Field Test - Loop Opti Power 7 weight
by Justin Anwyl
Series: OPTI Power
Length 9 foot
Line/weight 7 / 14-17 g
Rod Pieces 5
Rod Weight 129 g
This is a 5 piece 9ft Salt water rod, designed specifically for the travelling salt water fly fisherman I've thought for many years that the one downside for any travelling rod is the short number of pieces (sometimes as many as 8) which must have a negative impact on strength. Manufacturers will tell you differently but I'd far prefer to use a rod with as few spigot joins as possible and this rod has got round that by making it travel friendly (the longest section<2 foot) without compromising on strength
Colour and components
The OPTI Power 7 weight has an attractive dark blue finish with each section from the Butt up whipped with ample sized snake eyes. The second and third section also have ceramic finished guide rings.
A nice touch is that each rod section has the rods classification on it thereby ensuring your rod section from an 8 weight doesn't get mixed up with a different rod from the same series which is very easily done.
The reel seat is brushed aluminium and in a triangular shape which has the ability to attach counterweights,(these are included), in order to balance the rod being used with a light reel.
The rod handle is made of Cork which has been shaped in a Full-Wells design for grip with minimum filling.
The OPTI Power 7 weight arrives in a Pentagonal Cordura carrying case of 2 feet in length with a heavy duty centre handle.
I have used the OPTI Power 7 weight as a guiding rod since March 2007 and although it is not a super fast action it is light to the feel with good progressive power under normal conditions. The rod works extremely well with a 7 weight line (multi-tip) whilst managing any number of sink-tip extensions which is essential when trying to locate Bass off our Southern coastline.
The rod has held out on it's overall appearance, namely the cork is of good quality and the varnishing on the guide rings remains as good as new.
The locking nuts on the reel seat have been fitted with nylon washers and were released easily when taking the reel off after 6 months work.
Where this rod comes into its own is under still / calm conditions where you have the fighting power of a heavier class of rod combined with the finesse of a delicate trout rod. The Opti saltwater 7 series handles the weight of a standard clouser with precision and ease.
In a perfect world
This 7 weight rod is priced at £430 whilst the 8 weight is a mere £10 more expensive. My opinion is that the 7 weight is a perfect back up rod when wind conditions allow and this has been reinforced when used on evening sessions when the wind is dropping, a perfect class of rod when the fly fisherman wants to experiment away from trout river fishing into the more unforgiving elements of estuary flood plains and foreshore - If I had a choice I would select the 8 weight as the class for all conditions, as June and July 2007 were abnormally windy with average wind speeds of 25 knots and my opinion would be that a slightly heavier if not faster carbon blank would cope better under these conditions.
The designers at LOOP have created a valuable piece of equipment under the OPTI range, very well manufactured with quality components all through the rod. At a price range of between £430 and £455 these rods are not cheap but compete very aggressively with all the top names.
If I had to make a suggestion, I would love to see both the 7 weight and 8 weight rods manufactured to a length of 10 foot, I feel that this extra length is extremely useful when hauling a full load of line into the back cast when starting your pickup.
You can find Justin's website at www.bass-fishing.co.uk where you can check up on the latest reports and book his guiding service to catch bass on the fly.
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