Alternative Fly Rod Grips: LOOP XGripComfort9Function10Durabilty99.3Overall ScoreReader Rating: (8 Votes)7.8There’s been a lot of hype around alternative rod grips ever since the release of Redington’s Vapen rod with its unorthodox choice of grip. Reviews for the Vapen look favorable for the most part and it just goes to show that people appreciate when companies step outside the box – as long as the form doesn’t neglect function. I love to see companies brave enough to innovate and break away from the status quo. Just because something has been done one way doesn’t mean it’s the best or the only way. So this brings us to the XGrip. It begins with LOOP’s “Corkmix” material. Innovative in and of itself, it’s a special blend of cork powder and various flexible resins. It’s more durable that ordinary cork and provides a textured, “grippy” grip. LOOP says this about their patented XGrip: “Think about playing tennis with a round cork grip. You would have to squeeze the handle with twice as much power and it would still rotate in the hand – especially when factors such as sweat and sunscreen are in play. A round handle would also make it impossible to render a true stroke or “track” the path of the racket. Why would a fly rod be any different? The XGrip handle makes tracking the stroke of the cast or moving the rod in a straight path for a controlled loop much easier. This results in longer casts with higher precision. Less pressure on a grip that sits naturally in your hand will use less muscle. You will easily enjoy more power and accuracy with less effort, exponentially increasing your chances to catch more fish.” They pretty much explained the benefits to the unique shaped grip. We’ve put in many hours with the XGrip in hand and can attest to what’s been said. We’ve loved it. When I first saw the grip I wondered if the edges would be uncomfortable on a long day of fishing. I’ve found the opposite to be true. It has a good texture to it and my hand/fingers fit nicely on the flat surfaces. The edges naturally round a little bit with extended use. It still leaves a precise grip with a very comfortable feel in hand. It’s especially nice on bigger rod sizes. It keeps your hand from growing weary after a long day throwing streamers – ensuring a solid grip and laser casts at the bank into the evening. So what’s the purpose of straying away from standard rod grips? In my mind, a good fly rod handle boils down to durability, comfort, and performance. I can honestly say the XGrip excels in all three categories. I wish I had this type of grip on ALL of my fly rods. If you’re interested in taking a look at the XGrip, it’s available in the LOOP Opti Coast (6wt & 7wt), LOOP’S Evotec series, and the big river single-hander, the Opti River (7wt). LOOP has set themselves apart as an innovator in the fly fishing game since they were established in 1979. What do you think of these alternative grip options? Is it a fad? Is it worth straying away form time-tested cork? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think! 9 Responses Matt Berry February 20, 2014 I never really thought about different style grips other than what most rods have. I do like the analogy of the tennis racket. Golf clubs are mostly just round, I think. Never golf. Too boring. But with golf you are gripping with two hands. I haven’t had any issues with the rod slipping in my hand with traditional grips. That said, I would like to try that hex grip to see what it feels like. Reply Nathan Leavitt February 20, 2014 I’m with ya on the golf. In high school my job on the course was to carry the cooler with cold drinks. The help with slippage I’ve noticed is usually after a full day of tossing bigger bugs and the grip gets a little fatigued. Definitely give it a try and if you’re ever in UT you can take mine out for a test drive! Reply Mike Elvsaas June 5, 2014 I’m with you on grips I have all types of grips full wells ‘half, cigar Etc. The hex grip looks like it might be a good one to try. Don’t knock it unless you have tried it is my motto with fishing gear. Where’s the demo??? Reply Nathan Leavitt June 5, 2014 You in Utah? I have a demo if you want to give it a try! Mike E. June 6, 2014 I.m in Central Oregon a little far away for now. Nathan Leavitt June 6, 2014 If you really want to try I might be able to send my demo out to you. Sean February 20, 2014 This looks interesting I really want to try it. Reply Nathan Leavitt June 6, 2014 Are you in Utah by chance? Reply Ian June 20, 2014 I remember seeing this xgrip years ago. It’s great. I JUST last week picked up the Evotec 7wt for myself. It’s rad. I love it for the comfort. I think alt grips are really a great form/function selling point manufacturers are going to really start doing. This type of grip on a Loop rod really fits with their design. As far as the rubberized cork material, it’s sick. I have the Loop Booster also. It’s really great. Any rod build I do in the future will have this type of material. It’s definitely something I think all manufacturers should start doing. Awesome! Reply Leave a Reply to Ian Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for the newsletter!