Loop Opti Stream 9’ 5-weight    $429.00

Loop Opti Stream

Loop Opti Stream

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George's Notes:

Here is a rod that has performed consistently well in our 5-weight Shootouts over the years.  We are delighted that Loop has kept this terrific rod in their line-up.  Not only that, but they dropped the price from $532 to $429!  This has to be the bargain of the century for a top-performing rod.  Now the price is low enough that the Opti Stream wins the honor for our 2017 Shootout’s best mid-priced rod, stealing this from the Douglas DXF, even though the DXF is $80 less expensive at $349.

When you look at how well the Opti Stream performed (5th in the Overall and 7th in Performance categories), it’s tough to justify spending another $200 to $400.   In our final results, the Opti Stream came in just behind the new T&T $825 Avantt by two tenths of a point!  And it beat nine other rods that ranged in price from $695 to $1000.   In the performance only scores, the Opti Stream bested the Helios 2, the Sage X, the Hardy Wraith and even Loop’s own Cross SX.  That’s impressive. 

Yes, the Opti Stream is that good.  It’s not fancy, but it sure gets the job done.  This is a good-looking rod with quality components.  The color is an olive/gray with black wraps that have some classy silver trim on the butt section.   The handle is a half wells design with excellent cork.  The uplocking seat is all aluminum but with a pleasant and unusual angular design that works very well, having two locking rings.  Guides are two SiC strippers and then dark colored hard chrome snake guides the rest of the way.  The Opti Stream has a medium fast action, much like the Hardy Zephrus but just a tad slower.  This is a heavier rod in swing weight than the very light Cross SX but it doesn’t have nearly the power of the Cross SX at long range.

Loop is a Swedish company, and the rods are designed in Sweden but produced in Korea at the same factory as the Hardy rods.       


The perfect line: S.A. Amplitude MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  19.0 points out of 20

Felt light in my hand with decent performance, but both the G.Loomis NRX LP, Scott Radian, and Hardy Zephrus were better in close.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.4 points out of 20

Here’s the sweet spot for the Opti Stream.  Almost as good as the very best rods.  Very nice tight loops with good accuracy and feel.  Casting head to head, it edged out the Helios 2, the Recon and was the equal of the DXF.

Performance at 70 feet: 8.9 points out of 10

Good, but the stiffer rods like the Avantt, and Radian and Asquith were dramatically better.  



Loop Opti Stream

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 James' Notes:

You don’t see rods go DOWN in price too often.  This year the Loop Opti Stream dropped $103 from $532 to $429!  What the Opti Stream did not drop, is finishing on my podium, with it’s third consecutive number three finish!  This is by far the best bargain in the top performing rods.  The Loop Opti-Stream is now only $80.00 more than our favorite mid-priced rod, the Douglas DXF, which comes in at $349, making it even more obtainable than before. 

Like the G. Loomis NRX LP and Scott Radian, the Loop Opti-Stream is one of the best all-around 5-weights.  With its stiffer butt section but nice, softer tip the Opti-Stream can handle it all, from small dries to medium size streamers.  And do it all while protecting your tippet, and punching into the wind with excellent accuracy and feel. 

Performance at 25 feet:  19.8 points out of 20

Excellent feel and loop control.  Delightful to cast, and very accurate.  Only the G. Loomis NRX LP, Scott Radian and Hardy Zephrus felt as good in close.

Performance at 45 feet:  19.8 points out of 20

Nearly a perfect score, this rod really does a great job.  Effortless to cast with no tailing loops or tangles.  I’m not feeling any extra weight here either. This is a light rod. For only $429, the Opti-Stream is proving it can hang with the best…

Performance at 70 feet:  9.5 points out of 10

Here is where the Opti-stream falls short.  If you try to push this rod too hard and punch it, you’ll get a tailing loop. If I really concentrated in order to make a perfect cast, it was possible but not frequent.  Not great into the wind, but better than most.



Loop Opti Stream

Loop Opti Stream

Buy Now

Logan's Notes:

The Loop Opti Stream has been one of our best selling mid-priced rods in the shop.  The rod is incredibly light in the hand.  I really like the modern look and European aesthetics of the Loop rods. They may not be as popular here in the US as they are overseas, but they have a core group of really good anglers backing their brand (Loop Army), so you know you are purchasing a quality product tested and fished by serious anglers.


Logan’s Casting Notes:

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 out of 20

The light swing weight made this rod feel very good at 25 feet.  This was my favorite distance for this rod.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 out of 20

The Loop Opti Stream still was performing very well at 45 feet.  I love how light in the hand this rod feels.

Performance at 70 feet: 8.5 out of 20

I was forced to work for it at 70 feet.  The Loop Opti Stream had the power to get it out there, but it wasn’t as accurate as many of my top rods.




Loop Opti Stream

Loop Opti Stream

Buy Now

JG's Notes:

The Loop Opti Stream is one rod that gets high marks from us year after year.   It’s a great casting, light weight rod, especially if you don't find yourself needing to reach out to far off fish all that often.  The icing on the cake is that this rod dropped in price this year!


25 Feet – 19.5 points out of 20
I think that the Opti Stream is a nice casting rod for short-range targets.  Its action isn’t as fast as some, which makes it easy to make delicate accurate shorter casts without spooking fish.


45 Feet – 19.5 points out of 20
At 45’ the Opti Stream makes nice smooth casts thanks to its softer action, I got good accuracy and noticed that the rod tracked really well.  This rod would do a good job at protecting light tippets.


70 Feet – 18.6 points out of 20
I didn’t like the Opti Stream as much at 70’.  It doesn't quite have the power to accurately deliver flies at that distance.  Although you can get the rod to cast that far, it’s not the most accurate and you have to work hard at it.