Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Red Truck Rod Review

Recently, I was given the opportunity to review the new Diesel Series of two handed rods from Red Truck Fly Rods.
Red Truck is a relatively newcomer to the game of branded fly rods, lines and more and is a division of Leland Fly Fishing out of San Fransisco.

Smack dab in the middle of steelhead season, they sent me their Diesel 13'6 Spey and the 11' 7wt Switch

Lets just say I was excited

Lets break this down on my review in the follow categories
1.  Initial Impression

2.  The Wiggle Test

3.  Casting, duh.

4.  The Mulah Factor
5.  Remaining Questions

6.  Bonus Factor.

So here we go.

Initial Impression

I am a sucker for a cool piece of fishing gear.  The rods arrived on my doorstep and I kind of felt like a kid on Christmas morning.  The rod tubes are are an unfinished aluminum and the rods inside have a nice cloth bag.  Standard yes, but the tubes are one level cooler than most.

Wiggle Test

So every time you assemble a rod at a fly shop, you instinctively wiggle it right?  What I took from both these rods was they seemed pretty darn quality.  When you pick up a crappy second rate rod, you know it right away.  The cork is shaped beautifully and when I picked them up....they begged to be cast.

Casting, Duh

The first two factors mean absolutely nothing unless your casting stroke can make the rods work.  For line pairings, I put the Airflo Compact Skagit 510 on the Spey and an Ambush Triangle Taper 8 wt shooting head on the switch.

My other spey rod is 100% different in action so getting to know this particular rod, it's load, it's specific trigger points took me some time.  I find the spey rods action to be a lot slower than I am used to which is neither good nor bad, it just depends on what fits your casting style.  My T and T 13ft 7 weight is lightening fast and conversely the Red Truck Rod is much slower and progressive.  

With that said after a little while, I adjusted my stroke and the rod was lifting the head,  a big heavy T-14 tip and a nasty string leech without much effort.  I am not the greatest spey caster, but this stick kept shooting line as I added it to the loops at my feet.  There is a distinct sweet spot in this stick and when hit, feels like when you knock a fastball over the fence.  In short, I liked it a lot.   I compare this rod to the Echo TR's or the TFO Deer Creek series.

I was even more impressed with the the little switch rod.  I was using it mainly as a nymphing alternative to my 8 wt single hander.  It picked up the indicator, flies and weight pretty well and made the process of nymphing really enjoyable.  I think this rod will excel on small waters like the Grande Ronde, Methow or smaller coastal streams where you have to get inventive with your casts.  On a negative note, the line I had it paired with is tough to long line nymph and stack mend.  You need something with a rear taper to allow you to mend properly.  I found the action on this rod to be medium fast and I am sorry I'm going to have to let it go.
For a spey jedi's take on these rods, take a peek at Chou Dog's review here.

Mulah Factor

While I am a big proponent of buying locally, there are situations where it just doesn't work.  These rods retail for $350.   You're getting a big bang for your buck in my opinion

Remaining Questions??

What's it feel like to fight a fish on these sticks?   I wasn't graced with that opportunity...yet

The action of the spey rod seems like its made for skagit heads.  What's it like with a scandi set up?

I am terribly tough on gear.  What's it like to send a rod a rod back for repair?

Bonus Factor

When someone in fishing camp goes all classy on you and buys something other than Rainer or PBR and has non twist off top, how many times have you struggled to find a bottle opener.  Well, Red Truck Diesel Rods have you covered.

Overall, these sticks are a nice value for the dollar.  I would be happy to add them to my lineup but alas they are going back to their home soon.  Take some time to do your own homework before you pull the trigger. 
What kind of caster are you?

What are you hoping the rod will do?

Does the rod fit the rivers you're hoping to fish?

So on and so forth.  

Take a gander at their site, Red Truck Fly Rods and fish happy!


  1. Thanks for the review man. I have been wanting to try one of those.

  2. Been fishing a 7136 for the last 6 months or so. All Skagit and tips so far but I will definitely be adding another couple to the quiver. Great client rods and actually the 7136 is lighter than the 7136 Z rod. Like you said, once you find the button........

  3. Are the Red Truck rods made in USA?

  4. Nope, made in Korea is what I read somewhere.