Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Gear Review: Redington Sonic Pros

“Hey...so are those EJ-46s?” I'd be asked.

And double checking with the extras in my guitar case, “44s.”

“Spruce or alder topped?”

“Tuning fork or automatic?”

The questions went on as
murmurs in concerts and scuttle in masterclasses. And to be honest, I never really cared much (or perhaps that's just my excuse for not being able to remember the details). I’ve never been a gear head -- in music, in riding, in fly fishing. I’m far too “pragmatic,” I've been told. And just to prove their point, for example, the wading boots I bought at Goodwill for $4.99 have served me well for the past year. And the fact that they look like leftovers from the 70s doesn’t bother me a bit. Most of the rest of my wardrobe does, too. Plus I’ve always said that if you’re worried about what you look like on the river, you’re missing the point entirely.


Trout are like honey badgers, they don’t care.

Yet at the same time (and yes, I often contain these contradictions) I know that good gear does make a difference. Just as a $20 pawn shop guitar will make learning a much more frustrating experience than will a $200 one from Dietz -- a good rod, reel and waders make progressing as an angler a more efficient and enjoyable effort. It’s kind of like riding a highly trained horse -- you’ve got to learn quickly. Shift weight to your left sit-bone and you’re off on a right-going half-pass.

Now....how’d that happen, you're left wondering.   

So having good gear does in fact matter. Here the definition of “good” being: it doesn’t make you think about it. Gear you think about while using is not good gear. It’s needy gear. And just like fishing partners of that ilk, they should be traded in. 


I’m hard on gear, even the good stuff. Even my bamboo. It doesn’t matter how much it costs, it doesn’t get treated any differently -- doesn't just get hung up for display. If someday long after I’m gone, somebody finds my rod, my reel, my waders and pack, I want them to be scratched and worn and frayed. I believe it was Gierach who once wrote that is how you can determine the good gear -- the stuff that was favored and used above the rest -- by wear. The pristine rod hanging on an old timer’s wall may have been from a famous rodmaker, but the one stored in its canvans sack on a hanger in his closet -- with scratches and sweat marks on the cork -- that one...that one is the rod with the effortless cast.

Last season I went through two pairs of waders in six months as a result of bushwhacking and sliding (falling) down canyon sides; carping and spring bass fishing, too. I fish hard and I fish a lot. I kind of fish like a grade school boy. Which is why I always call fishing trips “adventuring," I suppose.  



And so after several months of wearing the same waders, I always get that familiar feeling -- creeping in while concentrating on casting and setting -- straining eyes behind copper-toned polarization. That realization that you’re drenched and have been for hours (which explains why you’re so damned cold) -- it’s like sharing a bed with a wetter. But once the realization hits, there isn’t much you can do besides make feeble attempts at patching seams and going to wash the sheets. Hanging it all out to dry. Again.

Yet, I’ve had the opportunity to wear Redington’s Sonic Pros this season -- in canyon streams, high mountain lakes, and on mud flats. And they’ve got a lot of river-miles in them now, they’ve got a lot of wear: you can tell they’re The Favored Ones, not just hanging on the wall. They’ve got the miles in them -- but you know what? They don't have the water.

49 comments:

  1. "Use it like you stole it" is my maxim for tackle Erin.

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    1. Dave - hmm...well yes, that works. ;-)

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  2. Wonderful... I am in the market. Thanks for sharing...

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    1. upacreek333 - Thanks for stopping by...and I definitely recommend trying the sonic pros out!

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  3. I can't say I have ever seen a gear review quite like this.....it says so much about a specific product before you even know what the product is.

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    1. Brookfield Angler - Thanks! That's precisely what I was hoping!

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  4. That was a great review. I miss the days I went through a pair of waders in a season.

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    1. Bjornorama - I must say...there is something satisfying about it! And thanks for stopping by to read!

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  5. "..like sharing a bed with a wetter." I hope this isn't something you've learned from experience. Great visual though. No further questions :-)

    I like Redington's stuff. Seems rugged and priced reasonably. When my current junkers finally give I plan to go with those.

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    1. Rhythm Rider - Ha! Well, I got an idea of the experience more second hand, thank goodness! And these have definitely been great to me thus far...glad you're going to give them a go.

