Review: Redington Hydrogen Fly Rod | Outbreak Magazine

I first fished a Redington fly rod about a dozen years ago – they were a premium partner with Trout Unlimited (and still are, through their parent company, Farbank), and I was able to buy a rod and reel combo prize before my very first trip to Prince of Wales Island, Southeast Alaska.

I bought a 9ft 7 weight combo and it went on for about two days before one of the ferrules came apart fighting a pink salmon. At the time, I thought you got what you paid for. And I didn’t pay a lot. I, however, filed the incident, and every time I picked up a Redington fly rod I remembered the day I failed.

But things are changing. A few years ago I tested and then bought the Redington Butterstick. This is my favorite fly rod in my not-so-small collection, largely because I prefer to fish for wild and native trout in small waters. The Butterstick is a 2-weight glass rod that fishes exactly the way it’s supposed to: soft, subtle, and slow. I absolutely adore it.

The Butterstick changed my perception of Redington. Over the past few years I’ve had a few more Redington rods in my hands, and I love what I see. I am convinced that this is a brand which is learning from its past as a manufacturer of “discount” rods and which is starting to become a company where value and quality come together in a nice little corner of the rod market. fly.

Enter the hydrogen.

At first glance, the finicky angler might bristle at the bare space between the butt and reel seat, or the simple, not-so-fancy gear. It’s… spartan. But, that’s not a bad thing. Read on.

What works

I had the opportunity to fish for Hydrogen last summer on an unforgettable trip to the Arctic. I fished the model’s 9-foot-5-inch weight and, at the request of Redington’s brand manager Josh Prestin, the 9-foot-3 weight. First, the weight 5.

The Hydrogen is a medium fast rod suitable for casting dry flies, high grip for nymphs and swaying small streamers. Redington has done a good job – and in an innovative way – reducing the overall weight of the rod (no reel seat insert, one-foot guides, etc.), making it a great all-rounder for fishing. fly in general. I found the rod easy to cast, well balanced, and equipped with enough backbone to tackle anything from 20 inch cutthroats in southern BC to fat, beefy shadows north of the Brooks Range. and finally Dolly Varden on Prince of Wales where Redington more than made up for that broken rod all those years ago.

I liked the weight 5 for its ability to do anything. It is a strong rod that can be used in multiple situations. Having fished Weight 5 on the Elk and Bull Rivers in BC, this became my “go-to” fishing rod throughout the trip, and I never felt under-armed.

Weight 3, however, really impressed me. Lightweight and tight, it has the same general profile as its big brother, but it’s a little more subtle. And, I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. Most of the light rods I fish are shorter and softer than the Hydrogen, but I quickly fell in love with the rod’s 9ft profile. Do not hesitate to go deep with a weighted nymph to chase them away. The length made it possible to do this, and still fishing a relatively light rod.

For the dry, the 2.3 oz weight 3 was ideal for all day fishing on rivers like BC’s Buckinghorse for shade or for wild rainbows introduced into a small stream at outside of Whitehorse, Yukon. Paired with Redington’s really simple Zero fly reel, this combo quickly became my first choice when fishing for trout and grayling in hard-to-reach waters. The length made longer casts more achievable and it was easier to keep large fish out of wood and debris after being hooked. For small waters, it is an ideal tool.

What not

Like I said, hydrogen is spartan. This is not a “specialist” fly fishing rod. It’s probably not fast enough for most die-hard streamer swingers, nor slow enough for anglers who have to do that tricky cast with a 10ft, 7x leader on the Spring Trout. It’s a generalist fly rod, and it’s good for everyday use – and I’ve used it almost every day for about 10 weeks.

Also, if you love the aesthetics and that rosewood reel seat insert is important to you, the Hydrogen won’t appeal to you. I was skeptical, to be honest, but after a while I started to appreciate the “everything you need, nothing you don’t” approach taken by Redington when she built the Hyrdogen. I never noticed the lack of a reel seat insert, and the rod and reel worked perfectly together without it.

Last word

As I noted, I turned the corner on Redington. The brand has shown a willingness to experiment (remember the Red Grip Vapen?) And take risks, while also working hard to deliver the value most of us look for when we shop for gear. At just under $ 300, hydrogen isn’t “cheap”, but I can attest to its value.

And I’m not the only one. In a summer 2016 equipment roundup, Todd Tanner wrote of hydrogen, “… seriously, this is one of the best spinning rods I have ever fished, priced at $ 500 less than most of its closest competitors. I was and am blown away by the performance of this rod. “

It’s easy to recommend the Hydrogen, especially to anglers looking for a versatile rod at a reasonable price.


Previous A couple puts a unique spin on handcrafted fishing rods
Next Review: Hardy Sirrus Glass Fly Rod | Outbreak Magazine