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!

Cheer Up Monday – Strictly 18+

The Pike are not eating, it is wet and windy – the trout are like a distant memory….I suppose we have some things to look forward to…. Continue reading Cheer Up Monday – Strictly 18+

We are gathered here today…

North Country Angler wrote a great post about death and dying – well, not really great – more sombre and well written – you know what I mean!

Anyway, it got me thinking – he rose some very good points about where he wanted his ashes to be scattered and where probably they should not be. I was surprised that he did not want his ashes scattered in a river somewhere however he pointed out that the periods of isolation while fishing are made even better by the thought he has his family to go home to (rather than just bobbing around for eternity) – and also an unseen river where you spend a lot of time might not be the best place for a relative to tip your ashes. Anyway, he seems to have decided on scattering his ashes to the wind at the top of one of the Lake District Fells.

Got me thinking that did about possible places:

  1. The Kelvin – are you kidding me on? It’s full of rats piss and old tampons. I mean I love my urban fishing however spending eternity drifting about in some pool with a dozen guys set lining is not my idea of fun.
  2. The Clyde – Oh yes the beautiful Clyde – maybe get the old ashes put in up at the source – however if some consciousness remains engrained in the grainy powder I may only have a brief look at some of my favourite fishing spots before whooshing downstream and eventually ending up at the nuclear submarine base.
  3. I don’t want to be buried although I do like looking at gravestones and would like to have some mark for someone to look at in a hundred years time. Maybe a statue…50 feet tall holding a huge trout up for all to see…
  4. Up a mountain like North Country Angler – tricky that – the right day would have to be chosen – you don’t want to end up as grit in someone’s cheese and ham sandwiches.

Obviously I still have some thinking on that one to do!

Sadly, I am reminded of someone I spoke to last week who told me his brother had just passed away after a long illness. Towards the end he was on a high amount of painkiller which was making him hallucinate. He sat in his chair fiddling with his fingers in front of him and visitors would ask what he was doing – “Tying Flies” his wife would say. A few days before he died he then started fishing in his living room, imagining he was casting to fish in some river somewhere in his minds eye. One day when his brother was sitting with him it looked like he had cast to a particularly difficult lying trout as the look of concentration on his face was very intent and serious – suddenly a cat walked past which must have spoiled the whole illusion – he rolled his eyes and looked at his brother “Bloody cat” he said to him “scared all the fish”. It was not long after this that he passed away.

I am doubly reminded of a chap who would take me fishing when I was just a young boy. His name was Bill Murdoch and he was responsible for my passion for angling – out on his brother’s boat after salmon on Loch Lomond, he would often call on his father to ensure he got a fish – he and his brothers had spread his ashes over a particularly good trolling lane which just goes to show you some people’s priorities.

Not that I am averse to calling on the deceased to provide me with some sport when things are slow I just do not plan it as an actual sporting method.

Where do you want to happen to your remains?

Have you already planned it out?

Have you told anyone?

Fisheries around Glasgow

Someone asked me about fisheries around Glasgow a while ago – what ones have you visited?

Not really to my taste to be honest although I have blanked a few times on Harelaw – usually when I end up at a fishery it is because conditions are very poor everywhere else – usually this means the conditions are poor at the fishery as well – so its my own fault I suppose.

Yuck – and I did not like Carbeth one little bit – they would not let us have a “catch&release” ticket even though it was advertised as being available – this was due to people mis handling fish!

What ones have you vistited?

If they have a site leave a link!

Charles Rangeley-Wilson: Bonefish – A Fishing Odyssey – Review

As I was watching the new offering from Charles Rangeley-Wilson I was trying to work out how the guy consistently gets it right when so many other fishing programs get it wrong.

I mean you have only to look at the recent fishing programmes on terrestrial television to see how it’s not done, there is a world of advice out there on the fishing forums about what anglers would like to see so I do not understand how that resource is not tapped into a little more. Anyway, it was a refreshing change when Charles came along and made a program for the BBC called the “Accidental Angler” which combined fishing with a sort of travel program – a bit like Michael Palin wandering about only with a bit of purpose.

Charles says on his site:

“Bonefish – a Fishing Odyssey” is my first independent production. A fishy adventure in film this is a 55 minute ‘on-the-fly’ journey into the heart of a fishing obsession and into the heart of the Caribbean. It’s a quest after the catch of a lifetime, a giant specimen of the most spooky fish in the whole wide-blue ocean – the bonefish, ghost of the flats – a fish that will mess with your eyesight, your nerves and your sanity! No matter what you are into casting a line after or where, I’m sure you’ll understand the obsession of fishing that I’ve tried to explore in this film.

Charles is a writer to trade and maybe that is why the series went so well – to read his books is to look into his mind and thoughts. His thoughts and ethos towards angling came across so very well in the series. Few people had actually heard of Charles before he had his TV debut, or to be fair I had only heard of him a while before the show was broadcast as someone had bought me his book – It was excellent!

I feel as if I have to tell you why I enjoyed the series so much before I tell you about his new DVD. In the “Accidental Angler” Charles travels around the world fishing for Mahseer in India, Trout in the Himalayas, the Amazon rainforest for peacock bass and to London for some urban fishing. Along the way he meets some interesting people combined with some stunning camera work, info on local culture and the occasional blank. There is not a crossbow in site. The series was a success – Anglers and ordinary folk enjoyed it – lessons should be learned.