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  6. Erin- As usual some great lines and good insight. I like the one about the sweat marks and scratches being the one that is the effortless caster. All lasting relationships have their telltale marks. I also like, "I fish hard and I fish alot" I have no doubt you do. Nice review.

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    1. Scott - "All lasting relationships have their telltale marks." Speaking of great line! And thanks as always!

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  7. That wasn't a gear review, that was literature. I was worried at first. And yes, (I'm still laughing,) those damned leaky waders ARE like sharing a bed with a wetter. Glad you found some good ones. May you keep wearing them hard.

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    1. Jim - I was worried at first, too! Thanks for putting a smile on my face.

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  8. Now quietly put down the carp and step away from the stillwater.

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  9. I'm glad to know that if Jay ever wets your waders that they won't leak. Sorry...couldn't help myself. Great review since I'm in the market soon.

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    1. Howard - It does put one's mind at ease, eh? ;-)

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  10. Personally, I don't see the sense of buying expensive every things. I have inexpensive (not cheap) waders, boots, and fly rods. They work just fine for me. Oh, and Hi. I'm Mark from Northern California Trout.

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    1. And Hi, Mark from Northern California Trout. Thanks for stopping by...and I suppose it's like anything else...there's a time and place for it all.

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  11. Erin, this review is awesome for so many reasons...especially since my old waders are beyond repair and I had the sonic pros on the short list.

    Thanks.

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    1. Brent - Thanks! And glad this helped in your decision a bit!

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  12. Shopping Goodwill, your after my heart. I agree material things have a purpose, and no mater what the cost we should use them.

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    1. Brk Trt - Ahh...kindred thrifting spirits. :) I'd guessed as much!

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  13. That all sounds very neat, but don't they make my butt look big?

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  14. Nice post, Erin. I got a new pair of boots this year, Korkers. First boots in 6+years. Not the most expensive ones on the market, but the bindings.....man. Probably age, but I like the minimal time to put them on. I suppose velcro shoes are next for me, then leisure suits...
    Mike

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    1. Mike - Velcro shoes and leisure suits...you've sent me into laughing! Thanks so much for stopping by...

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  15. As a "tackle tart" Erin, i can only shudder at the thought of your being abused LOL

    I have spent years finding the gear i am happy and comfortable using, does it make me a better fisherman.................... in my mind it does LOL

    Keep up the good work Erin, always a pleasure to read your blog :-)

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  16. OOOPPPPSSS, that should read......................

    As a "tackle tart" Erin, i can only shudder at the thought of your gear being abused LOL!!!!

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    1. Tom - Ha! My head had filled in the word...but definitely good for a chuckle. :-) Thanks as always!

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  17. Great for the bed wetter too I shouldn't wonder! ;oD
    Loving your work as always Erin.

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    1. Richard - Indeed, I should think so! Tables turned. I like it. Many thanks for stopping by to read!

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  18. well I guess I need to take that handmade rod I won at Challis down off the wall and wear it out

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  19. Thanks Erin. My grandfather taught me that unused things were something of a loss. It's the scars that mark memories, not the pristine preserved items.

    As always, you are a delight to read.

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    1. PA Dave - "It's the scars that mark memories"....absolutely, and well said. Thanks so much for taking the time to read!

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  20. Love my sonic pros. I have the zipper front and they have been wonderful! Thanks for the good read as always.

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    1. Kyle - They seem to be developing a devoted following, eh...as good gear should! Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Is it ironic that as a non-fly-fisher, I enjoyed this post as much as I did? :)

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    3. Celery - Ironic, perhaps. But also probably the best comment ever. :)

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  21. Erin, you would write great Sorkin like dialogue for a TV series. I enjoy every sentence you write.

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    1. Hart - What a compliment! Thank you!

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  22. I don't have a comment on the Sonic Pros. But I'm sitting in my basement right now and I really like that carp pic. Rock on!

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    1. Wendy - It was an awesome take. One of those you see perfectly. Thanks!

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  23. My Waders have become threads held together by aquaseal. They arent done just yet. I think I'm on the 4th season... I never thought you would review something! This was neat!

    EJ is a D'Addario thing, right? Classical? Jeez, been a long time since the guitar shop days.

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    1. backcountryfishnerd - Ah yes...I patched my last pair into oblivion. And I never thought I'd do a review either...I must say your Sage post spurred me on. ;) And yep! It's a D'Addario thing!

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