Thursday, February 9, 2012

Gear Review- Redington Crosswater Rods

My Crosswater 8 weight

For those of you who do know, you're wondering "Why review an entry level rod?".  The Crosswater is Redington's least expensive rod, retailing for about $70-90.  I got mine on sale from Cabela's last spring for $50.

If nothing else it lets you know I'm not sponsored by the company.  Redington is a great gear company with a full roster of excellent rods, from entry level to quite expensive, staying just below the absolute nose-bleed levels of the higher end companies.  Redington is now a subsidiary of Far Bank Enterprises, the same company that owns Sage, Rio, and a few other shingles.  They have a reputation to protect, and so I would expect that all of the products from all of their subsidiaries are held to a certain standard.

Here's what I was after- an affordable 8 weight rod by a reputable company for chuck-n-duck fishing for salmon and steelhead, I wanted a backup rod for my night fishing and for flats fishing carp and smallmouth bass, and it needed to be inexpensive and tough.  For those not familiar, chuck-n-duck fishing entails using a running line, and a butt section of monofilament on which you have a sliding weight.  It is not uncommon for your sliding weight to come out of the water on a hook set or snag and impact the tip section of your rod, at times shattering it- imagine your sense of loss when you've paid $200, $300, or $600 for that rod.  Thus my search.

a nice salmon caught on the Crosswater

But here is another side to the Crosswater.  Last year I happened to recognize a buddy's truck parked at a local river.  He is a local guide, and has some very nice (expensive) gear in his drift boat for his clients.  I wandered upstream to see him throwing some beautiful graceful loops.  Come to find out he was using the Crosswater 4 weight.  When I asked him about this, he said they have such a nice feel that he continues to use them.  I have since had the chance to cast a 5 weight, and was very impressed with how it cast.  The action is medium and casts a bit like fiberglass, meaning that you have to slow your cadence, but it threw 50 foot casts effortlessly.  Your mantra on the back cast is "wait for it, just wait for it", but on the foreward stroke it is solid and a bit of a rocket.  It has a bit of a heavy feel, but casts very nicely, and with some practice I was able to make a gentle presentation.

As far as fishing my 8 weight for carp on the Great Lakes, it was adequate but not ideal.  I found the action too soft, it would not punch into the west wind like I needed.  It is not really designed for that kind of fishing.  It will do in a pinch, especially when the schools move close in and the wind isn't up.

Okay, here is where this rod, my 8 weight shines- it is fantastic for chuck-n-duck fishing for Great Lakes salmon and steelhead.  Here's why.  First, it is priced right- the 8 weight normally sells for $90, I bought mine for $50.  You could stock up on these rods at that rate and never run out.  Second- I have tried and can't seem to break this rod, and I've broken a lot of rods this last year.  The medium action is a benefit as you're not looking for an overly aggressive rod in this type of  fishing.  The Crosswater is responsive enough, telegraphing the bottom to you with some precision, but where I have found this rod to shine is in the battle.  Just try to break a tippet with this rod.  Lean back.  Relax.  Hang on.  I've caught some very big fish on this rod, including salmon in the mid twenty pound range, and a great steelhead.  It was overmatched fishing salmon this fall- the fish were huge and plentiful.  A 10 weight would have better suited the situation, and yet, I leaned back on this rod, hooked up with fish that were much bigger that this rod was designed for, and it would just bend, bend, and bend some more.  I got a couple of great salmon and had a great day.  It is ideally suited to steelhead fishing- perfectly matched to the fish, and it battles them with aplomb.

The 8 weight Crosswater features a nice dark blue blank, a comfortable cork grip with fighting butt, and an excellent reel seat.  I had problems at the start with my reel wobbling in the reel seat, but over time this has disappeared, which makes me think it was pilot error, and in battling my big steelhead today it was rock solid.

a great buck steelhead caught on the Crosswater 8
Drawbacks?  I've lost a couple of fish to soft hook-sets, and there are times when I've wished it had more backbone.  But once you hook up it is hard to lose a fish, so the rod seems to mitigate.  You could easily spend $600-800 on a rod these days- there's lot's of such models available.  Look at my pictures and my smile-  a fish is a fish- it's not about the rod, but the time you enjoy on the river.  If $50, or $70 or $90 gets you out on there fishing, then so be it.

