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This Redington Predator Fly Rod Review is an in-depth, no-nonsense, nothing-faked review. This is a real-life, on-the-water testing of a couple of different weights that have been personally cast many, many, many times.
Table of Contents
- Watch the Redington Predator Fly Rod Review
- Why Trust My Redington Predator Fly Rod Review?
- Redington Predator Review: How I Reviewed & Tested The Rod
- Redington Predator Pros
- Redington Predator Cons
- What’s In The Box?
- Redington Predator Specs
- Redington Predator Fly Rod Review: How The Rod Feels
- Redington Predator Warranty
- Casting The Redington Predator
- Other Rods That Compare To The Redington Predator
- Who is the Redington Predator Fly Rod For?
- Redington Predator Review: My Personal Thoughts
- FAQs About Redington Predator Fly Rod
The Predator is a beefed-up, hard-fighting fly rod lineup that can handle big flies, heavy lines, and intense battles with large predators in both freshwater and saltwater pursuits.
As an avid fly fisher for 35 years, a professional guide for 15, and an experienced fishing destination traveler, I’ve seen my share of rods come and go. I’ve seen those that can handle the situation and those that fall flat. This is my honest review of a rod lineup that I have plenty of experience with.
Our Fly Rod Reviews:
Watch the Redington Predator Fly Rod Review
Why Trust My Redington Predator Fly Rod Review?
This review of the Redington Predator is a proper and true review. There is no speculation here. Hours and hours, days, and weeks have been logged. Travel destinations have been checked off the list.
The rods in question have seen plenty of action.
As an avid angler and a professional guide, I get to see firsthand the true performance of a lot of equipment and how each item stacks up against another option. When guiding, not only do I get to test things myself, I get to witness how these items work for a myriad of styles and anglers, green and seasoned.
Redington Predator Review: How I Reviewed & Tested The Rod
The Redington Predator is a relatively new addition to the Redington lineup. I’ve had my 8wt Redington Predator for a year and have recently been traveling with an additional 11wt Predator.
During my review of the Redington Predator fly rod, Both weights were tested in different scenarios chasing different fish. Both rods were fished from shore/beach and from a boat. The 8wt was fished in fresh and saltwater and the 11wt only in salt situations (as there aren’t too many freshwater applications for the 11wt).
Redington Predator Pros
Redington is definitely known for making decent, cost-effective fly gear for the masses.
Lately, it seems their aesthetic and marketing are geared toward younger fly fishers who may not have a lot of expendable income yet or folks who wish to pick up a few different rods vs. spending all their available funds on one higher-end rod.
The Predator lineup is definitely made for fishing aggressively for aggressive fish in often aggressive and harsh situations. This beefed-up, fast-action rod series is made to handle big flies and heavy lines and to battle hard-fighting species.
Redington is synonymous with “cost-effective.” Not only that, but they are also well-made rods, especially for the price. My review of the Redington Predator shows that it’s definitely well made and well priced, especially knowing that it’s made for heavy battle.
Redington isn’t afraid to step away from the clean and classic look that other rod companies adhere to. The Predator is a great-looking rod and it’s available in two colors!
- Sea Blue – A touch classic but with a more electric, colorful blue finish.
- Predator Camo – A light gray/green camo that may help you be less visible to fish and look cool to your friends.
The problem with less-expensive rods can be the weight. High-tech materials can be lighter but cost more. In this Redington Predator fly rod review, I found the rods…surprisingly…not as heavy as I’d expected. Most of the rods felt fairly light in the hand and well balanced with good butt-end power and tip flex.
Redington Predator Cons
Not everything can be peachy-keen, especially with budget-friendly rods and the Predator is no different.
There were definitely a lot of upsides but one small and one big downside added some variables to my Redington Predator Fly Rod review.
Reel Seat Can Feel Loose
This didn’t seem to happen on every Redington Predator that I fished with. Some seemed fine. Others, however, seemed to be unable to fully secure the reel to the rod without a tiny bit of shimmy/play.
