Review: Winston Boron III LS fly rod

When pressed to name your favorite trout rod, which do you pick?
Patagonia - Rio Frey - Winston Boron IIIx LS
Fishing the Boron IIIx LS on Patagonia's Rio Frey (Photo: Chad Shmukler).

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.


It always bothers me when any gear review begins a sentence using such terms as "handsome" and "cosmetics," rather than a performance comment. It says the reviewer could be shallow, or worse, uninformed about flyfishing. Hope not, it's just my take. And, I have fished a Winston for years.

One question....why 9' and not an 8' 6"? Is your choice in length simply limited to the added length for nymphing or? Thanks!

Let me begin with a simple statement: It is perfectly fine to love the looks of a fly rod! Let's face it, we make lots of purchases based on looks. Who doesn't?
No doubt, Winston Green is a great color and their fly rods are works of art. They fact that they fish so beautifully only adds to the appeal! Who hasn't made a choice based on the looks and the way it it a car, ski, mate! They make an amazing fly rod that glows like a gemstone in the sun...worth every dime!

Sorry, but the rod first has to drop a crab fly two feet in front of a tailing permit at 50-70 ft. Then it can be pink with green spots for all I care. My Winston does the first part just fine.

I recently fished, fell in love and ordered my own Winston BiiiX Super 10 3wt for nymphing.
I am looking for a dry fly rod to complete a 2 rod dream team for the dream stream here in Colorado!
The 9' 5wt Winston Biii LS sounds perfect, and I can't wait to cast one. Thanks for Sharing!

Hope you are still enjoying your B3-LS. May I ask what fly line you like best with it? I have the B3-LS in 8' 6" 5wt and love it. My Rio Gold line fractured today. So shopping for a new line.