I like nice things. Shiny, new, spangled things. Who doesn’t? Sometimes those nice things are expensive, sometimes they’re not. But my favorite shiny new things are those that allow me to spend less and get more. The Redington STRIKE Euro-nymphing rod, one of the newest addition to the Redington lineup, is a perfect example of how to do just that.
Redington’s modus operandi since its inception has always been geared towards the budget minded angler. I don’t even remember hearing about a Redington rod that’s over $500. That’s saying something in an already saturated fly rod market where prices keep climbing and some rods now push north of $1,000. The option to have a top-notch rod without taking out a second mortgage or conjuring Rumpelstiltskin is always a welcome option, especially when 30% of the population is on the dole, or worse.
We’ve been fishing the Redington Strike 10’ 3 weight for the past few months. A 1003 has become the standard for the Euro-rod in the same way a 905 has become the industry standard for traditional dry fly and nymphing.
The Redinton STRIKE comes in 5 models to cover just about all the high sticking scenarios you might encounter. Coming in 10’, 10’ 6” and 11’ 3 weight models as well as in 10 and 11’ 4 weights. Those three weights are great for your standard trout fishing, the longer models excel on bigger waters where the advantage of reach and sensitivity play a big factor. The four weights look like the ideal sticks for bouncing streamer jigs and tossing big stonefly nymphs this fall and winter once the water comes up a bit. I’d venture a guess that you could even tame a steelhead with the 1104.
Redington makes no quibbles about labeling this rod medium-fast. The vast majority of rod design these days leans toward fast action sticks. That’s all well and good but every now and then it’s refreshing to have something a bit slower in hand. More importantly, the softness of the STRIKE makes it ultra-sensitive. You’ll have no issues detecting the slightest twitch in your indicator line, feeling your nymphs bouncing along the bottom, and so on. This sensitivity offers big advantages with lighter tippets as well, protecting against breakoffs when fish make sudden runs and head shakes.
If there’s a downside to the slower action of the STRIKE, it’s that it can result in a slight delay when setting the hook. That split-second delay, and the resulting kickback from the slower action, can result in the occasional “dropped” or “bounced” fish. If the STRIKE had a touch more stiffness in the spine this would be overcome, but that would come with the tradeoff of losing sensitivity and tippet protection that makes the STRIKE a standout in its class. Hey, you can’t have it all.
Another great advantage to the STRIKE’s slower action is that it will easily load a lighter euro line or even a modified mono-rig leader for when fish start eating on top and you want to toss a dry fly without having to hoof it back to the car for your five weight.
The STRIKE also has plenty of reserve power into the butt section and can handle bigger fish on lighter tippet with ease. The 1003 does a great job of tossing out some smaller, lighter nymphs that are a necessity during the low clear conditions that we’ve had this summer in Pennsylvania. It also has enough power to effectively fish smaller streamer jigs on those days when the water has been high enough to toss them around.
The extended grip on the STRIKE is the most distinctive feature of the rod. Traditionally, most fly rod grips are between six and seven inches in length, but the STRIKE’s grip is eight and a half inches. Experienced Euro-nymphers know that due to the high-stick style of fishing, balancing your rod and reel is paramount. With most rods, this is accomplished by pairing your 3 weight trout rod with an oversized (sometimes ridiculously) reel and overweighting the bottom of the rod. But with the STRIKE’s longer handle, you can change the fulcrum of your setup to a position that offers considerably more balance and comfort without having to dig out your tarpon reel.
The Redington STRIKE has a matte finish to reduce glare on the water and keep to errant rays of sun reflecting through the trees from spooking wary trout. Single foot snake guides both reduce weight and come in a black finish which helps even further in reducing glare. The skeletal reel seat and micro fighting butt add a bit of uniqueness to the look of the rod as well.
Coming in at $299 the Redington STRIKE is a great value in the Euro-nymphing field. Yes, there are a handful of Euro- rods that are cheaper (and a boatload of rods that are more expensive), but the STRIKE shines at its price point, offering perhaps the best value-for-your-dollar proposition on the market.
The one biggest gripe I’d have about this rod is that it can feel a bit heavy in hand. Most of the mass of the rod seems to be in the mid to tip sections of the rod and, even with the STRIKE’s more versatile grip, it still sometimes felt like it needed more weight towards the butt of the rod. If you’re able to pick up the wonderful new Sage ESN reel with the scratch you saved on the STRIKE, however, you’ll find that balancing your system will be easy as pie.
Overall, I’m a fan of the Redington STRIKE and its great combination of value and performance. If you’re on a budget and are looking to pick up a well-made, well-thought out Euro-nymphing rod, it’s hard to find another stick that would hold muster to the STRIKE at the price point offered.