Kayak fishing brings with it a whole new set of circumstances and considerations when it comes to fly fishing. While some tenets remain the same, others change drastically. In light of that, here’s my look at the Redington RS4 5 WT Fly Rod for kayak fly fishing.
Overview of the Redington RS4 5 WT Fly Rod
For a mid range 5 weight fly rod, the Redington RS4 really delivers. The versatility of the rod makes it a must own fly rod for kayak fishing.
For starters, it has a lot of power packed into a $200 2 piece fly rod package (NOTE: I’ve been unable to find the $200 deal online anywhere, and it was 2 years ago. Closer to $300 most places now). I’ll be honest. One of my key considerations when selecting a fly rod for kayak fishing is price. If you’re an experienced kayak fly angler, you’ll know that odd things can happen to a fly rod while you’re floating a stream or river. Tip overs, drops, low hanging tree branches, and a myriad other things can put a lot of wear and tear on a fly rod. It’s important to stay within a comfortable budget, as you can bet on breaking one or two over the course of your kayak fly fishing career.
As for casting, you’ll be able to throw a wide variety of flies if you’re an average caster. I’ve placed #18 tricos under trees, and pretty big cork bass poppers right on likely smallmouth holding spots. The rod has sufficient power to punch through a head wind, yet the feel to set a light fly on a trout’s nose from 30 paces. In certain scenarios, I’ve even been able to roll cast a bass popper short distances, if the situation dictates. To be sure, that also comes with years of experience, but it does point out the velocity that high-end 51- million modulus Toray graphite material is capable of generating.
While I haven’t given the rod a really solid collision with anything unmovable just yet (thank God), I have had it take some nasty bends on streams by either losing track of the height of the rod in the holder going under trees, or accidentally backing into shoreline obstructions. It came through with flying colors.
Fighting Fish with the Redington RS Fly Rod
So far, I think the hardest fighting fish I’ve taken on the Redington RS series fly rod is a 3 pound river smallmouth. I was able to handle that fish fairly easily with 5.7 lb tippet. You definitely can feel even the slightest touch on the fly though, despite being able to push a decent sized fish around. The included Moss reel has an excellent drag system with a big, easy to find without looking drag control. If you feel the tide of the battle turning on you, you can tighten or loosen the drag without hunting around for a small control.
The Bad Points
Truthfully, there aren’t that many, if any, when you consider the price point. Yes, for more money you might be able to get a better fly rod, but again, when you take in the totality of fly fishing from a kayak, I think you need to approach it on a value per dollar spent basis. Overall though, there’s nothing that really comes to mind when I try to think of a negative point about the fly rod itself.
So, I guess the best way to put it is this: You will want to replace the leader right away. Go with something you trust. Secondly, the Rio fly line is not the best on the market. I ran into a few scenarios where the line would actually burn my finger as I was stripping streamers or poppers.
Those two negative points though are more to do with Redington’s partners than the Redington fly rod itself. But they are important to mention.
I have no regrets when it comes to making this purchase. It’s a strong, value packed fly rod and reel. Great for trout. Great for bass. Great for wading, and great for kayak fishing.
I would argue that it’s the PERFECT BEGINNER FLY ROD. Yes, you could spend less on a fly rod, but I think it’s very important that a neophyte fly angler has competent equipment when trying out the sport. A crappy cheap rod will provide a crappy experience.
At under $200, the Redington RS4 is the way to go for beginner and expert fly anglers a like, especially for situations where you don’t want your best bamboo rod on the stream with you.