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.

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.

Apr 12

What I got right about gear for Cuba

While I got a few things wrong, I did make some good decisions and had some of the right stuff with me.


  • Having some of the super hair chartreuse flies for cudas was a really good call.
  • I had enough Gotchas in different sizes that I could have fished for bones for another three weeks.
  • The tarpon bunnies were good patterns and if I had them in a 3/0 I would likely have been feeding tarpon with them.


  • The leaders I tied were effective and worked for bonefish and for tarpon.  The 80 pound shock tippet was perfect on even the big fish and the bimini twists I tied didn’t fail.  I didn’t have a single leader fail or a single knot fail.


  • The reels I primarily used were the Ross F1 for the 8 wt, the Orvis Mirage for the 10 wt and the Redington Delta for the 11. I had along a Ross CLA and a Ross Momentum, but they had on specific lines that didn’t get selected by the guides.


  • The textured saltwater line for the 8 was a great line.
  • The Orvis line was different… it sounded like a textured line and it cast very well.
  • I cast a Rio clear sink tip for the 11 and the guides liked it, preferring it to the full floating line each time.


  • Both of the 8 weights were lovely rods. The Sage One is light and responsive and did all I asked of it. The prototype was just as lovely and I’d be glad to have either one as my go-to 8.
  • The 10, the Orvis Helios was a great rod. I’ve had that one before and I really like it.  It might have been a little heavy for Permit, but it would have worked well for that and it was a good rod to have rigged for barracuda.
  • The 11 Redington… it was heavy, but when it came time to do the business it got it done. That feels like a pretty important thing to judge by.

Something right got me that fish.

Mar 12

The Quiver for Cuba

The days are in single digits and I’m starting to get really annoying on the whole “Guess where I’m going?!” thing.  The media tour with Yellow Dog and Avalon is fast approaching and my rods are finally all here.

There they are.

This is what’s on tap.

  • 11 wt – Predator from Redington (I fished this in a 9 in December)
  • 10 wt – Helios from Orvis (I’ve fished this before in a 10 and an 8 )
  • 8 wt – One from Sage (brand new)
  • 8 wt – mystery prototype rod

That’s a pretty sweet line up. The only thing I don’t really have in there is a dedicated permit rod, but that’s because I hope I find more time casting to baby tarpon and not-baby bonefish than searching for permit. I just can’t help it… that’s how I feel. Don’t hate me.

These are not my rods, of course. The sad day when I get back will be returning these rods to their corporate parents. I hope to get a sense of where the new Sage One stacks up to one of my favorite rods, the Helios.  The Predator is a good, workman rod that is the low-cost rod of the bunch. The prototype? I’ve never cast a prototype before.

Basically… I’ll keep you posted and I. CAN’T. WAIT.

Mar 12

Cuba Gear List – Sage One

Another rod I’ll be bringing along down to Cuba will be the Sage One.  I think I’m getting this in an 8 wt, with an 11 coming from Redington and maybe from Orvis as well.

The Sage One has received a LOT of praise. The Sage One pretty much cleaned up at IFTD show in The Big Easy.

Tom over at the Trout Underground even had some thoughts on a promotional video for the Sage One.

These sorts of products are supposed to be game changers and usually five years later they are just another product release in a long line of product releases.  Every once in a while you run into something that really DOES feel different.  The Orvis Helios and G. Loomis NRX were kind of like that for me.  Super light for big rods, it DID feel like a game changer.  I am really looking forward to getting the Sage One out there and seeing if it really is everything that has been promised to us, the masses.

May 11

I want to fish with Andy Mills

I’d imagine I’m not alone in wanting to fish with Mr. Mills.  The guy is pure angler.  He wrote (what I understand to be) the number one most awesome book on Tarpon in the history of words and pictures and binding and glue.  Incidentally, it is also the most expensive… I’m guessing it is printed on tarpon skin.

Seems Andy is hooked up with Hardy and has been doing some testing of the new Sintrix rods they are putting out.  Watching this little video… wow… I’ve never pulled on anything as hard as he’s pulling on that rod.  Kind of gives one confidence in the rod to see that, although I’m sure that rod is 12 or higher… still… kind of impressive.

Now… I don’t know what happened, and I understand it kind of rattled the folks at corporate, but I have seen a picture of one of those rods, a 12, that broke on a tarpon.  Still… watching Dr. Mills (Doctorate in Kicking Piscatoral Butt) pull on that shark… I might be willing to trust one of those rods (which I won’t buy… I’m cheap, even at $690).

