Friday, February 18, 2011

Redington Predator Rod

New rod and line with a trusty ol' reel (and hand)
With all the angling I do for pike and musky and a trip to the Everglades looming on the horizon, I decided to shed my 13' 9wt spey rod (which has very few uses in Vermont) and parlay it into a new "predator" style fly rod. For those of you who are not familiar with this relatively new group of rods here is the lowdown on them: They were originally designed for the bass tournament trail guys to use flies to pull big bass out of heavy cover using big flies. The rods were short- around 8', stout, and designed to use a heavier than  normal line for one backcast quick casts into pockets in lily pads, under trees and tight spots that bruisers like to hide in. The first of these rods on the market were the Sage Smallmouth and Largemouth but Redington, TFO and Ross have all put similar sticks out on the market. 

Not only have these rods found a serious following with the bass crowd but pike and musky guys love them too. Marty got a Largemouth a couple of years ago and I have fished it a couple of times- but not as much as he has!  Great rod and it has become THE topwater rod to use on musky trips. Saltwater guys love these rods too, especially for snook and baby tarpon in the mangroves. They put the flies into the roots and pull the fish out. Quick accurate casts with a minimum of false casting, and then right back at it. No messing around with a fish on either. These rods are intended to have a lot of backbone!

with a name like Predator how can you go wrong?
After doing a boatload of research into the various rods out there and then looking at what I got for my spey outfit, I settled on the Redington Predator 9 weight. This rod had everything I wanted and reviews showed it to be the best of the lot. It had even been rated by a number of guys as better than the Largemouth... I got the rod a couple of days ago and I got a Rio Outbound Short Tropical F/I 10 wt line to go with it. The first line I tried it out with was a Cortland 444 Lazerline 10 though. That rod was fast and accurate with the 444!  One false cast and it was out there!  Pretty awesome. Putting an old heavy Clouser minnow on the line didn't change the speed or accuracy of the rod either. I was able to put the fly right where I wanted it every time. Any issues with the casting were my fault, not the rod's.

dodging dung for accuracy
I got out this morning again with the rod to give it another go. So I have to admit that using a fly line designed for tropical heat when in Vermont in February isn't perfect, but the rod and line still performed accurately. And let's face it, 42 degrees on February 18 is downright tropical in Vermont! I put on a short piece of 25 lb mono and a heavy Clouser again. The rod performed admirably!  It put the fly right where I wanted it. Check out that picture- right between the two piles of dog poop! (the two poop colored arrows point them out!) and it did that consistently until I finally hooked one poop tarpon and tore it apart... damn things with their paper mouths... maybe a 6/0 hook was too big...  I also wanted to test out the power of the rod so I tossed it at my neighbor's snow shovel that was firmly entrenched in a snow bank. I hooked that thing with a good hard strip set and put the cork to it.... the Battenkill Large Arbor reel helped keep that shovel in line and I eventually used the butt end of the rod to pull the thing right out of the snowbank! Some great reserve power there... and yea, cabin fever has set in... I need to fish!

I am impressed with this rod at this price ($199). I will do a more thorough review once I get it on the water with some real fish, but for now I have to say that it is a pretty awesome buy. I will stick with it until something better comes along.  I was talking to someone at a rod company a lot closer to home the other day and made the suggestion.... hopefully I could field test something they come up with on some pike and muskies this summer! Hint hint ....


  1. I"m sure your neighbor is happy to get their shovel back too...

  2. Shovel fishing is strictly catch and release in these parts...