The Affordable Gear Act

Those of you who follow this blog and the Instagram account probably noticed that I use a lot of expensive gear. This is partly because I own the shop, but also partly because I choose to drive a 20 year old car and dump all my cash into expensive aluminum and carbon fiber instead. But what about those of you who canít convince themselves or the minister of finance back home to drop a few K on a new fishing rig? In order to answer that question I gave Alex (my Redington rep) a call. A few days later I got a Predator rod and Rise reel in the mail and went to hit the flats with them to see how they would hold up on our local fish.

I opted to use a 7wt, as I mostly fish in really shallow water and I like a little lighter presentation on the spooky fish who feed there. First impression of casting the rod was that it was on the stiffer side (although I like this for windy conditions and throwing bulky crab and mantis patterns), but not nearly as stiff as the first generation Predator. Matching it with a heavy, bullet tapered, weight forward line like the Rio Quickshooter or Cortland Guide Taper would work nicely.

My first attempt to catch a fish did not go so well. I neglected to change the backing Alex had loaded the reel with (20# dacron), and when a smart fish ran around some little mangrove bushes, it broke the backing before I could free it. A first for me, but a sound lesson learned.

After reloading the reel with proper 60# GSP backing, I went back in hopes of having a more productive day. Sure enough, another nice fish was tailing along in front of the mangroves, and I made the 40ft shot out ahead of him. (Casting directly into a 10 knot tradewind was no problem) when he got a couple of feet from the little mantis fly, I gave it a twitch. I saw him rush forward and start doing the ďbonefish wiggle.Ē A quick strip set and we were off to the races!

The Rise has a decent drag for such a lightweight reel, and it was smooth and measured while the fish ran for the safety of deep water. He didnít make it. Within a few minutes of back and forth, he was at my feet and about to get yelled at. He was a solid fish, and a worthy adversary for just about any flats fishing gear.

So all in all, I can confirm that you donít need to drop an entire pay check on a rod or reel to catch a big fish here. For just over $500 for the pair, the Redington Predator and Rise will do just fine. Does that mean Iím going to trade in all my expensive toys? Probably not, but itís nice to know that there are options out there if I ever decided to. Aloha

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