Redington Vapen Rod Review - Now Available in BLACK!July 26, 2014
This rod didn't get the attention it deserved when it first came out. It sports a new crazy rubber grip that wasn't real popular with the old timers. It called the "Power Grip" and is produced by Winn. It is typically used as a material for grips on golf clubs, and it dampens vibration which gives the cast a very smooth feel. The same old timers that didn't like the new red grip sure like it on their golf clubs though :) It is a great material and Redington is truly pushing performance here.
The problem was the grip idea was so new and so RED (it is pretty bright), that I don't think folks were taking this rod serious as a fine casting tool. The general population, including myself, couldn't get past the grip and forgot that it also featuresadvanced construction materials and processes. Now that the same rod is now available with a black grip I think it will be a hot seller. Especially for those who get a chance to cast it next to other rods of similar price and don't let the idea of a new material on the grip get in the way of a smart buying decision.
Now that the Vapen is available with a black grip... you will likely be seeing a lot of these on the water. It comes in rod weights 4 - 12.
The X-Wrap construction is visible on the blank and adds responsiveness, feel, lightweight, and durability rarely seen in rods that are sub $400. The Carbon reel seat keeps the rod sleek, light, and performance oriented. It took about a year but I started seeing this rod show up in a few of our guides boats, especially in the 6 - 8 weight ranges for streamers and Steelhead. I was fortunate enough to put quite a few hours on the 790-4 while on a Bonefish trip in the Yucatan this past winter and really liked it. Given the choice I would prefer to carry the upper end Sage gear but it is nearly twice the price. For most anglers $700 for a rod is simply out of reach. I believe the Vapen is one of the best choices to approach that type of performance for half the price.
I honestly didn't know a whole lot about this rod until recently, somehow it slipped under the radar with us and I very much regret not taking a closer look at this rod sooner! Plus I think there is a lack of good high performance rods in the $300-400 range. This is not an inexpensive rod, this is an upper middle class player and it is very impressive. If you are looking for a fast action rod consider the Redington Vapen.
Last week, regional salesperson and cool guy George Cook, brought a truckload of rods over to our shop and lodge for some casting and review and the first one that jumped out at me was the new Redington Vapen BLACK I cast the 890-4 a BUNCH and was very impressed. The grip is awesome and a lot softer yet more durable than cork. If you are going to be doing a lot of blind casting the grip is great, plus I think you can feel the rod load better through the rubber. The control that you have is awesome.
Advice on the Redington VAPEN Fly Rods (Red and Black are the same blank, just different color grips.
- It is a bit fast for beginners, BUT if you put a Rio Grand In-Touch line on it you will be able to feel the rod load and it will give it a more relaxed feel. As your casting progresses you can switch to a Rio Gold fly line and get some amazing raw performance out of this rod.
- BUY this rod if you are going to fish large rivers or lakes.
- Don't buy this as your first fly rod.
- Don't buy this if you plan to fish small streams with it.
- Don't buy this rod if budget is a non-issue, no matter how hard they work a $350 rod doesn't have the same materials and craftsmanship of a $700 rod.
- BUY this rod if you want a Steelhead rod, beach rod, or streamer rod.
- IF you buy this rod and plan to nymph fish most of the time, get a Rio In Touch X Stream Indicator Line (the fast action of this rod loves this line)
- BUY this rod if you want greater distance and line speed.
- BUY this rod if you want a rod that will handle indicators and nymphs without complaint.
- BUY this rod if you care more about having a great casting and fishing experience than the aesthetics of the rod handle. (the Powergrip is so nice, seriously it is great)
Conclusion on the Redington Vapen - Black and Red
There are a lot of rods to choose from, in fact, there are so many it is overwhelming. Hopefully this review helps narrow the field. The Vapen is a good choice in this price range. I love how the grip feels and when I am blind casting a lot it is really nice because you can get feedback from the blank that just doesn't register through the cork. It seems to amplify the power in the rod.
I think the 590-4 and 690-4 are awesome rods for anyone that is going to fish on mid sized to large waters and is going to throw 2 flies, nymphs, or streamers quite well. The problem with "affordable" fast action rods is they typically feel like broom sticks. The Vapen has some personality when you lean into it and I think if anyone is looking for a high performance rod under $500, the Vapen at $350 is a pretty easy choice.