So I finally got a 10wt line for my 10 wt Redington Vapen Red. A sensible thing to do. The line is a Rio Outbound Short WF10F/I (in the coldwater formulation) that has a 12ft clear intermediate tip in front of the white floating head and light minty green running line. Factory welded loops at both ends. After my my over-lining fiasco (with a 12wt Airflo wind crusher) it was with a sense of keen anticipation that I wound the new line onto the Sage 4210 reel. I quickly threaded the line through the rod rings and headed over to the local school field to learn how good the line was.
I wont beat about the bush: it took a few minutes getting used to the short head, and the other characteristic which is common to fly lines with dual densities, the front taper has a bit of a kick. Once the introductions were over it was time to see how far this canon could shoot. After a few warm ups I gave it my best shot: it not the prettiest cast, with a slight breeze from my left, but it flew and pulled the line out until the backing knot was at the first stripping guide. That was 96 of 100 feet of line out of the rod tip. A personal best. I am a happy swoffer: my dream combo is finally all together and can send a fly further than I’ve been able to do before.
The line itself is very nice: my concern was that the cold water formulation would result in wiry handling but instead it is seductively supple and smooth even in the cold of a July evening. The real test will be in the water on a cold winter dawn.
There’s nothing like new tackle to pump that urge to go fishing! Time to point this outfit at some water, preferably with fish in it, and get it into fish fighting mode.
Okay – I took my wallet to a recent Strip Strike club meeting at Totally Fly in the Viaduct, Auckland. Cunningly Rene Vaz had berleyed the shop with enticing specials and I decided to bite down on a new fly line for my Redington Vapen fly rod.
This is the first ridge construction line I’ve owned and the texture definitely feels different to the super slick conventional designs. It is a saltwater beast with an aggressive front taper that is design to pile drive heavy flies into annoying breezes. The core is 50 pound breaking strain braid so your 15 kg leader will break first, rather than a trout-evolved fly line would do. If you are unlucky enough to get snagged, in my experience, you’d straighten or break the hook before the leader would part.
Then there is just out and out cool colour scheme. First the clear intermediate front taper, a grunty floating blue belly section that is the engine designed to pull out the 92 feet of high visibility yellow running line. That all adds up to 120 feet of reach – for the truly skilled casters. For me, if can do 90 feet (27m) I will be a happy swoffer indeed.
Now all I need is a window to do some winter swoffing!
Finally took the Vapen out with the Sniper for a test fire on the local school field.
Wow – this line is a beast!
You could point it at Cyclone Bola and it would slap the fly in her face with a smug grin. The front taper would probably turn over a seagull if you had one on the end of your leader.
The polyurethane material feels very tough and the line flies out like an express train. I was on the rugby field and easily got 24 meters. Okay, this is a 120 ft line, so shouldn’t I be expecting at least 27 (90 ft)?
Well that’s my fault. As mentioned above this is a 12 wt line and I have a 10wt rod. You can over-line for sure, but in this case , it was definitely too much: getting the head fully aerialised was over-taxing the rod and unable to get good line speed. The fact with less than optimal line speed and flight profile that I could get 22 meters plus says a lot for the line.
At first I thought about cutting back the front taper to lighten it, but it is a line designed for a purpose: deliver big flies with authority. I respect the design and the build quality enough to not want to mess with it because I took a punt on over-lining.
Now to get a good 10 wt to bring out the best in the Vapen … there’s winter fishing to be done!
Just got myself a brand new fly rod for first time in about six years. In the last year I have caught the kingfish bug, particularly since landing a yellowtail bruiser at Pt Chevalier on a 7 weight outfit. Up in Northland in February this year, with the guidance of Craig Worthington, saltwater fly fishing guide, I managed to hook two kingfish, land based, of at least 9-10 kilos in one day (and lost both, but that’s how it goes when your up against such hoodlums). Life changing stuff in terms of my fly fishing.
You can’t really begin to think of taking the fight to such fish with trout-scale rod and reels. In a snag free environment it can be done, and I have done it twice now, but it is better if you have tackle that let’s you do more than just hang on while the fish dictates the battle.
On that trip I used a Vapen 10 wt outfit that Craig was testing and was impressed that such a grunty rod was so slender, relatively light and easy to cast with. My birthday arrived a few weeks after that trip and I had was gifted the capital to make a serious investment into a heavy weight outfit.
My selection was for a Redington Vapen Red, so named for the gaudy red golf-style vinyl handle grip. There’s no way that rod will ever get lost! The choice of a 10 where some would get a 12 weight was a compromise as my intention was that this would become my “go to” outfit for most of my saltwater fly fishing. I wanted it to still be fun with smaller fish as well as having enough authority to handle some of the big boys that crash the party.
But in the saltwater realm, you need more than a beefy rod. You need a reel that is not only strong but has a drag system that put some serious hurt on a fish when it flees the scene. Again I was impressed at the power and smoothness of the top line Sage reel on Craig’s outfit. The partner purchase of the combo was a Sage 4210 fly reel, a more modest model, but from what I can see, the drag system is of comparable power. As with the Vapen rod, this reel is a relatively lightweight design for its heavy weight capability, with plenty of capacity yet overall it presents a compact form factor.
I will present some images of the rod for a start, and my thoughts will follow in a few days. Enjoy!
Double locking reel seat and fighting butt and woven graphite inlay