I get asked fairly often what I think the world's best trout rod is. You want to hear about it? Sweet. Here’s what you need to know.
Angler 1: “Man, I love blue.”
Angler 2: “Blue is okay, but red is better.”
Angler 3: “You guys are smoking opium. Black is, like, the best.”
Angler 4: “No, it’s orange, with a hint of purple, just like a gorgeous summer sunset on the California coast.”
My point is that our favorite fly rods are a lot like our favorite colors, or our favorite foods, or our favorite sports teams. They’re entirely subjective. We all have our own preferences, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll agree, at all, ever. So with that in mind, all I can really do is tell you about my personal favorite. And even that’s hard, because there are so many really good rods out there right now. Orvis, Sage, G Loomis, Thomas & Thomas and Scott all make fantastic, state-of-the-art fly rods.
And yet, as nice as all those particular rods are, I’m looking for something very specific in my ultimate trout rod. I want a rod that will fish everything - dry flies, nymphs, small streamers, wets - with ease, that will make every cast in the book, and most importantly, that disappears in my hand.
You see, in my opinion that’s the hallmark of a truly great rod. When I decide where to put my next cast, I want the fly to arrive at its destination in exactly the way I envisioned, and I want this to happen without conscious thought or unnecessary effort. In essence, the rod simply disappears, leaving me free to enjoy my casting and my fishing.
Which is why, when pressed for what my favorite trout rod is, I pick the 9’ 5-wt. Winston BIII LS.
The BIII LS has all the “measurables.” It’s handsome, with incredible cosmetics and top-flight components. It’s accurate. It bends - which, at least in my mind, separates it from a hundred high-end fly rods that double as pool cues and wading staffs. It will throw long or short, with either an aggressive stroke or a more subdued casting approach. It will protect light tippets, yet still corral a 20” rainbow in a minute or two. It will sling a streamer, or set your size 18 cripple down on the water with the deliberate delicacy of a stalking heron.
Most importantly, though, it’s a joy to cast. The BIII LS throws such a gorgeous line that, within a minute or two, the rod fades completely into the background and I’m free to appreciate the moment. And that’s what I love. I want that rod to disappear in my hand, rather than draw attention to itself. My focus should be on the fishing here in Colorado, rather than on what my fly rod is (or isn’t) doing.
So, after a fair amount of soul searching and a brief moment of indecision, when folks press me to pick one trout rod above them all, I cast my vote for the Winston.
The 9 foot 5 BIII LS is the finest trout rod I’ve fished over the last few years. Of course, you’re welcome to disagree. And who knows? I might change my mind tomorrow. But before you call me crazy, pick up this particular Winston and cast it. It’s one heck of a rod.