I was intrigued by this new series of rod that Redington developed because of both the overwhelmingly positive reviews they've received, the appealing price, and by the idea of a short stout rod intended to present big/heavy flies into tight spots. I went for the 6wt model because I expected to get the most use out of it for the fishing I do most often.
When the rod first arrived, I was impressed by its appearance and build quality. The caramel brown wraps with silver trim on the dark grey blank reminded me a bit of Scott's G2 rods, though the smooth blank has a bit more mainstream appeal. The cork felt great in my hand and when I assembled the rod and gave it a waggle, I was fairly sure I was going to enjoy casting and fishing it.
Next I headed out to the yard with both a 6wt and 7wt line and cast both. It was both smooth and powerful and seemed more adept at throwing different sized loops than any other rod I've ever cast. My natural casting stroke produced fairly large loops, but with minimal effort they became tight and pretty. I ended up liking the 7wt line better, but I'm realizing more and more over time that I just don't like that 6wt line I've used intermittently over a few years. (I've since gotten a recommendation from a SA rep for the perfect 6wt line for that rod and will report back on how that line performs on the rod.)
I fished the rod this past Friday, and was pleased once again. I headed out to a local river with more flies in my pack than Noah had critters on the Ark to make sure I fully tested the rods abilities. With the 7wt line, I cast everything from a size 14 ant to a 3/4" x 3" jointed foam popper and was able to place them precisely even at 70'. The typical accuracy talents of a short rod showed up as well, allowing me to hit tight spots with ease that usually doesn't come until you've fished a rod multiple times.
I was able to bend it against some fish, but nothing worth bragging about or big enough to really test its tugging abilities out. I fully intend to play at least one 2' fish with it in coming months and I'll continue to update this thread with how it performs.
Overall, I think Redington's 6wt Predator is a great tool for targeting fish around 5lbs with flies up to the size of a finger, and a great value as well at $200. Its a well made 4pc rod with a hard cordura tube and a great warranty. I paired mine with a Sage 1680 reel and a Rio 7wt Saltwater fly line. All of this is available from www.reelflyrod.com