The Redington Link fly rod, the freshwater 6wt version, and Rise 5/6wt reel are my latest subjects to work out, test and review. When I first received the rod I was impressed with the rod tube to begin with. A carbon fiber tube and the anodized cap is a beautiful glacial blue that matches the same colored Rise reel perfectly. I pulled the rod out of its tube and sock and looked at it closely. Redington has a new way of wrapping the rod called Red.Core2, according to Redington, “To create Red.Core2 Technology, the designers cross-wrapped the mandrel with strands of high strength carbon fiber resulting in increased hoop strength. This minimizes material requirements and greatly reduces the overall blank weight. This new method produces a much smoother blank taper and creates a more responsive rod giving anglers a new level of line load feel and casting control.”
The rod fit together easily and felt solid when the pieces were seated. The alignment dots were spot-on and the highlight wraps around the ferrules and guides are the same Glacial Blue as the tube cap, this really set the rod off visually. This is the little stuff in a rod that I really appreciate. The snake guides all the way up the rod are well aligned and the wraps holding them are clean and precise. The half wells handle of good quality cork felt comfortable in my hand. One of the things I really like about Redington, with all their rods, the cork always feels good.
The link specifically uses another new technology, ExoCarbon which is a “carbon fiber overlay on the rod butt and ferrules to increase strength, provide additional line-carrying ability and greater lifting power. ExoCarbon technology also greatly increases the durability.” The ferrules are where the rod pieces come together and is traditionally a weak point in the rod, this process really strengthens it up without adding too much weight.
Now that I had all this new technology at my fingertips, I spooled up the Rise with about a hundred yards of backing and Rio Grand WF6F line. I added a 9ft 3x leader and I was off to the pond.
I stopped in the yard and casted the rod a bit. The rod feels light in your hand but as soon as you start to cast it the thoughts of a fragile rod go right out the window. I stripped about 50 feet of line out and began to cast it. The rod loads and unloads easily and when I let the line shoot it ran the length and gave me that solid thump. That red.core2 stuff is for real. I stripped more line off and was able to consistently throw good tight loops and shoot the line out to 80 feet pretty easily. I tied on the tried and true olive wooly bugger and began working the bank of the pond over. A few short strikes from bream were all was feeling. I worked around until I was facing a good and steady 10mph head wind. I casted straight into the wind and the rod cut through the wind pretty easily and I was still able to throw a good tight loop out to about 50 feet.
The next day the weather was nicer so I worked another pond over really well… Found a lot of small bream but nothing to really put any kind of pressure on the rod. The smaller fish were easily handled and the tip danced but still felt strong. I saw a small pocket near a culvert and saw water move so I made my way around towards it. Once I got within casting distance I threw the size 12 Olive Wooly Bugger in there. I let it sink just a little, one twitch and the water exploded! Finally, something big enough to put a bend in this rod was on the line. I stripped line in, tried to get a good hook set and was waiting for a good run to get it on the reel when it came out of the water. It was a chain pickerel about a foot long and not very happy about the hook in his face. After a few more jumps and a run towards the middle of the pond, the tippet gave way and he broke me off. While I was fighting the fish, as short as it was, I was impressed with the bend in the rod. The tip was soft enough to let that tippet work and I am sure if it was something a little less toothy I would have landed it. The rod felt solid in my hands and I could feel every twitch and shake of the fish. I really need to take this rod out and find some bigger test subjects….
I made my weekly trip to the salt and I had to take this rod and reel with me. I know thid particular Link and Rise are not really made for the salt, but I am testing this out and want to see what it will do. As we pulled up to our first spot we were greeted by a school of hungry redfish, BIG hungry redfish. I put a fly in front of them a couple of times but no takers for the Link. We worked our way down the bank, off to another spot and came back. Did not see any schools but I had a little heavier fly on the Link and I started hitting fishy lookin spots. After about the eighth cast I felt the line come tight. Quickly, a perfectly colored, slot sized redfish was on the reel and peeling drag. He wasn’t a beast, probably no more than 2 pounds but he was burly enough to put a pretty serious bend in the Link and test the drag on the Rise. Bending deep into the middle of the rod, it never felt like it was nearing the end of the rods capabilities. As the fish ran and pulled line the rod felt really good. It never felt like he was too much and the Rise let line out smoothly and on the retrieve it was smooth and took the line back quickly.
Even though a redfish was probably not in the mind of the designers when they built this weight rod, it will handle smaller ones just fine and I would guess a good sized Rainbow or Brownie would be handled just as easily. As for the Rise reel, according to Redington, “Its fully machined aluminum construction will perform in any saltwater or freshwater fishing situation.” I would have to agree. Although the 5/6wt reel was a little smaller than I would normally fish in the salt, I am sure the 7/8wt Rise would be an outstanding reel for salty critters. Over all I really like this rod. From the aesthetics to the power and ability to handle fish easily and smoothly I would gladly welcome a Link and Rise combo into my arsenal.
The Link of course is available in 9-foot, 9-foot 6-Inch and ten-foot lengths and range from a 3wt all the way up to a 10wt so any of your fishing needs, fresh or salt are covered. They are all four-piece rods so travelling is not a problem either. The Rise Reels are available in 3/4wt, 5/6wt, 7/8wt and 9/10wt and are available in 3 colors, Glacial, Charcoal and Mantis. Of course if you have any questions feel free to swing by the Lowcountry Fly Shop and we’ll take care of ya.