#3 (tie)  Loop Opti Stream 9 foot #5  $532.00

loop Opti Stream

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loop Opti Stream

 George's Comments

The Opti Stream has consistently performed well in our shootouts and once again it holds its own against much more expensive rods.  This is for sure the best bargain in top performing rods.   It’s pretty hard to justify spending another $200-$300 if what you are looking for is performance.  This is also a very light rod, with the top score in swing weight.  As you’ll see in the deflection chart the action is slower than most of the other good rods and the stiffer tip doesn’t allow for as much feel or accuracy at close range than we were getting with the best rods.  


The handle is a comfortable Western style grip, but the reel seat is a pretty cheap looking solid aluminum seat.  But it is double locking and seems to work well.  The guides are two SiC stripping guides and then some fairly large hard chrome snake guides.  This is a gray rod with darker gray wraps, trimmed in silver.  Loop is a Swedish company but the rods are produced in Korea, in the same factory as the Hardy rods.


George’s Casting Notes:   The perfect line: S. A.  MPX in WF-5-F.

Performance at 25 feet:  19 points out of 20

Good, but not in the class of the NRX LP or Radian.   The stiffer tip hurt short-range accuracy.   

Performance at 45 feet:  19.5 points out of 20

Solid.  This rod forms very tight loops with very good accuracy.  Nice and light in my hand too, which I like.  A little better than the Helios 2.

Performance at 70 feet:  19 points out of 20

Good, but the NRX LP, Radian and Wraith were unquestionably better.  



#2 (tie) - Loop Opti-Stream  9’#5   $532.00 – 58/60

loop Opti Stream

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James' Comments

Here lies the hidden gem of the whole lot.  The Loop Opti-Stream is arguably THE perfect 5-weight in terms of compromise and performance at all distances, not to mention you’ll have an extra $167-$317 if you buy it instead of an NRX LP, Raidian, Zephrus, or Wraith.

The only thing that we have heard from fellow anglers and customers alike is that the Opti-Stream has a tendency to break. Of course 95% of rod breakage is due to angler error, it still raises a hint of concern.  We’ve definitely sent back a few more of these than G.Loomis rods, Scott rods or St. Croix rods (all rods with nano-resin in their tip sections)…

Jamie’s Casting Notes with a Scientific Angler MPX WF-5-F line.

Performance at 25 feet:  19.5 points out of 20

Another rod that the feels very light in the hand.  With noticeably softer mid and tip sections yet a powerful butt section, this rod performs great.  A hint of hinge kept it from scoring a 20 but still exceptionally pleasingly to cast.

Performance at 45 feet:  20 points out of 20

The Opti-stream casts right with the best of them at this distance.  Tight, smooth, easy to form loops all day long.  I didn’t have to force more energy or double haul the rod, nor did I have to back off the heat, I just let the rod do the work and smiled… $$$

Performance at 70 feet:  18.5 points out of 20

In calm situations I’d be temped to score this rod another perfect 20.  But the Hardy Wraith is the only rod that deserves that mark.  If casting a country mile isn’t as important to you as great feel and you are on a budget, this rod is truly a terrific buy. 

Cast the whole line? 

No prob Bob! 



7.     Loop Opti Stream

loop Opti Stream

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Logan's Comments

The Loop Opti Stream is a solid mid-priced rod.  It’s got a great look and it's super light.  I think the slight breeze hurt the Opti Streams performance.  This is one rod I highly recommend, especially for the price.

Logan's casting notes: 55 out of 60 

Performance at 25 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

The Loop Opti Stream was very good in close.  This was my favorite distance to cast this rod, because it is very light and balanced.  The Loop Opti Stream would be an excellent dry fly rod.

Performance at 45 feet: 18.5 points out of 20

This rod also performed well at 45 feet.  Good accuracy and very good feel.

Performance at 70 feet: 18 points out of 20

This is where performance went down for the Loop Opti Stream.  It was still getting it out there, but I had to work a little harder to make accurate casts near the plate. 


7.  (tie)   Loop Opti - 56

loop Opti Stream

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Josh's Comments

I’ve fished the Loop Opti-stream with confidence over the last few years.  Originally I was put off by the little bit larger cigar grip.  I don’t notice this as much anymore and with many 5-weight rods starting to use full wells or larger cigar grips it’s not really enough to make or break the rod.  I have had a few anglers in my boat over the last year that were fishing the new Opti-stream rods and everyone that’s used them has been able to throw large dries with long rubber leg droppers with ease.  The only downfall with the Opti-stream is we have seen a few more of these break than other rods. 


Performance at 25 feet:  18.5 points out of 20  

The first thing I noticed about the Opti Stream was how unbelievably light it was in hand.  The cork grip took some adjustment because it was larger than a lot of the other rods we tested and I have smaller hands.  However I soon forgot about the grip after a few casts in close.  With a flick of the wrist this rod was putting the yarn indicator exactly where I wanted it to go.  

Performance at 45 feet:  19 points out of 20  

The Opti is a machine when casting to 45’.  At this distance the line seemed to float right into place without much effort, a lot like the Hardy Zephurs.  I liked that the Opti-stream wasn’t too fast or too slow - it is the perfect balanced taper for a great all-around 5-weight. 

Performance at 70 feet: 18.5 points out of 20 

I had a lot of control at this distance, nice tight loops with decent accuracy.  Almost as good as the Hardy Zephurs at this distance. However it does lack the power that you’d find in the Hardy Wraith or Scott Radian.  Great rod for the money and kudos to Loop for getting this rod right.


#3.  Loop Opti Stream  -  59/60

Loop Optistream

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JG's Comments

The Loop Opti Stream is, in my opinion, one of the most underrated rods ever made.  I think that everyone should have one of these rods.  It might lack just a little power when throwing bigger streamers and nymphs but if that’s all your doing you’ll be looking at a heavier rod.  I think that the Loop Opti Stream has just the right amount of flex, power, sensitivity, and accuracy, at $532 I think that it’s one of the best bargains in the business.

Performance at 25 feet:   20 points out of 20

At 25 feet the accuracy is perfect.  Targets aren’t a huge challenge to hit at 25 feet but you haven’t cast an accurate rod until you’ve picked up the Opti-Stream.  You can feel the rod flexing and working to get your cast just right, which is something that a lot of rods don’t have at short distances.

Performance at 45 feet:   20 points out of 20

At 45 feet accuracy is again the name of the game and the Loop Opti-stream is one of my favorite rods at this distance.  It has the ability to just pick up the line and lay it right back down just where you want it, no false casting, no fuss.  Casting this rod at 45 feet lets the angler know how a rod should feel. 

Performance at 70 feet:   19 points out of 20

The Opti-Stream is still a great rod as you move beyond 45 feet and start to stretch your casts out a little bit, just not quite as good.  It still has all the feel and responsiveness that I like from the shorter ranges, it just lacks some of the power.  I don’t really think that this is all bad.  I feel that some of the 5wts are to powerful for their own good, If you want a rod that can cast articulated streamers you wont be looking at a 5 wt.  For what I would use a 5 -weight for I feel that the Opti Stream is one of the most well rounded well balanced rods on the market.