Rapala R-Type Review
Modern Drift: R-Type:
I have had the privilege of being able to fish the relatively new Rapala R-type float/drift rods over the past few weeks; although the angler behind them hasn't managed to land many fish on them, I feel I have understanding of how they will perform in the future. (Test models were the 11'6 4-12lb and the 13' 4-12lb)
Let me start by saying that this is not your father's (grandfathers) float rod, this rod has a very crisp action able to set hooks at distance as well as handle some of the Great Lakes region's largest fish and even some of the west coast's brute steelhead. There was not one time where I felt under-gunned even when landing my biggest fish of the season, a 13lb pig off of the pier. This being said the rod manages to not feel like a pool cue in hand, there is a certain power that this rod has that still gives you the ability to fish light leaders and not blow up hook sets.
Although there may be outroar from the traditionalist steelheaders I have to say the split grip design has really grown on me. As an angler who prefers his centerpin in a 50/50 position on the cork I was able to put my reel just above the split and maintain enough cork above the reel to leverage fish. Also back to the cork, the cork rubber composite used on the R-Type series of float rods is a dream to fish with, when this material gets wet it becomes very tacky underhand allowing for maximum grip even in the worst of conditions. I have also found that even though this is a sliding ring setup I haven't felt the need to tape my reels in place, not really a feature I would actively look for in a rod but definitely something to note.
As a blank the R-Type rods are quite light, although I wouldn't put them in the class of my IMX or CTS rods for a price of $174.99 from FISHHEADS Canada these rods can definitely compete with rods of a much higher price tag. The guides used on the r-type also quite surprised me, although not something you see often on a float rod these single foot Pac Bay Titanium Minima guides performed quite flawlessly in temperatures down to -15 with very minimal ice build up. The designers at Rapala definitely took into account that these rods will be fished in some pretty horrible conditions.
Also available in 15' and 11' bait casting models the Rapala R-type float and drift is not to be overlooked when considering your first or next float rod. I tried to ask every angler I saw on the river to at least pick up and even drift my rods to see their opinion.
"So this is the 11'6?" " no that's actually the 13'" "oh, very light"
"Wow, yeah that's light. 'In a snag' what leader is this" "6lb" "lots of power eh?"
"How much are they, I'd think about picking one up"
Canadian River Angler