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Redington Butter Stick: A Kind of Review

Redington: “Meet the New Butter Stick – Your New Fall Favorite”

This isn’t a review of the updated Redington Butter Stick. Because I’ve never held the rod.*

But I received an email from Redington that made me want to pick one up. I get a lot of fly fishing industry emails, and I delete nearly all of them after reading the subject line. This one  made me pause:  “Meet the New Butter Stick – Your New Fall Favorite.” And then I opened it. And then read it. To be honest, it made me want to buy one sight unseen. Why? Well, at least for me the marketing for the Butter Stick checked every single box.

Marketing doesn’t sell a product. But it gets consumers to stop and peek into the window. In the fly fishing industry, marketing, branding, and perception plays an enormous role in what anglers buy and do. I don’t need another fly rod, but I haven’t needed a new fly rod for the last dozen. This email shoved me down that familiar rabbit hole.

Although this rod is an updated model, the Butter Stick fiberglass line has been around for a while. The name is great for some of the imagery that it evokes – smooth casting, warm-hued trout  bellies, etc. Maybe it is a little cutesy, but it isn’t like you have to proclaim the make or the model of your rod when as you cast. “Butter Stick” also stands alone in an industry of three letter acronyms and intense  sounding names. It is a fly rod, not an engine on a jet.

The aesthetics also do something for me. The designers went all out on the colors in the new update. The three wraps are bold, clean, but warm. This is juxtaposed against a black and white blank.  Personally, it comes across as an archetypal look for a fly rod that would be in my grandfather’s garage or in an old, cluttered tackle shop. Retro. Vintage. In other words, in. Even the font, and you might need to be a special sort of crazy to appreciate this, is so slick. The “E,” the “C,” and that “S.” Very nice.

The descriptive language is also nostalgic, albeit to a period in fly fishing I never experienced in person. “Heritage taper,” “slow action,”  and “classic glass” are all buzzwords that don’t need any hype to connect with anglers.

All of this is presented, at least in Redington’s present marketing campaign, against the backdrop of fall. The angler is wearing a flannel. She is fishing in front of golden  hills. “Your New Fall Favorite” puts this fly rod, in the mind of the consumer, in the rarefied air of pumpkin spice lattes, sweaters, and crisp mornings. Not to oversell it, but that is about as close as you can get to trans-demographic appeal.

There are also some presuppositions I brought into my exploration of the Butter Stick. For one, I love my Redington reels. I fish a Behemoth for smallmouth and larger trout. I’ve had my eye on a Zero for one of my ultralight rods. Both of these reels are universally lauded, with their incredible value and performance vying for the top reason. Immediately, I knew that this fly rod wouldn’t be unobtainable. I thought maybe $300? (They are actually only $250-$280!)

Again, I’ve never picked up a Redington Butter Stick. This isn’t a review of a fly rod, but a review of an email and some marketing. Consumerism has an awful lot of negatives. Still, with everything in moderation as a motto it isn’t unreasonable to enjoy and appreciate a good sales pitch. The best ones  move us. Maybe to actually buy; maybe just to think.

Redington gets an A+.  This appeals to seasoned anglers revisiting a time in the past, and it gives a new generation to touch what they’ve only seen in old magazines.  There is a connection to a time, a place, and our favorite season. It is nostalgic, it is aesthetically pleasing, it is fun. And that is what fly fishing is all about.

Didn’t get the email? Check out the Redington Butter Stick site and see how it makes you feel.

*I have since held the rod, looked at the rod, and fished the rod. Read my real review here!

2 comments

  1. momatt92 says:

    Agree- this was an effective ad. I’ve got two of the previous Buttersticks. I bought a 5-wt, sight unseen and liked it enough that I picked up a 3-wt soon after. Both are a pleasure to fish with and a 10+ inch fish on the 3-wt is a fun fight.

    One of the things I liked most about these rods is the cool yellow color. You don’t see a lot of yellow fly rods out there! The new retro look is also cool, but from 20 feet away it doesn’t stand out like my yellow ones do. So I’m kind of glad I got mine before they changed to black.

    One note of caution if you’re considering a Zero reel. I’ve got both a 2-3 wt and 4-5 wt. The 4-5 is solid and has worked well for a couple years but the 2-3 is much louder and takes quite a bit of pull to strip line out. Forget about letting a fish run if you get it on the reel. It’s like a reel with a drag that you’ve got set too tight. And as a simple click-and-pawl reel, there’s nothing you can do to let up some of this tension.

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