If you're looking for a great trout rod, you can't go wrong with the 4 weight, it's a genuine pleasure to fish and cast.  The 5 weight is a great all around rod for streamer fishing as well as bass and even pike.  The Redington Crosswater is not a "beginner" or "entry level" rod, but an excellent and inexpensive alternative to spending big bucks on gear, money that can be spent on fishing trips.  It will not do everything (no rod does), but for most anglers, it will come pretty close.

You can check out the Crosswater and Redingtons other rods here at
http://www.redington.com/rods/crosswater

You can buy them at most of your favorite retailer or online site, or here's a link to them on
Cabela's website.

17 comments:

  1. Nice rod! It sounds like it's worth more than you had to give for it. Lovely fish photos too. I especially like the picture of the colorful brook trout. I'll probably go down memory lane this season and visit some brook trout water that I haven't fished for years.

    Have fun with your Redington Crosswater rod,
    M.O.

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    1. I have more expensive rods, but have been enjoying fishing with this one so much this winter I decided to write this.

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  2. Great review-- If I remember correctly lower (cheaper) grade graphite is actually stronger and more impact resistant than the high grade stuff. The trade-off is you lose that fast action casting ability that most people like.

    I've actually come to favor more medium action rods than fast action-- I might have to give this one a try.


    cheers

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    1. They're definitely worth a look. Most anglers don't have the ability to cast the fast action rods and would be better off with medium. My favorite trout rod is a Redington 3 wt. Classic Trout, which is a medium and a dream to cast. I also have a TFO TiCRX, one of the fastest rods on the market- different guns for different game.

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  3. My first salmon/steelhead rod(s) were the Redington RedFly 9 foot 9 wt. they performed equally for me on the tributaries of Lake Michigan for the anadromous species. Later, I have spent more for less of a rod, and came back around for my 3 wt Crosswater for chasing brook trout- it is a phenomenal rod and perfectly suited for the smaller waters we search out the blue halo vermiculated char we love. Tight Lines,
    Koz

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  4. I haven't tried the 3, though I love my Classic Trout 3 wt. I've really been enjoying the 8 this year.

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  5. This is exactly the review I was looking for! THANKS! I went steelheading last year for the first time, spent a buttload of money on a one time excursion. Felt guilty, and brought it back. It's a once a year trip for me, so this Crosswater would flip the bill! I will keep my eyes open for a sale like you got on...can't go wrong there... :)

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  6. The only rod I have is the 5wt and it has worked pretty well for me for my first year of fly fishing. I have the same problem with the reel even when I really tighten down on the reel nuts.

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  7. That problem went away for me, or it could be that I'm using a different model reel now, but it's rock solid.

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  8. I bought the same rod last winter to take to Jacksonville on a kayak fishing trip for redfish. Didn't want to spend a lot because it isn't very often I need an 8 weight fishing here in KY (except I've been thinking of going after some carp). I loved the Crosswater. Exceeded my expectations at that price and would recommend it to anyone that asks. Great review!

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    1. I have a more expensive rod I've been using, but use my Crosswater exclusively now for chuck n duck fishing for steelhead- it's much more sensitive and I can tell the difference between my lead ticking the bottom and a bite.

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  9. The rod sounds like its pretty solid, how has the reel performed on the steelhead and carp?

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    1. I did not buy the combo. I buy Ross Fly Rise reels for that kind of fishing- great drag at a reasonable cost.

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  10. One thing that kept me from enjoying a nice day out on the river was the possibility that I'd snap a $300 rod after a senseless duel with a boot the hook got caught in. It was the crosswater that saved me from those fears; it seems you're enjoying using it too.

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  11. I have the 5 wt rod for trout and the 8 wt rod that i use for bones and salmons
    They are fantastic rods very pleasant to cast !
    It s a pity that redington doesn't introduce a 10 wt
    I would buy it immediatly

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    1. The Crosswater lacks the backbone to fight really big fish, but as an everyday fly rod it's not bad.

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