Sunday, November 3, 2013

Gear Review: Redington's Vapen Red Fly Rod

It seems fly rod manufacturers introduce a 'revolutionary new design' using 'space age' composite materials every few weeks.  Scroll through the pages of any current fly fishing mag or e-zine and you'll see what I'm talking about.  Maybe I'm suffering from marketing fatigue, but I usually dismiss these claims as industry hype.

After fishing Redington's new Vapen Red rod for the past couple of months, however, I've joined the ranks of new believers.  The Vapen is a workhorse of a fly rod, designed with the perfect balance of spring and punch.

The first thing people notice about the Vapen Red is the unorthodox grip, which was designed in conjunction with golf industry giant Winn Grips.  The real story here, however, is the rod itself - a graphite blank cross-wrapped with high-density carbon ribbons.

The Rod
Redington says this new "X-Wrap" carbon technology provides maximum vibration dampening, strength and torsional stability.  For me, this translated into smooth and accurate casting.

The rod is outfitted with a carbon fiber reel seat insert and anodized reel seat highlights.  I fished the 9' 7-weight model, throwing streamers with an intermediate sinking line.

The first thing I noticed after casting the rod was its sheer power.  Heaving weighted streamers and lines required less effort with the Vapen versus other rods I've fished.  The rod loaded and shot line with ease.  The Vapen (Swedish for "weapon") had no trouble lobbing heavy artillery.

More importantly, my casts seemed to land on target consistently.  I attribute this to the dampening effect of the cross-wraps.

The Vapen is supple enough to detect subtle nuance while stripping flies, yet robust enough to turn fish in swift water with authority.  Redington has engineered a rod with a solid balance of these important qualities.  It's a fast-action rod with ample sensitivity.

The Vapen Red PowerGrip
The Grip
It should be noted Redington provides two grip options with the Vapen Series:  a traditional A-grade cork grip ("Vapen") and the PowerGrip ("Vapen Red"). 

The PowerGrip is a solid alternative to traditional cork grips.  It's made from a non-slip polymer designed to reduce fatigue and amplify power.  Personally, I think Redington is off to a good start with the PowerGrip, but I see some room for additional improvement.  I'd prefer a larger diameter radius in the center of the grip (for more of an "hour glass" design) and an even 'grippier' surface material.

Seduced by the Vapen Red

It is worth noting Redington's Vapen series of fly rods won more industry awards in 2013 than any other.  The rods, which retail for $349.99, cast as well as many rods at twice the price and carry a lifetime warranty.  The series is available in 5-weight through 12-weight options.

Anyone looking for a good 'new school' composite rod should check the Vapen Series out.  You can read more about it on Redington's website.


  1. Interesting. Does that grip get slick when wet? Looks like it might slide around in your hand while casting.

    1. Ty, the grip doesn't slip or slide. It's got a series of recessed logos to create 'dimples' in the grip for traction.