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Redington Path Combo – Best Beginner Fly Rod?

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The Redington Path Combo fly rod outfit is one of the best known outfits on the market. It has been around for awhile now, and it offers a packaged fly rod that is ready to fish. Rod, reel, line, leader and backing – beginners can purchase this rod and will be ready to fish.

I have used these rods extensively, especially when I am guiding clients. Since they are relatively affordable, many guides use them on their guide trips. It is much safer than having their clients fish a $1000 rod.

Although there are lots of fly rod combos out there, the Redington Path remains one of the best options. It comes with a lifetime warranty, and it is built to take some abuse. It has been in their lineup and remained a best seller for many seasons. The Path is just such an accessible rod. For under $300, beginners can get a rod outfit that is ready to fish, and it has a lifetime warranty.

This article will cover the pros and cons of the Redington Path Combo. If you’re a beginner just getting into fly fishing, the Path may be the fly rod for you.

The Redington Path Rod

The Redington Path rod is a medium-fast action, stiffer graphite rod. Faster action rods have become the norm, and they offer more power than a slower action rod.

Overall, the rod fishes pretty well. It can handle dry flies, nymph rigs and small streamers. However, the rod will feel sluggish to experienced anglers. It weighs more than a premium rod, and you can definitely feel the weight when you’re casting. Beginners won’t notice this as much, but I don’t recommend it for seasoned fly anglers. It is a thick rod with lots of material, and it just doesn’t cast as well as a premium rod.

The cork is decent quality, and the hardware is solid as well. It features a wood insert on the reel seat, which is a nice touch. It is definitely a durable rod that can take some abuse on the water. This is why many guides choose the Path for their clients.

One of the main differences between a lower end rod and a premium rod is the actual weight of the blank. High end Sage rods actually shave ounces off the rod by using less graphite. The Path has a lot of material on it, and that’s where the extra ounces come from. A 5 weight Path is simply more bulky than a 5 weight Sage or Scott. It is also made overseas with less attention to detail.

The Redington Reel

Redington decided to include a CrossWater reel with this outfit. It is a plastic composite reel, so it isn’t very durable. If you drop this reel, it will most likely crack.

The drag, however, is very good and can handle most freshwater species. It is plenty strong for trout, bass and carp.

The CrossWater reel will definitely last a long time, as long as you don’t drop it. It just can’t take the abuse like an aluminum reel can. In the future, it would be nice if Redington included an aluminum reel with this outfit. Plastic reels are not beneficial to fly anglers, and they can cause issues with wear and tear.

Even if the price point went up, I think Redington should consider putting a nicer reel on the Path outfit.

The Fly Line

The fly line is a Rio Mainstream. This is a lower end line which is a step below the Gold, Grand, and other Rio models. It definitely fishes well, and it has a good all around taper for trout fishing.

Mainstreams don’t last for many seasons, but they can always be upgraded in the future. For anglers that get really into the sport, they can always upgrade to a premium line down the road. Mainstream lines cost $40, while premium lines start at $100.

The Mainstream line floats really well, and it will offer performance for awhile. However, after a season or two, it will need to be upgraded.

I understand why Redington included this line. If they included a premium fly line, it would seriously increase the price of the Path combo. This could deter beginner anglers.

Long Term Use / Redington Warranty

All Redington rods come with a lifetime warranty. For a fee, they will repair or replace the rod whenever it breaks. The CrossWater reel, however, does not have a warranty. A rod warranty is pretty standard with most name brand rod companies. It gives the angler peace of mind, knowing that their gear is covered for life. Current Redington rods cost $50 to repair, while discontinued models cost $150 to repair. As of May 2022, the Path is still a current model, so it will cost $50 to get a replacement.

It is not a matter of “if” you break your fly rod, but “when”. There are many accidents which end up with a rod breaking. Car doors, tree branches, taking a fall, or stepping on your rod – everyone breaks a fly rod eventually. This is why the lifetime warranty is so important.

This pricing structure is a bit aggravating, as it is Redington’s way of keeping their customers buying new rods. A similar pricing structure is modeled by Sage, with older rod models being much more expensive to repair. The parent company (Far Bank) is discouraging customers from keeping older rods, so they really increased their repair pricing for old models. However, I think the Redington Path will stick around for awhile, as it is very popular.

Although beginners can use the Path for a long time, most anglers will want to upgrade as they progress their skills. As you become a better caster and angler, you may want to consider a nicer rod or even a premium rod. I started out with cheaper rods, but I quickly became interested in nicer rods as I got better. I was curious about the performance benefits of better rods, and I ended up stepping up into some nicer gear.

As far as guiding goes, guides continue to use the Path for their clients year after year. It is a dependable and durable rod, and beginner clients won’t know the difference between a nice rod and a cheaper rod. I know many guides who have several Paths which they use for guide trips.

Conclusion

Overall, I think the Redington Path is a great option for beginners. It offers many benefits, without having to break the bank. I have met many beginners who are happy with their Path rods, as they offer an entry into the wonderful world of fly fishing.