LOOP Speedrunner and Megaloop reels make fishing too easy?
by Justin Maxwell Stuart - WhereWiseMenFish
Traditionally reels have been seen as little more than a storage facility for line. Freshwater species have rarely required the powerful functionality that modern reels now provide for. A ratchety drag and an exposed rim provided almost all that was ever required to bring a fish under control with the exception of the freshest springer or the sort of leviathans more often found in fishing folklore from the wrong side of a bottle of whisky. It was with these sort of preconceptions that I was given the opportunity to trial the latest and perhaps the most functional reels yet made to date, the Loop Speedrunner and Megaloop. With a diameter to dwarf all others you can't help wonder whether this is a shallow marketing ploy or do we really need the level of functionality that these reels offer.
LOOP reels have always been at the very forefront of design, style and function and the latest two editions to the range are no exception. The large arbour reel which Loop reintroduced has now become the benchmark from which almost all modern reels are now designed. Not content on resting and refining this concept the new range of reels takes the functionality of the large arbour to proportions not seen since some of the original centre pin reels.
The reels are visually very appealing although in a manner that initially shocks the senses and challenges the preconceptions of what a reel 'should' look like. A minimalist design gives them a somewhat fragile appearance although they house the latest sealed drag system which on first appearance provides the stopping power necessary to tackle saltwater species. This however is secondary to the design brief of the reel and that is functionality. What these reels do is allow very quick line retrieve due to their large diameters. Not something critical on a chalk stream so no need to dispose of your grandfather's pride and joy just yet, however a different story when you need to get line back on the reel fast and if ever a need was more vital it would be with saltwater species.
With this in mind the two reels made an exciting addition to my armoury on a recent trip to Cuba where the diversity of the species that one can encounter is matched only in equal proportions by the sheer strength of the fish in question. Anyone who has fished for Bonefish or knows of their reputation will know that they are capable of stripping a hundred yards of line off your reel in a matter of seconds. This burst of speed is then usually followed by frantic winding as one attempts to maintain tension with the fish. Ordinarily this involves some extreme hand aerobics combined with over the top of the head rod waving and back arching.
With the Speedrunner I suddenly felt that I was back in control. The loose coils of line vanished magically back onto the reel and normality was restored. Again and again I had a simple mantra running through my head -"Loop Speedrunner makes fishing too easy". It was as simple as that although my comments need some justification. I was consummately satisfied with the performance of the reel. It even allowed my guide to take a breather from the flow of expletives which seemed to be part of the preamble prior to my hooking a fish and he nodded encouragingly each time I averted a potential disaster, regaining control just prior to the Bones disappearing with fly and leader into the numerous mangrove entanglements. I do not mean that it made fishing too easy. It just meant that I retained a greater degree of control and on that basis I cannot fault the reel as it does exactly what it sets out to do. These fish require a slightly different set of design parameters. It is not so much the case of retrieving large amounts of line very swiftly which the fish has pulled from the reel but getting loose line back onto the reel. Once firmly struck a decent sized Tarpon will most often remove any slack line very swiftly. However in the confines of the mangrove channels one does not have this luxury. To allow a fish to take more than a few yards of line can often spell disaster as they disappear into the nest of mangrove roots along with your hopes and pride. Instead, one has to cling on for dear life and should a tiny window of opportunity present itself, desperately recover line back onto the reel where you can allow the powerful drag to take the place of burnt fingers. Again the large diameter of the Megaloop excels at this task.
Out in the open water a powerful drag is first and foremost and the colourfully named 'power matrix drag' does the job. Retrieving line from a big Tarpon is more of a pump and reel operation, however the quicker you can transfer line to the reel the less recovery time you concede to your quarry. To the uninitiated this may seem like trivial pedantics however even a moderate sized tarpon is a formidable adversary and given any recovery leeway your chances of releasing the fish by your own fair hand grow proportionately smaller. Any aspect which helps define the difference between success and failure is an asset worth having.
Both of these reels are packed with little details that go to make them a very well rounded package. Would I trade in all my old reels to seek out these advantages? Maybe not. Above all as long as one has a solid robust reel for saltwater then you are halfway there. If I was replacing old and worn items or kitting out for the first time then in a competitive market this is a very real option and a head turner to boot.
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