The Redington BEHEMOTH is a favorite reel of mine. It ain't perfect, but the awesome looks and extremely smooth and powerful drag system makes it a crazy-good value. Being that it's a die-cast reel, it does not quite have the durability in structure or finish of a fully-machined reel, however. That's where the brand-new Redington GRANDE comes in to flex its muscle.
Fully machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, this new series is built with a similarly powerful drag system just like the BEHEMOTH. The overall looks are pretty similar, but there are some subtle changes such as in the handle, center cap, and drag knob. Overall, the design is just as bad ass as the BEHEMOTH....in my very humble opinion. My test reel showed some scuffs from previous testers, but looking past those revealed no blemishes or rough spots in the actual craftsmanship.
This reel isn't particularly lightweight compared to some others on the market, but that bit of added weight and just the feel in general gives off an immediate impression of durability. It feels very solid in-hand and has a stout foot (with rounded edge to safely wrap a leader around) along with a thick palming rim and frame edge. There's little doubt this reel is MORE than ready for any 5–7 weight appropriate species you care to target.
Another noteworthy design feature is the V-shaped spool with "backing canal" to reduce line stacking and increase overall backing capacity. This 5/6/7 is rated by Redington for up to 200-yards of 20-pound backing―a healthy surplus, indeed. Bonefish, anyone?
Besides the machined construction, the other big story with the GRANDE is the robust drag system. I measured the maximum drag at up to about 12-pounds of pressure. Unnecessary? Probably. But, it makes for great marketing and heck....why not? The greatness of the drag extends beyond just the peak numbers. The carbon-fiber system is fully sealed and ramps up without any hesitation while operating very smoothly even at the very highest setting.
The drag knob sticks out about 5/8 inches from the edge of the frame and is large in size, both of which makes it a cinch to turn even with the wettest or clumsiest of fingers. It's about 2 1/2 turns to go from zero to full drag with crisp clicks throughout. As line is pulled off, the drag emits a clicking that's modest but has a good quality sound to it.
Cranking the reel emits the same clicking sound as the drag. The new machined handle is crafted from Delrin and is designed to be anti-snag with a soft-touch feel to it. The ergonomic shape makes it really comfortable whether reeling in bare line or a good fish. If you like to slap the spool to wind-in line quickly, this spool is a little on the "tight" side so it's not the best I've ever used for that.
The GRANDE is numero uno in Redington's current reel lineup, offering the most premium construction and highest price tags of the bunch. I had quite a bit planned for this reel during my brief stint with it, but due to unforeseen circumstances it was only used to tangle with my healthy local largemouth population—mere child's play for this muscular reel! Needless to say, I really did enjoy fishing with it even without the drag-burning action I had hoped for. It's an excellent product.
These reels come in three colors and five sizes built to handle line weights from 5 all the way up to a 14+ model with prices spanning a reasonable range of $299.99—$349.99.
Line Size: 5/6/7
Measured Weight: Approx 6.7 ounces
Diameter: 3.7 inches
Spool Width: 1 3/8 inches
Backing Capacity (20 pound): up to 200 yards
Drag: Carbon Fiber (fully sealed)
Tested Max Drag: Approx 12 pounds
Easy Release Spool: Yes (twist-off center cap)
R/L Conversion: Yes
Colors: Black, Marine, Champagne (tested)
Reel Pouch: Yes
Spare Spool Available: Yes ($149.00)
Tested Reel Price: $299.99
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