Sunday, September 13, 2009

Redington Predator Rods - don't judge a book by its length. (updated 12/12/10)

Redington Predator Rods are short, and stiff as a board and are recommended with heavy lines for a reason. They throw big bugs very well, but I immediately found the decreased length lends itself to more chuck-and-ducking as large double-hauled streamers and poppers whiz past your head. A slight side-arm cast kept my melon in the safe zone.

“Delicate” is not a word I would use to describe the action, but when setting the hook on a feisty largemouth, these rods move quickly and with authority, the unyielding butt-section like a crowbar in your hands ready to pry stubborn fish out of the weeds, but that same attribute can definitely wreak havoc on knots and tippet if one were to get a over-zealous in their fish retrieval. I think the same can be said about any fast rod, though.

On the Predator 6wt I threw streamers and bait fish patterns with sinking line. After some fuddling I found that my RIO Lake Deep 7wt line threw very well and loaded the rod nicely, flinging big bluegill patterns as far as one would could need. The heavier line helped turn over the largest streamers I had in my box.

Nuts and Bolts:
The little nub of fighting butt, the gunmetal aluminum reel seat, and the rust-colored wraps are pleasing to the eye. The length and line weight designation is written on each ferrule, which would fall into the “nifty" category more than anything else, I think. But I suppose if you owned a pair and were prone to bouts of absentmindedness it may come in handy.

The ferrules have those little alignment dots, but I have always found looking down the rod the fastest and most effective way to guarantee your guides are in proper position.

New are the “hidden hook-keepers” – a small half circle hole milled into the base of the handle where it meets the reel seat - and are pretty self explanatory in their purpose. Hiding the business end of your large-pointy help keep wandering fingers and sliding hand out of harm’s way whilst the rod is not in operation.

The logo on one of the reel seats had a little defect that looked like a glob of white epoxy or maybe paint, I couldn’t tell. I scratched it off with my knife and didn’t think twice about it. Some glue is visible on the bottom of the cork where it meets the seat, but I would rather see glue than have the cork come unstuck.

These rods are akin to your uncle’s Gremlin drag car. It looks good from a distance, but if you get under the hood you may find some primer and when you look down the side you may see a ripple of two where the body guy failed to block sand the filler perfect.

But that stuff don’t matter because when you turn the key and that that big 4-barrel dumps a half-gallon of gas and that MSD distributor throws a big nasty spark and that 427ci big block roars and tires squeal as the positraction locks and you fly down the road in a hot-rubber fury - you don’t care about primer or orange peel. You’re just hauling ass and it feels good and there is nothing “delicate” about it.

Other things
When broken down the rods four-pieces are just shy of 25” long which will fit nicely in just about any pack.

In the pontoon the rod’s 7’10” length is not cumbersome, and it stays out of its own way when you are flopping around trying to grab that empty beer can that fell out of your cooler. Little flies don’t fit into the hook-keeper, but the cork of the handle or a guide takes care of that just fine.

When wandering around in the bushes, the shorter length also helps keep the tip out of tree branches and other path-choking foliage.

The rod is compact power that can be very accurate with a little practice. Stepping up a line size might not hurt, and you might even like the feel a little better. They are good in a tube, pontoon or other small watercraft where space is a consideration, and they pack well. Keep ducking in mind while casting.

The rod will catch any kind of fish you have the right fly for, but in a brute-force fashion that may turn some anglers off, especially if they like noodle rods. But for $200, they are definitely worth a look.

UPDATE 12/12/2010: After throwing these rods for another year, I have grown to like them more and they have definitely found a place in my arsenal. Like any new equipment or technology they can take a little time to get acquainted with. I don't own a rod that can laser a heavy deer-hair bug under an overhanging tree better than the Predator. I would recommend a heavy weight-forward line, like a RIO Clouser, or Sage largemouth to help load these rods.


  1. Anonymous6:48 AM

    FGFF & Landeen Photography have just raised the gear review bar to unreachable heights.

  2. Yeah dude, awesome pictures.

  3. Are they similar to the Sage Largemouth , Smallmouth rods? That series runs about $300, they are impressive - or were, have not seen the latest models.
    The company that owns Sage runs Redington, Rio as well. Maybe the same designers sent the specs over to China, or wherever Redington is manufactured. Redingtons were garbage before Sage took them over - a 6 wt. acted like an 8wt, an 8 was like a 10..

  4. Thanks guys.

    Rod- I assume they are similar... I have never thrown the Sage model. If you can throw an underhand cast, either model will place bugs as delicately as you can muster but they tend to "plop" bugs otherwise.

    I agree with the rods being heavier than they are rated, but don't mind the extra muscle for up-sizing.

  5. Anonymous5:09 PM

    I have the 9wt, I use a rio 11wt saltwater line. badass rod I compare this rod to a dogfishhead 120 IPA.

  6. Anonymous2:48 PM

    I like fishing my six wt. with a 7wt. bass taper floater or IM or hiD shooting heads up to 225 grains. It's quite handy in a kayak but feels short from a float tube. Whips 2-3 lb black bass or stripers with ease but doesn't feel like overkill on a good bluegill either. Throws tight loops into heavy cover. I like it more everytime I fish it. Been a redington fan since 2002 and through various ownerships.

  7. Over lining the rod is nice, for sure, and that bass taper is perfect. Never tried shooting heads, but I have no doubt that they work great.

    I can understand how it would feel short from a tube, as your casting position is so close to the surface of the water.

  8. I had to come back and post here to let you guys know that your review on this rod was great! and was a deciding factor on getting one myself.. I am very happy with this rod! Finally got to cast it today.. 8'3 9wt.. matched it with an Okuma SLV and SA Pike/Musky.. This rod is a beast and I love it!

    1. You are welcome! Glad we could help. It is a rocket launcher for sure.


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