Sunday Classic / Falling in Love Again, With My Winston

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"Let's Get It On"

“Let’s Get It On”

I don’t know how it happened. I have no excuse, but some how my Winston B2X 6 weight spent the last two years in the tube.

I have a lot of fly rods and I’m always getting new ones to try out, but there is still no excuse for neglecting such a great rod. I got that rod specifically to fish the Green River in Wyoming during hopper season. A trip I used to make every year. I’ve passed on the Green River trip the last couple of years for various reasons and I guess I just forgot about the Winston in the process.

I made it back to the Green this year. Only for a day and not during hopper season but it jarred my memory and I took the old green stick along. Man am I glad I did. It was like falling in love all over again. Not just for me as it turned out. Kent and I fought over that rod the whole trip. Several days, it was the only rod that got fished.

We had a pile of rods. We each brought five and added to that several that we’re sent to us to evaluate for clients. Still, the Winston carried the day and I’ll tell you why. While the B2X has been languishing in the tube, the world of fly rod design has changed. In this case, I’m not sure we can call it progress.

In recent years, rod companies have been beating cheeks to make the fastest action rod possible.

In the process there have been some serious casting machines produced by some talented rod designers. But how do they fish? Often, not that well. I’m guilty of casting pond myopia myself. I’ve cast some rods at the IFTD show that I thought were the second coming, only to be seriously disappointed once I got them on the river.

It’s fun to cast a fly rod a hundred feet. It’s not so much fun to fish at a hundred feet and too often these rods are seriously lacking in their short game. You know, the kind of casting distance that usually results in catching fish. Some of these thunder sticks are so stiff that they are useless with tippet light enough to fool a trout. Where’s the fun in breaking off fish?

At some point the fly line companies started carrying the water for these new ultra fast rods. That is to say that lines have been getting heavier and tapers more aggressive. Today’s five weight is yesterday’s six. So, if you have to make a five weight line as heavy as a six weight line to load your five weight rod, isn’t the rod a six weight?

Not from a marketing standpoint, and marketing really is the devil in this scenario. That’s not to say that rod designers are evil. Neither are their marketing guys. They’re simply trying to give us what we think we want. I know a lot of these guys and if they are guilty of anything, it’s being too good at what they do.

They really believe in these ultra fast rods and they can fish them. They forget, however, that they can cast any rod. They are the best fly casters in the world. A rod that performs in their hands may not perform in ours. If you drive an Indy car to the Kroger, bad things are likely to happen.

That’s the scenario that played out for Kent and me. We were fishing the salmon fly hatch on the South Fork. The key to catching quality fish on that river is putting the fly on the bank. Not close to the bank, on it. Ideally, the fly should touch the water at the same point the water touches the stream side foliage. Every cast.

At thirty feet, an ultra fast action rod just isn’t the tool for the job. A rod that loads easily and has a good feel is a much better choice. A softer rod gives you more control. It gives the angler feedback, which is especially vital when accurate casting is involved. The Winston is just such a rod. It was beautiful.

We talked about it all week. What was I thinking, not fishing that rod for two years?

When we made it to IFTD this year, the first thing on my agenda was to cast the new Winstons. I had heard about the B3X but never held one. Let me tell you, these rods did not disappoint me.

The B3X has more Boron in the butt section than the B2X. They have the same elegant feel of the older Winstons but, when called on, the extra energy in the butt can really step on the gas. I love these rods. Especially the 9′ 5 weight B3X and the 9′ 6″ 7 weight B3XS for saltwater.

It turned out that while most rod companies have been working to make the fastest rod possible, Winston has stayed focused on just making a great rod. I’m in love again and that Winston will be spending a lot more time out of the tube.

Check out Kent’s post on how distance casting has hijacked rod design. (HERE)

Come fish with us in the Bahamas!

Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
www.ginkandgasoline.com
hookups@ginkandgasoline.com
 http://www.ginkandgasoline.com/hosted-trips/
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8 thoughts on “Sunday Classic / Falling in Love Again, With My Winston

  1. My 9’ 5wt three piece is nothing short of a perfect rod …for me. Louis, when it comes to gear, I don’t envy your job and it’s great to read a reality check on it. Folks like me look at a “high end” rod purchase as a Long game acquisition. Hell there are lots of rods that interest me, then I go out and throw my Winston.

  2. I was at a casting day at a fly shop recently and as always I was amazed how many were raving the fast sticks (Scott Radian, Orvis H3) while their casting just sucked. The older(?) Scott G2 were basically untouched.

    1) Most fishermen have no clue what they are buying. Just following the herd.
    2) Most fishermen can’t cast to save their life.
    3) Most fishermen bother ‘how they appear on stream’. Yes, the best gear etc. one can buy.

    It’s not the arrow, it’s the indian.

  3. I started to learn this during the winter of 2014 when I was buying, trying and deciding between 13 or 14 10 wt. rods for chasing toothy fish.

    Through an unusual set of circumstances that involved a broken rod and a warranty replacement of a rod no longer made…I wound up with a 10 wt St. Croix Legend X.

    It was slower than the other rods I thought I liked…but I found I was much, much more accurate with it, particularly with floating line and topwater flies…so I kept it, and learned from that and began exploring slower action rods.

    I have several now, and no, I can’t throw 100 ft. cast with them…but I don’t need to. It is often far better to be able to drop a fly on the spot-within-the-spot than be able to go for distance.

  4. I forget where I read this, but the gist was that making 60-100′ casts in freshwater was something to avoid whenever possible, and it almost always is (with the obvious exceptions).

    I lived out west for 12 years, now I’m back east, fished all over and my favorite freshwater rods are 6′ to 8′ and 2-4 wt medium/slow action. For larger bass, bigger trout I use an 8’6″ 5 wt. They are enjoyable to cast all day long, mellow, and not fussy. My next rod will be glass- haven’t had one since I was a kid.

  5. I bought a 9 weight Winston B3SX a few years ago and tried it out. I wasn’t all that impressed. I compared it to a Redington Vapen Red 9 weight I owned and, lo and behold, the Redington outperformed it. I sold the Winston a short while later. To each his own. I did have a Winston B2 12 weight that I liked a lot, however, and, no, I’m not paid in any way to promote Redington rods. I just think they’re very good rods for the money I spend, that’s all.

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