3 Bonefish Rods That Won’t Break The Bank

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These days there are a lot of good fly rods on the market at affordable prices.

With a host of manufacturers committed to offering quality, performance and customer service at a reasonable price, it’s a great time to shop for a bargain.

_DSC6569While you can’t expect all of the performance and high end features that you will find in an $800 fly rod you can expect a rod that will be a pleasure to fish and will last for many years for around $250. If you’re looking for a starter rod or a backup or a rod that you won’t feel bad about checking in your luggage, these budget fly rods can be just the ticket. The cost of gear does not have to stand between you and the fishing adventure you’ve been dreaming of.

With that in mind I chose three budget-conscious bonefish rods to test and review. The Echo Edge, the TFO Mangrove and the Redington Predator. Each has its particular strengths and all will get you out stalking the ghost of the flats without making a ghost of your bank account. All three rods list for $249.00 and all three come with a lifetime warranty. I’ll give you my thoughts on each and you can choose the rod that’s right for you.

The Echo Edge 9′ 4pc 8weight

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Action:

The Edge is a powerful fast action rod, no doubt. It excels at pushing tight loops into the wind. It does a great job of picking up line. It allows you to make fast accurate casts. It has a great saltwater action and reasonable feel for a fast action rod, but is demanding of the caster. It requires a powerful stroke and a good double haul. If you are doing a lot of casting it will tire you out. The angler who is new to saltwater may struggle a bit getting used to it. However, once you’re used to it, it definitely performs.

Components:

The TiCH stripper guides and chrome snake guides feel sturdy. The Wells grip is 7″ long, 12 1/8″ with reel seat and fighting butt. It’s 1″ diameter at the center swell with a distinctive 1 1/4″ front swell, which gives your thumb a solid home for applying power. The only component I’m not happy with is the reel seat. The threads do not move smoothly out of the box. I applied a generous coat of Renaissance Wax and the function was greatly improved. The larger issue, for me at least, is that the indexing ring which holds the reel foot is married to the front locking ring. This makes mounting the reel awkward and slow. It’s a small thing, but it bugs me.

Aesthetics:

The Edge has a dark blue blank with blue whipping. The whipping is tipped in silver at the stripper guides and near the grip. The guides are chrome with blue inserts on the stripper guides. The reel seat is black and 11/16 in diameter. The quality of the cork is good and the fighting butt is tipped in rubber.

The TFO Mangrove 9′ 4pc 7weight

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Action:

The Mangrove has a sweet, incredibly castable action. I chose the 7 weight for the soft presentation and the fun of a lighter rod and I’m happy with that choice. The action is a little on the slow side for a saltwater rod and that brings with it pluses and minuses. This rod will be very accessible to the angler who is new to saltwater. Its action is forgiving and it’s easy to control, which makes it both accurate and delicate. It shoots line remarkably well but when the wind picks up it will be doable but challenging. The easy action of this rod will be a plus for anglers who do not have a really powerful stroke. You will not find yourself worn out and casting sloppy at the end of the day. For this reason the Mangrove will be a great crossover rod for species like bass.

Components:

TFO uses proprietary guides that are very tough and resistant to braided lines but the stripping guides do not have ceramic inserts. The guides all feel very sturdy and are light weight for better action and a touch on the small side which adds to the rod’s accuracy. The Wells grip is 6 1/4″ long, 10 1/2″ with fighting butt and reel seat. It is 1″ in diameter at its center swell and 1 1/16″ at the front swell. The shorter grip fits the hand well and moves the fulcrum of the rod back several inches, which I like. The reel seat functions well and feels very solid.

Aesthetics:

The blank is maroon as is the whipping. There is no tipping on any of the wraps. Snake guides are chrome and stripper guides are gunmetal as is the reel seat and the handsome cork check. The grip has good looking cork and composite cork inlays and the fighting butt is capped in composite cork as well.

There really is nothing I dislike about this rod.

The Redington Predator 9′ 4 pc 8 weight

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Action:

The action of the predator falls somewhere in the middle. It’s a good solid action and performs well all around. It doesn’t excel in either power or presentation but functions as a good all around rod in a variety of conditions. It has been my backup rod for years and I’ve fished it a lot. It’s never come between me and a fish. The predator is tough as nails. It’s truly one of the most durable rods I’ve ever owned and that makes it a great choice for those who put their rods through hell. It’s also a great crossover rod for species from carp to Great Lakes steelhead.

