Loop Pike Booster Review

Ok, so it had to happen – I became all tackle tarty and just had to get my hands on a dedicated Pike fly rod – well I got two in fact however this review is dedicated to the fairly new on the market Loop Pike Booster.

Loop says:

If big toothy critters is the name of your game, the Pike Booster is the rod for you. With a deep progressive action the Pike Booster delivers big flies as easy as nothing. A handle in a cork/rubber mix gives you a steady grip and with a fighting handle in black foam we ensure that you’ll come out on top. Style and attitude included.

Oh yea baby – I could be doing with a bit of style when I am tossing these flies that look like budgies on to the water in the hope of potentially dragging a dinosaur from the depths. However is the rod up to the job? – and what exactly is this cork/rubber mix all about? a fighting handle – do you need one?

The Loop Pike Booster is a 9 foot 3 section 8/9 weight rod.

Does it look Sexy?

The rod has a nice slim matt black blank. This is useful as Pike tend to follow your fly quite close and what you don’t want is the beast being spooked at the last minute by flash from a shiny rod. More manufacturers are doing this and it is a welcome sign.

There is a fighting butt which I never really see the need for however I can imagine on a double figure fish would be useful.

An interesting thing about the handle on the Pike Booster is the material they have decided on using – they have decided to use a cork and rubber mix. I was a bit worried about this as I thought it might make the rod feel cheap however I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually liked it. The handle feels warm in your hand on cold days and gives a nice sturdy feel.  I suspect that if real cork was used the price would be driven up.

The rod has a funny wee fore grip for tussling with those big leviathans which tire out your arm. It is easy to poo poo this idea however when I was watching my fishing buddy drag a particularly belligerent pike out of the weeds I noticed he was holing on to where the fore grip would have been on his rod.  Not strictly needed however it adds no weight to the rod and makes the rod feel a little special – and dare I say a little bit sexy.

 

When I first looked this rod up I noticed a couple of people complaining about the use of yellow Gothic Script above the reel seat and below the foregrip. I was expecting big garish letters that would/may get right up my nose after a while however I found them to be quite small and not really “in your face” 

 

Pike fly fishing is a funny fringe pursuit (although more people are taking to it every year) so I suppose they are pointing out the quirkiness of the sport. With pike flies subtlety is not needed :-)

The rod comes in a soft material bag and of course a rod case.

Castability – does the fancy stick feel good to cast?

I made that word up – I reckon I will use it in all my rod reviews.

Anyway, my last Pike rod was an 8/9 weight and was not dedicated to Pike – it was really intended as a Salmon rod. The difference between it and the Pike Booster was tremendous. The Pike Booster is a whole lot faster which means that casting big flies was pretty easy. I used this rod with a WF8 and WF9 – I liked them both however felt it handled the 8 weight better – keeping the nine in reserve for windy days or when I had to use a sink tip.

There are good over-sized guides on the rod – this assists with casting and shooting line. I did use this rod with a fast sinking poly leader which dragged the fly and fly line down effectively turning it into an intermediate – the rod coped well with dragging the whole lot back to the surface to recast.

I enjoy casting it and at close quarters fishing it is easy to manoeuvre – when you are fly fishing for pike on the canal, for example, and you want to cast to the opposite bank you must keep half the line you are casting in your hand and cast along the bank you are standing on so you do not catch the trees behind you – at the last moment you change direction and shoot the remaining line at the opposite bank – if you do it right it works perfectly – it takes some practice though – the Loop Pike Booster does that with ease.

I like the fact it is not uber fast which means it is forgiving to casting faults.

Does it handle the beasts?

