Redington Vapen Black 409-4
- Modest price
- Great ‘feel’ when fishing small nymphs and dry flies
- Accurate casting
- Less casting power/distance than most of the others in this class
- Slightly heavier than others in the class
- Not made in the USA
The Redington Vapen Black utilizes the original Vapen’s synthetic grip without the gaudy colors. The fast-action taper provides good casting power with better than average accuracy. The Vapen offers a general performance similar to that of the Sage Accel, but with slightly less accuracy and overall fishing sensitivity.
Fit and feel
Redington’s Vapen incorporates a synthetic grip built with golf-club technology. The non-slip grip feels very different than traditional cork, but after a few casts, the rod settles nicely in hand and all of our testers agreed that the modernistic grip was a net positive for the rod. The rod balanced nicely in hand, and that—coupled with the soft, firm grip—created an easy-casting rod that could be used all day without effort or strain.
Distance and Accuracy
With a good bit of tip-flex, the Vapen allowed me to make gentle presentations of flies, with good accuracy. But the 4-wt Vapen lacked the pure casting power of more traditional fast-action rods like the Scott and Orvis models. Still, I was able to reach out across modest rivers when necessary, provided the winds weren’t too stiff at the time.
The soft tip-flex made the Vapen a master at letting me know when a fish was nudging my nymph and it also helped make minute mends on long dry fly drifts. After the hook set, the Vapen’s firm butt section helped control hard-charging rainbows, letting me move them out of fast water efficiently and into my net. All in all, the Vapen proved itself a truly worthy do-it-all 4-wt for anglers facing a variety of conditions and fishing demands.
The Vapen is also available in 4-wt through 8-wt versions in 9-ft lengths.
How We Tested It
The rods in this test were used while fishing an assortment of trout streams, rivers, and lakes in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Our test team also included a retired Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden, two experienced female anglers, and—on occasion—a professional fishing guide. We fished each rod with dry flies, nymphs, and dry/dropper rigs, as well as the occasional streamer.
The products featured in this test have been loaned to the Gear Institute. For more on our policies regarding editorial objectivity and sample returns, see here.
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