This isn’t detrimental at all but it is something to note. One interesting thing was that the 8wt was fished with a Lamson reel and didn’t seem to have too much play. the 11wt was paired with the recommended Redington Grande and did have a bit of play.
I tried fitting the reel intentionally quite a few times…lined it up, secured the first reel fastener ring, and then the second. Each time had the same outcome.
Above 8wt Models, Casting becomes more laborious
It seems normal that a heavier 11wt rod would be a bit more laborious to cast vs. an 8wt rod in any situation, even within the same lineup. My review of the Redington Predator Fly Rod models at my disposal, however, was a bit more than that.
It seemed to me that the 8wt Predator, while of course heavier and stiffer than say a 6wt Predator, was still a breeze to cast.
Making quick pickups, one or two false casts, and shooting quite a distance of line…even when changing angles greatly, wasn’t such a chore. It flexed well in the casting hand and a double haul helped punch the line.
With the 11wt, however, making simple, repeated, accurate casts over 40ft into the wind…a daily occurrence when fishing saltwater…could prove somewhat difficult. The rod felt heavy and almost unable to flex in the casting hand. Double-hauling as the main cast method and using the rod to follow helped but it wasn’t pretty.
Immediately after casting the 11wt Predator, I switched to another brand 11wt with the same exact Rio line, and noticed a radical difference. The other brand 11wt was a dream to cast vs. the 11wt Predator.
What’s In The Box?
The unboxing of the Redington Predator Fly Rods are pretty straightforward. At this price point, you’ll get the 4 piece fly rod that comes in a Cordura fly rod tube with a zippered end.
The Redington Predator looks pretty slick out of the rod tube.
The 11wt tested was in the sea blue color and the 8wt in the Redington camo, which is actually camo on the butt section and fades to a black color beyond. Both are nice-looking rods.
Both rods have good, clean, light-colored cork in a double wells handle with a fighting butt. The black reel seats are clean-looking and the double reel ring tensioners make sure your reel doesn’t come loose at an inopportune moment.
The stripper guides (first eyelet) are large and black with black ceramic inserts which keep with the clean aesthetic. Again, both available rod colors are a little departure from traditional rod aesthetics but look well-intentioned and playful without being overly cheesy.
The overall rod visual and hand feel say it’s a nice rod, especially for the price.
The rod tubes at this price point will almost always be Cordura (a long-lasting, abrasion-resistant woven nylon) over a hard plastic tube. The Redington Predator sticks with that tradition.
The blue color rods come in a black rod tube. The Redington Camo rods come in an all-camo print rod tube.
The inside of the tube is pre-divided into sections to keep your rod pieces separate and scratch/ding-free. This is different from other rod tubes where you’d have to pull a separate rod sleeve out of the tube to open and retrieve your rod.
This is both a blessing and a curse depending on the situation. It’s nice to not have to open multiple items to get to the rod or to misplace a rod sleeve. However, when traveling, I often leave the rod tubes behind in lieu of my rod case (carry-on sized) that can hold many rods at once.
Using a rod sleeve in the travel case is a must. In my situation, I had to buy a separate rod sleeve for traveling with my rod case.
Redington Predator Specs
Understanding all you can about a rod before making a purchase is a big help. The technical specs for each rod help give some real insight into what you might expect from the rod while fishing. Nothing compares to real-world experience, however.
- Available Lengths & Weights: 9′ is available in 6-11wt. A 9.5′ 6wt, a 10′ 7wt, and a 8’1″ 14wt are also options. The website mentions a 16wt but there is nothing currently available in that caliber.
- Action: Fast
- Pieces: 4
- Blank Material: Graphite
- Measured Reference Weights: 6wt: 4.1oz, 8wt: 4.3oz, 11wt: 5.2oz, 14wt: 6.4oz
- Stripping Guides: Aluminum oxide with ceramic insert
- Snake Guides: Anodized aluminum
- Reel Seat: Anodized aluminum
- Handle: Material and style: Full wells cord with fighting butt
- Rod Tube: Materials Cordura nylon with interior rod section dividers, zipper, and label
- Rod Sock: Not included.