Bottom Line

You need two rods (more if you go crazy) for going after Pike  -

  1. An 8/9 weight for small streamers & poppers that handles a  floating line – which hopefully can handle the odd time you need to use an intermediate.
  2. A strong 9/10 for hurling big streamers and divers at the beasts – this should also be able to handle using intermediates and full sinking lines with ease. 
Like I say – I suppose you can get away with using either one of these types of rod for Pike depending on your location – however you really need two to cover all eventualities.
The Loop Pike Booster satisfies the first rod choice without any problems at all – great for a bit of summer, river and canal or where you know you will not need to get down and dirty. 
A criticism might be the fact it is in 3 pieces – ideally with a rod like this you may well want to take it on holiday with you – maybe if you are going to the Caribbean and know you could fish for Bonefish – there is no way this baby will be fitting in your case so it will be an extra item of luggage to pay for.
I suppose the other point to remember is that you don’t actually have to buy a rod that says Pike on it – however what you do get with the Pike Booster is a little bit of quirkiness from guys that know their Pike!
You will probably have to do a search for places that stock them, last time I was in Glasgow Angling Centre they did not have them although they will probably be able to order it in for you. As ever I recommend you try before you buy, if you are a reader and live around Glasgow I do not mind meeting up for a cast.
Recommended!

41 comments to Loop Pike Booster Review

  • alan atkins

    Alistair, as you know i have not been that keen on the idea of fly fishing for pike ( they’re not game fish after all !!!) but iam slowly warming to the idea. The only thing that i don’t like the idea of is using a broom handle to throw these huge flees. However, your review of the Pike Booster sounds like this rod makes the job a whole lot easier and more comfortable. Two things that i have issue with , firstly, the fighting butt. This is unecessary ! I have tamed several double figured salmon on a single hnded 8 weight rod with no trouble at all, and although i know that Pike are strong fish, they lack the speed and power of a fresh run salmon ( which is essentially a sea fish)fighting in a strong current, i do feel that the fighting butt is a wee bit unecessary. On a technical note, a floating line coupled with a fast sinking ployleader is not the same as an intermediate. An intermediate is a very slow sinkling line where the whole line sinks at a specific rate per second. If you add a fast sinking polyleader to a floater andn add a big flee then the fly will fish at a depth more akin to the old wet cell 3′s, or even deeper. Most fishers don’t understand that an intermediate is basically a very slow sinker where the line sinks slowly throuhg the layers. Iam talking , of course, about river work here where the curent will keep the line up higher in the water than on the still waters where you fish for Pike. Furthermore, you will find that an initial roll cast followed by a single spey will enable you to bring the heaviest flees up from the depths and make your cast even when bankside trees or high banks prevent an overhead cast. I’m sure that you would pick it up in no time.

  • Hi Alan,

    When it comes to speed and power I cannot wait until you have caught a big momma and are trying to haul the beast from its nest – a fighting butt would come in useful as your arm becomes sore!

    Interesting point about the intermediate – I will be having a try at another Pike fly rod soon – a ten weight – you should maybe have a cast of that the next time we are out together!

  • scott

    I dont understand the need to compare a pike against a salmon. They are both awesome fish in their own right.
    I love to fish for roach, and they dont possess the power or speed of a butterfly! great nonetheless.
    However, pike ARE fast.

    Glad you wrote up the rod review alistair made for interesting reading, look forward to the esox lucius review!

  • I’m fascinated with this whole pike-on-the-fly thing you’ve got going on.Our mutual pal Jeremiah Quinn has had some success with them, i think on an 8wt.

    I’ve been fancying a Sage 7’11″ bass rod for a while, $400 for rod, tube,reel and line (inc shipping) is pretty fair and at 8/9 = smallmouth and 9/10 = largemouth I’m thinking they would
    do the business stateside for bass, here and in sweeden for Pike and in the salt for Seabass.

    Do any readers have any experience of them?
    SBW

  • alan atkins

    Scott, the need to compare a Pike and a salmon comes from my arguement against the need for a fighting butt, nothing more complicated than that!! I’m quite happy for fishers to fish for what ever floats their boats and as Alistair will tell you, i take my fishing very seriously and it is only due to family commitments that i do not get out as much as i’d like. Saying that, most fishers who have been at it a long time will have their preferences. My point was that salmon in the river will fight harder than pike , full stop, no question. On Monday one of my friends released a 30lb salmon from our favourite river, it took him a full 50 minutes to land and had all the fly line out twice, running some 200 yards up into the next beat. Pike just don’t have that kind of stamina. I was only responding to Alistair’s review of the rod and his points on the merits of a fighting butt. One of the joys of fishing is to compare the fighting behaviour of one fish against another, but the challenge of catching fish that don’t feed will always, for me, outweigh fishing for fish that eat almost anything. As you mature as an angler and as the pressures of grown up life become more and more, you have to prioritise and fish for what captivates you most. For me, migratory fish with the occassional foray into trout and grayling is the choice that i have made, and i’m quite happy with it.

