The Redington Vapen Red represents the single greatest change in fly rod construction since the introduction of carbon fiber. Redington teamed up with Winn (of golf fame) to improve upon one piece of the fly rod that has remained virtually unchanged for 100 years – the grip. They've made it synthetic, and they’re the first major manufacturer to do so. But while the grip is the most noticeable part of the rod, the highlight is how it casts.
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We wouldn’t be doing the Vapen justice if we didn’t talk about how it came to be. Let’s start with a brief history lesson: Redington was founded in 1992 and joined forces with Sage in 2003. Since then, rod development has largely been in the hands of the Sage team. You might think that this was a good thing; however, we’ve learned that when great rod builders aren’t trying their hardest, you get rods like the CPX…
Enter David Visnack, Redington’s new general manager. He’s not only taken over rod design and started to build some great new products, but he’s converted “the new Redington” into a truly innovative company. And the flagship of this new brand is the all new Vapen Red, which is not only a paradigm shift in grip technology; it also casts really, really, well.
The Vapen looks fantastic, if a little non-traditional. The X-Wrap blank looks more modern than a spaceship, and the graphics will definitely make you stand out on the water. The wraps and finish are great, as are the guides. Let’s be honest, what you really want to hear about is the grip.
The all-new Winn grip is actually a natural progression. Winn grips are softer and more weather resistant than cork. The key factor that most will notice (besides the color) on the new grip is that, because it’s so soft, it’s really comfortable to cast. I didn’t get to test the rod when it was wet, but I’d imagine it’s not slippery and doesn’t take on water like cork does. Unfortunately, in golf, Winn grips are notoriously short lived, however, so I’m curious how this will hold up when fished day-in-day-out.
The 890-4 weighs 4.3 ounces, which is over 30% heavier than the Helios 2, and almost 10% heavier than the cork Vapen.
Needless to say, the Vapen Red is light and lively in hand. It would be a breeze to cast all day.
The Vapen is a powerful rod. I was easily able to get this rod out to 90+ feet.
The true surprise of the Vapen is how accurate it is. The rod easily rivals rods twice as expensive. Best of all, it’s great in close – especially at 30-40’ where most of the fishing happens. Because the Vapen isn’t lacking power, it’s also great at 60’ and 75’.
It’s fast, but progressive – a little reminiscent of the Sage ONE – and feels great. If you like a soft tip, progressive mid-section, and stiff butt section, the Vapen is perfect. It’s ideal for any freshwater applications, but doesn’t quite have the super-stiff butt section that you’ll want for those windy days on the flats. Needless to say, if you’re looking for an awesome bonefish rod for under $400, this is it.
Sure, we’ve always liked the Classic Trout>Tempt>Classic Trout line of rods. They were great entry level rods for the small stream and dry fly angler. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a truly high-performance rod from the company. The Redington Vapen Red is exactly that. It’s a rod for all anglers, but will likely fit faster casters best.
The 8-weight will make a fantastic bonefish rod and pairs well with Rio Bonefish, but will also be a great choice for chucking meat to those big browns with Rio Grand.