Nov 10

Dark Blue Beauties

The Fed Ex guy kept it late, which made it interesting.  In the end, he made it here about 6:45 PM.  Sure, I don’t leave for Belize for another 6 days, but I really wanted the weekend to do a little casting and it looks like that is going to happen.  The box that arrived this evening was from Bainbridge Island, WA and if you are a fly fisherman that means Sage.  Two brand new Xi3‘s were in the box, a 7 and a 10.  I was a little surprised that the rods were brand new.  These are loaners, after all… I have to send the things back after the trip, so I figured I’d get a rod that had been loaned in the past.  Not so… these were spanking new with that new-rod smell… well… there really wasn’t a smell, but ya know what I mean.

Two beautiful sage sticks

In other news, I’ll actually be bringing along a third rod to demo… this rod will be the Orvis Helios in an 8 weight.  I just did an interview with Steve Hemkens at Orvis for the Blog and he offered to loan me some gear.  Having the 7 and 10 slots filled, I figured it would be better to go with an 8, instead of putting the Helios and Xi3 into some contrived duel.  I am looking forward to doing some test driving in the coming days and putting them through the paces in Belize.

I’m just about done tying flies for the trip… I added another 8 or so flies today to the two crammed bonefish/permit boxes and am at about 148 flies now.  My guess would be I’d use 10.  So… over provisioned a tad, both on the fly front and probably on rods.  Both are good problems to have.

Oct 10

Some Sage Sticks for Belize

When I go to Belize in November I’ll be bringing a couple of loaner rods along.  I’m going to be sporting a rod that has been talked about more than any other in the interviews I’ve done… the Sage Xi3.  I’ll be sporting a 7 and a 10, courtesy of Sage.  I have to send them back when I return, but I figure I’ll get around that by just never coming back.

My first rod was a 4  piece pack rod from South Bend… fiberglass, I believe, and very old (I found it in my parent’s garage).  I used that for a year and a half or so before I got my first “modern” rod… a Sage RPL+ 9′ 5 wt… a great nymphing stick for the cold waters coming off of the sides of Mount Shasta in Northern California.

Later, I was given a 7 wt. GFL by a guiding client.  When that snapped at the cork (it had been around the block a few hundred times) Sage offered me to upgrade for a fee to a 7 wt. RPL.  So, I’ve owned three different Sage Rods over the years, currently two out of the 12 rods I have are Sage.

I’m looking forward to getting these rods out on the grass of the school down the street before I take them out to the turtle grass in Belize.

Check out this extensive review of the Sage Xi3 I found on SurfTalk/Stripers On-Line.

The Sage Xi3 7 wt. is the rod of choice of Lori-Ann Murphy, Director of Fishing at El Pescador.  So… I’ll be in good company throwing that bit of Sage graphite.

One of these sticks will run you just about $700 bones dollars over at The Fly Shop.

Aug 10

Fiberglass for Bones

(First, just a note, you can be entered to win some Skinny Water Culture gear by emailing me the account of your first bonefish. bonefishonthebrain@gmail.com)

The Fiberglass Manifesto put up a great little story  about fishing glass for bonefish.  It is worth a read.

Old School

You can catch bones with this rig.

The first fly rod I ever cast was a Fenwick 9 weight.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I bounced a Silver Hilton off the back of my head several times.  How I didn’t hook myself, I have no idea. No steelhead were harmed in that first foray into fly fishing, despite a good effort.

Now, I fish the fast stuff.  However, I really appreciate a guy reminding us all that you can catch a fish on a rod as old as I am and a reel whose design hasn’t changed since WW II (WW I?).

Dec 09

Rods for the Bahamas from Deneki

Once again, Deneki Outdoors is dealing the goods.  This time, they dish advice about rod selection.  While I was surprised at the suggestion of a 5 weight, the others sound like the advice offered by the luminaries.  Check out their  suggestions here.

My upcoming Bahamas trip just increased in rod count by +1.  I’ll have an 8.  I’ll have an 8/9.  Now, I’ll have a 7.  I just put the order in for a TFO Axiom 7 weight.  I have a good reel already, I have the line… all I needed was the rod (my 4 pc. 7 wt. was stolen in Mexico and my other 7 wt. is a 2 pc.).  So… now I’ll have the Axiom too.

Hey you, Axiom... want to come to the Bahamas with me?

PS… no, Deneki Outdoors didn’t really suggest a 5 wt., but check out their post to see what they did recommend and why.