In a nutshell the premise for his new DVD is that he is obsessed with bonefish and wants to catch a big one (expensive obsession their Charles) and as an aside make a DVD about it. So he goes out and buys a couple of small video cameras, ropes in a pal and heads off to the Caribbean to cycle around armed with his fly rod and his unassuming British set of manners. You would think it would be awful wouldn’t you however visually it is stunning – crystal clear water, gorgeous red sunsets, interesting locals giving advice on local spots – you can see that this guy likes his fishing and the adventures of travelling to far off places. The use of music was very well done – well, you will just have to wait until you buy it to find out!

The reason this works is that it is like an extended episode of the Accidental Angler where he did not have to worry about the watershed and offending wee Mrs. Smith with some bad language and talk of Ganja! He took his winning formula and added a little grit to the mix which probably would not get shown on terrestrial television.

I am looking forward to his next one (which I hope he will be making) already!

You can buy the DVD directly from Charles Rangeley-Wilson’s movie website – the cost is £14.95 and includes postage and packing.

The Suburban Bushwacker Jam – Get Some!!

I think I may be shooting myself in the foot here however the Suburban Bushwacker is running a competition – the prize is some of his Mum’s jam (I love Jam). 

You must come up with the best use for an arm tattooed tape measure. 

The Suburban Bushwacker Jam Competition

United Clyde Protective Association Ltd

So UCAPA have a new website – and bloody good it is too. 

Interesting to note they are doing everything that the River Kelvin Angling Association should be doing – there permit price is now rising to £30 for trout and photographs must be attached. Their Salmon permit is rising to £55. 

Should UCAPA take over the management of the Kelvin?

A walk along the Forth n’ Clyde

A short session along the Forth n’ Clyde canal cunningly disguised as a short romantic walk with my wife – I was not kidding anyone, especially not my wife who is now used to me saying things like “hmmmm – we could do this with a buggy in tow” (referring to our new arrival) while casting every 50 yards. The key I have found is to keep talking about what you are doing – any intense period of concentration and silence leads to looks of annoyance – which is why I then talk like a baboon about Pike and their habits.

“What the bloody hell is on my hat” I squealed as I felt something hit it like an acorn falling – turned out a very large dragon fly had decided to have a bit of a rest on my head – I could feel its legs moving around – Those things love my hat – that is the second one that has taken a fancy to it – I am not sure what they think my head is – any ideas?


Something that always amazes me about the canal or rather the people is the fact that everyone says hello. I mean, you don’t say hello to people who are walking along the street on the way to the shops however on the canal towpath almost everyone you meet gives you a nod and a hello – sometimes even a few words about the day – one chap told us he was taking his bottle of Buckfast for a walk rather than his dog which was taking care of itself (a beautiful Dalmatian). I love it – people are so friendly – the world seems to smile on a sunny day.

Anyway, I caught no fish which means I blanked the weekend – ah well no matter – I still got to try out again the first rod which I am reviewing – the Loop Pike Booster. I must say I enjoyed casting it and controlling casts and flies at close quarters was easy – when you are fly fishing for pike on the canal 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. However it’s not all about the casting (kind of) so I will keep the real reviewing for when I write it up.

I did see some Pike today, rummaging around in the weeds (they look like cabbages) on the bottom of the canal. The canal really comes into its own in about a months time when all the boat traffic dies off and the water becomes a lot clearer – at that point you can catch several nice Pike in the space of a couple of hours – Looking forward to it already. I am not regretting going after the pike early this year as opposed to sticking with trout until the death of the trout season as I have heard the trout fishing has been poor on the rivers that I fish.

Roll on more good days with the Pike!

Freezing Cold, Rain and One Crazy Ass Pike

Cold, wet, miserable – due to, well cold, wet and windy weather – there I was at the loch side at 0600. I stayed in the car until 0700 – only getting out the car when the first rays of light managed to break through the thick fast moving clouds.

I nearly turned back after the first few casts – I was trying out my new Loop rod though so I wanted to catch a Pike. Nothing was happening – even when I moved to a bay that usually fishes well in high wind. I began to suspect the Pike were just not feeding, or if they were they were not targeting moving fish as their lateral line was being messed around with due to the heavy rain.

Still, just to prove there is always one crazy pike in the place one was caught by another pike angler – on the fly as well. He was much chuffed as this was his personal best.

 

 

 

Now here is what I found interesting, this guy was a die hard coarse angler and used to handling pike – you see it s the whole ethos of pike angling – as soon as the pike was landed it was into a bag to be weighed and then an area prepared for a photo opportunity.

I just don’t think trout anglers are as geared up and as organised as that to be honest – also it is that big fish mentality – with trout you just don’t care what size they are (at least I don’t) I am as happy seeing and releasing an 8 inch trout as I am a 12 inch trout – anything bigger and it is a real sense of achievement.

With Pike fishing it is definitely size matters – you laugh at the wee cheeky chappy that had a go at your fly and you smile at the Jack of a few pounds – when you get a big one – you know there are bigger ones and you want to keep on going until you get one.

I was also envious of his neoprenes as while my teeth were chattering and legs going slowly numb he seemed oblivious – I am going to combat that little problem by investing in a pair of long johns!

Upcoming Reviews

Hum ho – just back from a cold day after Pike – more on that later.

Thought I would let you know about some up coming reviews regarding the rods and reel I use for fly fishing for pike. 

Vision Koma Reel

Loop Pike Booster Rod 9 foot for an 8/9

Esox Lucius Pike Fly Rod 9 foot for an 9/10

They will be up in that order over the next month.

I will also be reviewing the new DVD from Charles Rangeley-Wilson and learning whether the man can do no wrong !

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