Jul 17



Now… let me show you my new gear.

We are full of contradictions and inconsistencies and that proves one thing. We are human.

When I read about a $1,100 trout rod I was incredulous. “Stupid” I thought. No trout (OK, almost no trout) is going to really, really test your tackle. You don’t need space-age materials to land a 14″ rainbow. Man, we fly fishermen are a gullible lot.


But… I really did want a back-up 8 wt. and when I cast the newly re-launched Predator rod from Redington, I kind of wanted it. I have an 8 wt. A really good one. I also have two other 8’s that work in a pinch. I didn’t NEED a new 8 wt, but I did WANT a new 8 wt. and I, in fact, got a new 8 wt.

And… ya know… what’s a new rod without a new reel? So, I picked up a Behemoth as well (cheap and powerful, a good combo).

Had to get a new line too, of course… so I added another RIO Bonefish line to the arsenal.

I could have fished a week without any of these things. I could have gone on with exactly what I have and I would have been fine. But… ya know… I wanted that stuff.

I also picked up a new hooded sun shirt from Patagonia which I hope will keep me from burning anything important in my on-going quest to appease my wife and not die prematurely. I should add it would NOT appease my wife for me to die prematurely.

So, I got a new shirt. I have a lot of shirts. I have favorite shirts and lucky shirts and shirts that are jinxed or hexed and shirts with no known ability to attract or repel fish of any kind. I didn’t need a new shirt. But I did want a new shirt. I wanted two, actually, and so I also got a new Redington bonefish shirt.

Flyfishing attracts gear-heads, it seems, and while it sometimes seems outright dumb to buy and buy and buy there is also something entirely enjoyable about sliding a new rod out of a rod tube and putting backing on a new reel, just as there is something deeply fulfilling about adding the 304th fly into the fly box.

So… YOU DON’T NEED NEW GEAR! But, that’s not really why we buy the gear in the first place.

Aug 15

The Predator 12 Weight

Big rod... good rod. The Predator 12 weight.

Big rod… good rod. The Predator 12 weight.

Things got a little crazy on here after I got back from Florida and some of the stuff I wanted to write I didn’t get to, so I’m going to get back to all of that.

I went to go find the big ladies on their migratory journey. I found a few (very few) and they were uninterested in me (felt like high school). Since I was after the 100 pound plus fish I had a correspondingly heavy rod. In this case, I had a loaner Redington Predator 12 weight.

The Predator 12 is a big rod for big fish. It has the additional cork grip so you can really put the stick to the fish with out snapping the thing in more pieces than intended. I’ve never actually cast a rod with the second grip before and I thought might make things a bit heavy. That proved to not be a concern as I found the rod cast remarkably well. Davin put some casts out with the Predator and he liked it as well.

I can’t tell you how if felt on a fish because I didn’t hook a fish on the 12. I really, really, really wish I could tell you how it felt on a big, mature female tarpon, maybe 110 pounds… ya know, the stuff of dreams. Dreams they remain and not born from them on this trip.

So, what I can tell you about the Predator 12 is that it felt good to cast. It wasn’t too heavy and I’m considering adding that rod to the arsenal. At $249, it is a steal by half.

I like gear that is a value and this clearly is. You can spend anywhere from $150 to $900 on a rod these days and for me, every dollar spent on gear is one fewer dollar for the trip kitty. I like to find value for money and this is clearly that.

They make the Predator all the way up to a 14 (I assume for fishing for submarines).

I’m favorably inclined and I bet, if you were in the market, you might enjoy the Predator 12 too, especially if you don’t want to damage your bank account too much in the process.

May 15

Redington Find Your Water Finds the Everglades

Redington has been doing a series called “Find Your Water.” I’ve seen it come through my in-box, but I figured it would be mostly freshwater stuff. Well, that proves not to be the case. The latest episode (it’s short, watch it) takes place in the Everglades with Alex Tejeda and his Kayak. Cool stuff.

Oct 13

G&G muse one affordable bonefish sticks

I do love the budget gear and the guys over at Gink and Gasoline recently posted some thoughts on affordable bonefish rods.

Of the three, the only one I’ve case is the Redington Predator, which I own in a 10 wt. and I’ve cast in a 9 wt.. I do have a TFO Clouser 8 wt. I use for bonefish and I’ve been pretty happy with it in a variety of situations. The funny thing is the diagram they have implies it has less power and is more of a presentation stick, which I disagree with. I’ve never found that rod lacking in power… not once.

The Predator

The Predator

I have yet to fish an ECHO. One has never found its way into my hands on the water. Off the water I’ve used their practice rod, but the new Redington Form Game Rod has relegated that to the garage.

Laying it out.

The Form Game Rod in practice.

There are a great number of affordable rods out there for your bonefishing pleasure. The rods mentioned in the G&G post are all $250, as is the TFO Clouser I mentioned above. If that’s too steep, there are even cheaper rods that will do the job.

The Redington Voyant is only $190. The TFO Professional Series II is only $160.

Options. Options abound. If you are shelling out big bucks for a premium rod, one of these might make sense as a backup. I’d never head out for a week of fishing with just one rod. That’s one careless move away from doing a lot more spectating than I’d really care for.

Aug 13

Best in Show

The IFTD Show was a few weeks back. I didn’t make it this year, but there were still plenty of folks there. Last year it was a good time. There was some over training on my part, but it was great to actually meet folks I had been talking to, or about, for a while.