- Price: $349
Redington Predator Fly Rod Review: How The Rod Feels
During my review of the Redington Predator Fly Rod, I found a lot to like and, truth be told, a few things that could be improved upon. The overall rod feel was, for the price especially, quite good.
I definitely expected a “beefier,” lower-priced rod to have a heavier and less lively hand feel.
The two rods tested (8 and 11wts) weigh 4.3oz and 5.2oz respectively. There is a definite but small difference when holding both at the same time.
However, as previously mentioned, one would expect a heavy-duty performance rod costing less than $400 to feel a bit heavier and clumsier. It is a little heavier than other 8wt rods but, here, one has to take cost and heavy battle performance into consideration.
There were no available specs on the exact swing weight for the Redington Predator but you can feel that it’s a bit heavy. This is more of a problem for the 6 and 7-weight rods that you’ll likely be blind casting all day. When moving to 8wt and up, you’re likely hunting the saltwater and only casting when you see fish.
There is a reason for the slightly increased weight/swing weight of this rod…and that’s added power. This rod, as the name suggests, is designed with a powerful butt section and mid-rod area. This makes lifting and casting big flies and heavier lines easier. It also makes battling big, powerful fish a little less worrisome.
The Redington Predator series of rods are fast-action rods. This means that the flex happens closer to the tip vs. the handle of the rod. A lot of today’s casters prefer fast action rods that handle faster casts with more precision. The action and the power work well together on these rods for the most part.
Presentation on this rod isn’t a problem generally speaking. Attention-getting plops with a crab or gotcha for bones or permit are absolutely doable, as is landing your fly with a bit more subtlety. Getting the right fly motion didn’t seem difficult either.
For streamers/large saltwater flies, the story was similar. Here, I prefer a bit of attention-getting-plop too, which wasn’t hard to do. The stiff butt/mid sections coupled with a just-sensitive-enough rod tip seemed to help add life to the fly when stripped aggressively (think aggressive fall brown trout or even roosterfish strip).
Redington Predator Warranty
Redington is always great with their unconditional lifetime warranty. $25 gets you a new tip. $50 covers any other repair. Discontinued models will cost $95 to repair.
Casting The Redington Predator
Like all rods, casting the Redington Predator fly rod at different distances produced different results. This Redington Predator rod review showed the following results:
With the stiffness in the lower part of the rod, short casts weren’t always easy. Luckily the powerful head of the Rio Outbound Short line helped load the rod quicker for short shots. Still, it wasn’t perfect.
20 to 40 feet seemed to be the sweet spot for both the 8wt and the 11wt rods. Both seemed to work intuitively at this range and both rods would work for most casting styles at this distance.
The 40-60 foot range was where things started to differentiate. The 8wt rod seemed to hold together just fine here. Even with a bit of wind, common in saltwater pursuits, the 8wt could flex and punch just fine.
The 11wt rod, however, was a different story. In calm conditions, this range wasn’t too bad. With a little wind or stiff breeze, however, the heavier weight and stiff butt/mid sections didn’t want to flex well at all. Really the only way to get close to 60ft on the 11wt was to rely on the double haul (not uncommon in saltwater).
When casting over 60ft, the 8wt flex-to-power ratio seemed to work fine. Again, a somewhat heavy outbound line did help. The 11wt, however, really struggled.
Without the ability to push your casting hand “through” the rod handle to flex the rod, about the only way to get any distance out of the 11wt was to rely completely on the double haul every false cast and to merely “follow” the line with the rod.
Different casts were employed with similar results. Overall, distance casting with the 11wt rod was really disappointing. For comparison, I would periodically switch off for another 11wt and be able to cast 60-90 feet with a much better result.
Other Rods That Compare To The Redington Predator
If you’re in the market for a Redington Predator, you may have also come across the Sage Maverick, the Scott Wave, and the Temple Fork Outfitters Blitz.
