I got a chance to play with the Loop Booster Predator 8’8″ # 9 weight fly rod on my favourite estuary this morning and was very impressed. For a low price point rod ($ 499) it represents excellent value for money.
Initially I was somewhat sceptical that a comparatively short rod could cast a # 9 weight line with ease and this was further reinforced when I slipped the segments out of the cloth bag and saw how thin the rod was at the butt. However as you will see later these fears were totally unwarranted.
The rod itself is well finished and pleasing on the eye. The blank is described as azure – blue but it could easily be described as teal green. The ceramic stripping guides and double coated chrome snake guides were attached to the blank with black thread and each thread wrap was coated in just the right amount of epoxy. No flashy highlights, just elegant simplicity.
The rod sections are the sleeve over (or tip over butt) ferrule type. The butt of each section bears the rod model inscription and this is aligned to a dot at the tip of the lower section when the rod is assembled. The fit was snug and there was no slippage whatsoever in the time that I fished with the rod.
The handle is full wells and has a small fighting butt. It is constructed of a durable cork – rubber composite material. In the hand this felt significantly rougher than cork but I soon got used to the feel and it did not impact on performance in any way. If I owned the rod then I’d be tempted to give it a light sand with fine grit sandpaper just to smooth it off a tad but I’m picking that with use it will wear in anyway. The slightly rough feel would certainly help if you were using the rod in the rain with wet hands or gloves.
The reel seat was Matt black anodised aluminium with dual locking nuts. The groove for the reel seat in the handle and the sliding ring were well machined and held the reel positively. No sign of movement during the session.
When it comes to casting this rod is an absolute cannon. The blank is comparatively stiff (fast) and it loads deep in the blank. Casting 80 – 90′ consistently was effortless. It was a joy to cast with and easily coped with big flies.
The rod is supplied in a cloth bag and a pentagon shaped cordura tube. This angular tube stayed put when placed on slightly inclined surfaces and did not show any propensity to roll like tubes with a circular cross-section can.
Loop claims that “if big toothy critters is the name of your game, the Booster is the rod for you”. I have no doubt that this would be the case as, despite its length, it has some serious power. I’m sure that it would also excel as a kingfish rod (up to say 10 kilograms) especially if it was used from the rocks or a boat. It is that good. To be honest, it performed just like a 9′ rod in the hand. Well worth a look.
BOOSTER ROD SPECIFICATIONS