Components:

The guides are stout and stripping guides have ceramic inserts. The Wells grip is 6 7/8″ long, 11 3/4″ with reel seat and fighting butt. It is 1″ at its center swell and 1 1/16″ at the front swell. The reel seat is 5/8″ in diameter, sturdy and functions very nicely. The blank is reinforced with carbon fiber in the butt and at the ferrule stations.

Aesthetics:

The blank is dark blue as is the whipping except for one bright red wrap and silver tip at the cork check. The carbon fiber reinforcement is intentionally visible. Snake guides are chrome and stripper guides are gunmetal with black inserts. The reel seat is satin silver. The cork is very nice and the fighting butt is capped with rubber. Redington’s branding is very prominent in red on the blank and with the water drop logo on the reel seat.

 

Getting into saltwater fly fishing doesn’t have to break the bank. One of these great rods is bound to be right for you at a great price. Don’t let the cost of a fly rod get between you and your next great fly fishing adventure.

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 
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13 thoughts on “3 Bonefish Rods That Won’t Break The Bank

  1. Love the Redington Predator for steelhead and big eff’n streamers-(BFS)>
    That love affair began long ago with my first salmon steelhead rod RedFly> always a great rod for an amazing price. Next I need to swing the ECHO and TFO, both have been on the short list for Great Lakes salmon/Steelhead and big browns.
    Thanks for the review and comparison of quality rods~
    Tight Lines,
    Koz

  2. Nice reviews Louis. I own 2 predators (6wt and 8wt) and love the hell out of them. From bass and carp, to redfish and bonefish, and yes trout, these rods have caught tons of fish. They are stout as hell, but a pleasure to cast. I’ve casted everything from indicator rigs, big topwater poppers and clousers to size 10 Stimis, carp patterns, and articulated streamers with these rods. Casting into the wind with these rods is no problem, and fighting big fish is easy as pie. These rods are definitely a great bang for your buck. But don’t forget that these were built for serious anglers too, and are built to tangle with anything you can hookup with.

  3. Thanks for the review. That Edge 84 is a mean bass rod also, Ive been fishing my “84” 8wt more and more recently, my big buck rods are getting a little dusty. I agree with the funky reel seat, its a small thing but your right it is annoying. I would also add that in my experience they (echo rods) just don’t break.

    Again thanks for the review. Its good to see the Meat and Potato rods getting the exposure.

    Winston

  4. I fish the 7’10” predator 8 a good bit, the shorter length helps when the reds are tailing since the casts are often less than 30′, also for bass under trees etc it gets tighter…and the kayaker a say its much easier from seated position.

  5. This is particularly helpful and I am preparing for my 1st bonefish trip next May and intend to add a rod to the arsenal. Although it would be $100 or so more, I’ve also been encouraged to look at the G Loomis Pro4x. I’d be interested to hear any comments on that rod as an alternative, if you’ve had a chance to throw it …

  6. I had the TFO BVK and broke that rod mulitple times. How does the mangrove compare. For 250$ TFO makes a nice rod. nice post, I have heard many good things about the predator series, this only confirms this. nice post!

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  8. I have to second the comments on the Predator. I have the 6 weight and have used it for everything from Crappies and Smallmouth to Coho’s in Alaska. Tough, serviceable rod.

  9. Pingback: G&G muse one affordable bonefish sticks | Bonefish on the Brain

  10. Thanks for the run down! It couldn’t have come at a better time! I’m a rookie to the fly rod but have been fully converted! This sport – along with any other worth doing – has a pretty big “Gear Footprint” and it’s been a year long process to acquire it all. I have had my hand held by a great local fly shop (Cohutta) and this blog, many thanks! I appreciate you taking a look at some more affordable options Louis, it not only lends credibility to the review, it helps us rooks feel a bit more welcome. Have fun down in South Andros, that trip I’ll save for another year!

  11. Pingback: The TFO Mangrove Saltwater Fly Rod | Fly Fishing | Gink and Gasoline | How to Fly Fish | Trout Fishing | Fly Tying | Fly Fishing Blog

  12. Guys great to hear honest reviews from real fisherman. I live and fish on the Nacoya peninsula of Costa Rica and have a mangrove 10wt. I have broken it several times. All breaks were in a back cast of the double haul. They replaced it w a new one that broke exactly the same as the others….on the first day . .wtf..searched out this fprum to see if others had similar problems to find a strong predator fan base …brrrp brrp

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