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Trouts Journal

Gear Review: R.L. Winston Boron IIIx 486-4

Ivan Orsic / Aug 22, 2011

Date Tested: 08/05/11-08/07/11

Reviewed by: Tucker Ladd

What We Say:

Rarely do I come across a rod that I hate, as most modern rods do the job...they catch fish. Conversely, rarely do I come across a fly rod that I love...R.L. Winston's Boron IIIx 486-4 is a rod that has recently stolen my heart. In fact, I am so in love with this rod, I am trying to think of what rods I could sell to open up some room in my current fly rod quiver.

My love affair with Winston's newest offering occurred early August of this year, when I was fortunate enough to hit the green drakes and pmds on the Fryingpan River. Catching the green drake hatch on the Fryingpan is one of the greatest spectacles found here in the Rocky Mountain West. There are not many places where a hatch of this magnitude comes off, lasting upwards of 5 to 6 weeks.

I was well prepared for such an event due to the fact that in my hand was a Winston BIIIx 4 weight, 8' 6", dry fly chucking machine. The rod is light in the hand, extremely versatile and deadly accurate. As I worked pocket water that spanned close to a mile long, all I kept thinking to myself was how fun this rod was to fish. Typically casting no further than 15', I was able to march up the far bank picking risers off with relative ease. In sections with a steeper gradient, swift currents presented themselves, currents that would typically spell disaster for most 4 weights. Not so for the BIIIx, as it had plenty of backbone and lifting power, allowing me to guide the occasional hefty brown downstream and into a soft pocket for release.

Just like most hatches, eventually they subside. Not wanting to call it a day, I decided to toss on a nymph rig to see how this rod performed with some lead on the end. The response: flawless. I had no issues tossing out an indicator, a couple nymphs and a bit of shot. It handled the task with equal ease. Whether I was casting overhead with big open loops into a decent breeze or rolling the rig into the feeding lane, the rod seemed un-phased.

Mending? No problem. Pickup and lay down? Not an issue. Roll Casting? Did that too. This rod is equally at home in the hands of the dry fly purist, as it is the lead hucking nymph angler. As stated by the manufacturer, this rod… incredible!

What they Say:

"Incredible" is the only way to describe this new series; they are arguably the finest fly rods ever made. Utilizing higher modulus third generation Boron/Graphite composite, Boron IIIx rods offer unprecedented performance. They have an even broader casting range that lets anglers control line speed for long casts directly into the wind or gentle presentations up close. They feature a stronger butt section for lifting more line off the water. They are highly responsive and very powerful, yet lightweight with great feel and liveliness. In the words of our technical advisor Joan Wulff, "Boron IIIx rods are an amazing combination of speed, power and Winston smoothness." Boron IIIx rods come with our new, striking lightweight graphite rod tube.


Ideal rods when delicacy is needed for spring creeks and other technical waters, yet with reserve power capable of generating faster line speeds and handling windy situations and larger rivers. Broad casting range and an excellent all-around rod...exceptional versatility for a 4-weight.

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