Disagreements over what is the perfect rod for European nymphing, Czech nymphing or any type of advanced nymphing (whatever “advanced nymphing” is) have raged since anglers figured out that fish feed under the surface of the water 80% of the time. There have been literally hundreds of rods designed specifically for nymphing. Most have been nothing more than glorified cane poles with tip sections so soft and wiggly they remind me of a willow branch. Literally uncastable, these rods were so singularly purposed that they became niche gear destined for the dark recesses of many closets after a few frustrating trips to the stream. R.L. Winston Rod Company has finally come out with a technical nymphing rod that is actually a fly rod, its name, the Winston Boron III X Super 10.
A Bobber, A Couple of Nymphs & Some Weight To Boot
I have been flinging a bobber, a #8 Golden Stone nymph, a #14 Hare’s Ear and a 3ott split shot or two since first picking up the old Shakespeare glass rod my great grandfather gave to me. This conglomeration of terminal tackle is not easy to cast and fish. Slow-action, longer rods from 5 to 8wt.s were always my first choice to use because of tip sensitivity and more line control. The problem was that slow-action rods are extremely difficult to roll cast or over-hand cast with all sorts of stuff on the leader for even the most advanced fly fisherman. The Winston BIIIx Super 10 designers took into consideration the flies, weight and strike indicator that are used when fishing subsurface and worked backwards toward the rod, building it from the tip down. Let me explain.
Designed for Euro-nymphing and high sticking, the difference between the two is still unknown to me, all of Super 10’s are 10’ long with very sensitive tip sections that give great “feel” on the stream. What surprised me was how seamless the integration from the tip to the rest of the rod. But I hadn’t really cast or put a lot of the Wulff Ambush fly line I was using on the water yet. So after about an hour of high sticking and catching several trout I threw on an indicator and moved to a long riffle with the 4wt Super 10 that I was using.
Line Control And More With the Super 10
When I first pulled the Super 10 out of its tube and slid the typically beautiful Winston rod’s the ferules together I wished that had brought the 5 wt. Winston. Its weight was light and the couple wiggles I gave it made me think that there was no way I would be able to cast the typical nymph rig that I used on The Deschutes. Worry about controlling 60’ feet of line or more on the water or getting a good, quick set when the indicator wiggled left me gingerly feeling the Super 10 for the first few short roll casts. These worries were quickly forgotten when I unhinged and effortless 50’ or so cast mended the full line for an almost perfect drift. This 4wt. Winston’s design made me realized that I could fish a lighter, more sensitive rod without losing any ability to roll cast. As the late June sun dropped over the western canyon wall, my indicator went under with an audible “PLOOP”. It was time to find out if I truly was going to just like or love the BIIIx Super 10.
Setting the hook took a little more speed than I was accustomed because the rod tip was a little softer than I expected. This trait will definitely help the average angler, who tends to set the hook a little hard, hook more fish. It was when the Redside got into the swift current that the rod pleasantly surprised me.
The Super 10 had just the right combination of backbone and give that never made me feel like the fish was winning or that he was going to break my 5x tippet. The turning power of the lower third of the rod was incredible for a light weight, medium-action rod. I forgot for a moment that I was using a 4wt. and not a 5 because of how efficiently the rod allowed me to fight the trout. The soft tip really gave me great feel and connection to the trout, absorbing the violent head shakes and a jump or two much better than most rods, particularly the super fast action fly rods that are commonly used today.
After landing the fish, I made a few more long roll casts because it was so much fun, easily zipping my nymph rig accurately where ever I wanted. After hooking a couple more fish I remembered that I was supposed to be testing this Winston, not just fishing. So I waded to shore a little forlornly, I didn’t want to take time out of a very enjoyable day on The Deschutes. After re-rigging the fly rod with a 5’ intermediate sink-tip and #8 Black Seal Bugger I slip-slided my way back into the river. This was definitely going to test this rod, I thought to myself.
First off, I love the line control that the 10’ length gives on the water. The sensitive tip didn’t hamper this at all, it did however make over-hand casting the streamer and sink-tip difficult. Medium action rods tend to take a little more timing and skill to over-hand cast heavier loaded fly lines, this was even more true with the limber tip of the Super 10. Quite honestly, I didn’t like how it casted because it felt super slow with little to no chance of recovery. It was obvious that between the sink-tip and the short, heavy taper of the Wulff Ambush line I had greatly over-weighted the rod.
A Sink-Tip And A Streamer-Get It Right And It Goes!
I had a Ross Gunnison with a Wulff Triangle Taper 10’ sink-tip in my drift boat. After wading back across the slimy rocks The Deschutes is infamous for, I put my rod on the bow of the boat and grabbed a drink of water. After putting the Evolution into the new locking reel seat and re-stringing up my rod I waded back in. Hopefully this configuration would fit the rod better than the previous one.
Even though the sink-tip was longer than the first one I tried, I was happily surprised with how much better the Super 10 casted when I got back to my spot in the river. It was still a little slow for what is called a medium-action rod today, but 5 years ago its action would have defined the category. I loved casting the rod with the right line. I could shoot the whole line with very little effort on my hauls, the new “Shooting Guides” letting the line clear the rod smoothly. I never changed to a larger fly as I worked down through the run. The rod was performing so well that I didn’t want to change a thing. Once again the 10’ 4wt. nymphing rod surprised me, there was little to no casting fatigue, even after an hour and a half of continuous use.
The Winston Super 10 is described as a “new mini series of specialized nymphing fly rods consists of three 10-foot models (3, 4 and 5wt.).” There was nothing “mini” to me about the 4 wt. I used, other than the weight of the rod. I probably didn’t use the 10 as was intended by its designers. Testing it more as a light, multi-use rod, not just a specialized Czech nymphing fly rod was my intent and the Winston Boron III X Super 10 exceeded most of my expectations.
Here are the specs for this great offering from R. L. Winston:
- Advanced Boron III Technology
- Sensitive tip to detect subtle takes
- Stronger mid-section for accurate fly placement
- Strong lower half to control larger fish
- 2″ cork extension reduces arm fatigue in high-stick and extended reach situations
- Weights: 3, 4 and 5 wt.
- Action: Medium
- Sections: 4
- Guides: Hard chrome snake “Shooting Guides”
with chrome nano-lite stripping guides
- Reel Seat: Downlocking Nickel silver with burled wood insert
- Storage: Premium graphite rod tube with embroidered
logo rod sock