I had the pleasure of casting the new Winston XTR Boron rods in 8wt and 9wt recently over at Blue Northern (ayer MA). Talk about line speed! I thought the 8wt was exceptional and a real standout in the gazillion rods I cast this winter and spring waiting for stripers to arrive. Now that they're here you might take one of these rods for a test cast - they'll provide a significant advantage for biting tight loops into the wind or carrying larger flies in a highly energized cast. The nice thing about the 8wt XTR is that it won't take it out on your arm - the rod does the work.
The 9wt was a major step up in terms of stiffness but is a proper tool for large stripers, flies and conditions. Both are beautiful works in the Winston tradition.
06-05-2000, 08:16 AM
I have cast a 10 weight XTR Winston in 3 piece design yesterday. Even though I'm not too much a fan of trout-weight Winston rods I must say that I was extremely impressed. Awesome line speed (coupled with a Triangle taper monocore line) and phantastic workmanship make these rods really outstanding. It's just that their price here in Europe is outrageous: My buddy paid $800 (but got the line for free!!!). Nothing for my Y2K budget!!
06-07-2000, 04:05 AM
A few years ago many top rods seemed to be under rated. The Sage RPLX, King of the Salt, was routinely fished one line heavy to sweeten it up a bit. The Orvis PM-10 and Loomis Mega rods also come to mind. This quality frustrated many, but these rods could really launch a Teeny line (over lining the rod 4 line weights or so).
The Loomis GLX rods were true to their line ratings. Sweet rods and the latest trends seem to be following their lead. The rod companies, using compound tapers, softened up the tips and created rods that load easily and generate terrific line speed. These rods are also true to their ratings (Sage XP, RPLXi, Orvis TL).
These soft tip rods really don't like to be over lined much, though. I think that the tip tends to collapse against the abrupt compound taper as opposed to a progressive taper that just works the flex further down the blank. Enter the Winston XTR (and maybe the Abel rods, but I've only cast them a few times).
After suffering the slings and arrows with the wacky BL-5, Winston wasn't going to let the bullies kick sand in their face any more. These rods(XTR) have a beefy tip that can handle over lining as well as an agressive casting stroke.
The new Powel AXS rods also seem to deal well with a heavy line. The Scott HP #9 sings with 30' of lead core, and T&T Horizons cast these heavy sink tips as well.
What impresses me the most about all the rods I've mentioned is how easy they are to cast. With the exception of the Abel, these rods are a lot easier to cast than the venerable RPLX.
Of course a good caster can do well with any rod. Practice and lessons are much cheaper than a new rod. Eddie