What is the Loop Q series fly rod?
The Loop Q Series is Loop's recently introduced entry-level fly rod range of single-handed and double-handed fly rods. Although they're priced well below most other rods in Loop's lineup, the Q series rods look great, feature well made and stylish fittings and cast really well for the money so represent great value.
The Q rods all have a four-piece design with a smooth dark matte grey blank which looks stylish and understated, without being too blingy. There are nice whippings which have outer bands of black, an inner section of grey and some accent stripes of red, which look really nice. Everything is very neatly put together.
What models are in the Q Series range?
The Q Series range includes seven single-handed rods and two double-handed rods. The single-handed rods are all 9' in length and range from a 4wt up to a 10wt, so cover a whole breadth of fly fishing applications. The double-handed rods include a 13'2" 8wt and a 15' 10wt to cover salmon and sea trout.
The 4wt is ideal for trout and grayling and is said to flex deeper into the blank during casting. The 5wt is aimed at fishing dries, nymphs and small streamers for trout, while the 6wt can handle larger flies. It's this model that's probably best suited to most stillwater trout fishing, I think.
The 7wt will chuck bigger flies for trout and can be used for single-handed salmon fishing, as well as sea trout, while the 8wt and 9wt rods have a faster action and are aimed at pike and other large species, such as muskie and bass.
Loop Q Series single-handed rods
|LQR490-4MF||9'||4wt||Medium to Medium Fast||96g|
|LQR590-4MF||9'||5wt||Medium to Medium Fast||97g|
|LQR690-4MF||9'||6wt||Medium Fast +||97g|
|LQR790-4MF||9'||7wt||Medium to Medium Fast||116g|
Loop Q Series double-handed rods
|LQR8132-4MF||13'2"||8wt||Medium Fast +||272g|
|LQR8132-4MF||15'||10wt||Medium Fast +||329g|
How do their weights compare to other rods?
As you'd expect from an entry level rod range with a lower price tag, the Q Series rods are slightly heavier in most sizes than the more expensive models in the lineup, but not significantly so. In some cases, they actually weigh in at less than the more expensive models. They're also substantially lighter than the last generation Loop Evotec which comprise most of my rod collection, which shows how much rod technology has moved on in recent years.
They also compare well weight-wise to similarly priced rods from competitors. In the smaller sizes, such as 4wt, 5wt and 6wt, there's only a gram or two of weight difference between the rods, so they're all pretty light. Similarly, there's very little weight difference between the 8wt and 9wt rods. Importantly, they feel light when being used, which is more important to most people than the weight number alone.
|Line weight||Loop Q||Loop Evotec Cast||Loop Cross S1||Loop Evotec (last gen)|
What are the actions like?
Each Loop Q rod is designed for a specific purpose, so the actions differ from rod to rod to allow them to perform well in their intended application. The actions range from medium to medium fast and fast. Much of how the rod feels, though, will at least partly depend on what line you match it to. The 6wt I've been using is described as medium fast and this description is spot on.
How good is the cork handle?
The 4wt, 5wt and 6wt all use the usual reverse half wells handle common to this size of rod, while the larger 7wt, 8wt, 9wt and 10wt models use a full wells handle, which has a wider area at the front to give you extra grip when handling a heavier fly line.
The Loop Q Series rods are made from "AA" grade cork and have cork mix reinforcement bands in the key spots to help give a harder wearing grip. Cork is expensive stuff these days, so cheaper rods tend to have a bit more filler than the expensive ones, and the Loop Q is no different, really.
The cork quality is much the same as other rods at this price point, though obviously lower than on Loop's premium rods, like my Cross SX, as you would expect.
What is the reel seat like?
The rods come with a round aluminium reel seat with a pale grey matt finish and the Q logo on each side. There are two locking rings with a rubber edge to provide a tight grip on your reel foot to keep things from working loose. It's quite a good looking real seat, I think, and goes well with the minimalist colour scheme of the rod.
What are the rings like?
The exact rings provided differ according to the size of the rod, but the 6wt Q I have been testing come with a stainless steel hard chrome stripping guide on the second section and uses the usual chrome snake rings on the others. The larger Q Series rods in the 7-10 weight range use American Tackle titanium stripping guides. Whippings are pale grey with clear varnish.
What are they like to use?
As with any rod, its feel and action can be hard to put into words. I've been using the Loop Q 6wt fly rod, which is said to have a medium fast action. It feels light in the hand and slightly crisp but the medium fast label is a true reflection of its action. It's not as fast as the Cross SX nor the Evotec, so those used to faster rods will need to slow their stroke down a fraction to get the best from the rod.
The Q is several hundred less expensive than the top of the range Loop rods, so as you would imagine, it's not quite in the same league. There's a little less feel in the tip and a bit more noise from the guides, for example, but it compares very well to other rods at the same sort of price point and is still a great piece of kit. It's two or three times less expensive than the other models, but it's not two or three times worse to cast or use.
It's a very capable rod. It's got a good amount of power in the blank and copes very well. When fishing on a day with 30-40mph gusts, I was able to cope without issues and get decent distance, even when double hauling my line straight into a headwind. It coped admirably with the conditions. You can feel what the line is doing so controlling your loop is easy and the rod worked well at all distances. I was impressed with how well it coped with distance casting too. Putting out a whole line and a rod length of backing was fairly effortless.
How much do they cost?
Loop kindly lent me this one for review and it's not one I've bought myself, though I do own loads of Loop rods. (Update: I now have a Q in #9). It sells for £173 across all of the single-handed models, while the double-handed versions cost £273 to £304 depending on their size. Each one comes with a Cordura tube and cloth bag. I'd certainly consider one of these myself. You get a decent rod for the money and their casting ability belies their relatively low pricetag.
More information: Loop Tackle Design