The Loop Cross S1 in 5wt is my workhorse setup. I have it paired with an Allen Kraken II reel, which I have reviewed separately here. I use this rod in a variety of ways. I throw poppers and streamers in warm water, and everything from dry flies to streamers and indicators for trout.
Here is the description from loopflyusa.com
The new LOOP Cross S1 fly rod series is the single most important revolution to occur in fly fishing since we introduced the large arbor reel over 20 years ago. It’s that big.
If the large arbor provided revolutionary function that made the fly reel exponentially better, you won’t believe the difference Cross S1 construction makes with fly rods. We could write an entire book on the adventure that has led to the Cross S1 series of fly rods. We could look up and write down all the available superlatives that are yet unused by other manufacturers (not many left nowadays), but the only way to truly describe what we mean is to hand one to you and let you test it for yourself. If there has ever been a time in our history of development of high-performance fly fishing gear where Loop merited a “look” and a test from the fly fishing world, it is now. Over a period of two years we have developed these fly rods where we used the new 3M™ Powerlux™ Composites. The result is amazing, the strength associated with the 3M™ Powerlux™ Composites generates a lightness and controllable elasticity that simply must be experienced.
We have carefully restricted the inherent elasticity of the Loop Cross S1 so that the rod is working evenly over a much wider range than other fly rods. We have managed to make super-strong featherweight fly rods, with an emphasis on fishing where the rod is working with minimum vibration through an entire load range – from close-in and out to even extreme distances. The design requires minimal input power where the rod does the job. It has never been so easy and taken so little effort to deliver precision loops at 10-meters or 30-meters while easily controlling the line or changing the pace of the cast.
3M and Powerlux are trademarks of 3M Company.
My Take on the Loop Cross S1:
I mentioned my varied use of this rod, and I have to say Loop’s description was what sold me on trying this company for the first time. I bought this rod sight unseen online, and waited anxiously for it to arrive. I was pleasantly surprised when it showed up. The rod comes in a great metal rod tube and sock, and everything on it is top notch. The 3 pin reel seat looks cool and keeps the reel seated. The cork is high grade, and the blank and furniture are aesthetically pleasing. The rod is very light. I’m not sure how it compares to other premium rods, but I can’t imagine it feeling much lighter.
My initial thought was that the rod wasn’t as stiff as i thought it was going to be, and I was a little concerned. The vast majority of my fishing is done throwing larger flies to bass and pike, and I was getting sick of using my 8wt salmon rod all the time to throw meat. I paired the rod with the Wulff Ambush Triangle Taper floating line on one spool, and some Rio Camo Intermediate on another spool. The Ambush line has a heavy head attached to shooting line and excels throwing roll casts and larger flies and indicators. The Rio line doesnt have quite the same powerful head as the Ambush, but is a pretty good intermediate line for the type of fishing I do.
My First trip was an impromptu 31/2 hour drive to the Pere Marquette in late winter. I received my rod and reel at a time when I couldn’t get on any of my home waters, but I had to try it out. I spent most of my time that day looking for steelhead with my 8wt without any luck, so I switched to the Loop Cross S1 to try and find some trout. The ambush line threw some indicator rigs and a couple streamers… again with no takers. I swapped spools to the intermediate line and started throwing a large weighted bunny leach to swing in front of some log jams. I was impressed with the backbone the rod had to throw the larger bugs, and I landed a nice resident brown on the swing. Then all my doubts about the rod (and Allen Kraken reel for that matter) were put to rest. I swung the streamer down to a log pile and got a good firm strike and hookup from a winter steelhead! I have to say that although I wouldn’t recommend targeting steelhead on this 5wt rod, it can hold its own in a pinch. The reel handled the fight as well, but unfortunately I couldn’t keep the fish from the log jam and lost it. But from that moment I knew that I had found my workhorse rod and reel.
The Loop Cross S1 falls somewhere on the low to mid price range for premium rods at around $800 retail. I found mine second hand from a seller on eBay for around $500 (hence me buying it sight unseen).
As a side note, although i find this model to have a nice soft feel, with an amply strong backbone, Loop has released a new model called the Cross SX. I haven’t had an opportunity to cast one yet, but it is marketed as a fast action rod that probably excels even more in the wind and throwing bigger flies, but I would imagine loses a little on the presentation end. For me though, the Loop Cross S1 has a perfect blend of finesse and power.