March 28, 2019 5 min read 1 Comment
Redington is a great company for a few reasons: they make a good product, their prices are reasonable, and they have a great warranty program. If you are trying to be a bit more budget conscious, we highly recommend looking at Redington’s line-up, since it checks lots of boxes.
Redington’s rods have always been surprisingly good, some of the best-bang-for-your-buck rods out there. We frequently recommend them over other similarly priced rods due to the fact that they cast better and are a little more durable. To date, however, Redington reels have been a bit lackluster. The Redington Rise was decent trout reel but aside from that, most of the reels were composite with fairly sticky drags. Sure, they were on the lower end of the price scale but I sort of thought that you got what you paid for.
I also thought that Redington had a strange gap in their product line. They just did not have a good saltwater option (or even a slightly better freshwater option). The Behemoth was the only real option and that reel left a lot to be desired. It was a bit surprising because some of their rods were really really nice! And not having a reel that would perform just as well seemed liked a miscalculation.
I was at the vendor show last September and got a look at the new Grande before it was released and breathed a huge sigh of relief. The all new Redington Grande is exactly what Redington has been missing!
At first glance the Redington Grande looks great. It has echoes of the Behemoth’s design elements but is not nearly outrageous looking. Redington has gone with three color options: Marine, Black and my personal favorite, Champagne. Beautifully anodized with a flawless finish, I have not seen any blemishes or inconsistency in the finish of the reels whatsoever. The brake hub is a different color than the frame and spool and this contrast sets off the reel very nicely. The porting is eye-catching as well. In fact, overall this reel stands out in terms of its aesthetics. It is based on a spoke-and-hub design which is not that common in most reels on the market today and it makes the Grande a bit more unique, which I like. All in all, the appearance of this reel was a well-executed effort on the part of Redington’s design team. It’s a looker!
Ok, let’s get down to what really matters: features and performance. The first thing I noticed was that the spool is not as aggressively tapered inward as it is on the Behemoth. This accomplishes two things: first, it makes this reel much easier to spool with backing, and second, it reduces backing bounce on the retrieve (if you’ve ever had the backing jump over itself and potentially become entangled on an aggressive retrieve, you know what I’m talking about). The large arbor design on the Grande also allows for plenty of backing as well as good line retrieval rate. The 7/8/9 model houses at least 200 yards of Dacron, the 9/10/11 will hold 275 yards of 30lb, and the 11/12/13 will hold 350 yards of 30lb. There is also a 14+ size available that hold 750 yards of 50lb! I loved that the Grande comes in this size, as it is highly uncommon to see a reel in this price point go up to a 12 wt or better. This means that no matter what you are fishing for, there is a Redington Grande that will work for you, and I loved this effort to make an option like this for anglers on a budget.
For fish-stopping power, the Redington Grande has a fully sealed Super-Torque carbon drag system. Although this drag is not completely watertight (few reels actually are) it is more than capable of standing up to saltwater. The sealed drag will keep out sand and grit ensuring that the drag will perform flawlessly. This also makes the reel suitable for beach situations when, inevitably, the reel will come in contact with sand. I also thought that the Grande’s drag was very smooth. There is a bit of start-up inertia and some resistance on the spool associated with the audible click but, that being said, the drag certainly feels very capable and will certainly perform well on the lower end of drag curve. I would not recommend this reel for GTs or Billfish but for pretty much everything else this reel is more than up to the task.
A there are couple of nice features that the Redington Grande has worth mentioning. This reel comes equipped with a quick release spool, great for swapping out lines on the fly. There are no screws or parts that can get lost, a huge plus when you are on a beach or bouncing around in a boat. The Grande also has a no-snag ergonomic handle, which feels great on the hand and is an excellent size for cranking in big fish. This reel is also surprisingly light. In the 7/8/9 size the Grande weighs 7.9 oz., a pleasantly weighted size that will balance out most 9 footers very well. As far as drag adjustment, the drag knob travel is also very user friendly. From fully backed off to locked down the drag knob will rotate about 1 and ¾ turns. This provides plenty of range, especially in the lower end of the drag curve and yet can be quickly adjusted up or down if the fish does something unexpected. Far too often reels have drag knobs that rotate a full 3 or 4 times which allows for a more finely tuned drag pressure but in most cases you need to rotate that knob quite a bit to make any significant change in resistance. At the end of the day, having a faster drag is more important to me than one that can be adjusted on the micro level. And that’s especially the case in saltwater.
In sum, the all new Redington Grande is very capable mid-price-point reel. With surprising aesthetics, a reliable drag, and all of the features you would expect from a much more expensive reel, this is a great option for any angler. In fact, we were hard pressed to identify anything that really detracted from this reel at all. The Grande is well-built and anodized, machined from aluminum, and has a sealed drag. It has plenty of capacity, is relatively light, and will be durable enough to last season after season. What more could you ask for? Redington finally has a reel that stacks up against their rods and we are happy to see this reel on the market. If you are looking for a new reel that won't break the bank, get your hands on the new Grande. This reel will surprise you.
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