Did you browse through all of our 2017 ICAST/IFTD coverage? It was yet another great show, and we did our best to compile as much material from those three days as humanly possible. With the show now about 3 months in the past, we've already reviewed a handful of new releases from the show and are actively seeking out gear that hasn't yet hit the market. As far as currently-available gear goes, Redington came through very quickly (as usual) by sending us one of their CRUX 590-4 fly rods for a full writeup. This series was one of the brand-new fly rod debuts at IFTD this year, and we were quite interested in nabbing one for some fishing and testing. Come along as we pick apart Redington's top single-handed fly rod offering!
Line Weight: 5
Rod Weight: 3.5-ounces
Stripping Guides: Stainless frame/zirconium insert
Guides: Chrome snake guides
Reel Seat: Aluminum
Rod Tube/Sock: Yes/No
The nice thin blank of the CRUX touts a metallic-olive matte finish with black wraps. Guides are stainless chrome snake guides, while the small single stripping guide on our tester was comprised of a stainless frame with zirconium insert ring. Alignment dots can be found at each ferrule, and a glossy coating on the male end of each joint lets them connect smoothly and snugly. It's also important to note that there's no clicking or ticking sensation when the rod is flexed—a sign that the ferrules provide solid, seamless connections with no deformities.
In my opinion, the most interesting part of the CRUX is in the handle region. Redington designed this rod with an angled "key grip" to promote the use of an extended finger grip. Besides the physical shape of the cork handle, there's a thin compressed cork ring at the bottom with a larger piece at the top that's appropriately-shaped for the angler to rest his or her finger while casting.
CRUX reel seats are equally as interesting, sporting double-anodized aluminum construction with a large metallic-green CRUX logo on the top of the barrel. To secure the reel, there's a single up-locking ring along with an angled black hood, while at the top you'll find a metallic-green angled hood complete with a handy line I.D. There's also a neat hidden feature here in the form of a hook keeper...well, 2 actually (pictured below with the red arrows). They're built-in to the top reel seat hood, with one on each side of the reel foot opening.
Overall craftsmanship of the rod blank left no bad surprises; ditto for the handle and reel seat. The quality of the cork seems quite good, as it delivers a nice look and feel along with not too much filler.
Thanks to a weird schedule along with a very unsettled several weeks of weather (including Hurricane Irma), I unfortunately didn't get to use my demo CRUX 5-weight all that much. However, I did get it on the water and also spent some time casting to imaginary brown trout and bonefish on the grass. I used the rod along with a (discontinued) WF5F RIO Bonefish line (160-grains in the first 30-feet), a WF5F RIO InTouch Gold (146-grains in the first 30-feet), and even a WF6F RIO Bonefish Quickshooter (210-grains for the full 35'6" head).
At short distances, feel was good with either WF5F line. As with a lot of fast-action rods, though, I enjoyed it a little more with additional line in the air. What I always refer to as "average" fishing distances (30–50 feet or so) are what's most important to me, and the CRUX performed very well here. While it wasn't the lightest-feeling rod I've casted, it was extremely smooth and had good power in the blank to turn over a bulkier fly or slice a tight loop into the heart of a breeze.
Need to hurl a hopper to the horizon? This rod will do it with relative ease. Because of the somewhat confined areas I fished and performed my test casting, I didn't try totally maxing out a cast, but I can tell you that reaching out to around 70-feet wasn't that difficult. The rod will absolutely go longer, but as I said, I didn't test the outer limits this time.
Although I mentioned how both 5-weight lines worked well with the rod, I did prefer the heavier WF5F line (RIO Bonefish) slightly more. The CRUX liked those extra grains in the head as they helped load the blank just a bit better, especially in closer. The WF5F RIO InTouch Grand fly line has the exact same 30-foot grain weight (160) as my Bonefish line and would probably make for a great match with this CRUX. Also of note, the WF6F Bonefish Quickshooter line worked well for close to medium-distance presentations.
Touching upon the handle again, to be honest, I am a little more partial to the snub-nosed grips some manufacturers are using on their lightweight rods. However, a similar reversed half-wells or cigar-style handle is a little more user-friendly for switching between a standard thumb-on-top grip and one where your forefinger is extended on top.
Subjective preferences aside, the 590-4 CRUX grip comes in a trim, smooth shape which does translate to a lot of comfort. The larger composite-cork top end has that pleasing, rubbery feel to it and lets you know your thumb (or forefinger!) is right where it should be. This could actually be a kind of learning aid for someone newer to fly fishing that is still trying to get acquainted with gripping a rod properly.
Redington's newest top entry is surely a good one that absolutely deserves a look if it fits your taste and budget. I was left satisfied with its all-around performance and also appreciated the more low-key goodies like the reel seat line I.D. and covert hook keepers. Also, as seen in this review, don't forget that the RISE reel is now available in an olive color scheme that matches perfectly to the CRUX. Each rod includes a cordura tube with inner dividers.
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