The show is maybe mostly about relationships, but people come there to talk about gear.

Gink and Gasoline was there and they had some thoughts. Good stuff.

The Best Saltwater Rod was the Vapen from Redington. Now… I got to fish the Vapen a bit here in mostly fresh water and I wasn’t a huge fan. That may have been largely because I got a bit hung up on the new grip. The rod itself felt pretty good. I said I would have liked the rod a lot more if it just had a cork grip and as it turns out, you can get it with a cork grip. That would help my opinion of it a lot.

That's a grip you'll see from a long ways off.

That’s a grip you’ll see from a long ways off.

The best saltwater reel was given to the Nautilus CCFX2. I haven’t put my hands on one of those just yet. Sam Root captured the the deets.

Here’s the list from MidCurrent. Some notables in there.


Jul 13

Vapen, a review

I knew it was going to be beyond reasonably hot when I got to the reservoir. It was 11:00 AM and already my car told me it was 94 degrees. It would get hotter. There would be no shade. As I stepped into my waders in the parking lot I could already feel the oppression, the weight of the heat.

Still, there is the whole “a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work” thing, so I grabbed the Redington Vapen and I went to go look for big, prickish carp.

The Vapen is unique. It’s hard to be unique when you make a fly fishing rod. They mostly look identical and it is usually the components or blank color which identify the rod maker. From an appearance perspective, most rods look very similar. On this, the Vapen has done a great job of creating a little space.

With the red grip, you can tell it is a Vapen from 300 yards. From up close you can also admire the very unique blank… metallic, sleek and slightly deadly looking. The grip is what really sets the rod apart. There just hasn’t been a lot of innovation in grips over the years. The biggest innovation was probably that someone took cork, cut it up into lots of tiny pieces, made a composite cork and made a grip out of it. It’s still cork and the feel is largely the same. The Vapen is a hard right turn from tradition. It is unique.

As far as backbone and casting power, the Vapen does well and I can understand why the Vapen is coming in at the top of the Redington line of rods. It casts well. The one big carp I hooked on the rod felt very good on the rod. Wish I could have put it through the paces a bit more, but alas… there was just the one hooked carp.

That's a grip you'll see from a long ways off.

That’s a grip you’ll see from a long ways off.

When giving an overview of the rod, I have to go back to the grip, that red, tennis racquet like grip. I think it is really hard to do something totally unique. Cork has been used for so long largely because it is so effective and well suited to the job. The Vapen grip didn’t work for me. It felt hot (on a day that was a scorcher) and it felt a bit slippery (as I was wading to my waste and my hands were often wet). I found myself thinking about the grip too much. It was a distraction.

I wanted to like this rod. I wanted it to be my new favorite thing. I like risk takers. I like innovation. This rod was trying something new and for that I applaud the good folks at Redington.

The Vapen grip for me was New Coke. Put a cork grip on that thing and it would make it Classic and I’d probably love it.

NOTE: It looks like you will be able to get the Vapen with a cork grip… so… that might make me a lot happier with this rod. It isn’t up on the Redington site yet, but that’s good news.

Mar 13

The Quiver

Here’s what I’m bringing to the Bahamas… for my “family” vacation.

I’m bringing three fly rods.

I’m bringing one spinning rod (first time for that).

I’m bringing three fly reels.

I’m bringing one spinning reel (thanks Charlie).

The quiver for Spring Break 2013

The quiver for Spring Break 2013

The gear is almost all mine and almost all on the budget side of things, with the major exception of the Abel Super 7/8n. I’m going to fish the TFO and Abel as my go-to set-up here with the 10 for the cuda and the spinning rig for my daughter and wife.

I think the lines on the fly reels are all RIO. Pretty sure the Lamson’s both have RIO Clouser Tropical lines, which have been kind of my standard lines in the salt, but which, as far as I can see, isn’t in the RIO lineup anymore, although maybe it has just been re-branded. The Abel has the new RIO Quickshooter, which I’m interested to try out.

Dec 12

The Ten

Christmas came early.  My first re-married Christmas is off to a fine, fine start. This is my gift from the Mrs., a 10 weight. Just what I wanted.

I went back and forth between a 10 and 11, but in the end I settled on the 10.

I’m excited to find something to throw this at. I got a Redington to stay true to my “cheap is good” beliefs. I think this is a fine stick and I look forward to feeling something big and nasty pulling on the other end.

My new rod. Happy to welcome it to the family.

My new rod. Happy to welcome it to the family.

This is not the first Predator I’ve had my hands on. I caught my big (for me, anyway) Cuba tarpon on a Predator 11 and I cast a 9 in Hawaii (unsuccessfully) back a year ago. So, we have some history. This stick is workman like. It is not overly fancy (although it is blue and my daughter loves blue), but it is just a good, honest rod at a pretty decent price. This rod will be with me for a long time and that is good value:money.

Nov 12

Office Fun

I’m still loving the Form Game Rod from Redington. Yesterday at work it was raining outside and there was almost no one in the office. I took a little time to go casting in the hallway with the iPhone as my target in the hall.

Yeah, I know… those are pretty sweet shoes, eh?

Oct 12

I’ll admit it. I want one.

I have a practice rod, but this looks like something I kind of want. This Redington game rod takes the yarn practice rod concept and pumps it up a few notches. I’m intrigued.


I saw these at the show in Reno, but I also saw it over at TFM (who is pretty much setting the standard for the blogosphere right now).