Winston III LS – A modern light line series rod
Over the course of the last two months Stew and I have had the unique pleasure of fishing this particular rod. There was a lot of hype at how good this rod was and since neither of us had fished one, we thought it was time to change that.
It all started with a trip to Chickahominy Reservoir, a couple months ago, to fish for larger high desert trout. After a 100 mile, one way trip east of Bend, Oregon, we arrived at “chick” and strung up our rods.
After navigating some tough, low water conditions we finally found fish and were able to test out the performance of these two rods. Both of these 5 weights casted well in heavy wind and fighting fish from 14 to 20 inches. Tippets were protected but had enough bite to set the hook. Unfortunately Chick was in a severe drought and we did not touch any of the big fish we usually see, so the decision on the Winston vs NRX was still in limbo.
What we did find was both rods were a dream to cast. Slower actions than say a Scott Radian and definitely slower than the Sage One. The NRX was stiffer than the Winston LS but the Winston still seemed to handle both floating and intermediate lines well. Stew said he thought the tip was soft enough to handle dry flies with ease but handle the big subsurface flies better than the NRX LP rod. I would have to agree with this.
A couple weeks later Stew and I took the Winston III LS to an area closer to home, the upper Deschutes River near Crane Prairie. I skipped the NRX LP and just used my normal setup, a Scott S4 and Scott Radian in 9” 5 weights.
This part of the river is a highly technical area for fly fishing. With fast running water and lots and lots of down timber it can be a nightmare to cast and land fish. There isn’t much overhand casting, some, but a lot of roll and flip casting to spots within 20-30 feet. The reward, big trout.
Some of these guys can run into the 7-10 lb range with most being 3-5 lbs. Unfortunately its high sticking nymphs, not really something a light series rod is usually used for, but Stew and I wanted to see how the Winston would handle big fish; did it have enough butt section to turn these guys before running for cover and breaking off our 3X tippet.
Stew hooked many fish in the 4-5 lb range and one that he would later call the biggest brown he had hooked in this part of the river to date. He fought this beast for about 3 minutes before the trout came unbuttoned. Afterwards, Stew said the Winston was remarkable. It had enough backbone that he could stop the initial run for timber from these large rainbow and browns trout thus allowing him to move them into calmer water and touch them before release.
This was what we wanted to know. We knew it would cast wonderfully, and no one will argue that the Winston’s aren’t beautiful. But we wanted to put that iconic line from the movie, The Dirty Dozen into play; “Very pretty, Colonel, very pretty. But can they fight”? The answer was oh yeah, beauty and brawn wrapped up into a wonderfully crafted rod.
This might very well be our go to rod from now on. There is no perfect trout rod out there as beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But the Winston, at least in our eyes, is pretty darn close.
So if you have grown tired of the ultra-fast rods for trout, but do not want that medium slow stick, then take a turn casting the Winston’s III LS.