  • Hmmmm – I see where you are coming from Alan – they dont have the stamina however for sheer brute force and the fact the beasts tend to head for the deepest and darkest pile of weed a fighting butt can come in handy – have a look at th eyou tube video several posts back of when Campbell caught his big girl (roughly 14 pound) on the fly.

    http://urbanflyfisher.com/that-thing-would-take-your-hand-off-given-half-a-chance%e2%80%a6/

  • Dougie

    I think the fighting grip on the butt of the rod is a good addition to a Pike fly rod.

    I’ve had several big double figure Pike recently including 2 over 20lbs which required leverage higher up the butt section in order to stop deep, searing runs. A good fight is great but with Pike, you need to get them in quickly as they are fragile and can take a while to recover – it’s essential that the tackle is up to the job.

  • alan atkins

    Ok ,that’s it , Alistair! You have to take me out and convince me of this addiction that seems to have inflicted you before i go hunting the ladies again. Its the wife’s 40th nex month so i’m up to my neck in it trying to think of original gifts and arranging parties, meals out, weekends away etc etc etc ! However, i’m sure i’ll manage a couple of days out in November if conditions allow. In the meantime i’m off to my favourite North East river forthe last tiem next week and then a day on the Nith in November to finish the season. I’m really keen to bank my 30th salmon for the season and with the river in great ply, hopefully next week will be the week. To put that into perspective , its interesting to note that ” the master ” of the rivers up there has had over 130 this season !!!

  • scott

    Fair enough alan, i misinterpreted it. I dont doubt for a second that salmon fight harder and longer, pike are all about short sharp fights.
    And as yet i’ve never had to use a fighting butt to tame them, I’ve never had a really big fish yet, maybe 8 or 9lbs on the fly, and despite fighting very hard ive never felt the fighting butt would give me an advantage. However the fighting GRIP that comes on many new pike and saltwater rods seems like a good addition, quite often when im playing better fish i apply pressure on that part of the rod for extra pulling power.

    One of the biggest attractions to pike fishing for me is the mystery of the fish. maybe not as mysterious as a sea faring silver beast but they can be equally infuriating on their day.
    The aggression they display at times is heartstopping, at the same time, the takes can be so gentle and civilised…until you set the hook.

  • alan atkins

    Scott, i am being slowly lured towards essox lucius by Alistair and i’m sure its only a matetr of time before i find out for myself. I’m a mean old bugger at the best of times,. so i suppose the thought of splashing out on a whole new outfit scares me somewhat. However, if the bug hits me, it will be another addiction to deal with . New , inventive ways of smuggling new rods, reels etc into the house past ” the home office” will be an interesting and no doubt fruitless challenge !!

  • Hi Alistair,
    Funny that but I have just given a review on my own pike fly-fishing blog about the same rod.Would have spent more time explaining its merits but space is hard to come by on my blog.
    Anyway I agree with you on all aspects regarding this piece of Swedish design.
    great blog by the way

  • Thanks for commenting Graham – yup the loop rod is sweet – I have another rod which I will be reviewing shortly – a ten weight to toss enormous flies and sinking lines!

    Killer site by the way!! – will add to my links list as one to watch !

    Alistair

  • Campbell S

    What the heck is that fly, or is it a rod warmer? I see the 80′s styles are back in vogue!!!

    Campbell

  • I see you have not met my secret weapon Campbell – the “Green n Blue Jigaroo”

  • Yip-I can see the usefulness of the fighting butt,its all about getting the buggers back out of the weed!…Oh by the way,where have you been getting your haddies alan,if you dont mind me asking,are you still fishing the teith?

  • scott

    Im sure you’ll be hooked if you take it up alan, the challenge a new species presents is great fun. Then there are the new waters it brings you to. I suppose one of the best things about pike fishing is that it is free more often than not its also much easier to access / widespread than good salmon fishing.
    PLUS you stand a real chance of hooking a double figure prehistoric killing machine every time the fly hits the water!

