As I inventoried my fly rod battery, I decided it was time to invest in a fly rod for a singular purpose – Great Lakes steelhead fly fishing.
I wanted a strong fly rod to handle the brute force of steelhead yet with a sensitive tip to cushion a fine tippet. I wanted a long rod – a ten-footer for easier line mending and dead drifting under a strike indicator. I do a lot of fishing off the tributaries in Lake Erie from a float tube and the extra length helps keep your casting loop well above the water. And I wanted a seven-weight for strength in the fight and casting into the wind. I wanted to be equally at home casting from the lakeshore as well as any size stream I might fish.
Not every fly rod manufacturer makes a ten-foot, seven-weight fly rod, but there were still many to choose from. After reading specs until I was cross-eyed I narrowed the list and handled a Redington Vice Fly Rod at the FishUSA Pro Shop. That was all it took to close the deal!
I don’t want to say the deep green color with gold trim put me over the top, but it sure doesn’t hurt to have a beautiful fly rod. (I would soon find out it is a joy to fish with even if the fish aren’t biting!) Black anodized snake guides, laser-etched reel seats and a handsome Cordura rod tube with built-in rod dividers round out the features. It’s hard to believe this fly rod retails for just under $200.
It’s important to note here, that if you do not live in a region for salmon or steelhead that Redington offers the Vice in 16 models for any kind of fly fishing, from seven-foot, six-inch, three-weight to a nine-foot, nine-weight. The ten-foot length is available in either seven or eight-weight.
So I took my fly rod home and hastily seated a reel with a spool of line and began casting. What a delight! A silky smooth casting action cast for both distance and accuracy. I conducted this trial with floating line and sink-tip line and it handled either with perfect aplomb. If you’ve never handled a ten-foot fly rod before, the 12-inch difference is amazing.
Now I was ready for a live trial on Lake Erie! I launched my float tube at dawn off a tributary. I selected floating line with a relatively short fluorocarbon leader and a Olive Zonker streamer.
It wasn’t very long before I felt the first strike on my Redington Vice. At first, I didn’t think it was a large fish as it swam toward me, but the steelhead soon came to his senses and headed for Canada. Every inch of the ten-foot length arced perfectly. The rod tip was lively and the butt section was strong. After a ten minute battle, I slid the first steelhead of the season onto my lap.
This was just the beginning of what I hope is a long and productive steelhead fishing season. This has to be the perfect fly rod for fly fishing from a float tube. Once the lake water temperature turns too cold for fishing from a float tube, I’ll be fishing the tributaries and enjoying the enhanced capabilities of dead drifting and line-mending with a longer rod. My mind is already working overtime on how I can use this fly rod from my canoe next spring and summer.
All features, price and lifetime warranty considered, I don’t think you can make a better selection than the Redington Vice fly rod – for salmon and steelhead or any other type of fish.