Loop Opti 8124 and Whistler Spey Line
In the last year the Loop Opti 8124 has become my favourite Steelhead stick. I have this rod matched up with Loop's new Whistler spey line and Classic 7/9 reel loaded with 40#LTS running line.
The opti is a gun, super light with a tonne of power. A nice smooth progressive flex with a tip that is medium in flex but incredibly quick recovering, making for a fast rod that doesn't feel like a broom handle. The overall reduced weight and diameter of the Whistler line combined with the fast precise tip of the opti make for a set up that throws razer lazers and fishes great too.
The Whistler spey line is a completely new concept in spey line design.In fact when the line production engineer first received the design this was his comment,
"this new line design is as crazy as a Norwegian in Bull season"
The Whistler casts best with modern fast action rods which is really no surprise as these lines were designed to match up perfectly with the Loop Opti two hand rods. The unique taper of the Whistler line positions the weight in the portion of the D loop where it will have the most effect on loading the rod and generating line speed. The Whistler line perfectly suits our modern northwest speycasting technique. The smooth continuous motion of the rod tip rising into the forward stroke drives the heaviest portion of the head through the apex of the D loop generating line speed. As the heaviest and thickest portion of the line is at the front it is a very efficient use of weight making for a light line that loads the rod like a much heavier line. The Whistler flies fast and true,the aggressive front taper turning over sink tips and large flies with authority.
The first real test of the Whistler line was my trip last summer to Alaska West Lodge fishing for King(Chinook)Salmon. Alaska West operates a tent camp on the lower reaches of the Kanektok river where lucky anglers get to swing flies for chromers fresh in from the Bering Sea.
After great results in Alaska the Whistler lines were put through their paces fishing for wild Steelhead on the Skeena river system in northern British Columbia and then on ocean bright Coho and Chum Salmon back home in Whistler.Along the way the Whistler line was put in the hands of wide cross section of anglers ranging from spey newbies to seasoned guides. The most common comment from the testers was the distincive slow slinky drift the Whistler line gives.
The line has a 12 foot progressive intermediate section at the front to which sink tips are attached meaning that a good portion of the overall head is below the waters surface where the current is slower. This allows for the most direct connection to the fly resulting in unbelievable feel throughout the swing. Rather than the thick floating portion of the line towing around the sink tip, you feel the fly and sink tip in the most straight line connection to the fly and fish. The reduced drag of the thin line combined with the intermediate sinking portion enable the slowest possible swing with a level of control never before experienced. The rear floating portion of the Whistler blending smoothly into the intermediate section behind the faster sinking tip allows the angler to fish deep when out on the seam and yet swing the fly smoothly into a foot of water.