  • alan atkins

    Scott, thanks for the gentle persuasion!! I’m sure i”l get out after the Pike before the year is out and certainly free fishing is always attractive. I would definately like to target them from a boat and i know of a river in the South of Scotland that has them in excess of 20lbs. Has anyone tried the dredging area of the Clyde at Biggar? One of my work colleagues had 2 doubles form there in August on lures. Charlie, i had 7 fish from theTieth this year but the rest have been from a river in the North East. If you want more details in return for soem Kelvin migratory knowledge then e-mail me . Alistair has my details.

  • scott

    Pike are a lot more common in our rivers than most people think, id say some rivers have the most under-exploited piking in the country! Something i intend to explore over the next year or so.

  • Campbell S

    My mate had one from the Spey this year ( Pike that is) and I know they are also in the Nith, but not often caught or reported anyway.

  • scott

    The Forth and teith have them , i also hear of them being caught fairly regularly from the garry. unfortunately most folk on salmon beats see it as their “duty” to kill them and leave the carcass by the bank.

  • Campbell S

    I “love” people like that. There are people on the Nith that kill all the grayling they catch too.A friend of mine fished the Canal a week back and found a brownie with its head lopped off on the bank.

  • That was probably pike bait Campbell – hey – are you home yet ?

  • Campbell S

    Good point,yes I am back in sunny Scotland.

    man its cold…..come on the Grayling.

  • alan atkins

    Having fished the Teith as a season holder for the last 4 seasons i know there are large Pike in one particualar pool in the river, the locals hodl a competition for the biggest each year and the winner is usually in the 20lb plus bracket. As for salmon foshers killing pike caught in thier rivers, i hope this is something that is practiced less and less these days. Campbell, i see you are a grayling enthusiast, i have a special place in my heart for these wonderful fish and hopefully this year we will have good conditions for them. Last year,w e only managed abou half a dozen trips out an that was at the tail end of the season.

  • Campbell S

    Yes i too have a soft spot for the Grayling, bit of an obsession really. I am trying to persuade Alistair to join me for a trip to an Amazing place, but he says he is not keen on the cold……

  • scott

    I can’t understand the logic behind killing fish simply because they are not a trout or salmon. variety is the spice of life, i often wish some of our rivers held a plethora of species similar to english waters.

  • scott

    alan maybe you can help me with something then. what is the script with grayling in the tieth?
    I hear they are there but what is the situation with permits etc

  • Just Picked up from my messaging service on this blog and read what you said about indiscriminate killing of other fish Scott.
    Here in Finland I am shocked at how badly Pike is received over here.Only last week while out fly-fishing one of my favourite stretches on Lake Nasijarvi I came across Seven discarded Pike carcasses left on the boggy shore within 30m of each other.Ignorance is not the word I would like to use here.I truly believe that these people have no idea what an important role these Pike play in the general upkeep of a great stretch of water like Nasijarvi.
    Netting is an “Everymans right” here in Finland so lets say in a lake like Nasijarvi (70km long)there are anywhere between 2000 to 3000 nets layed out (by the general public) from Aril to November mainly to target Salmon,Trout,Zander,White fish & Perch, Any Pike found in these nets are killed by their hundreds each month and either just dropped back over the boat or left on the
    lakes shoreline to die and yet If only they knew Pike are an extremely good fish to eat.Unfortunately they are to lazy to fillet them properly and with the other species on offer why should they bother……W*****r’s

  • Scott-grayling fishing is FREE on the tieth,and also on the forth.They dont publicise these details.Oh,and brown trout fishing and pike fishing are also free.Alan-what details do you require?,i only wanted to know what rivers you were fishing out of curiosity-not because i’m going to fish them-i would not waste my money!.I’m fed up being discriminated against on these rivers,who usually charge visitors WAY MORE than the local rods.

  • scott

    Simon in Scotland game anglers are truly disgusted when they catch a pike, or any non-salmonid species. This usually leads to them being killed and left on the bank. You also get legions of people who fish for pike but simply cut the line rather than unhook them. Pike fishing has been ruined in many, many waters in Scotland because of idiots like this.