The Sage Maverick comes in at $675, almost twice as much as the Predator. It’s available in 6-14wt for pretty much any big-game pursuit. Oversized chrome line guides and an anodized reel seat help fend off corrosion.
Sage has a lifetime warranty but repairs will cost $50 for current models, $95 for recent, and $195 for legacy.
The Scott Wave is also priced at $675. While Scott’s rods are known for having backbone, this “all-water rod” also comes with anodized line guides, a ceramic stripping guide, and an anodized reel seat with a carbon fiber look. Available in 9′ models from 6-12wt.
Scott has a 1 year workmanship /defect warranty but a line guide can be fixed for $45, a tip for $125, and a butt section for $200 anytime.
The TFO Blitz comes in at $425, still a touch higher than the Predator. The Blitz is fast-action with a touch more flex than the Predator. Anodized hardware and reel seat adorn the rod and the warranty is a lifetime, no-fault warranty costing $60 per repair.
The Redington Predator, however, is a fantastic choice for a few reasons. First, not only is it a very easy price point for a decent, powerful rod (especially for the saltwater game), but it’s got some really great tech and aesthetics too. Your warranty repairs are quick and inexpensive compared to other brands as well.
So, if having a great-looking, good-performing, generally affordable rod is important, the Predator is a great choice.
Who is the Redington Predator Fly Rod For?
While conducting my Redington Predator 8wt and 11wt review, I found things that many folks will like and some that specific anglers won’t.
The Redington Predator fly rod series is best suited for the intermediate angler who is on the hunt for big, nasty, predatory fish. Newer casters may have some difficulty casting the rods, especially the big rods. Advanced anglers can easily use the Predator but will probably favor other rods.
If you love to chuck streamers to trout or bass, the 6 and 7wt models are great. 7-8wts will cover bonefish and steelhead (the 10′ 7wt is great for steelhead and small salmon). 9-12wts will get it done for pike, muskie, permit, roosterfish, jacks, and tarpon. Call on the big 14 wt for blue-water fighting power.
Redington Predator Review: My Personal Thoughts
In my review of the Redington Predator fly rod, there were a lot of things to like. The 8wt, for me, is a great rod for both nymphing for steelhead and for chasing bonefish and small permit on the salt flats. Punching medium to medium long casts is no worry with the Predator’s extra backbone.
The 11wt rod worked well for short to medium shots, especially with a heavier weighted line. The slow-sinking Rio Outbound Tropical Short was a great combo. The rod battles roosters and jack with authority.
Really, the only lackluster score for the 8wt was dying/less than accurate shots during long-distance casting and, for the 11wt, mid-long to long casts were quite difficult, even with a heavy line. It felt like I was trying to flex a 2×4 meaning I got little help from the rod itself to punch line into the wind.
FAQs About Redington Predator Fly Rod
Here are some FAQs about Redington and the Predator lineup:
Yes. Redington is a reputable company that makes quality gear for the masses. It looks good, fishes well, and costs less than most of the big names.
Redington, Sage, and Rio are all owned by a parent company called Far Bank.
Korea. While the parent company is in Washington, cost-effective rods are not made there.
Redington rods use less of the “upper tier” tech found in more expensive fly rods. They are also made overseas to reduce production costs.
I wouldn’t suggest it. It’s made specifically to cast heavy flies and battle big fish. Other rods are better “all-around” rods and have a lighter weight, are more balanced, and have a better feel for smaller fish, smaller flies, and lots of blind casting all day long.
My Redington Predator Fly Rod review showed that this rod is very relevant in the big-game conversation. There’s a lot to like about this rod, especially the looks, power, and price point.
And while power, looks, and price are very attractive attributes, they’re not everything. Big-game and saltwater pursuits aren’t easy endeavors and, those who have experience in both will generally demand a lot out of their rods.
For this reason, I feel that intermediate anglers looking to get into the salt or pike/musky game will really like these rods. They’ll give you decent and necessary equipment and keep enough in your bank account for flights, Airbnbs, and even some guided days. Advanced anglers will probably want to look elsewhere.
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