What is the Loop Evotec Cast fly rod?
The Evotec Cast is a range of fly rods sitting in the middle of Loop's fly rod range, between the entry-level Loop Q fly rod and the Loop Cross SX and Loop 7X at the top. They are the successors to the earlier and very highly rated Loop Evotec fly rod range, which was a very popular one with GAIA casting instructors.
The Evotec Cast range includes single-handed fly rods for regular trout fishing, double-handed fly rods for salmon, and switch rods for sea trout. It's quite a broad range of fly rods and covers all the usual sizes and line weights, as well as a broad range of actions to suit different applications and casting styles.
The rods were all designed and developed in Sweden and are manufactured by one of the world's top rod makers in Korea, I believe. All of the models in the range are four-piece rods, unlike the previous versions, which were all three-piece. This means the rod tubes are shorter, so fit better into your car boot or your luggage when travelling.
What action do they have?
For the single-handed Loop Evotec Cast range, there are three different rod actions available: a medium action, a medium-fast action, and a fast action. Each rod action is sold as a separate sub-range and comes with a different coloured blank and is available in line weights and rod lengths that match the action.
What models are in the range?
The Loop Evotec Cast range is split into three sub-ranges: The medium action range starts with an 8'6" #2 and goes up to a 9' #5; the medium-fast range starts with an 8'6" #2 and goes up to a 10' #7, and the fast range starts with a 9' #5 and goes up to a 9' #11.
As a result, the entire Evotec Cast range of single-handed rods covers pretty much every type of trout, carp, pike, and grayling fishing imaginable, as well as covering saltwater and other tropical predators. The only notable exception is a Euro nymphing model, which is covered separately in the Loop Opti K2 Euro Nymphing rod, and more recently in the Loop Q fly rod series.
As you might imagine, as fly rod manufacturing technology has improved, the Evotec rods have got lighter. In the old range the lightest rod was a 9' #3 weighing in at 99g, but that's now just 87g in the Evotec cast range. My original Loop Evotec 10' #8 weighed in at 138g, which is now heavier than the new Evotec Cast #11W...
Medium fast action
What is the handle like?
The handle of the Loop Evotec Cast varies according to the line weight of the rod. The smaller models, like my Loop Evotec Cast 9' #3 has a regular reverse half wells grip, while the larger models like my Cast 9'6" #7 have a full wells handle and a fighting butt.
The cork quality is pretty decent - much better than the Loop Q fly rod and not that much different to the more expensive Loop Cross SX. There's a bit of filler, but not too much, and the front and rear of the handles have a neat epoxy reinforced ring of cork-resin to add a bit of extra robustness.
They're well-formed and comfortable to grip. Sadly, the excellent X-grip handle that was an option on the previous Loop Evotec range is no longer offered on these new rods or any rods in the Loop range. That's a shame as it really did seem to be more comfortable and seemed to reduced casting or grip fatigue for me.
What colour are the blanks?
The blank of each rod varies according to its action. The medium-fast models have an attractive dark grey blank, which makes them look very similar to the premium Loop Cross SX models. There's only a subtle colour difference between the two ranges.
The medium action models have a sort of butterscotch yellow colour that implies a slower feel, while the fast action models have a dark blue blank. The paint is glossy, stylish and beautifully finished. There are also marker dots to help you align the sections during assembly.
What are the fittings like?
Fittings are very good quality for a rod of this price range. They look very similar to the ones used on the Cross SX. They're smart and neatly finished, with much nicer thread than you get on the cheaper Loop Q series, I think.
Most of the rings are chrome snake guides, but there are also titanium stripping guides from American Tackle on the lower rings. The double-handed versions have ceramic stripping guides instead.
What about the reel seat?
The handles are very similar to those of the previous version of the Evotec, being a lightweight aluminium format with three sides.
These are all uplocking reel seats, with the locking rings below the reel. The smaller line weight models have a single uplocking ring, while the larger ones have two.
Do they come with a rod tube?
Yes, all models come with the usual pale grey sectioned cloth bag, which is labelled with the model name and number. That's handy if you have several similar rods and limits the likelihood that you'll pack away a rod in the wrong rod sock and arrive on a subsequent trip carrying the wrong gear.
Loop Evotec Cast rods are supplied in a pentagonal Cordura rod tube, not that different in appearance from the previous lineup, rather than the more expensive aluminium tube you get with the Cross SX or 7X range.
The rod tubes have a handle on them to help you carry several at once, or lash them securely to your rucksack while hiking, and have a zip around the top to keep the rod safely locked inside.
What are they like to use?
I'm a massive fan of Loop rods and the Evotec range in particular. Between us, George and I have over a dozen Loop rods of which nine are Evotecs and three are Evotec Casts. They're really excellent quality rods that perform well and cast brilliantly - certainly well above their price point.
The Evotec Cast models are very nice rods to cast and fish with. The action and feel obviously depends on the rod in question and the line with which it is paired. My #3 medium-fast is great for casting dries, nymphs, and spiders and can comfortably handle a small streamer if you adjust your stroke a bit. The #2 medium is wand-like and lovely to cast.
My #7 Medium Fast casts very nicely, handling both regular #7 lines and heavier #8 lines and fast sinking lines without an issue. It loads nicely and is relatively fast, so don't be too put off by the "medium-fast" description. This model can chuck a team of flies, handle big bulky streamers or snake flies, and turn over big indicator rigs. This is going to be my main rod for Loch Style fly fishing this season.
What fly lines suit the Evotec Cast?
Since not every #6 line weighs the same, despite its line weight rating, Loop helpfully provides the line weight in grams that it thinks is the perfect match for each rod.
Since Loop also provides the weights for its Evotec fly lines, such as the Loop Evotec 85, Evotec 100, and Evotec 140, you can be sure you'll select a line Loop's experts reckon is well suited to the rod.
Of course, if you prefer a heavier feel and a deeper load, you can also go up a size, or use a heavier line. My #3 medium-fast is well-suited to a #3 line, but I actually prefer the feel of the #7 medium-fast with a line one weight heavier. It casts fine with a #7, and I'm not usually a fan of overlining, but to me, it feels more comfortable and effortless to cast with a Loop Opti fly line in #8 rather than #7.
|Action||Model||Line weight||Recommended line weight (g)|
How much do they cost?
The Loop Evotec Cast range retail for around £440 each, having risen in price since their initial launch a few years ago. They're currently close to being discontinued and Loop is clearing the last of its old stocks, so you can currently pick them up for around half price. That's excellent value, I think.