    Fantastic charlie, i’ve been looking HARD to find accessible grayling waters, not having a driving license makes that pretty tough! Im very, very keen to fish for these pike though. My only fear is that baillifs wouldnt allow the fly rod as my method of attack in case i catch salmon.

  • scott

    I Made a mistake in that comment. I meant to say SOME game anglers are disgusted with pike.

  • I know where your coming from regarding the game anglers and pike Scott-but i’m sure the only anglers who would do such a thing is very much a small minority of idiots who should not be regarded as sportsmen under ANY circumstances!.Pike fishing is magic,but i feel it should only be done by COMPETENT anglers,who have a good understanding of thier quarry.The reason for this is you have to handle them properly and confidently(as you will know)and not like some of the quealing numpties whom i have witnessed on various waters,failing to unhook them properly because they’re scared of the fishes razor sharp teeth!.The fish is then left to swim away with the trace,or worse!.I’ve seen plenty of idiots simply rip the hooks out and leave the fish to die because they didn’t want to lose thier last trace-and most of them were COARSE fishermen!.

  • scott

    I know exactly where your coming from charlie, I am lucky enough to have several pike waters very close to home, Unfortunately they get hammered by the kind of idiots we have already mentioned.
    it’s a shame these fantastic fish are so over-exploited.

    Ignorance is no excuse for poor handling either, its impossible to read anything related to pike that doesnt explain or make reference to the correct handling procedures. I have been put off my local waters because almost half the pike i catch have traces stuck in their mouths or massive hooks stuck in their bodies somewhere. You wouldnt believe how many fish i’ve had to “fix” lately.

    Unfortunately you have to keep good pike waters very close to your chest and only tell those you trust to treat the fish with respect and care.

  • alan atkins

    Campbell, good luck with Alistair and the grayling fishing,he’s a big, saft lump of a boy when it comes to the cold !!! I would be interested to hear where your amazing grayling location is, i suspect i already fish there! You can get my contatc details through Alistair. Scott, as charlie says, and as far as i’m aware, you can fish the Teith for grayling for free and i , for one, will be trying it this season. I have caught several graylingat night whilst fishing for sea trout, so i have an idea where they are to found, in the summer months anyway. Charlie, i would be quite willing to tell you where i fish , but don’t want to put it on the blog. The rivers i fish are sister rivers in the North East of the same name, so i’m sure you can work it out. I was just wanting to chat to you about pools in the Klevin that you’ve seen / caught sea trout and salmon, as i would love to find consistant sea trouting closer to home.

  • Cheers for the info Alan-i heard most of the rivers in that neck of the woods were fishing really well.Scott-you mentioned being apprehensive about throwing your pike feas about on rivers such as the teith-DONT BE-as long as you dont kill any salmon you catch,and return them gently-you have broken no laws,and no action will be taken against you!

  • Campbell S

    Alan maybe we can drag him ……

    Anyway,its all about wearing the appropriate clothing for the conditions…and being a bit tough.

    Feel free to PM me on the forum about amazing Grayling spots, and its not the Schocie (sp?) Burn.

  • Alan – check out this thread in the forum started by Charlie:
    http://urbanflyfisher.com/forum/the-kelvin/flying-for-the-salmon/page-1/

    To all, yes, just to confirm I am an absolute wimp when it comes to fishing in cold conditions – no matter how good the fishing has been the last time you were there when you eventually drag me to the magical spot after regaling me with stories of giant fish – it will be pish!

  • scott

    Right, im sold on the teith for grayling AND pike. Any tips on where i can pick up either species? Bearing in mind i have to get the bus to callendar from cumbernauld, via stirling so time is precious, certainly in winter i wont have the time to walk for miles in search of fish like i normally would.

  • If you,re after the pike Scott-try Normans Pool.It’s on the other side of the water a the main car park in Callander.I’ve seen a few pike being caught there by anglers who were lure fishing for salmon in the past-and a few others have been cut off imediately after striking fish!-the sure sign of a pike.

  • scott

    Thanks for the heads-up charlie, it will be nice to blank on a river rather than a loch / pond for once!

  • [...] a change from the Loop Pike Booster I used my BROMANoDELL’s Esox Lucius 9ft #9/10 coupled with a new 9 weight line as I was [...]