Loop OPTI K2 9’ #4 $549.00
Here is a brand new rod from Loop that we liked better than their stiffer, more expensive Cross rods. I liked the medium fast action, and this was a pleasantly smooth rod to cast, especially at the longer distances. It was a little heavier than the best rods in both overall weight and swing weight but part of this can be attributed to it being a 9 foot rod, while most other rods in our 4-weight Shootout are 6 inches to a foot shorter.
Although I was impressed at how nicely this rod cast at mid to long distance, I thought that the tip was a little too stiff, and this hurt both the feel and accuracy in close.
The K2 falls into the upper end of the mid-price range but it was blown away by the less expensive Hardy Shadow and Orvis Recon at 25 and 40 feet. Those rods are both a lot lighter in swing weight and faster in action. Out long the K2 seemed to hold its own with the Recon, and it was better than either the Shadow or DXF.
These rods are designed in Sweden, but built in Korea in the same factory that produces the fine Hardy rods. The craftsmanship of the K2 was very good. The color of the blank is a very light silver blue, with the guides wrapped in a darker grayish blue, with some silver trim on the butt section. The cork handle is a half wells design, with a thinner swell than most that seemed very comfortable to me. It is trimmed top and bottom with contrasting, composite cork rings. The quality of the standard size cork rings was excellent.
The reel seat is an unusual, triangular shaped silver anodized seat with no spacer. It has a sliding band and single locking ring that seems to lock up well enough but squeaks a little as you tighten it.
There is no hook keeper on this rod. The guides start with a single SiC stripping guide followed with fairly large diameter but thin wire hard chrome snake guides. The epoxy coatings were a bit too heavy though, not nearly as nice as what we see on the Hardy rods.
The perfect line: SA Amplitude Smooth Infinity in WF-4-F
George’s casting notes:
Performance at 25 feet: 18.0 points out of 20
The stiffer tip didn’t allow for much feel or accuracy. Heads up the Recon and Shadow were far better.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.5 points out of 20
Nice and smooth but noticeably heavier in swing weight than the Recon and Shadow and not nearly as accurate.
Performance at 60 feet: 8.8 points out of 10
I liked the nice loops I was getting and the accuracy was also pretty good, but could not match the Recon or the NRX LP.
We like Loop’s new Opti K2 very much in the 9’#5 and 9’#6 versions, but I felt it was too heavy and stiff in the 9’#4 version. Reducing the size of the huge snake guides would help with the heavier swing weight, as would offering an 8’6” version with a softer/faster tip.
Performance wasn’t terrible, but this was another rod that felt and performed more like a 9’#5 than a great all-around 4-weight.
Shiny silver color stands out! Futuristic silver reel seat matches the blank well. Locking ring on reel seat squeaks quite a bit. Huge chrome snake guides. Alignment dots. Printed rod model on each section (nice for anglers who own more than one K2 rod). Nice grip shape, cork quality is very good with a contrasting composite cork at both ends.
Performance at 25 feet: 17.6 points out of 20
Not bad for a 9 footer, feels stiffer and heavier than most. I wasn’t getting much feel in close.
Performance at 40 feet: 17.9 points out of 20
Smooth casting rod, but the tip feels like it could be softer.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 points out of 10
I thought I would like this rod best at distance but I wasn’t getting the power I thought I would out of this rod.
Logan’s Comments: 43.5 out of 50
The Loop Opti K2 is Loop’s successor to the popular Opti series. I am a huge fan of the discontinued OptiStream so I was hopeful that this rod would be equally impressive. The 4-weight version of the Opti K2 was good, but we were able to cast the 5-weight as well, and I thought that the 5-weight performed better than the 4-weight. This is a very attractive rod. The bright metallic grayish blue blank gave the K2 some “pop” when sitting next to other rods. I am excited to see that Loop also introduced this rod in a 5-weight version.
Performance at 25 feet: 17.5 out of 20
The Loop Opti K2 was not the best rod at 25 feet due to its stiffness, but it was accurate. I would have liked a little better presentation.
Performance at 40 feet: 18.5 out of 20
The Loop was performing much better at 40 feet then it did at 25. Now I’m getting nice loops with good control.
Performance at 60 feet: 7.5 out of 20
The Opti K2 had enough power to manage 60 feet easily, but wasn’t as accurate as many of the other rods in the Shootout.
I was a huge fan of the 9’#5 Loop Opti Stream and was bummed when I heard they were going to discontinue it. It was a very forgiving and enjoyable rod to fish and one that wouldn’t destroy your savings account to get it out the door.
To me the Opti K2 has some of those same characteristics but it’s just a little too stiff and rigid to be the 4-weight I’d reach for when delicate presentations and light tippet are the name of the game.
Performance at 25 feet: 17/20
I just couldn’t get this rod to give me very good accuracy in close. Most likely the stiffness was to blame.
Performance at 40 feet: 17.5/20
Got it to open up a bit more at mid-distance and was getting better accuracy but not the delicate presentations I was looking for.
Performance at 60 feet: 8/10
Good power out to 60’ and now the K2 is performing better for me.
Also ranging on the stiffer side, the Loop Opti K2 had a little more feel and touch than some of its stiffer cohorts. As a 9-foot rod it was at a disadvantage to the best shorter rods.
Performance at 25 feet: 16 out of 20
In close, the rod was ok. It was a little too stiff to give me good accuracy, but not terribly harsh.
Performance at 40 feet: 17.5 out of 20
A little better at this distance, the rod felt like it performed much better once I had more line in the air.
Performance at 60 feet: 7 out of 10
No problem with long casts to 60 feet. The rod handled well but I felt that some feeling and finesse was lost.