I used to not think much of die-cast fly reels. I'd typically envision them appropriate for display in the fishing aisle of a big box retailer or maybe as part of a beginner fly fishing combo, but not much else. Times are definitely different now. Personally, what made me rethink my opinion of die-cast reels came when Redington released the BEHEMOTH back in 2015. Those reels offered a lot more refinement than I was expecting and looked amazing to boot — I still think they are some of the sexiest reels on the market at any price. Machined reels still rule in terms of ultimate precision and ruggedness, but reels like the BEHEMOTH sure offer a tantalizingly-affordable option.
Redington's freshest offering is the RUN series of fly reels. Basically a die-cast version of the machined RISE series, these new reels put an emphasis on light weight and value. I received one of the 5/6 models for a review here, so let's get right to business...
Reel Size: 5/6
Measured Weight: approx 4.71 ounces
Diameter: 3.6 inches
Machined/Cast: Die-Cast Aluminum
Inner Spool Width: approx 1 inch
Backing Capacity: WF5F / 100 yards (20lb)
Drag: Carbon Fiber
Spool Release: Push button
Test Reel Color: Black
Reel Pouch Included: Yes
R/L Interchangeable: Yes
Spare Spool: $54.99
Reel Price: $109.99
The first thing you might notice about the RUN is that it (obviously) looks nearly identical to the RISE at first glance. In comparing my test reel to pictures of the RISE, the differences appear pretty minimal; the drag knob and to a lesser extent the Y-shaped frame support are what I noticed being altered.
RUN reels feature heavily-ported designs which are said to be "non-machinable" which is kind of curious since the RISE is so similar in looks. Anyhow, it's a very open and attractive design overall that definitely shaves a ton of weight. Even the base of the spool has ample porting for added weight reduction and some bonus cosmetic intrigue.
Going back to the topic of weight, the 5/6 RUN weighed about 4.71 ounces on my scale. Some comparable reels are the 4/5 ECHO ION @ 5.3 ounces; 4–6 Orvis Clearwater LA II @ 5.4 ounces; and the Redington BEHEMOTH 5/6 @ 5.7 ounces. The RUN is indeed on the light side for a cast reel.
The build quality of the reel appears to be very good. Being a cast reel there's a few areas where you can see a faint imperfection or seam line (or whatever you'd call it) but overall it's a very nice piece. Honestly the pictures I first saw of it don't really do it justice. It doesn't disappoint.
Each RUN reel is built with a compact carbon fiber drag system which is not fully sealed. This setup gives the angler some very pleasing performance, with no detectable startup inertia and nice smooth line flow when line is pulled off the spool at any drag setting. After dunking the reel several times its performance never missed a beat.
Redington says the reel has a "recessed drag knob that won’t catch excess line." That's a bit of a head scratcher as the drag knob is pretty tall which would seem to make it easier for line to loop around. However, that height does make it very easy to grab and adjust. The knob's surface has ample texture/grip for a secure hold and it takes about 2 1/4 turns to run the whole range of settings with crisp clicks/detents along the way.
For a handle, you get the plastic/soft touch knob as found on other models like the BEHEMOTH and ZERO. It does the job and offers good comfort along with a relatively tight tolerance to the spool which is always a plus. The clicking sound on retrieval and when the drag is engaged has a quality sound to it and the spool has enough looseness so you can effectively smack or slap the spool to gather up excess line quickly.
Taking off the spool is done by pushing on the small button located at the center of the spool's face. I have absolutely no complaints when it comes to ease of spool removal or re-mounting. Simple and easy.
This reel was a loaner from Redington so I was really careful about dropping it and such, but being a cast reel I wouldn't expect extreme ruggedness here. I have a pair of 11/12 BEHEMOTH reels (also die-cast and painted) that have seen some action on tarpon and big false albacore trips. The paint on those reels show obvious wear on not just the outsides from clanking in rod holders, but even the insides of the spools most likely caused by the backing under extreme pressure. With that said, a cast reel is a fine choice for many people.
I love premium reels as much as the next guy, but I've always had a certain appreciation and interest for those affordably-priced offerings that stand out among the competition. The RUN most definitely can be labeled as such. I genuinely liked this reel quite a bit and wouldn't hesitate to add one to my collection or recommend it to others. Another great value from Redington that should not be overlooked!
Other sizes include a 3/4 and 7/8 and all spools are interchangeable with corresponding RISE reels. Besides black, you can also choose Burgundy or Sand color schemes.
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