Having always had a liking for the Swedish brand ‘Loop Tackle’ I decided last year to purchase a large arbor reel to use for nymphing. My reasoning for this was to reduce the amount of coiling I was getting in my french leader. Not only that but the larger reel would suit the 10′ rod I was using. After some time spent reading reviews and other information I was eventually leaning towards the Opti range of reels from Loop Tackle.
The Opti range is available in varying sizes to suit all scenarios and match all weights, lengths and styles of rod. Each reel features a deep V-shaped large arbor reel to enhance line retrieval and reduce line memory. The Opti range also has the Matrix drag system which is not only extremely powerful but totally waterproof and saltwater resistant, due to the high quality design and components. The drag system is an interesting one with a bold statement ‘ the smoothest rotational start-up available in any modern fly fishing reel’. Each reel is machined from one piece of aircraft aluminium and kitted out with stainless steel components and anodised aluminium. All screws found on the reel are secured with loc-Tite to keep them in place. And last but not least all Opti reels feature the machined silver L on drag adjustment side.
The reel in question is a 3wt and comes in at 120g, it is the smallest Opti reel in the range. But has a larger arbor than most other 3wt reels out there available. Coupled with a 10′ 3wt rod, the balance is perfect and is easy to hold out for long periods of times when nymphing etc. Obviously this reel is not sold as a dedicated nymphing reel but fits my needs perfectly so my review will be based around the set up I have used it for.
At the time of purchase I was well into the winter Grayling season so the Loop tackle Opti got a lot of use with Lots of Czech and french nymphing. One stand out point I noticed throughout its use was the bold statement mentioned earlier, ‘the smoothest rotational start-up available in any modern fly fishing reel’. Basically Loop Tackle claim that when hooked into a fish and it makes a charge for sanctuary then the Opti will give the smoothest start-up of paying out line. I have to admit I agree, I’ve used many reels over the years and most have felt jerky on that initial release of line. I can recall numerous videos of anglers playing fish and watching the rod bounce as the reel releases on the drag system and pays out line. Where as the Opti releases the line smoothly whether its being pulled gently or torn off by a large fish. When the line is pulled the reel smoothly rotates into action with no jerking or snatching even if the fish is lunging or darting around. I found this to be a huge positive, and gave me more control over the fish when hooked under the rod tip. Especially when nymphing as you don’t have any slack line to hand particularly if Czech nymphing, where first point of contact is between fish and reel. On this particular model there is no click to the reel so release of line is silent and quite strange when used to the usual metallic click of other reels. Its hard for me to have a valid opinion on the v-shaped spool which is designed to make retrieval and line lay better. As I’m only ever winding mono-filament back onto the reel rather than conventional fly line. How ever I did notice how easy it was to evenly lay the backing and line onto the reel when spooling. Another point worth mentioning is how smooth all the edges are and decrease the possibility of line getting caught or damaged.
Although a fair few people may feel it a waste to spend such a lot of money for a reel that in most peoples opinion is to just hold line, it does a very good job of doing so. And those times when it’s needed not just to hold the line, it out performs the other reels I’ve used or owned. Not only does it perform well in the mechanical side of things but it also looks the part and will give any rod a new lease of life. Yes the price tag is quite hefty, even with this model being the cheapest in the range it’s still over the £300 mark. But I’m extremely confident that my fishing scenarios will never wear this reel out or even get close to its limits. And that time when a fish of a life time tears the slack line out of my hand back to the reel I’ll have piece of mind that the matrix drag system will give me flawless control. My only criticism with the Loop Tackle Opti creek is the reel pouch seems a little cheap, but considering its stayed in the box and has never been used I shan’t lose any sleep over it. Like most of my reviews the product has been purchased by myself so I feel I’m very unbiased, and if the product was poor I’d have no problem in saying so. But I like this reel so much so, I will now over the years expand and add more of them to my arsenal of tackle.
Want to take a look for yourself? head over to Looptackle.com
Alternatively find your local stockist Looptackle.com/dealer