Redington Vapen Red ReviewMarch 21, 2014
- Unique styling and color blocking
- The best value of its class in terms of price
- Fast-action design with good tip flex for delicate “feel”
- Very accurate casting
- Good performance for novice and intermediate casters
- The synthetic grip can be off-putting to traditionalist anglers
- Less casting power/distance than others in this class
The Redington Vapen’s new graphite construction, a propriety technology dubbed XWrap, alternates the wrapping direction of two layers of graphite to create a rod with an impressive degree of casting power with minimal tip vibration. The Vapen’s combination of power and accuracy puts it among the best in the class, but its synthetic grip and balance in hand make it one of the most comfortable rods our testers have ever handled. That helped push the Vapen Red to the top as Best in Class.
The latest fly rod from Redington has the performance to please the most seasoned fly fisher with a look that will appeal to the youngest generation of anglers. The synthetic grip, using technology gleaned from the golfing industry, offers an unmatched, non-slip fit in the hand. New construction methods trim weight by reducing the amount of carbon fiber needed to create a strong, supple rod. We found the lighter weight helps reduce arm fatigue during a long day on the water.
Casting Distance and Accuracy
The Vapen – Swedish for weapon – is a powerful rod with good casting accuracy. It’s truly a weapon that fires flies exactly where you want them. It proved to be the most accurate, softest presenting rod in this test. That accuracy comes at the expense of pure power, meaning you want be able to cast across a big river without considerable skill and effort.
General fit, finish and feel
Redington offers the Vapen with a traditional cork grip, but to really experience the technology in this rod, you should get the Vapen Red. This version incorporates a new grip designed by Winn Grips: a company that specializes in golf club grip design. The Vapen Red uses a polymer grip that feels remarkable soft in hand, but it proved incredibly grippy even after being totally immersed in the river or held by a sweat-soaked hand. “Once it got wet, it was even grippier than dry,” said one of our testers, who has 30-years of fly fishing experience. “Cork—especially after having been used by a bunch of other sweaty anglers—would have been slippery as hell.”
The slightly tip flex of the Link greatly improves its performance as a delicate nymphing rod, allowing anglers to feel those subtle bumps as fish nibble on the submersed fly patterns. It also allows novice-to-intermediate anglers to more easily lay down small dry flies without slapping them in—resulting in fewer spooked fish, and more caught fish.
Dan Nelson- Fly Fishing Editor
Dan Nelson is GearInstitute.com's fly fishing editor. He is based in the Pacific Northwest.