Disclosure: Man Makes Fire is reader-supported. When you buy gear using retail links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission that helps pay for our work. Learn more.
The Redington Crosswater Fly Rod is an entry-level fly rod that’s fantastic for beginners. It’s easy to cast and performs above its price point.
To get us a closer look, Redington sent Man Makes Fire a 9-foot, 5-weight review unit. This is what we learned:
Redington Crosswater Fly Rod Review
The Redington Crosswater Fly Rod typically comes bundled with a fly reel and fly line in the Redington Crosswater Combo, but you can buy the Crosswater Fly Rod separately.
The Crosswater is a 4-piece graphite fly rod with a medium-fast action. One feature we always appreciate on fly rods are alignment dots on each section. These little painted dots make it easy to assemble the rod and have each section line up perfectly. When you’re anxious to get fishing, alignment dots are awesome.
Redington offers the Crosswater in seven variations, ranging from a lightweight 7’6″ 4-weight rod that’s great for panfish and small trout streams to a 9′ 9-weight rod cable of fishing for salmon.
Fit and Finish
The Crosswater has an anodized machined aluminum reel seat, which looks great and locks down easily. The locking nut and sliding bracket is a bright blue — and we appreciate the design detail here.
Of course, the standout feature of the Redington Crosswater Fly Rod is its bright blue blank — it looks fantastic in the sun. We’re fans.
Most rods in this price range end up covering the threads and entire blanks with a healthy layer of resin — and the Crosswater is no different. Compared to very expensive rods, it’s a bit thick, but compared to most cheaper rods, it’s well done and above average overall. And frankly, a little extra coating is likely a good thing for most beginners. Why? Beginners tend to bang their rods on rocks, trees, and even occasionally with their hooks during errant backcasts. A little extra resin likely helps with longevity.
Action & Casting
How does the Redington Crosswater Fly Rod cast? The short answer: Surprisingly well. The Crosswater is comfortable and has more than enough power to satisfy every beginning fly caster I’ve ever met or taught.
It’s not as good as rods that cost 2-to-10 times as much, but the Crosswater’s medium-fast action is definitely fishable. Let’s put it this way: If you can’t catch a fish with the Redington Crosswater, it’s not the rod’s fault.
Meanwhile, that’s not exactly a full answer. Here is a bit more detail:
Judging a fly rod’s abilities is tough because fly fishers have different casting rhythms and temperaments. I have a good fishing buddy who loves to fish for trout with an old slow-to-medium action fly rod, partially because you can’t rush it — and I’m not a fan. He is, though, and that’s all that counts.
Back to the Crosswater. Some critics like to compare entry-level gear to expensive gear, which is like comparing a small, affordable 4-door family car to a sports car. Which is better? Our gut reaction is the sports car, but that’s not exactly always true. The same goes for fly rods. Once you become a fly fishing fanatic, you’ll end up with more than one type of fly fishing rod. But to start out, you want a good all-around fly rod that can do most things reasonably well.
Rest assured, the Redington Crosswater is that rod.
My first impression while casting the Crosswater Fly Rod, outfitted with the Crosswater Reel, was that it was very comfortable to cast. The Crosswater Rod loaded well while false-casting and on the backcast. It also delivered good distance without much trouble.
Basically, I was impressed with the feel of the Crosswater — and I’m a guy who personally prefers fast-action fly rods (like the Redington Vice).
One very minor con, which is only a con when comparing the entry-level Crosswater to more expensive rods, is that the Crosswater doesn’t dampen particularly quickly. What does this mean? Think of it this way: On your forward cast when you let the line out, the rod wiggles before settling down. While that likely had a slight impact on my overall accuracy, I actually believe the Crosswater is more accurate than it has any right to be at the price point it’s offered at.
The most important takeaway here is that I can fish the Crosswater all day and still have a heckuva good time.
Redington Crosswater vs Redington Path
If you’re looking at beginner fly rods from Redington, you might end up also thinking about the Redington Path Fly Rod. This rod is also a medium-fast action fly rod, and it only costs $40 more than the Crosswater. What gives? The Crosswater and Path rods are very similar in action and fishing performance, but the Path has better cork, a wood reel seat, and a more classic brown finish. It’s also protected by Redington’s lifetime warranty. (You can certainly step up to the Path, but there is no real need to unless you just don’t like blue.)
Overall Value & Verdict
If you’re a beginner on a budget and you’re looking for a do-it-all fly rod, the Redington Crosswater is a solid choice. I have no reservations about recommending it to beginners, and even if you one day want to upgrade, the Redington Crosswater will remain a good backup or buddy fly rod for years to come. Highly recommended.