First of all, I love the price! At just shy of $400 both of these rods deliver big and perform as well as any other rod in their class. Of course, spey casters as a whole tend to be on the more particular side when it comes to rod actions, and how a rod feels when loading it up with a D-loop and sending one out over the water can either make or break a rod for some guys.
I like the CPX 12’9″ 7 weight best for summer/fall steelhead fishing but it is a great winter rod as well. It casts well with medium to lightweight tips and small to medium sized flies. It even performed admirably with a 10 foot chunk of t-14 and some decent sized intruders and leeches for some early winter steelheading. This rod would do well with a scandi head for waking dries on rivers like the Wenatchee, Klickitat, Deschutes and Grande Ronde. It would also be a great stick for dollies on the Skagit/Sauk and big Alaska rainbows. Team it up with an overweighted Rio Outbound line and you would have a mean 2 handed overhead rocket launcher for targeting silvers and pinks in the late summer/fall on our Puget Sound beaches.
Personally, I am not married to any type of rod action. Most of the guys I know like a medium-fast rod that bends progressively, loading deep into the butt section. The guys who fished with me and cast both of these rods preferred the 7 wt. While it is a fast action rod, it has just enough give to load well even when using short heads. The rod cast well matched up with a Rio Skagit short 525 grain line and also performed with the Airflo equivalent, a Compact Skagit 540. I did not try it with a Rio Skagit Flight head, but I would guess it probably bombs with a 525 grain.
For the price this rod is extremely versatile and would be an ideal setup for someone looking to get into fishing with a full spey rod or someone wanting a second rod that will do a lot. Matched with different lines, tips and flies you could be set up to target larger fish species pretty much anywhere.
At 13’3″ the 8wt CPX is your go to winter steelhead rod for the PNW. I really like this rod, but some other guys I fished with felt that it was too stiff. I will admit that it is an extremely fast action rod. If you are used to casting more traditional, fuller flex rods you will probably not like how this rod casts, but this stiffness serves a purpose. The thing I like most about this rod is that it has the backbone to pick up just about anything and send it into outer space! It is designed for shooting line. In this sense it is not really a spey rod in its traditional form, it is a Skagit rod.
If you like fishing deep with heavy sink tips and big flies, this rod is for you. My favorite setup for this rod is a Rio Skagit Flight 600 grain head matched with a MOW 10ft t-14 tip and a big intruder. If you are thinking about this rod as your first rod, or if you are used to fishing with a more moderate action rod I would recommend loading it with a Flight 650 instead.
That said, I still have not found a combination of fly/tip that I cannot cast easily with this rod. It will do well for anybody that fishes for steelhead in the winter, and will shine on big rivers with deep slots, heavy current and BIG fish! On a recent trip to the Olympic Peninsula I got a chance to test this rod’s mettle against a big wild buck and it did not disappoint.
On a side note I also tested out the new Redington Delta 9/10 reel with this rod. Not only does the gunmetal finish make a handsome match for the gloss black CPX, but the sturdy machined aluminum frame and overbuilt drag handle big fish no problem.
Overall, I am impressed with Redington and the new line of products they are offering since Sage acquired the company. Kudos to their staff and team of designers. I look forward to seeing what they will have to offer in the coming seasons.
If you are interested in picking up a rod I would highly recommend checking out Skate The Fly for your purchase.