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Another newcomer to our shootouts is Loop. But they are definitely not new to the reel game. They’ve been trailblazers in the reel game since the beginning – even inventing the large arbor reel! The Evotec G4, now in its fourth generation, takes its place between the Multi and the Opti in the Loop lineup. Let’s see if it’s the workhorse it’s supposed to be.
As there are a lot of similarities between the Evotec and the other Loop reels in this test, we'll be referring back to this one quite a bit.
9.7 ounces. It’s super heavy and a full ounce heavier than stated on Loop’s website.
You’re not going to be breaking your line here. Only 4.4lbs of max drag. Not the worst if you’re bonefishing, but if you’re using this reel for roosterfish, you’re going to be in trouble. How much is effective? We toyed with this a bit since the Evotec, and all other Loop reels, has a hard stop on the top end, but ultimately the combination of a tight drag and a really small drag knob means that you just can’t reasonably access it all while fishing. So, we’re giving it 3.3lbs of effective drag, but you could probably get some more out of it.
The Evotec did really well at the middle with 62% of max – great adjustability! On the bottom end, Loop is the only manufacturer that exceeded our target of .4lbs – in fact this reel only goes down to 1lb of drag, which is just too much. I’d hate to have to switch lines out on this reel on a regular basis.
I’ll be honest; I’m not a fan of a silent retrieve. It just doesn’t give me the same satisfaction as a nice incoming click. This reel also has a fairly muted outgoing click.
Let’s back up a bit. The Evotec comes in 8 different models. What’s important to realize is that there are only 3 frames (this one is the HD). So the LW stretches from a 5-weight all the way to a 9-weight. That’s a ridiculous range for one frame! While I totally dig the Henry Ford idea of interchangeable parts, it comes with some downsides. One of these is weight – each and every reel in the range must be designed to fit the top end of the spectrum, which means that you’re either going to get a really heavy small reel or a possibly light large reel.
It also means that you can buy one frame and switch between a larger and smaller spool based on your needs. It’s not a novel concept, but if you’re on a trip, you can have a backup reel without any sacrifices. Good move.
Now, back to the HD. Loop gets line pickup. The HD is no exception as it picks up line faster than most of the reels in the test. It’s also got some ridiculous capacity. You can easily use this reel for your 10-weight (it is an 8/10 after all). While it‘s also got a very wide spool, line pileup simply won’t be an issue if your fishing with an 8-weight line due to its huge capacity. One thing that’s also a bummer is that if you try to take off the spool, you can lose the cap which will end your fishing for the trip.
Loop makes some very cool looking minimal (hey they are a Swedish brand after all) overseas made reels. Like Hardy, they seem to have figured out how to add a little bit of extra quality feel to the manufacturing process. It also has a full cage if you decide to use this reel on your Spey rod.
In the ergonomics department, Loop has a solid handle with a nice rubber grip to ensure you can grab it even if your hands are wet. Unfortunately, the drag knob is super thin and small which makes it really hard to turn. It’s one of the worst in the test. Hard to believe that this reel is in its 4th generation and they haven’t gotten around to fixing something so simple. Like that spool change cap…
Durability on the Evotec is solid. You’re not going to get bullet-proof type 3 anodize performance, but you’re not going to cringe when you accidentally start talking with your hands at the lodge.
Lifetime to the original owner + $30 fee.
Is the Evotec HD really an 8-weight reel? No. It’s too big, heavy, and heavy duty to really be a competitor in this shootout. If you’re a tarpon guy who needs a backup reel, I could see liking the interchangeable spools working well for you. How would this reel have fared if it were based on a model that was in between the LW and the HD? We’ll never know.
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