It would be grossly incorrect to say that innovation is rare in the world of fly reels. A bevy of reel makers are constantly looking for new ways to innovate—better drag systems, lighter weight frame designs, increased backing capacity, greater line pickup per revolution—and so on. Innovation in these areas is relatively constant and makes it way to anglers with regularity. What is rare in the world of fly reels, however, is the kind of anglers that have access to those innovations. Generally, new developments end up in high-price point reels and those reels end up in the hands of anglers that can pony up cash. Lots of it.
Redington bucked that trend a few years ago with the introduction of the BEHEMOTH, a big game reel designed for the masses and one that offered one of the highest performing drag systems on the market in a package that ran just over $100. Relatively out of nowhere, Redington had delivered a reel that could be dependably used to chase chrome-bright steelhead, king salmon, permit, tarpon and more, at a price that virtually every fly angler could afford.
To deliver such an impressive performer at such an unheard of price point, Redington made a couple compromises—die-cast construction instead of machined, bar stock aluminum and an unsealed drag. They were compromises that, once they actually fished the BEHEMOTH, most agreed weren't very big compromises at all. But, still, anglers looking tick absolutely every single box with a fly reel were left wanting.
In what seems destined to be another successful bid to shake up the reel market once more, Redington has introduced its new GRANDE reel. Like the BEHEMOTH, the GRANDE is a big game-capable reel that is up to any task anglers might throw at it. Unlike the BEHEMOTH, however, the GRANDE is a no-compromise design. Or, if Redington did make any compromises along their way to designing and producing the GRANDE, they're not apparent.
Built from T-6061, machined, bar stock aluminum, the GRANDE features Redington's new, fully sealed, no-maintenance 'Super Torque' drag system. Along for the ride are some of the BEHEMOTH's best qualities, like its large arbor V-spool design (which sucks up a ton of backing and fly line and helps reduce line memory) and a similar but classed-up spoke design.
The new GRANDE is available in four sizes, starting with a 5/6/7 model and topping out with a whopping size 14, showing off Redington's certainty that the GRANDE can tackle even more than its baby brother and the biggest game anglers can task it with—territory that is typically only the domain of reels that run as much as $750 or $1,000.
After testing the GRANDE over the last year or so on quarry like sea-run brown trout, false albacore and lemon sharks, we have every reason to share Redington's confidence in its new reel.
Overall, from materials to specifications to design aesthetics, the GRANDE seems to offer anglers everything that its high-priced competitors offer—except the price tag.
The new Redington GRANDE is available come August 2018, starting at $299 and topping out at $349.