When the Vapen Red from Redington arrived, our encounter was met with more curiosity I have had for a rod in a long time.
This curiosity comes from several places: For one, the rod looks different than most. Likely standing out first to most anglers is the grip. Coining the innovation as PowerGrip, Redington contends that the replacement for cork “won’t slip when wet, feels soft in the hand and reduces fatigue. It also cleans easily, and doesn’t chip.”
When casting the rod, all such benefits of the PowerGrip were affirmed. The PowerGrip takes a card from the golf industry (specifically Winn Grips), where there is no room for hand slipping and fatigue, and perhaps also tournament casters, who tend to manipulate the restrictive traditional cork grips.
Testing an 8-weight Vapen with saltwater ventures in mind, past trips also came to mind. In February, a guide told me that he had “never seen someone cast a 10-weight so much in his entire life,” as we explored backcountry mangroves in Everglades National Park. At the end of the day, I had the blisters and blood on my casting hand to show for it, and days two and three required me to wrap my casting hand in duct tape to cut down on both pain and further injury.
When back at base camp tending to my wounds, renowned tarpon angler, Stu Apte, kindly remarked that my casting injuries were the result of not knowing how to cast properly. While this icon may have overcome such casting trials, we aren’t all Stu Apte. In fact, many accomplished saltwater anglers frequently handle to battle wounds that come from wet hands, wet cork, and all-day casting in the hot sun. Considering this, the PowerGrip of the Vapen might be a welcomed solution to a common issue among anglers.
Another aspect of the Vapen that brought curiosity was the wrap of the rod. Bringing a very different look, there is technology behind the look. Redington describes the Vapen’s X-Wrap:
“The Vapen rods feature a new proprietary graphite construction called X-Wrap. This construction method involves wrapping one layer of super-high density carbon ribbon inside the blank, and another counter-wrapped on the exterior surface. This radical departure from traditional graphite construction allows us to build a rod with maximum vibration dampening properties, along with a blank that is both stronger and lighter at the same time. Better yet X-Wrap provides surprising power with little effort.”
Testing the Vapen with two different lines (Rio’s Bonefish line and a heavy shooting head), the benefits of the X-Wrap technology were quickly realized, with the very lightweight rod handling each line with ease. In fact, the casts with the often difficult-to-manage shooting head were truly among my best, as the Vapen performed incredibly.
The Vapen from Redington is an impressive new fly fishing tool and is an innovative offering that could very well be a game-changer in fly rod technology, and casting the Vapen is highly recommended.
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Disclosure: Redington is in a professional relationship with the Fly Fishing Guide Directory, LLC and the Venturing Angler. Though potentially benefiting from this relationship, we do not post what we do not believe to be true. To read more, click here.
Maybe it’s because I live and have fished here for years, but I have never had hand damage, or known anyone who had, from casting, and I typically am on the water for 8 hours at a stretch. I’m no Apte, either, but I just don’t see how someone could hurt their hand like that. Good quality cork should never cause damage regardless of how long you’re out.
Thanks, Ed. Prior to the trip, a shop was pushing gloves on me, and I was irritated with them pushing what I thought was an unnecessary trend. Ended up borrowing a guide’s glove in addition to the duct tape. I do think that my casting style likely contributed to the issues as well. Thanks for the feedback.