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