christmas list. I have wracked my brain to think of something negative to say about this rod and the only thing that I can come up with is the price. Let’s face it, it’s not cheap, that said I had by two beloved GLX for 16 years before going over to the Orvis Helios. They were of a similar price and gave years of quality service. It’s a case of you get what you pay for. Ronnie Christie also used one on the day and his thoughts on the rod are in the next few paragraph.
As a fly fisherman there is nothing like getting your hands on a new piece of equipment. I was slightly apprehensive however when I was asked to try Loops new Cross S1 10’ for #7. Not because I didn’t want to try Sweden’s latest piece of engineering after all the finest car I have ever driven was a Swedish built SAAB Aero. But several months ago I had an accident on my bike damaging the ligaments in my wrist and I didn’t fancy throwing some heavy weight around all day instead of my ultralight Helios.
When giving the rod the first thing you notice is the Gun Metal aluminium tube and cloth bag all colour coordinated with the rod a nice touch. Putting it together I wondered how the all through metal snake and stripping guides would do. The Cork handle with the cork mix reinforcements at the outer ends is pleasing to the eye. All of my high-end American rods have shown real wear in these areas and I would like to have given this rod several outings to see if the reinforcement was as practical as eye-catching. There was no need for my early reservations about weight these new 3M™ Powerlux™ Composites really are featherweight a delight to hold in the hand.
So top marks in weight and aesthetics but how well did it fish? As a casting tool anglers are always looking to improve distance, accuracy and for match fishing something that helps you overpower a spritely trout quickly. This rod can deliver in all these areas it took me a moment to adjust to the powerful tighter loops, initially, I had problems with my long droppers catching each other but slowing down slightly soon sorted that. This rod did add several yards to my cast, out casting my partner by 15 yards critical on a day when the fish were on top but more so when extra depth is required. It didn’t shy from the fight either, in fact, I cursed it slightly as I watched my fly being ripped from the mouth of a trout just at the net due to the power in the tip. I have not used a trout rod that can beat a fish any quicker than this one.
I am at the time of life where I really appreciate the finer things in life and this is absolutely in that bracket. “Is it better than my current incumbents the Loomis and Helios” they are completely different but do somethings better than each other. This loop rod is special because I believe they have enhanced the lightness of the Helios but the backbone of the Loomis all into one rod a great bit of engineering and one that will be most likely be added to my armoury shortly well done Loop.